Develop Confidence in the Workplace with these 3 Essential Skills

Whether you are a software engineer, a sales manager, or a biologist, skills in communication, negotiation, and problem-solving are essential for success. Set yourself apart by developing these three key skills.

Public Speaking

Public Speaking

If speaking in front of a crowd or presenting to a panel of stakeholders makes your heart race and palms sweat, rest assured—you are not alone! Public speaking is among the most common fears. But it’s a fear you can overcome with continued practice.

“The best way to overcome anxiety is to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more,” says Marjorie North, who teaches public speaking at Harvard Extension School. “Take the time to go over your notes several times. Once you have become comfortable with the material, practice—a lot. Videotape yourself, or get a friend to critique your performance.”

Looking to build up your communications skills?

These courses offered this fall will help you speak clearly and persuasively.


Whether negotiating your salary or butting heads with a difficult coworker, it’s easy to let your emotions cloud your judgment. To reach a mutually supported solution, you need to remain poised and confident. And that means coming to the table with a plan.

“Planning and preparation are the key to success,” says Maurie Kelly, instructor on negotiation and conflict resolution. “Identify your goals, and know exactly what it is you want to get out of the negotiation. Predict what the other party’s goals and responses might be. By doing so, you can be on the lookout for opportunities and be prepared to manage emotions effectively.”

Want to become a power negotiator?

In the course Negotiation and Organizational Conflict Resolution, you can gain the skills to reach effective resolutions.

Creative Problem Solving

Creative Problem-Solving

We have all encountered that problem—the one you just can’t seem to crack, despite tackling it from seemingly every possible angle. When you’re hitting a wall, it’s time to get creative. And despite popular belief, creativity isn’t a trait a select few are born with. Anyone can be trained to think creatively with regular practice.

“Individuals and organizations can boost problem-solving skills if they approach creativity as a process that can be learned, practiced, and repeated in whatever it is they do,” says Susan Robertson, coinstructor of professional development programs on creative thinking.

“Even people who think they aren’t creative at all can learn to sharpen their problem-solving skills,” she says. “And when they regain their sense of possibility, it’s not only career-changing—it can also be life-changing.”

Looking to boost your creativity?

These fall courses provide you with tools and techniques to help you broaden your perspective and see your challenges in a new light.

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