More than ever, employees need to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Developing skills that can be applied across different industries and knowing how to use it is the key.
As automation becomes increasingly commonplace, how can we as humans stay competitive, and keep our jobs?
According to the 2016 World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs, we will need to supply skills in the future that machines cannot. Chief human resources and strategy officers from leading global organisations revealed that the skill of creativity will be particularly highly regarded in the next decade of our workforce.
Creativity does not necessarily entail being artistic. Rather, it means having the ability to problem solve and think laterally through experimentation, curiosity, imagination, innovation and the expression of ideas. This is something that organisations don’t traditionally encourage, or even allow.
A recent IDC study identified the following top skills employers are looking for in future candidates:
- Oral and written communication skills
- Project management
- Microsoft Office proficiency
- Marketing strengths
- Problem solving
- Detail oriented
All of these skills are vital in creative agencies, but are now strongly associated with most organisations and industries. They are particularly critical for any of us putting together presentations. Communication skills, Microsoft Office (especially Powerpoint) and creativity are essential for business professionals. These skills are deployable across many different areas – whether you are communicating the latest vision or values, selling stakeholders an idea or inspiring your team to act. Possessing this skillset ensures you stand out in a competitive marketplace – whether you’re in administration, middle management or executive leadership.
You might have the best brain in the office, but if you can’t clearly articulate and communicate that knowledge to your team and come up with creative ways to deliver your ideas, then you’ll fail to progress in your career.
Brainstorming is one of the key components of creativity. Here are a few tips for putting this into practice:
- Write down all your ideas for an upcoming presentation on sticky notes. This is about quantity not quality. Silence your inner voice and set your mind free.
- Next, sketch your ideas onto paper. This is about visualising your main message, key points and so it will make sense to you and others. Drawing diagrams and mind maps will help you connect the dots. Remember, this is not about ‘being artistic’, it’s about exploring.
- After this creative purge, you will need to organise your thoughts and points. Get rid of everything that isn’t essential and start making choices by focussing on what will help you achieve your objective. This is the ‘aha’ moment where you start to make sense of everything you have brainstormed or sketched out.
Above all else, remember that the creative process is supposed to be fun. Inspiration comes from everyday stuff and situations like books, magazines, and when you’re out walking the dog.
Emma Bannister is the founder and CEO of Presentation Studio.