Top 10 Soft Skills That You Need To Master For 2020 and Beyond

What skills are required for you to stay ahead of all others, regardless of your education and past work experience?

Another year flew by. With that, we’ve been ever so closer to achieving the advanced civilization status. Self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing — these are no longer the fantasies of sci-fi authors or Hollywood directors.

We’re already going through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s bringing about a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.

The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

- World Economic Forum Agenda

With the fast-paced technological shift, we as humans will have to adapt and be very agile to survive in this modern world of ours. So, what are some of the human skills that you need to master to thrive in 2020? Let’s have a look!

№1. Learning How To Learn

Indeed, this is one of the most, if not the most, important skills to master. In the course of your life, you’ll have to learn a lot of new skills along the way. Knowing the science behind how to learn will be key in determining your success in the field.

With the help of very simple techniques, you can program your brain to form memory in a manner that you never thought was possible. If you know how to learn, you’ll be able to control your brain and remember anything that you want it to remember.

Practical Techniques:

The 30-second habit
The 5-hour rule
The 70–20–10 Model


Coursera: Learning to Learn (Must Try)
Book: How We Learn

№2. Self-Confidence

In order to survive in the new decade, you must have enormous amounts of self-confidence. This will help you achieve feats that you didn’t think was even possible, while you learn profusely from your mistakes.

Although self-confidence is not something that can be learned like a set of skills; rather, confidence is a state of mind. Positive thinking, practice, training, knowledge and talking to other people are all useful ways to help improve or boost your confidence levels.

Here are some examples of high and low confidence:

Tip: While it’s easy to gain self-confidence, you must be extra careful not to be overconfident about your capabilities. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, and this might hamper your progress over the long run.

You may read:

№3. Problem Solving

Being a problem solver is critical to success. While you’re cruising through your life, you’ll be faced with numerous problems that you need to solve. Knowing a good process while approaching a problem will help you solve the problems quickly and effectively.

Also, knowing how to solve problems will boost your self-confidence and morale.

As a matter of fact, 82% of employers say that employees must have problem solving abilities to excel in their careers.

Steps to solving a problem


Into the Depths of Problem Solving (Tools that you can use)
Introduction to Problem Solving by MIT


Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making
Advanced Problem Solving

№4. Networking

While you work on yourself, it’s very important that you grow your network. It’s not only about knowing the person, but it also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits. By leveraging your network, you can achieve incredible feats.

Modern technology has made networking very easy; you can easily network with anyone you want through the internet. Knowing the proper channel to use to connect with the person will be critical in determining the success of the networking attempt, though.

“Your network is your net worth.”


How to communicate effectively
Ladder of Abstraction Theory for Networking
Mehrabian’s Communication Model

№5. Cognitive Flexibility

Cognitive Flexibility is the ability to change what you’re thinking about, how you are thinking about it and what you think about it. It’s a critical skill to master; you’ll be needing excellent Cognitive Flexibility to deal with all the things that the new decade has to offer.

This means that you’d have to be particularly expert in multitasking, and have the ability to focus something else without wasting time.

With dedication and constant effort, you’ll be able to alter your brain’s neuroplasticity to provide you with incredible cognitive flexibility.


The Brain and Space
From Brain to Symptom — Introduction to Neuroscientific Psychiatry

№6. Emotional Intelligence

While we talk more about Artificial Intelligence and how it’ll shape the world around us; we can never take humans out of the equation. This is mainly because humans have a distinctive feature that separates themselves from machines — emotions.

In the upcoming decade, having a strong control over your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will be critical to success.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively. — Mindtools

Having a high EQ will mean that you’re very compassionate, and you’ll be more liked by the people around you. The charm factor will work for you and you’ll have a strong leadership personality.

You can read:

№7. Public Speaking

In order to practice your vulnerability and boost your self-confidence, it’s very important that you try out public speaking. This not only helps you to enhance your confidence, you’ll realize that your words have a value and people are actually listening to what you have to say.

Not only that, you can leverage the power of the crowd to spread your ideas to a lot of people. You’ll also get better at your personality, and your storytelling abilities will get better once you progress in public speaking.

This might seem very difficult for most people, but when you go up on stage believing in yourself, you’ll be able to deliver powerful speeches. This breaks your vulnerability barrier and you become a lot more confident.

You can go over these fantastic resources:

№8. Negotiation

While everyone runs for their best interests, it will be very important for you to negotiate within your own terms. This will be key because you’ll very easily get outrun by others if you don’t stay aware.

Having a win-win deal is very important; you ought to do it right. In order to achieve such a deal, you must apply all of the skills discussed above.

In any negotiation, the following three elements are important and likely to affect the ultimate outcome of the negotiation:

  1. Attitudes
  2. Knowledge of the topic
  3. Interpersonal Skills

The more knowledge you possess of the issues in question, the greater your participation in the process of negotiation. In other words, good preparation is essential.


Successful Negotiation: Master Your Negotiating Skills
Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator

№9. People Management

Proper people management is a skill that you should definitely master — it’ll help you suit with dynamic teams and help with team communication. With proper people management, you will be better at managing your human resources. Thus, you’ll get the maximum output from your team while you’re being hailed as an excellent leader.


Management Skills: New Manager Training in Essential Skills
The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work
Managing People from a Global Perspective

№10. Sales

Up until now, we’ve talked about a lot of skills that you should master. But, everything will go in vain if you fail to master the art of sales. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to become a salesperson; you need to know how to sell. This is not limited to a product or service, but also you’ll be selling yourself! (as a personal brand)

Being highly proficient in sales will help you gain a massive advantage over your peers.

Recommended Read:


The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization
Learn to Sell Anything by Grant Cardone

The Bottom Line

The new decade will come with a lot of surprises; it’s best for you to be prepared for success in the ever-changing world of ours. The new decade will be more humane than ever — it’ll be something that distinct yourself from everything around you.

With that said, I’ve listed down ten soft skills that you surely should master for 2020 and beyond. Having these skills will not only ensure success; it will pave the way to many other skills along the way.

The skills discussed in this article are in no particular order, and you can start off with any skill that you think will affect your career the most.

Also, make sure that you know that practicing these skills is not a one-week thing. You’ll have to constantly practice these and implement these in your everyday life. You’ll probably need more than a year to get better at these, but it’s totally worth the effort!

I really hope that you’ve benefitted from the post; let me know what you think in the responses section below!




I'm a hustler, stoic and a hard-working person. I love traveling and to write about philosophy, science and technology!

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Shakhawat Ullah Badhon

Shakhawat Ullah Badhon

I'm a hustler, stoic and a hard-working person. I love traveling and to write about philosophy, science and technology!

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