TECC 233: Developing Soft Skills for a Successful Career in Engineering

In this episode, our new host, Jeff Perry, MBA talks to Dennis Doran, a leading expert in the construction industry with more than 30 years of experience, and the author of the highly praised book, Soft as Steel,  about the importance of valuing and developing soft skills to build relationships and succeed in business and life.

Engineering Quotes:

Developing Soft Skills

Developing Soft Skills

Here Are the Key Points Discussed on the Power of Passion for Your Profession:

  • Soft skills are not really skills. They are your qualities, attributes, and behaviors, and are an indication to those you come in contact with in your day-to-day life of what your values are. 
  • Communication is a skill within itself and the principal skill that you need to develop and improve upon every day, regardless if you are an entry-level engineer or a partner at a firm. 
  • As you progress in your career, it is increasingly important that people get to know you so they can learn to trust you, over time. When building a career, you build one relationship at a time, doing the job, delivering the product, and serving the customer. However, all of the relationships you build inside your organization gets done over time. These relationships are what cements a great future for you.
  • When trying to get a handle on the importance of soft skills, you first need to get a handle on yourself. You need to look at yourself honestly and develop honest self-awareness.
  • The single greatest reason for conflict, both personally and in the workplace, is poor communication. Active listening is a critical component of good communication and is not just defined by the absence of talking. Communication is a skill, and it’s a skill that can be improved upon by practice.
  • The most powerful way to influence people in a strong and direct fashion is by giving them the facts. Don’t just give them your opinion, or be vague in your response — give them facts instead. 
  • Good leaders are people who are competent, have valid experiences, and are good communicators. Great leaders understand, embrace, and value things that differentiate them. Great leaders don’t talk about leadership — they just lead. Their words and actions demonstrate important things that align themselves with the people they lead. 
  • A company’s expression of its values needs to be reflected by the leader. There needs to be an alignment in those values. Whatever the leader does, must be done on a consistent basis.
  • Soft skills matter because we are people, and we build our lives with other people. We need to understand that every person has skills and abilities and the way their skills and abilities get applied to the common purpose of a business enterprise is by making sure people understand one another and that they value each other as people.
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More in This Episode…

In the Take Action Today segment of the show, Dennis provides you with a specific action that you can take to further embrace soft skills in your career and life.

About Dennis D. Doran

Developing Soft Skills

Dennis Doran has successfully served the construction industry for over 30 years as a contractor, consultant, strategic trainer and facilitator, development coach, and public speaker. He brings a multifaceted perspective to people and organizations. There are two words that have continued to follow Dennis and capture his passion: people and service. His message on the vital importance of valuing and developing soft skills is the leading topic of his seminars and the very essence of the message in his highly praised book, “Soft as Steel,” written to equip readers with the tools to be successful not just in business, but in life and relationships as well.

With his unique entertaining and dynamic style of presenting, Dennis invites audiences to ponder the fundamental strategic importance of soft skills, or “people skills,” to building relationships and making a substantial profit as a business. Everyone, inside and outside of the construction industry, has areas in need of improvement. Dennis is dedicated to helping them understand this truth and more importantly, guide them to a plan of action.

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” ~ Jim Rohn, entrepreneur

Resources and Links Mentioned in This Session Include:

Dennis Doran website
Connect with Dennis on LinkedIn
Engineering Management Institute Training
Toastmasters International

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Books Mentioned in the Episode:

Soft as Steel: Leadership Qualities to Grow Relationships and Succeed in Business and Life

Soft as Steel

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success


How can you grow and develop your soft skills in your engineering career?

We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on developing soft skills in your engineering career.

Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.

  • If you enjoyed this post, please consider downloading our free list of 33 Productivity Routines of Top Engineering Executives. Click the button below to download.

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To your success,

Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP
The Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success

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Originally posted 2020-11-03 17:17:13.

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