Hard skills are those skills that are teachable, based in fact, and can be defined and measured. Some examples would include time management, sales training, social media, copywriting, and accounting.

Soft skills are less tangible, often associated with personal traits and character, and are harder to quantify. Some examples would include communication, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and conflict resolution.

With more companies focused on the bottom line, I asked speakers, meeting planners and speaker bureaus if they were seeing more requests for hard skill topics or soft skill topics in the speaking industry today. Here are their answers:

“Soft skills is the most commonly requested presentation with content, content, content, content.  If you have a dynamic, humorous way of presenting the content you will be chosen hands down over the trainer type with content. You want to be motivation with content versus a content motivator.”

Wilene Dunn

Global Speakers Agency


“Conferences in the digital marketing industry always state that they are

looking for experts on the given topic of an event, session or panel —

they say want people who have the hard skills and “know their stuff.” But

what they rarely state — and what they may not even realize consciously

that they want — is that they also want someone with the soft skills that

will enthrall the audience.


People attend conferences because they want to experience something amazing. They want to be star-struck when meeting the celebrities in their field. They want to reconnect with old friends. They want to leave talks with their mouths agape while thinking, “Oh. My. God.” If someone wants “just the facts,” then he or she can read a blog post or watch a webinar.

People go to conferences for the emotional high.The best speakers have both hard and soft skills. A great speaker without substance is fluff, and a renowned expert can be extremely boring.

Personally, this is where I have been seeing conferences going. Conferences

first check that a speaker is knowledgeable and credible and will be

presenting something original.


However, more and more conferences are also insisting on previewing videos or even traveling to see a prospective speaker give a presentation elsewhere. At any serious conference, hard skills and knowledge among the speakers are absolutely necessary first and foremost. But soft skills and the ability to amaze an audience are a very close second.”


Samuel Scott

SEO and Internet marketing speaker



“Actually, we’re experiencing just the opposite. More than ever companies realize that there’s a direct link from employees’ abilities to the bottom line and they seek us out to learn how to traverse that path. There are many studies and lots of data to support tangible results when hard and soft skills are addressed as a symbiotic relationship in successful organizations.

Marian Thier

Listening Impact



So, it seems that both hard skills and soft skills are needed today, and the speakers who can integrate both, while delivering the information in an entertaining way, will be more in demand.


What do you think? Are you seeing more requests for hard skills or soft skills as a speaker, meeting planner, or speaker bureau?