Andrew Woods has an impressive background. As a corporate trainer, he has provided workshops and speeches for companies from Starbucks to Guinness, from IBM to Ford. He is in demand throughout the world. So how does he give consistently useful and relevant advice when his audiences are so varied? It’s simple: he focuses on soft skills.
When he came to speak to Greystone, where our graduates will be entering the work force in a variety of fields, he also focused on soft skills. These are really what will open doors and make you a sought after employee. More and more employers are recognizing that soft skills increase profits and productivity. When employees are engaged and doing meaningful work, the results speak for themselves.
One of the soft skills that Andrew focuses on a lot is cross-cultural communication. When he was first starting out, he spent some time in the UK. He realized that despite sharing the same language, there were cultural differences. He became interested in teaching Brits Canadian soft skills. The way he communicated impressed many people and some Asian colleagues got in touch, hoping he could lend his expertise to their companies. Nowadays, one of his most popular workshops is all about cross-cultural communication and he has been asked to lead several workshops on this topic in China. As graduates from our programs are well-aware, the world is becoming increasingly global; not only is cross-cultural communication important, a lack of cultural awareness or an inability to understand and be understood puts you at a huge disadvantage.
However, just because you are communicating with someone from your own culture doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be easier. Communication is a skill we can all improve. We use it everyday. When we do so effectively it can be life changing. Many successful individuals got their starts by talking to the right person at the right time in the right way. This was certainly at least partially true for Andrew. He stresses the importance of talking to everyone, asking questions and really listening. You never know what you might find out. Some of the other skills Andrew focuses on in his workshops include presentation skills and listening skills.
Andrew’s focus on soft skills really highlighted the strength of Greystone’s programs; all of our programs focus on soft skills in some way or another. For more information about soft skills in general, check out our previous post on the topic.
As well as talking about soft skills, Andrew also talked about the importance of passion and motivation. Some of the advice he gave our students was to really be in the moment and commit one hundred percent to whatever you are engaged in. He encouraged us all to be curious and inquisitive and to have fun with what we are doing. He also recommends visualizing your goals and being innovative.
Andrew’s energy was infectious and it was hard not to leave his presentation feeling more alive, motivated and engaged. Thanks, Andrew, for sharing your passion.