Unleash the Hidden Power of Soft Skills

The interpersonal skills your employees bring to the workplace can make or break your organization.

Technology cannot — and will not — solve every workplace issue.

The time has come for organizations to recognize the unique value employees can bring with their soft skills.

More productivity. More collaboration. More innovation.

We are Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham. In 2014, we started researching how employees engage with each other to achieve results. We formed our team at Serious Soft Skills LLC to share what we are doing. Since then, we’ve:

  • Uncovered the 55 soft skills that employees can use at work
  • Written a book and podcasted about those skills and how people employ them
  • Created an individual soft skills assessment tool
  • Developed training programs and strategies to help businesses harness these hidden talents

…and more. Our team’s goal is to help organizations of any size (for-profits, non-profits, governmental and others) put these interpersonal skills to work to improve their growth and innovation.

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham

The SOFT Method

Survey icon

Survey your current team or teams to determine what their soft skills strengths and areas for improvement are.

Survey icon copy

Optimize employee effectiveness through engaging them on each other’s soft skills strengths and areas of improvement.

Survey icon copy

Find people to complement your team, using our comprehensive approach conducting a job search with a new focus.

Survey icon copy copy

Transform your culture as employees rely on others’ strengths to improve their engagement, morale and productivity.

WE TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH

We have been in the situations we address. We aren’t the people who look down from on high and say how things should be. We base our systems and strategies on real-world situations and our constant daily interactions with people like you. We help people discover for themselves. We don’t do boring PowerPoint slides and lectures. No way. We use interactive activities, modeling, role-playing and other forms of engagement to make it fun – and educational. We take a holistic approach toward change. We do not address issues with leadership, management or employees specifically, but rather on the overall organization through the lens of soft skills. This approach enables us to identify and help you overcome issues more quickly and effectively. We like the trenches. We work with small business owners and managers, line managers, new managers and teams to enhance how they go about their work. We REALLY focus on results. Our success is when teams are more productive, collaborative and innovative. No one needs a report to see the results of our work.

WHAT WE OFFER

Our Most Popular

  • From Us vs. Them to We (Overcoming Generational Differences)
  • Identifying Your Team’s Soft Skills Strengths and Maximizing Them
  • Creating an Office Culture that Powers Growth and Innovation
  • Giving Real Feedback Within Teams
  • Effective Communication to Fuel Results
  • Hiring to Actually Account for Cultural Fit
  • Hiring with a Soft Skills Focus
  • Making Performance Reviews Matter
  • From New Manager to Effective Leader
  • Delivering Difficult Messages Gracefully, Powerfully and To Achieve Results
  • Ditching Job Descriptions so People Can Really Shine

Formats

  • Keynote Speeches
  • Breakout Sessions
  • 90-Minute Workshops
  • Two-Hour Workshops
  • Four-Hour Workshops
  • Day-Long, In-Depth Training

Types of Training

  • Live, On-Site Training
  • Live Webinar/Remote Training
  • Recorded Webinars
  • Conference Sessions
  • Workshops, Breakout Sessions
  • Retreats, Employee Training Days
  • Online Courses, Videos, Module
  • Individual Coaching/Mentoring
  • Team Coaching/Mentoring

WHAT YOU GET WITH SERIOUS SOFT SKILLS

We have been in the situations we address. We aren’t the people who look down from on high and say how things should be. We base our systems and strategies on real-world situations and our constant daily interactions with people like you. We help people discover for themselves. We don’t do boring PowerPoint slides and lectures. No way. We use interactive activities, modeling, role-playing and other forms of engagement to make it fun – and educational. We take a holistic approach toward change. We do not address issues with leadership, management or employees specifically, but rather on the overall organization through the lens of soft skills. This approach enables us to identify and help you overcome issues more quickly and effectively. We like the trenches. We work with small business owners and managers, line managers, new managers and teams to enhance how they go about their work. We REALLY focus on results. Our success is when teams are more productive, collaborative and innovative. No one needs a report to see the results of our work.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

We help teams and organizations determine the unique role of soft skills in what they do because each group has its own unique strengths, areas for improvement and issues. Then we work with you to implement training and changes to unleash those soft skills. All of our training is engaging and interactive, with a strong focus on discovery. We aren’t cookie cutter. We give teams space to uncover, process, discover and enact what fits their needs – because we want it to have a lasting effect.

WHO WE HELP: ORGANIZATION THAT WANT TO GROW

Survey icon copy

Managers

Whether new or veteran, the landscape at work has changed dramatically. We help you sort it out so you can lead your team to success.

Survey icon copy copy

Teams

The people who often have the least success improving teams are its members. We empower teams in new ways, by shifting the focus toward unleashing soft skills.

Survey icon copy copy copy

Owners/Leaders

Hiring more people, avoiding and praying won’t help a struggling organization. We can give you tools and strategies to position your employees to fuel growth.

Unleash the Power of Soft Skills

Ready to unlock these hidden talents in your team or organization.

Copyright 2019 Serious Soft Skills LLC  All Rights Reserved.

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Unleash the Hidden Power of Soft Skills

The interpersonal skills your employees bring to the workplace can make or break your organization.

Technology cannot — and will not — solve every workplace issue.

The time has come for organizations to recognize the unique value employees can bring with their soft skills.

More productivity. More collaboration. More innovation.

We are Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham. In 2014, we started researching how employees engage with each other to achieve results. We formed our team at Serious Soft Skills LLC to share what we are doing. Since then, we’ve:

  • Uncovered the 55 soft skills that employees can use at work
  • Written a book and podcasted about those skills and how people employ them
  • Created an individual soft skills assessment tool
  • Developed training programs and strategies to help businesses harness these hidden talents

…and more. Our team’s goal is to help organizations of any size (for-profits, non-profits, governmental and others) put these interpersonal skills to work to improve their growth and innovation.

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham

The SOFT Method

Survey icon

Survey your current team or teams to determine what their soft skills strengths and areas for improvement are.

Survey icon copy

Optimize employee effectiveness through engaging them on each other’s soft skills strengths and areas of improvement.

Survey icon copy

Find people to complement your team, using our comprehensive approach conducting a job search with a new focus.

Survey icon copy copy

Transform your culture as employees rely on others’ strengths to improve their engagement, morale and productivity.

WE TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH

We have been in the situations we address. We aren’t the people who look down from on high and say how things should be. We base our systems and strategies on real-world situations and our constant daily interactions with people like you.

We help people discover for themselves. We don’t do boring PowerPoint slides and lectures. No way. We use interactive activities, modeling, role-playing and other forms of engagement to make it fun – and educational.

We take a holistic approach toward change. We do not address issues with leadership, management or employees specifically, but rather on the overall organization through the lens of soft skills. This approach enables us to identify and help you overcome issues more quickly and effectively.

We like the trenches. We work with small business owners and managers, line managers, new managers and teams to enhance how they go about their work.

We REALLY focus on results. Our success is when teams are more productive, collaborative and innovative. No one needs a report to see the results of our work.

WHAT WE OFFER

Our Most Popular

  • From Us vs. Them to We (Overcoming Generational Differences)
  • Identifying Your Team’s Soft Skills Strengths and Maximizing Them
  • Creating an Office Culture that Powers Growth and Innovation
  • Giving Real Feedback Within Teams
  • Effective Communication to Fuel Results
  • Hiring to Actually Account for Cultural Fit
  • Hiring with a Soft Skills Focus
  • Making Performance Reviews Matter
  • From New Manager to Effective Leader
  • Delivering Difficult Messages Gracefully, Powerfully and To Achieve Results
  • Ditching Job Descriptions so People Can Really Shine

Formats

  • Keynote Speeches
  • Breakout Sessions
  • 90-Minute Workshops
  • Two-Hour Workshops
  • Four-Hour Workshops
  • Day-Long, In-Depth Training

Types of Training

  • Live, On-Site Training
  • Live Webinar/Remote Training
  • Recorded Webinars
  • Conference Sessions
  • Workshops, Breakout Sessions
  • Retreats, Employee Training Days
  • Online Courses, Videos, Module
  • Individual Coaching/Mentoring
  • Team Coaching/Mentoring

WHAT YOU GET WITH SERIOUS SOFT SKILLS

We have been in the situations we address. We aren’t the people who look down from on high and say how things should be. We base our systems and strategies on real-world situations and our constant daily interactions with people like you.

We help people discover for themselves. We don’t do boring PowerPoint slides and lectures. No way. We use interactive activities, modeling, role-playing and other forms of engagement to make it fun – and educational.

We take a holistic approach toward change. We do not address issues with leadership, management or employees specifically, but rather on the overall organization through the lens of soft skills. This approach enables us to identify and help you overcome issues more quickly and effectively.

We like the trenches. We work with small business owners and managers, line managers, new managers and teams to enhance how they go about their work.

We REALLY focus on results. Our success is when teams are more productive, collaborative and innovative. No one needs a report to see the results of our work.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

We help teams and organizations determine the unique role of soft skills in what they do because each group has its own unique strengths, areas for improvement and issues.

Then we work with you to implement training and changes to unleash those soft skills. All of our training is engaging and interactive, with a strong focus on discovery.

We aren’t cookie cutter. We give teams space to uncover, process, discover and enact what fits their needs – because we want it to have a lasting effect.

WHO WE HELP: ORGANIZATION THAT WANT TO GROW

Survey icon copy

Managers

Whether new or veteran, the landscape at work has changed dramatically. We help you sort it out so you can lead your team to success.

Survey icon copy copy

Teams

The people who often have the least success improving teams are its members. We empower teams in new ways, by shifting the focus toward unleashing soft skills.

Survey icon copy copy copy

Owners/Leaders

Hiring more people, avoiding and praying won’t help a struggling organization. We can give you tools and strategies to position your employees to fuel growth.

Unleash the Power of Soft Skills

Ready to unlock these hidden talents in your team or organization.

Copyright 2019 Serious Soft Skills LLC  All Rights Reserved.

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Is Workplace Change Making Your Job More Difficult?

 

 

Our technology-driven, hyper-competitive work world is only going to get worse as we all continue to deal with more globalization, generational differences and greater uncertainty.

That hum and spin of uncertainty is only going to get louder and faster.

Are You Ready?

We work with organizations and individuals in a wide range of industries, providing them with tips, tricks and strategies for succeeding in this climate.

  • Are you or your team stuck?
  • Do you struggle to regain your key employees?
  • Has your career stalled?
  • Do you feel unprepared to interview or take on your next job?
  • Are differences hurting productivity and your company culture?

We have developed a suite of services to help individuals and organizations to negotiate this ever-changing landscape.

For Individuals

For Companies

  • 1-on-1 coaching to position you to lead better or to make greater contribution
  • Affordable, easy-to-understand, actionable lessons on the latest trends and tricks for greater career success
  • The latest techniques for winning that next job or The Job of Your Dreams 
  • Training to transform your managers and leaders into greater assets
  • Customized workshops to foster a more inclusive, stronger company culture that improves productivity, morale and retention
  • Strategic process improvements designed to more easily identify the best job candidates

Our Story

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham have been researching, analyzing, writing about, podcasting and training on these changes in the workplace. They saw these trends emerging as they worked with college students to prepare them to be successful in their careers. They saw the same issues arising during their careers in various industries and among their friends and associates.

The same strategies they applied to help their students apply more universally, and they are on a mission to share what they have uncovered with as many people as possible.

They  can help you solve these and a host of other common workplace issues with our proven strategies that get at the heart of the problem quickly and powerfully.

Contact them to discuss how we can help you.

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Testimonials

“Trying to get employees to understand the nuances of communication is one of the most difficult
aspects of my job. As information professionals, our community depends on my team for computer
access and help navigating the internet, for heath resources, and even assistance with their reading
choices and entertainment options. Libraries aren’t just books anymore. According to the Pew Research
Center, libraries are one of the most trusted organizations in a community. So how can we best leverage
this? Our interpersonal relationships with our patrons, our stakeholders, our community partners, and
our colleagues are what drive our success.

“Bringing Bob Graham into our employee training day was an important part of my staff development
plan. I found Bob through his Serious Soft Skills Podcast. While the tips and tools touched on are
invaluable for anyone working in public service, I knew having Bob onsite would really shift our team’s
focus on how we communicate internally and externally.

Bob was amazing to work with. We set up goals and areas of growth that needed to be tackled by our
team, and even identified key staff that would benefit from one on one coaching. This holistic plan is
exactly what my library needed. I saw almost immediate results.”

Lesley Mason, MLS, Director, Caldwell County (N.C.) Public Library


“Bob, thank you for speaking to our group! You did such a wonderful job. Our members and guests loved your storytelling and presentation. We took away a lot of practical ideas and learned a lot!”

— Christina Snyder, President, Women in Insurance and Financial Services (Baltimore chapter)

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Want Soft Skills Expert Bob Graham
to Speak to Your Organization?

Keynote Speeches, Workshops & Breakout Sessions Unleash the Transformative Power in People

Bob Graham is an expert on soft skills, those tools we use when we interact with other people like empathy, good listening and teamwork. You probably didn’t learn about soft skills in school, and sadly, most businesses are overlooking their power. When unleashed, soft skills can quite literally transform an organization by making its employees more productive, collaborative and innovative. Graham can help you unlock this power.

Bob Graham, keynote speaker, trainer and author

“Bringing Bob Graham into our employee training day was an important part of my staff development plan. While the tips and tools touched on are invaluable for anyone working in public service, I knew having Bob onsite would really shift our team’s focus on how we communicate internally and externally. Bob was amazing to work with. We set up goals and areas of growth that needed to be tackled by our team, and even identified key staff that would benefit from one on one coaching. This holistic plan is exactly what my library needed. I saw almost immediate results.”   (Read full testimonial)

— Lesley Mason, MLS, Caldwell County (N.C.) Public Library

Soft Skills Are the Overlooked Tool for Improving Any Organization

Bob Graham draws on his wide range of business experience to deliver insights on soft skills, using an engaging combination of cutting-edge research, real-life scenarios and humorous anecdotes. This combination helps people in any organization to better understand how soft skills can help them and how when unleashed can ignite careers and organizations.

Graham has presented to scores of organizations, ranging from national conferences and universities, to local groups and the National Institute of Health. His hallmark is an insightful presentation that leaves people with not just a deeper understanding of the topic, but the impetus to take action to improve their lives.

Among his most popular presentations and workshops are:

  • Business Communications
  • Company Culture
  • Customer Relations
  • Dealing with Generational Differences
  • Employee Engagement
  • Employee Morale
  • Hiring, Recruitment and Retention Using Soft Skills
  • Interpersonal Communications
  • Millennials and iGen
  • Presentation
  • Storytelling
  • Teamwork and Leadership

Graham customizes every presentation and workshop to meet the unique interests of the organization.

“Bob, thank you for speaking to our group! You did such a wonderful job. Our members and guests loved your storytelling and presentation. We took away a lot of practical ideas and learned a lot!”

— Christina Snyder, President, Women in Insurance and Financial Services (Baltimore chapter)

Why Invite Bob Graham To Speak?

Bob Graham has researched, written about, podcast on and spoken about soft skills to a variety of audiences. He and his business partner, Dr. Tobin Porterfield, cowrote The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success, which, drawing on their cutting-edge research, provides the first definitive list of what soft skills people can use in the workplace.

Their weekly podcast on soft skills, The Serious Soft Skills Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and Spotify, gets thousands of downloads.

Graham and Porterfield have published three academic journal articles on their discoveries about soft skills, including for the Decision Sciences Institute and the American Society of Engineering Education. They also co-f0unded and operate Serious Soft Skills LLC, a Baltimore, Maryland-based consultancy that focuses on educating and training individuals and organizations about soft skills.

In 2010 Graham launched a marketing company, Bigger Pie Strategies, which has helped dozens of small businesses, tech startups and other companies find their ideal audiences through enhanced marketing strategies. Over his career, he has worked in a variety of fields, from newspapers and trade publications, to state government and nonprofits.

He has taught business communications, presentation and marketing to graduate and undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University, and journalism and career readiness at Towson University and several other colleges and universities in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Towson University and a Master’s in Communications: Journalism and Public Affairs from The American University in Washington, D.C.

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Pressure is one of the realities in today’s fast-paced business environment. To not be able to deal well with pressure is to practically guarantee you will be ineffective in performing your job. Today, we will discuss dealign with pressure and give some tips for handling pressure at work.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:
* Finding the sweet spot in handling pressure
* The Yerkes-Dodson Law
* Pressure and control

Some suggestions for dealing with stress:

1. Accept that stress is a part of life and work. Don’t fight it. Don’t complain about it. Just acknowledge it.
2. Anticipate stressors. If you know a deadline is coming, make sure you eat well, get a good night sleep and clear as much as possible in advance of that day.
3. Don’t take on other people’s stress. Different things cause each of us stress. Listen to others, but don’t make someone else’s stress yours.
4. Make time for daily stress-busting activities. Taking a walk, deep breathing, meditation, journaling, exercise are among the strategies many people use to combat stress.
5. Don’t make stress worst than it is. Stress will come and go. Can you remember the stressors in your life two months or two years ago? Probably not. Just let them go.

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution? We are giving resources out for free to people interested in better understanding their soft skills. It’s free and it’s easy. Just provide your email and away you go. Nothing to buy or sell. Jut go to thesoftskillsrevolution.com.

Next week

We will tackle another soft skill. New episodes come out each Wednesday.

They it’s not what you know, but who you know. We are going to discuss that theory and much more as we look at why relationships are at the core of all business these days and how our ability to manage them is paramount if we are going to be successful in practically any job.

In today’s episode, cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • How changes in the work world necessitate building more relationships
  • How to manage relationships
  • Examples of well managed and poorly managed relationships
  • The benefits of managing relationships with workers, former colleagues, bosses and others

Here are some hints for better managing business relationships:

  • Make amends. If you have a bad business relationship, fix it. Now.
  • Scroll through your phone contacts every week or two. I sometimes see someone’s contact information that I haven’t talked to and have called or emailed them right away. Everything happens for a reason.
  • Find beneficial ways to interact. I like to send articles to people that I think they might find valuable. They seem to like it. It shows I am thinking of them, and it’s easy enough to send an article.
  • Just say hey. Sometimes it’s great to hear from someone who you haven’t heard from in a while. I had a former coworker who I helped mentor contact me recently out of the blue. She told me she missed “my first mentor.” It made my day.
  • Use LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. It allows me to know what other people are up to, to be able to contact them when they change jobs or locations and it’s all free. I like to see who is celebrating birthdays, job anniversaries or whatever else. I respond often, and it pays off. Ten minutes in the morning or evening can yield great fruit with LinkedIn, or do it every Sunday night.
  • Be grateful. If all else fails, contact someone at least once a week who has had a profound effect on your career and tell him or her that. Believe me, if that’s where the conversation starts, it will end much better – for both of you.

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution at The Soft Skills Revolution? Why not? We are giving resources out for free to people interested in better understanding their soft skills. It’s free and it’s easy. Just provide your email and away you go. Nothing to buy or sell. Jut go to thesoftskillsrevolution.com.

Next Week

Next week, we will tackle another soft skill. New episodes come out each Wednesday. Until next week, thanks for listening, good day and good soft skills.

 

 

People ask us all the time how we got into soft skills so today, we’re going to explain how each of us came to this place and why we know soft skills are so important. All that and more in a few seconds.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • Their individual paths toward leading the soft skills revolution
  • Why they feel compelled to lead this charge
  • Examples from their lives, including one from supply chain work, where soft skills made all the difference

If you liked what you heard today or in another episode, then give us a great review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Share our podcast with someone you know. And by all means, go to TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com and join our revolution. We want to change the world’s view on soft skills and you can help us.

Next week

We will look at another one of the soft skills. New episodes are posted every Wednesday.

 

58: The Art of Dealing with Ambiguity

The world is changing faster and faster. What seemed clear yesterday may not be clear today and who knows what tomorrow will bring? Dealing with ambiguity is not just a soft skill but a necessity in today’s workplace. We will discuss dealing with ambiguity and even give some hints for how to handle it.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss the following topics:
* Life isn’t predictable and it can get boring
* How clock speed affects our ability to succeed
* Dealing with not knowing
* Decisions have consequences and making bad decisions can be costly.

A few hints for how we can ensure that we can deal with ambiguity.

1. Accept that ambiguity is real. Easy choices don’t always exist.
2. Keep a compass. Know what you are trying to accomplish and keep true to it.
3. Call in the reinforcements. Find people and other sources of information and support that are solid no matter what else is happening.
4. Heed the signs. When things appear to be faltering, recognize it and react.

That’s it for this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast. Look for new episodes every Wednesday. And if you liked what you heard today or in another episode, then give us a great review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Share our podcast with someone you know. And by all means, go to TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com and join our revolution. We want to change the world’s view on soft skills and you can help us.

Next week

We will explore why we are leading The Soft Skills Revolution.

A Simple Way to Increase Your Value in the Workplace

Most of us know how to complete our work. But we struggle at times with how to interact with the people we work with. Whether it’s our coworkers, bosses, vendors and others, the rules are never clear. In fact, those rules are often changing.

Our more complicated, global and fast-moving workplace requires us to successfully combine good technical expertise with strong soft skills, the collection of skills like listening, empathy, patience, delegation, adapting to change and teamwork, that guide us when dealing with people.

The best employees can combine both technical skills and soft skills. They become the leaders, earn the bonus or get the biggest raise. And they get the great jobs.

collaboration

Productivity

Great soft skills can make us more efficient and better able to adapt to the inevitable changes each work day requires

Collaboration

Being able to interact effectively with other people helps us to develop and deal better with teams to achieve results

Innovation

The best solutions to challenges come from considering solutions drawn from people with different experiences

You Need to Develop the Skills That Employers Demand

The value of soft skills within organizations is largely untapped. The reason is simple: Most people don’t understand or appreciate their power.

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham, cohosts of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast, literally wrote the book on soft skills, The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success.

Now, they take all of the research and information they packed into the book, as well as all the information that didn’t fit or they have developed since its publishing, and they have created a course the Softs Skills Success Course.

 

  • What Soft Skills Really Are -- and Aren't

    You’ll learn what most people don’t know about the breadth and depth of soft skills in the workplace.

  • How Shifts in the Workplace Mean New Skills Are Needed

    The century-old picture of work is outdated.

  • How You Can Stand Out in Your Office

    To diversity empowerment strategies high robust survival collaborative world value holistic. Further approaches agile overall innovation empowerment the to synopsis domination. Diversity of synopsis high robust corporate table to workplace win-win. A the for proposition foster workplace overall to ensure iterative. To domination. approaches innovation proposition for proactive organically collaborative.

  • Why Soft Skills Can Help You Nail a Job Interview

    Integrating soft skills and storytelling into your job search can make you winner.

We Want to Make It Easy to Improve Your Soft Skills

We are eager to share our what we have uncovered about soft skills with you.

For a limited time, The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success is free. You’re saving $11.99.

Just pay $7.00 for shipping and handling. That’s all!

You need to develop your soft skills and we want to help you.

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