Why Soft Skills Matter and I Can’t Wait to Get My Hair Cut

I’m looking forward to getting back to my barber, Tina. Partly it’s that my hair is a Zoom embarrassment. And partly I go to Tina because, at $20 plus $5 tip, she’s reasonable, and close, two miles. Mostly, though, it’s because I know her at this point and am looking forward to asking about her and her kids and her business, and her asking about me.

And therein lies the reason so many of us are looking forward to a haircut, oil change, or mani-pedi. Yes, our cars have reached beyond 5,000 miles and our toenails self-painted via YouTube video are a little rough around the edges.

But it’s also about a personal connection to the merchant. The hard skills get you the state license to open the business. The soft skills keep you in business: customer service, listening, time management, getting along with people, collaboration, communication, persuasion, empathy, and the emotional intelligence of the owner or waiter or customer-service person being able to learn what you want, and what you don’t want. (One of my relatives recently left her hairdresser because he talked too much!)

It is these soft skills that are so valuable. They’re actually becoming “more and

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