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Soft Skills are Hard
Steve Portigal
@steveportigal
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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We help companies to plan
strategically for user research and to
unlock their research super powers.
Portigal
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Resources, presentations and to purchase
http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Part A (2 hours)
• I talk
• Two-part exercise (diverge)
Part B (2 hours)
• Matching (organize)
• How might we (generate)
• Plan (converge)
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://wrd.cm/1oYDjcl
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://bit.ly/1omZ2gl
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://1.usa.gov/1mzIuy7
• Communication
• Enthusiasm & Attitude
• Teamwork
• Networking
• Problem Solving &
Critical Thinking
• Professionalism
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://wp.me/ppfEs-5Ao
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://bit.ly/1nBTnzq
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://nyti.ms/1nM1EBA
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Noticing the noticing sensation
Things that make you go “Hmm”
Your attention is grabbed
You stop what you are doing
Laugh/point/cringe
Furrow brow in confusion
Whut tha…?
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleCarry a camera/notepad and use it
Thinkaloud protocol – say what you’re
seeing (to a friend or device)
Get out of your regular/comfort zone
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://bit.ly/1Dy7D2Z
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleListening is hard. We’re
trained to hear the breath
signals that it’s our turn to
talk. This is not really
listening. F
I
NISHED
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Listening (and body language)
Yes! Not so much.
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleYou can demonstrate that you are listening by asking
questions!
• Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
• “Earlier, you told us that…”
• “I want to go back to something else you said…”
Signal your transitions: “Great, now I’d like to move onto a
totally different topic…”
This level of listening is not how we normally talk to each other
• Remember that you are interviewing, not having a friendly chat
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleUse serendipitous encounters with loquacious taxi drivers,
airplane neighbors, or social-cue-missing party chatters.
Even if we can’t repair society’s listening inequity, we can
use it to provide endless practice space.
Are you talking to me?
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleObserving Cultural Context
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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The more ways you have
to work out ideas (alone
or with others), the more
impactful you will be.
Moving a pen on paper
will to engage your brain
(and your audience’s
brain) in a different way
than moving a mouse or
typing on a keyboard.
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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http://amzn.to/1yU5OtK http://amzn.to/1zIZyaX
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Have a different perspective
Help others to know what they want
Noticing
Awareness
Collaborate
Draw
Promptness
Time management
Organization
Running a meeting
Facilitation
Facilitating conflict resolution
Persuasion
Selling
Negotiating
Communication
Improving vocal projection
Small talk
Confidence in public speaking
Speaking loud enough to
be heard
Wordsmithing
Storytelling
Articulateness
Listening
Empathy
Tolerance for ambiguity
Leadership
Being okay not having the
answer
Funny
Candid
Honesty
Humility
Pride
Kindness
Appearing approachable
Focus
Disengaging
Mindfulness
Be proactive in helping
others
Be community oriented
Learning people’s names
Networking
Animal magnetism
Routinely seek information
online
Talk with strangers
Work-life balance
Positive attitude
Openness
Going with the flow
Curiosity
Creative
Thinking broadly for
solutions
Looking past today
Reflective
Enthusiasm
Motivation
Confidence
Assertiveness
Responsibility/accountability
Problem-solving
Trusting instincts
Engaging attention
Recognize patterns
Critical thinking
Taking ownership/proactive
Giving criticism or feedback
Self-awareness
Receive criticism or
feedback
Accepting direction
Setting expectations
Respecting other’s opinions
Objectivity
Independence
Patience
Self-editing
Taking risks
Comfort with failure
Being honest about
limitations
Honing instincts
Pattern-matchinghttp://bit.ly/WzePfv
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Diverge
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Groups of 2-3
Think about your own palette of soft skills.
1. Each of you identify an essential soft skill – where you know
basically how you would develop that skill for yourself.
2. Each identify an essential soft skill – where you have no clue
how you would develop that skill for yourself.
Clearly add your name to your sticky and post it!
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Now, think about skills you want to see in your community.
Think more about nurturing than imparting knowledge.
1. Each identifies an essential soft skill – where you know how
you would help someone to develop that skill.
2. Each identifies an essential soft skill – where you have no
clue how you would help someone to develop that skill.
Clearly add your name to your sticky and post it!
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Matching
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Let’s work on skills where you had no clue (for you or others)
• Look for those skills (on either board) under “I know how”
• Find the author who knows had to get better at that skill
• Together write-up a longer HOWTO sticky (include skill name)
• If you don’t find it listed anywhere, move it to the Generate list
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Ideation Question: How might we improve the experience of students
who smoke?
Strategies
Solutions
Create a protected
environment for smoking
Facilities
Build a
pavilion
Admin
Allocate
interior room
Partners
Align with
nearby cafe
Eliminate smoking
Online
Smoking
cessation
games
Admin
Ban smoking
Partners
Stop
smoking
coaches
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Ideation Question: How might we improve the experience of students
who smoke?
Strategies
Solutions
Create a protected
environment for smoking
Eliminate smoking
Admin
Allocate
interior room
Admin
Ban smoking
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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The carrot
(a financial reward for behavior
we want to encourage)
The stick
(a financial cost for behavior
we want to discourage)
Make a new behavior
acceptable by concealing it
Make a new behavior
acceptable by enabling
everyone to participate
Make a new behavior
acceptable by masking it to
look like an existing activity
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title styleThis is a collective, out-loud
activity! Talk, listen, build on each
other’s ideas
• Don’t worry about a “bad” idea…it
may lead to a “good” idea
Don’t correct; generate alternatives
• “Yes, and…”
Individual ideas matter less than
what is produced overall
How can a sour lemon help keep things working
smoothly?
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Time
Pace of idea
generation
Addressing
needs with
low-hanging
fruit
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Time
Pace of idea
generation
Innovative
Breakthrough
Wacky
Addressing
needs with
low-hanging
fruit
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Let’s work on skills where we still have no clue
• Groups of 3
• Take 2-3 (and mark ‘em)
• Brainstorm “How might we?”
• If you generate actionable, solid stuff, add to the HOWTO
board
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Converge
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Individually, build your action plan from the HOWTO board.
Suggest you pick 2 that you can easily envision doing (it’s easy,
it’s simple, it’s quick) and 2 where you feel more resistance (it’s
still unclear, it takes many steps or a long time).
Write it up for yourself!
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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Wrap it Up
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
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What did you get out of this workshop?
How will you apply it?
Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal
Click to edit Master title style
Portigal Consulting
www.portigal.com
@steveportigal
steve@portigal.com
Thank you!

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Soft Skills Are Hard

  • 1. 1 Soft Skills are Hard Steve Portigal @steveportigal
  • 2. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style We help companies to plan strategically for user research and to unlock their research super powers. Portigal
  • 3. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Resources, presentations and to purchase http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/interviewing-users/
  • 4. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Part A (2 hours) • I talk • Two-part exercise (diverge) Part B (2 hours) • Matching (organize) • How might we (generate) • Plan (converge)
  • 5. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 6. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 7. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 8. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 9. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://wrd.cm/1oYDjcl
  • 10. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://bit.ly/1omZ2gl
  • 11. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://1.usa.gov/1mzIuy7 • Communication • Enthusiasm & Attitude • Teamwork • Networking • Problem Solving & Critical Thinking • Professionalism
  • 12. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://wp.me/ppfEs-5Ao
  • 13. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://bit.ly/1nBTnzq
  • 14. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://nyti.ms/1nM1EBA
  • 15. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Noticing the noticing sensation Things that make you go “Hmm” Your attention is grabbed You stop what you are doing Laugh/point/cringe Furrow brow in confusion Whut tha…?
  • 16. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 17. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 18. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 19. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 20. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 21. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleCarry a camera/notepad and use it Thinkaloud protocol – say what you’re seeing (to a friend or device) Get out of your regular/comfort zone
  • 22. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://bit.ly/1Dy7D2Z
  • 23. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleListening is hard. We’re trained to hear the breath signals that it’s our turn to talk. This is not really listening. F I NISHED
  • 24. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Listening (and body language) Yes! Not so much.
  • 25. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleYou can demonstrate that you are listening by asking questions! • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up • “Earlier, you told us that…” • “I want to go back to something else you said…” Signal your transitions: “Great, now I’d like to move onto a totally different topic…” This level of listening is not how we normally talk to each other • Remember that you are interviewing, not having a friendly chat
  • 26. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleUse serendipitous encounters with loquacious taxi drivers, airplane neighbors, or social-cue-missing party chatters. Even if we can’t repair society’s listening inequity, we can use it to provide endless practice space. Are you talking to me?
  • 27. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleObserving Cultural Context
  • 28. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 29. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
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  • 31. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 32. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 33. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 34. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 35. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 36. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 37. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 38. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 39. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 40. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style The more ways you have to work out ideas (alone or with others), the more impactful you will be. Moving a pen on paper will to engage your brain (and your audience’s brain) in a different way than moving a mouse or typing on a keyboard.
  • 41. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style http://amzn.to/1yU5OtK http://amzn.to/1zIZyaX
  • 42. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Have a different perspective Help others to know what they want Noticing Awareness Collaborate Draw Promptness Time management Organization Running a meeting Facilitation Facilitating conflict resolution Persuasion Selling Negotiating Communication Improving vocal projection Small talk Confidence in public speaking Speaking loud enough to be heard Wordsmithing Storytelling Articulateness Listening Empathy Tolerance for ambiguity Leadership Being okay not having the answer Funny Candid Honesty Humility Pride Kindness Appearing approachable Focus Disengaging Mindfulness Be proactive in helping others Be community oriented Learning people’s names Networking Animal magnetism Routinely seek information online Talk with strangers Work-life balance Positive attitude Openness Going with the flow Curiosity Creative Thinking broadly for solutions Looking past today Reflective Enthusiasm Motivation Confidence Assertiveness Responsibility/accountability Problem-solving Trusting instincts Engaging attention Recognize patterns Critical thinking Taking ownership/proactive Giving criticism or feedback Self-awareness Receive criticism or feedback Accepting direction Setting expectations Respecting other’s opinions Objectivity Independence Patience Self-editing Taking risks Comfort with failure Being honest about limitations Honing instincts Pattern-matchinghttp://bit.ly/WzePfv
  • 43. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Diverge
  • 44. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Groups of 2-3 Think about your own palette of soft skills. 1. Each of you identify an essential soft skill – where you know basically how you would develop that skill for yourself. 2. Each identify an essential soft skill – where you have no clue how you would develop that skill for yourself. Clearly add your name to your sticky and post it!
  • 45. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Now, think about skills you want to see in your community. Think more about nurturing than imparting knowledge. 1. Each identifies an essential soft skill – where you know how you would help someone to develop that skill. 2. Each identifies an essential soft skill – where you have no clue how you would help someone to develop that skill. Clearly add your name to your sticky and post it!
  • 46. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 47. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Matching
  • 48. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Let’s work on skills where you had no clue (for you or others) • Look for those skills (on either board) under “I know how” • Find the author who knows had to get better at that skill • Together write-up a longer HOWTO sticky (include skill name) • If you don’t find it listed anywhere, move it to the Generate list
  • 49. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style
  • 50. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Ideation Question: How might we improve the experience of students who smoke? Strategies Solutions Create a protected environment for smoking Facilities Build a pavilion Admin Allocate interior room Partners Align with nearby cafe Eliminate smoking Online Smoking cessation games Admin Ban smoking Partners Stop smoking coaches
  • 51. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Ideation Question: How might we improve the experience of students who smoke? Strategies Solutions Create a protected environment for smoking Eliminate smoking Admin Allocate interior room Admin Ban smoking
  • 52. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style The carrot (a financial reward for behavior we want to encourage) The stick (a financial cost for behavior we want to discourage) Make a new behavior acceptable by concealing it Make a new behavior acceptable by enabling everyone to participate Make a new behavior acceptable by masking it to look like an existing activity
  • 53. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title styleThis is a collective, out-loud activity! Talk, listen, build on each other’s ideas • Don’t worry about a “bad” idea…it may lead to a “good” idea Don’t correct; generate alternatives • “Yes, and…” Individual ideas matter less than what is produced overall How can a sour lemon help keep things working smoothly?
  • 54. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Time Pace of idea generation Addressing needs with low-hanging fruit
  • 55. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Time Pace of idea generation Innovative Breakthrough Wacky Addressing needs with low-hanging fruit
  • 56. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Let’s work on skills where we still have no clue • Groups of 3 • Take 2-3 (and mark ‘em) • Brainstorm “How might we?” • If you generate actionable, solid stuff, add to the HOWTO board
  • 57. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Converge
  • 58. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Individually, build your action plan from the HOWTO board. Suggest you pick 2 that you can easily envision doing (it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s quick) and 2 where you feel more resistance (it’s still unclear, it takes many steps or a long time). Write it up for yourself!
  • 59. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Wrap it Up
  • 60. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style What did you get out of this workshop? How will you apply it?
  • 61. Soft Skills Are Hard ‹#› Portigal Click to edit Master title style Portigal Consulting www.portigal.com @steveportigal steve@portigal.com Thank you!