In the tech world, all eyes are on Apple each year as it announces its newest launches and updates to its current line of MacBooks, iPhone and watch. The company has become the epitome of disruptive innovation and how ubiquitous technology has transformed our lives.
Yet, there’s something timeless about each Apple launch: A single person standing on stage, telling a story. Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook builds off the legacy of Steve Jobs, who became legendary for his personality and stage presence.
The Cook and Jobs presentation skills demonstrate that no matter how digitized we become as a society, there’s always a place for human communication skills – even at the world’s most technologically advanced companies.
In fact, the 10 most in demand professional skills in the world reflect the need for human soft skills, including sales representatives and professionals such as project managers and researchers, according to ManpowerGroup’s latest report on the talent shortage.
In our increasingly digital world, here are skills that still matter for professionals.
“The future is a concept — it doesn’t exist,” said author and philosopher Alan Watts. For businesses, this ambiguity about the future is more than a thought exercise. It requires understanding how to navigate change when you’re not sure where the changes will come from. Leaders with communication skills will be able to guide others when there is no roadmap. That means making decisions on the fly, the ability to adapt to evolving circumstances, and then sharing your reasoning to others to get them to follow.
The artist Michelangelo once said: “Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” It’s a human – and timeless – quality to seek inspiration and motivation, and look for it in others. You can call it stage presence, charisma or just je ne sais quoi. No matter what “it” is, there is a palpable energy that can come from someone who is an engaging communicator. We share our social orientation in brain circuitry with all other mammals, so this is a deep-seeded biological need that can’t be replaced by technology. Human communication needs the motivation of the human touch, and that will never go away.
Imagine your next job performance review is with a robot. You’d get a PDF with all of your deficiencies, delivered to you with cold efficiency, with highlighted sections to work on. Doesn’t sound fun, does it? As much as we dread performance review, human communication helps us become resilient and improve. Others can see our blind spots that we don’t see, and also equip us with coping strategies and teachable skills.
Overall, it’s true that digital trends continue to expand and play a larger and larger role in the world of work. But if you’re feeling uneasy or out of place because of technology, the answer may be in thinking more traditionally – and reclaiming your humanity.