10 Essentials Soft Skills Every Architect Must Have
Importance of Soft Skills in your Architectural Career
Jeff Bezos, founder of multi-national E-commerce giant Amazon once said, “People will never see 90 percent of what you do.” This is true from an architect’s perspective too. Most of the time you would be doing those kinds of stuff that will help you to overcome the one single goal in your mind. With design being your core, you would still require execution steps to implement the design in your head. This involves –
- Creating an outline of ideas that will impress your clients.
- Establishing a sense of far-sightedness in terms of the client’s needs, money, and environment for your project.
- Conveying the central theme around the idea to all the stakeholders involved in the execution of the project.
- Kind of leading the whole project right from its first day of inception to the final nail in the execution.
- Developing a sense of foothold on the subject matter and communicating the real business value proposition of the project among the AEC community.
To successfully follow these steps your knowledge of the most up-to-date architecture software and design caliber are worth dime a dozen. These hard skills would land you professional eyeballs but for running a professional practice around these, you may require a certain set of soft skills. Someone said it very rightly, “Hard skills would land you jobs but it is the soft skills that will help you grow in your profession and go to places.” The same is the case with running an architecture practice. As an architect, you would need the following essential soft skills to successfully execute your business plans –
Communicating your Vision to Clients
Communication is the key to representing what you have in your mind. It is the ability to convey ideas, thoughts, or feelings. So, be it any profession when you are directly dealing with your subject to whom you have to provide your service, communication is one of the tools you need to take care of. Architecture is a profession where you provide your service to clients but before your client agrees to it, you need to convey to them that you are the most appropriate choice in the market, they are searching for. This underlines the importance of communication skills for an architect.
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Mastering the Art of Speaking
It is often said politicians and architects cannot grow without speaking. Of course, it is your drawings that would be doing 90 percent of the job. However, you also need to be a master speaker to propagate your architectural offerings in the market and establish a sense of expertise in the field. The architecture profession is one of those, which is mostly learned outside the textbooks. It is your experience that you would be sharing with upcoming architects. This would be better learning for them instead of reading all the theoretical kinds of stuff out there. From giving college lectures to running a podcast channel, applications of speaking about architecture have changed a lot but the purpose remains the same i.e., conveying your architectural ideology in this growing AEC sector with complex problems to solve.
Developing a Command over 7Cs in Communication
Conference, concreteness, courtesy, correctness, clarity, confidence, and consciousness. Stick to good communication skills and you will attract more clients. Architectural communication is an exchange of ideas and thoughts about architecture. In modern times, any project comes along with lots of verbal graphics and visual communications through different means like calls, messages, emails, etc. Communication not only remains for clients but also with suppliers, dealers, managers, and many more. In this global world just keeping a good idea is not enough to make yourself stand out in the market. You should know how to deliver that idea and make people work for you effectively and efficiently.
Contributing with your Architectural Creativity
When it comes to defining the architecture, it is a combination of art and technique. When it comes to art and technique both need creativity. In architecture, one needs to be creative with their thought process and conceptualization. It is the creative expression that helps an architect to provide a differentiation factor in the market, making their clients satisfied and seeing their living space and environment differently, aligned with the architect’s vision. Architecture needs to be creative in as simple a way as possible or in a complex way as well. They have a great impact on society as they create to please the eyes. But not only attractive fits in the world, architecture must have the ability to be creative in a way that it should create anything that is not only pleasing to look at but also practical to use, complementing its surroundings and conserving the environment.
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Strategizing the Execution for Implementation
As architect Lou Kahn once famously said, “an artist can make a cart with square wheels, but an architect can't.” So, creative is a broad term in the case of architecture, it not only includes aesthetic but functional, social, and environmental aspects. The world is full of lazy geniuses and creatives, what differentiates a successful architect from them is the promptness to execute their ideas. Ideas are worth nothing. When you will execute your idea then only you will realize conceiving an idea was the easiest part of the process. Executing an idea successfully and tuning it to real-world considerations to develop it attractive to all prospects, is what a creative architect does.
Be in Charge of your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence can also be labeled as “emotional quotient”. It is an ability to manage your emotions positively. It reduces stress and helps to overcome conflicts, confusion, and challenges. The main intention here is to communicate and solve problems This skill is important in every single profession as well as in your day-to-day life. As human is a social animal that has emotions but how controlling and using them in the right way is a must skill to learn to lead a happy and healthy professional as well as personal life. As an architect, you deal with projects which are not a loner’s work. If you have good emotional intelligence, you can overcome any conflict in leading the team for the optimization of the project.
Do Storytelling Through your Designs
Talking more about emotional intelligence architects are storytellers with the help of what they design. They can use different characteristics of architecture to tell a story. Human emotions are important in this field as the message they want to deliver is delivered by their design. They need to connect emotionally with their client to understand the underlying depth of true human requirements from the habitat, they live in. Architecture affects society a lot, a design is not just a design, it is a work of message that is put forward through “storytelling in geometrical representation”. It leaves a visual, social, and environmental impact on society. Design affects the mood of people’s behavior in another human habitat, they are indulging in. For example, open office spaces bring out a positive environment to work in and promote teamwork. A house design with proper ventilation feels warmer and brings in positivity. While designing an architectural piece of work emotional intelligence should be held in the mind to create spaces that will bring a humane approach to the design: physiological and psychological well-being for the inhabitants.
Solving the Problems with your Approach
Architects are problem solvers with the help of design. Whereas, if we look into other aspects of dealing with clients and designs many times leads you to a problem that can't be solved with the conventional method. One needs to step out of their shoes and solve them. Thus, making problem-solving an important skill in architecture to have
It includes making a calculated decision, critical thinking, and the ability to come out with suitable solution options by the context.
Owning your Responsibilities like an Entrepreneur
Many times, life is about leaving the back seat and taking the control of steering. The same is the case with architecture, where in life many times opportunity will come where you have to lead the project, and leading something is itself a big skill to have. With this skill, you can manage projects smoothly and effectively for the outcomes you want to deliver to your clients.
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Be a Leader, Not a Boss:
There is a whole lot of difference between bossing around and leadership. The corporate stories centralized around the toxic work culture of architectural offices are very common. The reason in words is simply a “lack of empathy”. An architect is a leader in the construction supply chain. Although it is mostly about managing the whole construction project, the work doesn’t end here alone. An architect is one thread that connects all the stakeholders involved in the construction project. It is an architect’s responsibility to look for them and bring out their best in the project. The Israeli study on their air force pilots does depict “criticism is more helpful than appreciation.” However, this definitely cannot be true in the long term. The cycle of constant discussions and constructive feedback loops can be your first step to getting rid of the toxic work environment in your office. You cannot grow big in life without networking and retaining professionals to work with you. This can only be done by convincing people of your vision and realizing to them that you are the person they can give their life to. Leadership quality demands if you want to make a change, be the change. Inspire people, don’t fire them.
You must learn how to use social media platforms to boost your architecture business and see results!
5 years of architecture school may teach you design and the principles of architecture but the practice demands more than that –
- Conversing with client prospects.
- Managing the whole construction project.
- Attracting more client leads to sustain in the future.
This is the constant cycle you need to own to level up your game in the architectural world. This is not at all possible without the list of 10 soft skills mentioned above. At Planndesign we regularly blog about the requirements for an architect to run a successful architectural practice. Keep visiting Planndesign.com to get daily blog updates.
Lastly, take a read to the Trends That Would Shape the Future of Architecture
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