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1 R. Kumara Swamy Asst. Professor of English K L University, Green Fields, Vaddeswaram Guntur – Andhra Pradesh- India Email I
  1 R. Kumara Swamy Asst. Professor of English K L University, Green Fields, Vaddeswaram Guntur  –   Andhra Pradesh- India Email Id: SOFT SKILLS -A PREREQUISITE FOR UPCOMING ENGINEERING GRADUATES  “Soft Skills are the personal qualities  that enable one to communicate with others”     “ Soft skill ”   is a term often associated with a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ), which is the cluster of personality traits that characterize one’s relationship with other people. These skills include communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, and cognitive emotional empathy and leadership traits. Soft skills contrast with hard skills which are generally and easily quantifiable and measurable such as software knowledge or basic plumbing skills. Engineering education demands proficiency in English such as the soft skills. It’s significance has acquired a global backup from all the institutes involved in technical education. Many engineering professionals are not able to cater to the requirements of their jobs simply because of the lack of soft skills also known as people’s  skills. However, the trend has changed drastically in order to meet the demands of hiring companies. The present paper highlights the integration as well as teaching of soft skills to engineering students at the undergraduate level. Hence presentation skills, team work negotiations, emotional intelligence and leadership skills are some of the soft skills required at the work place to get through the duties to communicate persuasively, positive attitude towards work, team work etc.The practical approach of teaching soft skills such as Group Discussions emphasizing the learner Centric approach that the teachers should adapt to make the engineering students not only competitive but also as all-round professionals who also are excellent communicators. Soft skills are combination of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills that determine our ability to adjust in a particular socio-cultural frame work. These skills also include competences in areas such as emotional strength, communication, adaptability, leadership quality, self initiative, self  –  motivation decision making ability and conflict resolution. Various studies say that a combination of soft skill s has a great impact on one’s level of success.  2  A research conducted among fortune 500 CEOs by the Stanford Research Institute inferred that 75 percent of long  –  term job success depended on people skills and only 25 percent on technical knowledge, Researches also show that the soft skills of a person always determine everything from getting promoted to being happy at the work place. Hard Skills + Soft Skills = Success in interview and at the work place:  Success at the work place depends on two major skills set  –  hard skills and soft skills, skills that you acquire through the cognitive accept of your intelligence, ie., through formal learning, training / coaching in areas as varied as finance, computers, engineering, sports etc., are known as hard skills where as the skills that you learn at home over a period of time through the non-cognitive aspect of intelligence, which is influenced by your upbringing environment day  –  to  –  day life experiences etc are known as soft skills. Hard Skills : Soft Skills  Acquired through formal education - Informally imbibed  About techniques, Mechanisms and professional competence - About relationships and social competence Subject  –  based skills - General attitude of life situations Job  –  Specific - People, specific  Aptitude  –  Centric - Attitude Centric Soft skills are an important element for the success of an organization. Employing soft skills effectively in the highly competitive corporate world would help you to standout in a crowd of average employees who have mediocre skills and talent. Hence soft skills play a vital role in professional success which help one at the work place. In public communication the owes of communication lies on one person, the speaker.The audience are expected to listen, be polite and applaud or laugh at the right time.The purpose of a speaker is to inform or persuade or to entertain the audience. A speaker who fails to address them, is not likely to succeed. Most important of all, the mastery of soft skills to regulate the vital basis of human interpersonal communication in order to ensure optimal  –  speaker audience involvement in listening and speaking. When you speak in public, it is necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the audience you are expected to address. Selection topic, choice of vocabulary, purpose of speech, type of speech, selection of strategies to maintain positive speaker and audience relationship and a lot  3 more depend on the audience analysis. The speaker should choose the appropriate vocabulary which determines what type of vocabulary humour should be used and what is to be avoided in order to match the taste of the listener which also facilitates the determination of the appropriate topic duration of the speech and other details relevant to make the speech effective. The public speaker (presenter) may speak from a manuscript or an outline or from note cards. Speaking at Placement Interview:  Another  –  Functional area of speech is that of an interview. Interviews assess the personality of the interviewee in depth. It is, therefore, obvious that both the interviewer and the interviewee evince display of soft skills as they join together in an effort to probe and understand each other for whatever set purpose they have for such as exploration. Interpersonal or smart skills are crucial and as said before, they rely heavily on critical thinking and creativity. There are two basic soft skills namely critical thinking and creativity. Listening Skills ;Types of Listening : Effective Listening :  Listening is a process of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a message received from a speaker. Listening requires a conscious effort to interpret the sounds, grasp the meaning of the words and react to the message. 1.  Appreciative Listening  : This is listening for deriving as aesthetic Spleasure, as we do when we listen to a comedian, musician or an entertainer. 2. Empathetic Listening  : When we listen to a distressed friend who wants to express his feeling. We provide emotional and moral support in the form of emphatic listening. 3. Comprehensive Listening : This type of listening is needed in the class room when students have to listen to the lecturer to understand and comprehend the message. Similarly, when someone is giving you directions to find the location of a place, comprehensive listening is required to receive and interpret the message. 4. Critical listening  : When we read a book with the objective of writing a book review, we use our critical abilities. Similarly listening to a sales person before making a purchase or listening to politicians involves critical listening. When we apply our intellect and intelligence to analyses objectively and to look for logic, expertise and emotion in a speech, in a dialogue, in a conversation, in a discussion, in a brain storming session listening is termed as critical. We are being critical to say things like, ‘he is no expert, ‘she is excellent, what a brave child, etc., Discriminative  : We are discriminative listeners when we are sensitive to the changes in the speaker’s volume, pitch, tone, rate, stress, when we are  4 able to detect even nuances of communication (meaning difference speaker intention) when we are able to indentify sound, among several occurrences at once, belonging to a specific mechanism.  Active Versus passive listening  : We become passive listeners when the topic is of little interest to us, when we have no idea who the speaker is when we don’t like the speaker, passive listening leads to disto rted communication and results in time getting wasted for both the speaker and listener.  Active Listening  : leads to mental satisfaction of having listened to a good speaker. Active listener decides to receive the sounds and understands what they mean Hearing is different from listening. Hearing takes place automatically we can’t stop hearing unless we are deaf. When we are travelling on a bus/ train, sounds from people/ vehicle reach our ears. Do all these sounds reach the brain and does the brain see meaning in them? If we are busy with our own thoughts (Mind is thinking) our ears will receive the sounds but our mind will not register them. So hearing is different from listening. Implications of Effective listening : 1.   Gaining understanding respects support emphasize, appreciate, positive attitude admiration, friendship from others. 2.   Feeling the pulse of the other people how they think, what they believe in how they come to conclusions. 3.   Gathering knowledge, experience and wisdom from others. 4.   Experiencing satisfaction, growth, development, happiness. The ability to listen effectively is a vital skill as most of our learning. Comes from listening. Research studies have proved that it is the most important link in the process of communication. Generally we spend more time on listening than we spend on speaking, reading and writing. Students listen to lecturers, instructions, conversations, views expressed in group discussion and in other communication activities. As a professional you would have to listen to your boss, sub-ordinates, seminar presentations etc., whatever may be the situations if you don’t listen with concentration. You are likely to face problems. Listening requires a positive attitude, concentration and willingness. Effective Listening Skill:    Make you understand concepts clearly    Help you to understand the views on your co-workers    Improve your intellectual ability to understand and evaluate the opinions of others    Enable you to gather proper and accurate information. For hearing you do not require any physical cues but for listening you consider physical cues  –  such as eye contact, gestures and body
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