Student Resources
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15 Hobbies that will help you develop important soft skills

Frank Giannotti
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What are some unique hobbies that can help you hone important soft skills? Below is a list of some unusual hobbies that can provide you with the skill set you need for your next job.

Soft skills are vital for the success of many jobs, especially ones that involve customer service and interaction. Employers are looking for candidates that are skilled in:

  • Communication:Listening, Nonverbal Communication, Public Speaking, Storytelling
  • Critical Thinking:Creativity, Research, Problem Solving
  • Leadership:Motivation, Negotiation, Decision Making, Conflict Resolution
  • Teamwork:Empathy, Interpersonal Skills, Social Skills
  • Positive Attitude:Confidence, Patience, Cooperation
  • Work Ethic:Focus, Strategy, Staying-on-Task

1. Playing the Banjo

Ongoing creative activities are great for staying calm and relaxed. Many people in high-stress positions find that playing instruments such as the ukulele and the banjo can help them to manage many of their negative feelings, such as stress. The good news for those who have never picked up an instrument is that instruments, like the banjo, are relatively easy to pick up on as an adult, even if you have never had any formal training. Playing music is also known to help your body to release endorphins, further aiding you in relaxing and remaining calm in stressful situations. By being able to control stress, you are more likely to be able to handle high-stress situations, such as angry customers, without losing your cool.

2. Telling Campfire Stories

Everyone loves a scary story told from the light of a campfire, but what you may have failed to realize is by telling these stories, you are not only engaging your creative side but working on your public speaking skills. These types of stories teach you to engage your audience better and make eye contact to create a rapport and build a story up, bringing it to a climax and resolution, much like a compelling speech should.

3. Twister

Though most often thought of as a game for kids, more and more adults are finding the game a twister a fun and entertaining game to work on their flexibility and get a few laughs in the process. While the game may seem like following simple instructions and having fun, it does require a certain amount of negotiation and teamwork, to keep from falling and to complete the task. It also helps you to be more comfortable with being in close personal space with others without closing off.

4. Poker

Maybe not considered a weird hobby, but not one that everyone considers a hobby, poker is one of the best games played for those who are looking to hone their ability to read nonverbal cues. Poker relies heavily on getting the right cards, but even more so on the ability to read the other people at the table. Throughout play, you will be watching the other player for tells, which are nonverbal cues that can help you determine what cards they may have in their hands.

6. Karaoke

Karaoke is definitely a hobby that can instill confidence in people who may normally be shy or reserved. Even people who have a difficult time speaking in public may find themselves loosened up enough to try their hand at singing. What is an added bonus is that most of the patrons watching are supportive of whether your voice will land you any future gigs or not. By being able to open up in front of a supportive audience, you will be able to improve confidence and also ease yourself into public speaking.

7. Improv

Improv acting touches on a number of skills that you will need to be successful in any future job. With improv, you need to listen to what each previous actor has previously said and make quick decisions on how to continue the story to keep it flowing. You also will need to engage with the audience by exuding confidence even though your part was made up on the fly. Improv is very quick-paced and allows you to turn these skills into a second nature so you will utilize them without even realizing it.

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8. Cooking Vlogs

Cooking requires the careful following of measurements, timing, and cooking skills. With cooking and recipe exchanges becoming popular online, cooking vlogs are becoming a unique hobby that people looking to share their knowledge on the internet are beginning to partake in. Starting your own cooking vlog is a great way to work on leadership and training skills, as you will need to present your recipe in a way that those watching can easily follow and achieve the same result.

9. Salsa Dancing

For those looking for a physically active hobby that can help them with both their listening and teamwork skills, might find salsa dancing a way to bring some fun and excitement to a weekend evening. Salsa is intense and requires you to not only listen and learn a series of steps but to trust your partner and allow them to lead. This can be a good hobby for those who have a hard time letting others take the lead or building trust with those they work with.

10. Couponing

Some people may never even heard of couponing as a hobby, but it is one that is taken seriously by many people looking to maximize their savings or conquer supermarket conglomerates. Couponing is an ideal hobby for those looking to improve their math skills, but it improves more than that. Couponing requires attention to detail, research skills, and strategy to combine coupons with sales to save as much as possible.

11. Fantasy Football

Another hobby that involves research skills and strategic planning is a hobby rapidly gaining popularity known as fantasy football. You will have to formulate a strategy to get the best players for your team while utilizing teamwork and negotiating skills to obtain these players during the fantasy draft portion each year. To help put together your winning team, you will need to be able to rely on research and forecasting skills to put yourself in the best situation. Note that there are many other strategy games.

Read more: Why is Emotional Intelligence the Hospitality Skill of the Future?

12. Adult Coloring

This is not your childhood coloring books. The hobby of adult coloring uses extremely detailed drawings that require focus, precision, and a steady hand to color in and create the final piece. Many people find the process of coloring relaxing and cathartic. The hobby also helps you to intensely focus on a task, using small steps, to create the bigger picture.

13. Paintball

Teamwork and strategy are key components to success in the world of paintball. While this hobby may be a once-in-awhile event for many people, true hobbyists of the sport are members of teams who participate in regular competitions and weekend events. You will also be able to work on your listening skills by following instructions by the team leader and participating in the determined strategy to be victorious in your matches.

14. Foraging

A seasonal holiday in most areas, foraging is popular for those who love getting in touch with nature and finding fresh ingredients for their favorite recipes. While you can choose to forage for anything, some of the most popular items for hobbyists include mushrooms and herbs. The hobby is not as simple as wandering into the woods and picking what looks good. You will need to properly research the items you are foraging for and use your problem-solving skills to be able to identify them from similar-looking, possibly dangerous items.

15. Escape Rooms

One hobby that combines many of the most sought-after soft skills is escape rooms. Team members will be able to complete puzzles and decipher clues to find their way out of the room in sixty minutes or less. Solving clues will require listening, problem-solving skills, communication, strategy, and teamwork in order to be successful. You will also have to be able to remain calm and trust your teammates so that you can work with each other instead of against each other.

Hobbies are a great way to get your mind off work while still honing the important soft skills you need to be successful in any career that you choose. If you are looking to improve on your soft skills, considering giving one of the hobbies above a try.

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Lecturer and International Career Coordinator at EHL Passugg

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Do you want to develop your soft skills to be successful?

In a hospitality management degree program, you not only acquire all the academic skills, but also the soft skills that can make the difference and lead to success. Find out more here.