By Esmée Hardwick-Slack
The way we work is becoming increasingly digital. Today it is pretty normal for people to work remotely at least one day per week and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
As the future of work looks set to become more and more focused on digital, it’s going to be the fundamental human skills that remain most relevant. Skills like being able to seek out and learn from someone who already possesses the skill you’re looking to acquire; being able to display value through a meaningful conversation; being able to pick up on and understand people’s pain points without needing them to be pointed out in the first place. Despite the focus on all things digital, the most important business skill of all will continue to be having the ability to spot a commercial opportunity.
The shift to a more digital focus has seen people become increasingly isolated. As such, people who understand how to form meaningful connections will have the advantage. Tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are useful, but they are just that, tools. The most meaningful business connections still come through genuine conversations and physical meetings.
When it comes to success in business, we are all familiar with the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Many of the most valuable skills in business are soft skills: communication, relationship management, leadership, etc. which means that the way to succeed, regardless of the type of business you work in, is to make meaningful connections with people who have influence.
As the world continues in this direction of social media, online connectivity and remote working, it’s likely that over time we will see closed or vetted social networks adding more value for business people. This is already happening on platforms such as LinkedIn through Groups, etc. More importantly, it’s going to be the individuals who invest in bringing these online connections, offline, that possess the greatest professional advantage. In business, “people buy people”. People want to do business with individuals that they like and respect.