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Spend your soft skills

Yesterday I attended the Start-up SIG seminar arranged by the SD Forum at SAP, Palo Alto. Some of the points stated were noteworthy (and very interesting).
1.“Successful” people always respond to your email/message/phone/voice mail/letter/instant message call as soon as possible. Even if they are busy, they will at least send a reply stating they have received the message and will reply to it in detail by some fixed day or time.
2. Nearly 80% of people get their job by reference and more than 70% of these people got the job from the references that were just acquaintances. The point is maximizing your network by reaching out for people and building new relations.
3.Do not just build connection but also try to maintain them.
4.Always try to be helpful. Every favor you do for someone is like giving a loan, which you can expect to get back with “interest”. Always try to spend your connections. By spending I mean introduce two people who you know to each other (become a contact point or enabler of communication in a dense network). Remember that both persons must find value out of the relation. Holding connection can be counter productive.
5.Question yourself continuously Am I learning? Am I progressing? If possible, try to formulate a quantitative metric where you can measure a productivity of your day.
6.It is good to have a wide set of knowledge but it is very important to have depth in a particular topic. Some specialized knowledge will certainly endow the distinguishing grace from the crowd. The specialized knowledge is not necessarily academic, business, IT or financial. It can be of any general topic including travel stories, sport, cell phones etc…
7.Individuals below thirty years make most innovations, as they tend to make mistakes. The motivation here is not to make mistakes but to be creative, open and innovative. The question “why” and “how” should be your right and left hands. The more you question the more you understand, the more you produce. The value of new contact and acquaintances goes on reducing as your age increases. Thus, invest in the soft skills when you are young (and when you make mistakes) and then try to build your “hard” assets.

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