More than just expertise: A guide to developing your soft skills

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today's working world.

  • April 08, 2024
  • 3 Min. reading time

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in today's working world. These non-technical competences, such as communication skills, teamwork and time management, often tip the scales when it comes to professional success and personal development. But how can these essential skills not only be understood, but also implemented and improved in everyday life? Here you will find practical advice and simple exercises that can help you along the way.


Effective communication is much more than simply exchanging information. Rather, it is about conveying ideas, thoughts and feelings in such a way that they are understood exactly as they are meant. Active listening is a key aspect of this. This means really paying attention when someone is speaking – not just waiting for your turn to speak.

Exercise: A simple way to improve your communication skills is to use "I-messages". Instead of saying, "You never listen to me," you could say, "I feel overlooked when my words go unheeded because our conversations are very important to me." This approach encourages open dialogue and helps to avoid conflict.


Teamwork is the art of achieving goals together. In a team, each person has their strengths and weaknesses. Learn to recognise and accept these. Open communication and mutual respect are key here.

Exercise: Consciously take on different roles in project groups. This will teach you what it means to provide both leadership and support.

Time management

Time is often tight, especially when studying. Good time management helps you to organise your tasks efficiently and reduce stress. Start by sorting your tasks according to importance and urgency. Set yourself realistic goals for each day and each week.

Exercise: Use the Pomodoro technique: work on a task with concentration for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. This promotes concentration and productivity.

Everyday tips to improve your soft skills

The following tips are easy to integrate into your everyday life and can make a big difference to the development of your soft skills.

  • Gratitude diary: Start or end your day by writing down three things you are grateful for. Try to express this gratitude in conversations as well. This promotes positive communication and strengthens relationships.

  • Get feedback: Regularly ask for feedback on the way you communicate. Ask friends, family members or fellow students how they perceive the way you communicate and what you could improve.

  • Joint study groups: Set up a study group for a specific subject or topic. The challenge of learning together and sharing knowledge strengthens teamwork and promotes respect for the skills of others.

  • Digital detox: Set fixed times when you switch off digital devices, especially before going to bed. This will help you sleep better and be more focussed and productive the next day.

  • The two-minute rule: If a task takes less than two minutes, complete it immediately. This prevents small tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming.

  • Mindfulness exercises: Practise mindfulness exercises or meditation regularly to improve your self-awareness. This will help you to cope better with stressful situations and strengthen your emotional intelligence.

Developing soft skills is an ongoing process that requires patience and practice. By actively working on your communication, teamwork and time management, you lay the foundation for your personal and professional success.