The world moves at a much faster pace now than ever. To survive and compete in the workplace or business you need to also evolve. A key part of evolution is acquiring new, important skills to beat the competition and stay ahead.

So for the typical African what are some of the essential skills needed to compete and win in today's cut throat business and professional world.

  1. Writing: We are not just talking about any writing, we refer to competitive business writing. It is appalling how many African graduates do not know how to write proposals for eg or formal report. Formal (or business) writing is essential in today's world. Whether you are self employed, working for others or starting your own business you are going to need to know how to write well. Or you may find that you will have to pay other people some substantial sum to do your writing for you.

Recommended online course - Writing for the Business Professional

2. Effective Communication: We communicate everyday, in writing, orally, in various forms. If you are in business you will constantly communicate with vendors, suppliers, customers etc. If you work for an establishment you will have to manage communication with co-workers, superiors, junior colleagues, external clients and vendors of the company.

How do you communicate effectively at work? Do you know the role of effective communication skills in getting you that raise, exposure and building your personal brand? Very important.

Recommended course: Effective communication in the workplace

3. Negotiation: Even when you buy stuff in the market you negotiate. As a business person or self employed professional and even career individual you are always going to be faced with situations where the other party is looking to get the best end of the deal.

Your job? Out-negotiate the other party. To continue winning in life you have to acquire strong negotiation skills. The start-up founder who doesn't know how to negotiate gets bad deals. The sales man who does not negotiate well gets the bad end of the deal. The employee who does not understand negotiation dynamics often gets underpaid for their work.

Everyone needs to learn how to negotiate.

Recommended course: Negotiation - The Art of Getting What You Want

4. Selling: This is a super life skill to have. If you know how to sell you will probably never go broke. Selling is as essential in today's world as ever. Companies are always on the look out for great sales professionals. Businesses want people who can help them sell.

Selling is not as simple as it sounds. To become good in sales there are fundamental things like knowing the product/service thoroughly, being able to identify who potentially needs or would want what you sell, knowing how to get your message across to them, keeping them interested and getting them to buy.

Selling is no joke.

Recommended courses: Strategic Sales Foundation

Sales Plus - Effective Selling

5. Digital Skills: 20 years ago this wouldn't have made the list. Today however you are faced with learning new ways of doing things. For the young African who is growing right in the middle of a digital revolution it is very important to acquire skills that keep you relevant and empower you to improve your income at will.

A few of the digital skills you may need to master include;

  • Digital marketing: Organisations and businesses are going online in droves. And this increases the opportunities for young people who can help these businesses build their online presence and attract new customers.
  • MS Office tools: Microsoft office applications are very essential in the workplace of today. PowerPoint, Excel and Word are tools you will find you need to have decent practical knowledge of.

Recommended courses: Introduction to digital marketing

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft PowerPoint