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The use of the term "Soft Skills" has been in place far too long.
Seems like it was used to balance the belief that technical skills were the "Hard Skills."
Turns out that was wrong.
Many engineers now agree that the so-called "Hard Skills," i.e., technical matters, are easier
to master than patiently listening to anothers different technical opinons.
Technical Matters + Sociocultural Matters = Engineers requirements for routine success.
What sayest thou?
A lot of paper work could be omitted if soft skills is having, now a tab at Site is a must. Photo graph is used for further analysis at office. Now every body got it the skill.
Practicing Chartered Engineer
Engineers underestimate the extent to which technical language can be misunderstood by multiple parties. We rely on drawings, photos, models, calcs, and words to relay information. If one means of communication were sufficient, we would not need the others. It is also important to recognize when new people enter and exit the conversation. A conversation may last seconds or years depending on how you look at it.
Definitely this. Especially in government work, engineers will be interacting with the public. At Public Information Meetings, construction project management, or fielding calls from property owners, an engineer must drop the technical jargon and explain in basic english. Its rare that the average public understands the concept of AADT or 85th percentile or cross-sections. I have to explain that we take measurements in decimal feet and be ready with equivalent distances in feet and inches. The old acronym of KISS - "keep it simple stupid", is important to remember in any explanation. It is not so much as dumbing down an explanation but simply explaining things in detail without using technical jargon.
I recommend joining Toastmasters for at least a year and practice speaking about your work with a non-technical crowd. The usual crowd is professional foreigners trying to master english speaking and sales engineers who need to be able to communicate to a wide variety of people.
Re: "Definitely this. Especially in government work..."
No question that is an important example.
But where it starts to add value is in the design office, right at project initiaton.
Some initial places to start:
a. Toastmasters, right in most of your neighborhoods.
b. ASCE Sections along with IEEE, ASME, offer routine education and training.
c. Deans of Engineering collaborate with appropriate university non-enginnering disciplines.
d. ASCE Journals offers entrance to this previously overlooked key to engineering and project success.
e. Form JVs with SWEs and related women's groups.
Think about it for a moment.
Apply "Un-Common Sense."
Study the project results to date without that knowledge and skill.