When we talk about technical skills in hospitality, these skills are measurable because we can see and measure the necessary technical know-how for a specific job. Interpersonal skills, often called “soft skills,” are a vital characteristic in job seekers, according to business leaders. Employers prioritize hard and soft skills when hiring new employees. Hospitality students typically need to develop both soft skills and hard skills to be successful in the industry.
According to the Collins English Dictionary, “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive, flexible attitude.” Soft skills are character characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors rather than technical ability or knowledge. The intangible, non-technical, personality-specific qualities known as “soft skills” are what makes a leader, facilitator, mediator, and negotiator effective. The definition given by Tate (Tate, W. V., 1995)—which we shall favor—is “the sets of behaviors that the person must have and be able to demonstrate to do the activities and responsibilities of a profession with competence.”
Soft skills’ most important attribute is that they may be used outside of one’s profession. Soft skills are acquired over time by putting them into practice in one’s daily life and at work. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. They are also known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.” Here are some examples of soft skills that can be particularly valuable for hospitality students:
- Communication skills: hospitality professionals need to communicate clearly and effectively with guests, colleagues, and supervisors. This includes listening attentively, speaking clearly, and using appropriate body language and tone.
- Customer service skills: Hospitality professionals should be able to anticipate and meet the needs of guests, responding to their requests and concerns in a friendly and helpful manner.
- Interpersonal skills: hospitality professionals should be able to build rapport with guests and colleagues and work well in a team.
- Problem-solving skills: hospitality professionals may encounter unexpected situations or challenges, and they need to be able to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions.
- Time management skills: hospitality professionals often must juggle multiple tasks and priorities, and they need to be able to manage their time effectively to meet deadlines and ensure that guests receive top-quality service.
- Adaptability: Hospitality professionals should be able to adapt to new situations and changing environments, and be flexible in their approach to work.
- Attention to detail: Hospitality professionals need to pay attention to details to provide top-quality service and ensure that guests have a positive experience.
- Emotional intelligence: hospitality professionals should be able to read and respond to the emotions of others, and manage their own emotions professionally.
- Interpersonal skills: the ability to work well with others, build relationships, and collaborate as part of a team.
- Leadership skills: the ability to motivate, inspire, and guide others in achieving common goals.
“Hard skills” are specific technical skills or knowledge that are required to perform a particular job or task. Examples of important hard skills for hospitality students include:
- Customer service skills: Hospitality students should be able to provide excellent customer service, including being friendly, helpful, and able to solve problems and address customer needs.
- Communication skills: Hospitality students should be able to communicate effectively with customers, colleagues, and management, both verbally and in writing.
- Computer skills: Hospitality students should be proficient in using computers and technology, such as point-of-sale systems and reservation systems.
- Basic financial skills: Hospitality students should have a basic understanding of financial concepts such as budgeting, pricing, and profit margins.
- Time management skills: Hospitality students should be able to manage their time effectively, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.
- Attention to detail: Hospitality students should be detail-oriented, as small mistakes can have a big impact on the hospitality industry.
- Physical stamina: Hospitality students may need to be able to stand for long periods and lift heavy objects, depending on their job role.
- Food and beverage knowledge: Hospitality students should have a basic understanding of food and beverage service, including menu planning, food safety, and pairing food and drink.
- Cultural sensitivity: Hospitality students should be sensitive to and respectful of different cultures, as they may be interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds.
- Teamwork: Hospitality students should be able to work effectively as part of a team and contribute to a positive work environment.
Developing soft and hard skills is important for success in the hospitality industry, as it requires a combination of technical expertise and the ability to work well with others.
The role of motivation and teachers.
Motivation is influenced by a variety of elements, including the educational activities in which students are involved to improve their learning and skill development. In this regard. Most training courses, whether academic or professional, today opt for modern teaching/learning strategies that are based on an active approach that promotes interactivity by emphasizing the student’s participation and cognitive and reflective commitment to the pedagogical activities available to him. It’s also important to remember that the way a teacher acts is key to getting students involved and choosing strategies based on the skills and knowledge that need to be learned at school. The student’s interaction with his teacher during class has a greater impact on his academic and social integration, as well as his motivation. The teacher, who is considered the main actor in this teaching process, is encouraged to change his posture, and develop new skills that will enable him to propose a variety of learning strategies that will motivate students to learn and, as a result, lead them to enjoy participating in the activities that are offered to them. Students’ motivation and interest in a degree program are affected by both the way the teacher teaches and how the teacher acts.
Educators have a special responsibility for soft skill development because they have a significant impact on the soft skill development of their students during practice and university. Teachers who work in restaurants should teach their students about the value of soft skills and encourage them to improve their talents. They should also practice soft skills with their students. As was already said, the best way to get better at soft skills is to try things out and see what works and what doesn’t, especially when it’s hard. Incorporating soft skills training into the teaching of hard skills is a very effective and efficient way to do this. This good side effect will make lessons more interesting, which will help students do better in school.
Article written by Joseph Karam, Program Director- Bachelor in International Food Service Management
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