Good day, good day and welcome to the Business Made Easy podcast where we make business easy. Jason skinny, your host here for another week of the podcast is all about growing your business, growing your bottom line profit and giving you a better life as a result. Thank you so much for joining me wherever you are in the world. I am glad you are here with me right now. And we’re going to talk about business and growing your business.
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Okay, I’ve just got back from a bit of a mini break. One thing I do love to do in my business life is to take a mini break. A mini-break for me is really just not going anywhere elaborate but, you know, just taking an extra day on the back of a weekend to go and do something special.
This last weekend, I just went to the Blue Mountains, which is absolutely magic, picturesque place here in Australia and just caught up with some family and just chilled out for a couple of days and unwind and it’s just amazing how much energy you have when you get back into work and it’s just nice to hit that reset button and break that mile. I don’t know if that’s something you’d like to get up to but I know, I really love those things and trying to do it probably every quarter if I can, just throw an extra long weekend in there to hit that reset button and, and re-prioritize what I’ve get, what I’ve got to get done.
It’s not always a great feeling when you decide to do it because you look at the amount of work you’ve got to do but this way you get more done once you do actually go and do that. Come back and you’re all fresh and ready to go. And that’s what I’ve been this week and today we are going to talk about a really important area. Well, I think, it’s a really important area of business and that is our soft skills.
I want to talk today about soft skills, what they are, why they are important and then, most importantly, like how you can improve yours or learn to improve yours or point you in the right direction to improving your soft skills. And so what do we mean by soft skills? We’re talking about our soft skills and investing in our soft skills and probably the easiest way to describe them with a story, I’ll guess, I’ll illustrate it with a story that happened to me back in my early training as an accountant, this sort of– I was actually doing a lot of study at the time in accounting and learning the ropes and as you do it, it’s all theoretical and you’re learning about debits and credits, you know, all that exciting stuff that accountants like to talk about and tax law or, you know, all the– we’re learning all the skills of the profession of the accounting profession and that’s not like any other business or trade or business that’s out there but what happened to me was I was learning all these stuff and I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself at the time. I was learning about various provisions of the law and subject matter that I was studying.
And it was an old mental– wasn’t actually my boss, but he was the original founder of the firm that I was working in but I remember one night, I was working back diligently trying to get the runs on the board, trying to climb the ladder, as you do and when you’re starting out. And I got talking to him and he stopped by my desk at the time and he said, you know, he was an older guy, he seems sort of in ease– he was willing fully retired but very knowledgeable, respected throughout the time and then throughout, throughout his career. As I said he, he started the firm that I was working in but he said to me guys, “How’s everything going with you? Your study and your career development.” et cetera, like that, “How’s it all going?” Anyway, I got talking to him and I started quoting various sections of the law that I had learned. So I was using section numbers and I was thinking I was all impressive and, you know, wearing this guy with, ah, my, my, my knowledge, my newfound knowledge and all the, all the accounting provisions and, and tax law. And he said to me, stopped me and he said, “Jason–” he said, “Nobody cares about the, the technical application or the technical–” not so much technical application, “–your technical knowledge of the theory but what they do care about is how you communicate that knowledge and how you deliver that knowledge.” That is what is most important. Anybody can go and read a book, but it is how you deliver that knowledge and impart that knowledge in, and in, and help your customer or your client, that is that– that is going to make you a, a great accountant.
So the more you can focus your energy on learning how to communicate and learning how to relate to people and understand people, that is what’s going to make you a good accountant. Not knowing all the various sections and being able to quote all the various sections of the law, because your client, at the end of the day, expects you to know that stuff. What they want to know is they want a solution — they want you to, to understand their problem and, and be able to provide and communicate to them a solution that’s going to take the pain away.
And effectively if you think about business, that’s what we’re doing. We’re listening to people’s problems, we’re finding solutions and we’re delivering them as, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Not that all if you’re selling physical products, providing a service, whatever it is we do in business, at the end of the day, we are solution providers and we have to be able to communicate. And that’s, that was a wow moment for me in my career. I still talk about that story because it was a defining moment in my career where I went, “Hang on, I need to be more like a psychologist than an actual, than an actual, ah, person who needs to understand the law or, and, and, and needs.” And so people go, “Hey, you must be good– you must be good at Maths.” and I say, “Why?” and they go, “‘Cause you’re an accountant.” and I go, “No.” That doesn’t make me a good accountant. I’ve got a calculator that adds up, I’ve got spreadsheets I can use to add up. What makes me a good accountant is I know how to relate to people and I can talk to people and listen to people and, and, and get their message and I work on my soft skills as an accountant.
And that’s what I mean by soft skills, our ability, uhm, to, to communicate and our psychological side of what, what are these that we do. Now, when you learn your profession or your trade or whatever business you go into how to do whatever it is that you do. Unfortunately, there’s not a, not a lot of, ah, work or uhm, time spent educating you in these areas, in these soft skill areas.
I remember when I did my accounting study, it was one subject we did was– which was, it was two. Well, there’s one on communications and one on psychology, ah, and I couldn’t, ah, understand why we needed to have those as an accountant. Knowing what I know now, absolutely I wish I had a, have had, ah, have majored in those subjects but nonetheless, I didn’t. But it really is important that we take what we know, that’s the physical, uhm, side of things. The, the, the hard skills, if you like, and that’s, that’s one aspect but I want you to take away from this podcast episode the importance and I want you to understand the importance of learning your soft skills and developing your soft skills in whatever business it is that you are, you’re doing.
So some of the soft skills I’m talking about here, when we talk about soft skills, what are they effectively? I mean, I gave you my story but to drill down a little bit further, uhm, soft skills are things like our communication skills, okay? How we communicate with our people, our team. How we communicate with our customers importantly. How we communicate with our suppliers. How we communicate day in, day out with everybody that we come in contact with. And if you think about communication just as a soft skill on its own, there’s that, that is a, a massive area that you could spend years just and, and and, and I continually work on. It is a continual working pro- process but communication in our business, how we email and write to our customers, how we email within our own organizations, how we– how we text, How we– how we get our message out there. Communication is everything in what we do in our business. And a lot of business owners, unfortunately think they’re just in the business of providing pool cleaning services or their, ah, electrical services or their accounting services or their whatever it is that you do. People think that’s all they have to focus on and getting more customers to do that, but you’ll see as we talk through this that it’s not necessarily the case.
Communication skills are probably one of the biggest areas that you can focus on in your business to grow, your business and have better success in your business because the better you communicate your message, the better you listen to people, the better you understand people, ah, and can relate to people, the better they’re going to relate to you and your business and, and what it is that you’re doing. So huge, huge area communication as a soft skill development area is absolutely– if you’re looking for one, one area to start in, that would be the one that you could pick.
Another comm– soft skill is motivation. Working on our motivational skills, our empowerment skills, working on, you know, becoming more motivated and, and focused in on what it is we’ve done. We’ve done lots of, of episodes, last week’s episode episode 87, we talked about clarity in your business, so this flows on from that. Uhm, leadership skills, how we lead our people, how we lead our team, ah, and lead, lead the business in, in total. Huge area to focus on. Ah, our people skills as we touched on with communication but how, how well we relate to people, uhm, that we come in contact within our business. I’ve been in some businesses that are absolutely shocking and actually it happened while I was away. I was, uhm, I went to a restaurant and it wasn’t a, it wasn’t a flashy restaurant over there just for lunch, the family and I went to this beautiful restaurant for lunch up in the Blue Mountains and we sat down and the service was absolutely worth for the, the energy that was coming off the waitress as she approached our table and, and the way she put the bread down on the table the way she put the water and drinks down on the table. Everything about her energy and her people skills was absolutely worth for. Yet the food was nice, the ambiance was nice, everything else and– I can’t estimate and underestimate or overestimate enough just how important it is that our people skills are top notch.
Our mindset skills, how good, uhm, is our mindset skills, are our mindset skills? Are they, uhm, you know, are we approaching things with the right mindset? Are we working on our mindset? Are we keeping clarity around our mindset? Again, we’ve spoken about that before. Anything to do with our psychological health and skills are important. And a good way to think about this is, is, is, is, uhm, it’s investing in developing your emotional intelligence, that’s the way I look at it. Uhm, we have, uhm, you’ve heard of IQ, I’m sure a lot of you have heard of people who’ve got an IQ which is the scale of, ah, intelligence, if you like, uhm, it, it stands for intelligent quotient and intelligence quotient, uhm, it’s a bit of a mouthful to say. Ah, intelligence quotient, that’s the IQ but, but your EQ which is your emotional quotient is basically how much you are your emotional skills are. And unfortunately, we just– unless we work on them, unless we stay focused on them and grow them and invest in them, a lot of people do never actually mature in their emotional abilities to the level that, that they have in them to their potential. It does take investment, it takes focus and investment of time. And we need to identify that that is equally important in our business as it is in as investing in marketing, as investing in– in actual fact, I’d go as far to say as it’s probably one of the, ah, most beneficial investments that I have ever made in myself and my business is actually investing in my emotional quotient, my EQ, my emotional maturity.
And the reason I say that is because when we get more mature around our emotions, when we get more understanding of people and being able to relate to people and body language and, uhm, uh, communication skills, when we get better at that, our relationships get better, it becomes easier to do the marketing, it becomes easier to sell the products or services, it becomes easier to attract new customers.
Whereas if we’re coming from a place of immaturity in that space and it doesn’t matter how many customers you have coming in the door, you’re going to have to be working hard for that all the time because you’re not relating to them. And you’re going to have to work harder all the time on your marketing because you’re not communicating your message clear enough. So I can’t emphasize enough just how much important it is or how much importance there is, I should say, into investing in your soft skills within your business. And unfortunately, as I said, they don’t teach us, don’t teach people enough and we don’t learn that enough in, when we’re learning what it is that we do for a skill or service or, or, or what we’re selling.
And I’m sure we’ve all seen this when we go into a shop to buy something and the shop assistant is non-attentive or the shop assistant got no idea how to understand the question, uhm, that’s, that’s being asked. Uhm, we’ve got a big hardware store here in Australia, and I know, nine times out of 10 that they have sales could be exponentially larger if they spent more time training their staff on, uhm, understanding things because, you know, you picture someone coming in, they’ve got a problem on a Saturday morning, they need a particular solution and if that shop assistant in their hardware store can’t quickly and understandably and categorically get to the heart of the problem that that person has, then they, they won’t sell them the right things, the right solutions for, for their problem.
You know, a customer, nine times out of 10 a customer doesn’t actually know what it is that they need. All they know is that they have a certain problem and they think they might know what they need. But, you know, once you understand their problem, once you fully understand them, how, how they’re, they’re feeling about it all, all those emotional signs, you, you can’t properly prescribe a solution for them. So if they come in asking for a nine-inch spanner, until you actually understand the full problem. You know, it might actually be a, a, a nine-inch spanner and something else that they need.
So really, really important that we, we understand this when we, when we’re thinking about soft skills. And they often go as unimportant type, it often guys as unimportant type work or development, because we can’t see it being soft, ah, we can’t see someone’s psychology per se or physically, we can’t see it because it’s inside of us. And it often goes as, as, an unimportant task and we, we tend to put it off, ah, choosing to focus on the more immediate problem. But here’s the thing, unless we actually arrest this and, and go on and invest in learning it, then we’re not going to, we’re going to have continually have these problems come up in our, in our businesses and in our lives and we’re going to be here, “Why is this happening all the time?” Well, maybe with better communication, it wouldn’t happen in the future. Maybe if we actually, ah, delegated a lot more effectively with effective communication, these problems wouldn’t keep landing on our desks. And you know, we really need to, to, uhm, be mindful of that when, when we’re thinking about soft skills and, and the importance of investing in soft skills.
It’s, it’s really is something that I have– I must, I must be totally honest, I haven’t done enough of myself, I would love to do a lot more and it is something– it’s one of the reasons I’m talking about it today because it is an area that I am focusing more and more on. I know when I’m coaching my clients, when I’m dealing with my business clients that I’m coaching, ah, in a coaching capacity, that is an area that we do work on. We focus on improving those soft skills and, and sometimes that’s directly, sometimes, it’s subtly along the way but we do need to continue working on developing those soft skills.
So I hope that makes sense and I hope, I hope you understand the importance there of, of what soft skills and just a recap and why they’re important to, to delivering, uhm, better results for you and your business. So how can we actually develop better soft skills? Where do you go to actually start on this? Uhm, the very first thing I would, ah, encourage you to do is to set aside some time in your week to work on this.
Now, this could be a, a, a Friday morning, it could be a Saturday morning, Sunday morning. Whe-whenever there’s a, a time it’s the most, uhm, your most conducive to learning and focus with the least distraction. Find a time in the week for you that is going to allow you to, to, to prioritize this type of work. Now this is one of those big rocks that you need to put in the jar. You know, we talked about filling a jar with, with sand and small rocks and the big rocks can’t fit in. Well, this is one of those big rocks you have to put in the jar first because this is going to make more sand and more rocks fit in the jar, so we need to prioritize it.
Stephen, Stephen Covey, uhm, in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he, uhm, this I think was the last habit of his but, but, but basically the idea of sharpening the soul. He talked about sharpening the soul in his, his book and that’s what that’s about. Uhm, improving our mature, our emotional maturity and, and our health and well being with these soft skills. Uhm, so first thing is I would set aside some time, make sure you’ve got a dedicated time each week, uhm, that you’re going to, to do this. For me, it’s Sunday morning.
Sunday mornings, for me I just, ah, beautiful peaceful time of the, the week. Uhm, I’m starting to think of the week ahead but not to fully yet and I’m pretty well dealt with everything from the past week. So it’s a nice neutral time for me to, to work on these. Other good times for me to work on my soft skills are very early in the morning, I like to get up nice and early around 4:35 o’clock, work on it and, and do some reflection, do some meditation. Uhm, you know, that type of thing and we’ll talk about that in a moment but find that time that’s good for you.
For some people, it’s good at night, they’re more, uhm, free thinking and available to concentrate on that stuff at night. Some people are night people, some people are morning people. So just choose your time is my point. And, uhm, the next thing I’d look at, uhm, very, very– Look, this is, ah, ah, ah, easy one to start with this just basically get some books. Start reading about things that are, you know, communication. Start reading about developing emotional maturity. Some books that have been absolute game changers for me which I’ll go over now with you. I’ve talked about them before, they’ve been mentioned on million– these are just staple books but some of them aren’t but, uhm, but the very first one is Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie, absolute must have on any business owners. Ah, reading this if you haven’t read it already. Ah, get it, ah, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you on it but, but it is a, it is a must.
I’ve read the book multiple times and continue to do so because the skills– it’s one of those books that teaches you principles of human to human relationships, uhm, and developing those relationships and developing, uhm, how to interact better with people and the skills that you need to continually keep going back and visiting. It’s more a textbook than a, than a, than a– just like a book to motivational book it really is just a must have and, uhm, really, you need to keep going back and reading that one. Thinking Grow Rich Napoleon Hill, another classic. Uhm, very, very important book in, in, in, uhm, developing your soft skills. Change Your Thinking, by Sarah Edelman. That’s another fantastic book that has helped me with my mindset and, just being more in the moment with things and how to actually have a better, better way of thinking about things.
So check that one out, I’ll put a link to all these in the show notes actually, so you’ll be able to get those over at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode88 so, ah, businessmadeeasypodcast.com/88. Ah, another book that, that should be on your reading list if it’s not, in this area is se– The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that I just mentioned earlier by Stephen Covey. Uhm, another must-have book just groundbreaking and something that really did make a difference for me too was the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Uhm, he talks through this morning routine which really sets your mind and your, your mental state up for, for success every morning. So check those books out, reading is a great way to, to just start working slowly oon becoming a student of developing your soft skills, really is, it’s just a, it’s, it’s not hard, it’s not something you have to spend a lot of money doing, it’s just something you can set aside some time each week and work on doing it. The more you do it, you’re more you’ll find that you actually enjoy doing it and you’re more than fine once you put the, the, the principles and the learnings into practice. You will find better results more and more in your mindset and, and dealing with it, with, uhm, with your business and things that are coming up in your business.
Another few ways to, to, uhm, to, I guess fast track or develop further these soft skills in your business, uhm, meditation is a great way, uhm, just, just getting at peace with your mind starting to, to get clear, uhm, about your thoughts. Uhm, meditation is a fantastic, relaxant as well as, you know, ability to be able to clear your mind. Uhm, mindfulness practice is a great way to bring you back to centering yourself, getting to understand– these are all important for your psychological health and well being and they, they, then your stress levels and, and, and just your, just your mindset in general. Uhm, yoga, I’ve had he just recently discovered yoga funnily enough and, uhm, it really is, it really is amazing. I, uhm, how it came about a yoga studio opened up or across the road from my office and we uhm, we would like to support the business is in the area and I thought I’ll go over and my wife, Melissa, said to go.
You know, “Let’s go get this yoga a try.” so off we went. And I was really blown away by how, uhm, relaxing yet physically active yoga was. It was, uhm, it was, uhm, sort of worked. With all the stretching and everything sort of like de-stressing you at the same time as working, working your muscles and working your body so I really, really encouraged yoga if you haven’t given that a try. Uhm, I’ve, I’ve never been a big, uhm, sort of spiritual slash, uhm, yogary type person but I’ll tell you what, give it a go because, ah, it really is a, uhm, it really is a great, great, uhm, great way to de-stress and, and just get, get relaxed and, uhm, yeah, exercise at the same time which leads me on to exercising, getting out and exercising, walking on its own just without any noise or distraction. Uhm, when I was up in the Blue Mountains, uhm, on the weekend, uhm, my uncle and I went for some really good long walks just around and just being in the community and, and just, just being at peace with the nature and what was going on. Amazing for your mindset and I, I guarantee I came back to work more charged this, this, ah, this week when I, when I got when I got back into it.
Ah, another way to, to develop these soft skills so that, you know, there’s some, some, some ways there that you can do on your own without too much cost or, or, ah, energy. Ah, I can’t recommend highly enough the Dale Carnegie Immersion Program. Uhm, so Dale Carnegie, he, he had the book, ah, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Now Dale Carnegie since deceased but he does, they do have a, a, course, uhm, that you can do, uhm, and it’s all over the world, so this isn’t something just limited to Australia. You can do this anywhere in the world. If you google Dale Carnegie courses, ah, it will come up, I’ll try and have a link in the show notes to you, for you as well. Can’t stress the importance of eno-enough of doing that course.
I’ve done it three times now and every time I do it, I learn more and more about myself and about other people and, and being able to be a better communicator and better relator or, ah, with people, and really, really important work. Uhm, so that is a, that is an investment that you can make with yourself as the employer or the owner of the business but I would encourage you also to look at putting your team through these stuff as well, look at investing in your team’s soft skill, so it’s not you just being a good communicator but everyone in your organization is being a good communicator and that program is absolutely amazing for, for anybody looking to, to grow the soft skills of their team and people and themselves as well. Uhm, another communication courses, uhm, there’s plenty of communication courses out there that you can learn and, and, and join short, long, uhm, get to know more about human communications and better communications, uhm, learning to write better, uhm, learning to relate better to humans.
We all have to invest in this because it’s integral to, to how well we can deliver our product and service and provide that solution to a customer. And at the end of the day, have a happier, healthier, better business and a better business life. And that’s why I’m talking about this to you today because that’s my motto that I’d like to, uhm, to talk to you about on the show and, ah, when I’m putting content together. Ah, and another way to do this is masterminds and discussion groups or, or, uhm, ah, mastermind groups. So if, if you’re not in a mastermind group, ah, or you haven’t been involved in a mastermind group, talking with fellow IPs and, and, and sharing ideas and, and communicating and networking in that capacity can be, can do amazing things for your soft skills as you develop them out because you learn from others and what their experiences have been and you’re talking about your situation and they’re sharing their feedback and, and ideas and giving you honest, honest, ah, feedback and appraisal of the situations that you’re going through.
That is an absolute game changer for you in terms of, uhm, being able to develop those soft skills quite quickly as well, because you, you know, with a mastermind you jump into it pretty quickly. So, if you’re interested in a mastermind group, I am looking at actually putting a mastermind group together. So if you are interested, by all means, you can drop me an email at [email protected], ah, and just mention that you’re interested in a mastermind group. It will be a mastermind, a virtual mastermind group, so you don’t need to travel anywhere, but, certainly, yeah, if you’re interested in that, you can drop me a line at [email protected] and I will, ah, happily provide you with some more information on that as well.
So there you go, soft skills, the importance of developing and, and investing in your soft skills is absolutely critical to your business and your personal success.I want success for you and I know you can have the success you’re after, uhm, but we have to work on these skills and develop that emotional intelligence, the EQ. Just think of EQ, so, ah, find some EQ time in your week, ah, let me know how you go with it. I’d love to hear from you, if you’ve got any feedback on this episode, by all means drop me a line at [email protected] I am here for you and I want, ah, every success for you going forward.
Alrighty, that’s all I wanted to cover with you this week. Until next week, I hope you have a fantastic successful week in business and you kick some goals, you, ah, take off some of those action items that you want to take, and let me know what, what action items you’re going to take out of today’s episode. So one thing to learn this stuff, it’s another thing to actually apply it, that’s where you get the results.
I can teach you so much but you have to take action and I want to hear what action you are taking. So drop me a line at [email protected] and I’d love to hear from you. Alrighty, I’m going to, ah, hand you over to Mia and now but until next week, ah, take us out, Mia and here’s to your success. All the best guys. Take care. Bye.