Presentations in a Virtual World

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microphone with people faded in the background

Every year that passes it seems harder and harder to prepare our teenagers and young adults to enter the workforce. Between new emerging markets, and the robotizing of old positions, there is a constant need for the acquisition of new hard skills. However, even life-long dedication to learning isn’t enough to make one competitive in the labor market. According to the USAID Office of Education workers also need to be fluent in several soft skills.

What are Soft Skills? For that matter what are Hard Skills? Hard Skills are the cumulation of all formal education, and technical training, with an emphasis on STEM. Soft Skills, however, are knowledge of and ability to utilize relation skills, and emotional intelligence. All of these soft skills are integral to a person’s ability to collaborate with coworkers, and to provide superior understanding to clients. Many employers rate the importance of Soft Skills equal to a prospective employees skill and training with Hard Skills. Soft Skills that were deemed especially important were high-order thinking skills (or critical thinking/analysis), self-control, social skills or emotional intelligence, and communication.

While all of these skills are important and valued across fields, communication was most often given extremely high importance. Employers found the ability for their employees to clearly and concisely articulate information to both coworkers and clients, through written and oral means integral to their institutions success. Further effective communication often indicates good social and relation skills, increasing their effectiveness in teamwork. Most employers actively seek employees that can, not only, succeed in a team environment, but thrive in it.

Can these Soft Skills be acquired through traditional formal education? What else can be done to expand our young people’s Soft Skills? Soft Skills can be learned, to an extent, through school; however, there can never be enough opportunities for teens and younger kids to practice communication, and their social relation skills. A great opportunity for youth to engage with one another, while building their oral and written communication skills, is to participate in North Carolina 4-H’s Presentation Competition.This year it’s virtual.

To prepare for the NC 4-H Southeast District Presentation Competition our youth can participate in our Pamlico County 4-H Workshops. Youth will be able to work on their active listening skills, extemporaneous speaking, and formal speaking. They will also develop skills in delivering speeches through technology.

If you are interested in participating or learning more about this program give us a call or send us an email. For more information about 2020 Summer Virtual Programs, or any of our ongoing spring virtual programs including our Virtual Scavenger Hunts, Backyard Naturalists (where we explore the natural world through our own backyard) or our Science Fun Day (where we develop our skills with the scientific method, and design and complete our own experiments) give us a call at 252-745-4121, email kait_neeland@ncsu.edu, or check us out online. We also have lots of projects, and activities to do at home, we are happy to walk you through them!