Life Skills

Also see: Social Skills.

The term ‘Life Skills’ refers to the skills usually associated with managing and living a better quality of life, they help us to accomplish our ambitions and live to our full potential.

There is no definitive list of life skills, certain skills may be more or less relevant to you depending on your life circumstances, your culture, beliefs, age, geographic location etc.

Perhaps the most important life skill is the ability to learn.  By learning new skills we increase our understanding of the world around us and equip ourselves with the tools we need to live a more productive and fulfilling life.  Life skills are not always taught directly but often learned indirectly through experience and practice.

See our pages: What is Learning? and Lifelong Learning for more information.

SkillsYouNeed provides informative pages and discussion about the life skills important for personal development.  We hope that you find what you are looking for and can develop your knowledge of life skills.

Communication Skills

Communication itself is a complex subject, you may want to start by reading our page – What is Communication?

Interpersonal Skills are the skills we use when dealing with other people, for example we use both verbal and non-verbal communication techniques when engaged in face-to-face communications. 

Listening skills are paramount to understanding and empathising with others, do you listen effectively?  Do you fully understand the message being conveyed?  Effective listening skills together with techniques such as clarification and reflection can help prevent misunderstanding. We can all work on improving our Interpersonal Communication Skills.

Our Interpersonal Skills library includes pages to help you develop: Listening Skills and Active Listening, Verbal Communication, Building Rapport and Effective Speaking.

Also read about the importance of Non-verbal Communication and develop your skills in Clarification and Reflection.

There are potentially many barriers to communication in any communication situation - these barriers can hinder the communication process. It is therefore essential for a strong communicator to be aware of such barriers and find ways to communicate and work around them.

See our pages: Barriers to Effective Communication and Communicating in Difficult Situations for more information.

Learning how to effectively negotiate in a variety of situations has obvious advantages to your life.  Negotiation is about being assertive, avoiding conflict or argument, and, where possible, working towards an outcome best suited to all parties involved (Win-Win situation).

We have sections on Negotiation and Assertiveness.

Much emphasis is given to problem-solving and decision-making in the modern workplace – these skills are also very desirable in our day-to-day lives.  Learn some techniques to help solve problems and make decisions.

See our pages on Problem Solving and Decision Making.

Personal Skills

Personal Skills are the essential life skills we need to help maintain a healthy body and mind.

We are what we eat. We are all aware of the benefits of a healthy diet, our pages on nutrition can help you understand why our diet is so important. Discover our easy-to-follow articles: What is Protein?, What is Fat?, What are Carbohydrates? to learn more about the basic food groups. Our page: Stress, Nutrition and Diet explains some ways that stress can be managed through what we eat, and when we eat it.

How we manage and cope with emotions – Anger and Stress can both be detrimental to our communication skills but also to our health. Learning about anger and stress, recognising what may trigger them (in ourselves and others), what the symptoms are and how to control or manage such emotions can greatly enhance our the quality of our lives, we have sections on anger including pages: What is Anger? and Anger Management.

Managing Stress is another key modern life skill, you'll find an introduction to stress on our What is Stress? page and then a series of further pages designed to help you avoid, reduce and manage the stress in your life: Avoiding Stress, Stress in the Workplace and Dealing with Stress. Find other ways to help you cope with stress, try reading our pages on Time Management and Minimising Distractions so you can make the most of your time.

Many people battle with low self-esteem and confidence which can cause stress and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Our pages: Improving Self-Esteem and Building Confidence provide practical ways to overcome these issues. Improved confidence and self-esteem are also linked with how we present ourselves to others see: Personal Presentation and Personal Appearance.

For most people, most of the time, aggressive behaviour is uncommon.  Nevertheless many people have experienced some kind of aggressive behaviour in themselves or others at some point during their lives.  By recognising the triggers and symptoms of aggression we can adopt communication strategies that can help to reduce or avoid aggressive behaviour.

See our pages on Aggression for more information


Communication is a key life skill but it is not always an Interpersonal Skill.  Many of us communicate using the written word - through letters, emails, text messages, social network feeds and a host of other methods.  Being able to write clearly and concisely is a very powerful way to communicate, either one-to-one or to a much larger audience.  We provide articles that will help you to improve your written communication and learn or refresh your knowledge on some of the fundamental rules of writing.

Our Writing Skills section has lots of pages with advice to help you improve your writing.
Our Study Skills section, not just for students, will help you learn how to learn more effectively.


Understanding basic numeracy and mathematics makes a huge difference in all aspects of life, it can make you more employable, help you to achieve a greater understanding of the world around you, and save you time and money. We don't all need to be great mathematicians, and we're not all rocket scientists, but an understanding of the basic principles of day-to-day numeracy, arithmetic and maths will help to open many doors.
See our Numeracy Skills section for explanation and real-world examples of basic numeracy.