10 essential skills for self-made men

10 essential skills for self-made men

by Pamela Ng 21 Feb 2020

People who are self-made often command huge respect from many people. After all, their hardworking nature, talent and dauntless passion are all worthy of admiration. Presentation matters greatly as well; first impressions certainly count for a lot. Here are 10 essential skills that you need to know if you want to become a successful self-made man:


1. Know your etiquette

In most professions, meals make for a good opportunity to socialise and network. No matter what environment you are in, being seen as knowledgeable can come as a great advantage. That being said, using cutlery properly during meals (especially in formal settings) is especially important, as it can set the tone for the conversation that follows.


2. Be a conversationalist

Not everyone can hold a conversation. The gift of the gab actually takes a fair amount of skill to harness. However, it can be learnt by simply conversing more and keeping up to date with current affairs. Just try to avoid taking an approach that’s too formulaic; good conversation is one that’s organic and free-flowing


3. Know your handshake

A simple handshake can tell a lot about someone. Firm or floppy, it can signal to the other party how excited you are to be there, or what kind of person you are. In order to make a good first impression, always keep a firm but friendly handshake. It shows that you are a steadfast person who is still amicable.


4. Know when to wear black and white tie

It is important to know when to wear black or white tie, as it shows how aware you are about the appropriateness of the event. As a guide, wear black tie for formal events that are held after 7pm, and wear white tie for events that are formal in the highest order.


5. Learn to cook great eggs

If you are entertaining a guest and aren’t the best cook around, at least make great eggs. They are easy to make, and can be wildly delicious when done right. Invest time to learn how to cook various types, such as scrambled eggs and fluffy omelettes. Pro-tip: for fluffy eggs, you can try adding cream and milk.


6. Complete a Windsor knot

A Windsor knot is widely appropriate for almost all occasions. If you are short of time and need to learn how to tie a tie, the Windsor knot should be your go-to choice. With that skill well in hand, you won’t have to worry about future events where you need to suit up.


7. Shine your shoes

If you think shoes are important only for ladies, you are mistaken. Men should also take shoes seriously in selecting and maintaining them. Surprisingly, men’s shoes can often more expensive than ladies’, so taking good care of your shoes and spending a bit more to invest a good pair can make a difference.


8. Use tailor talk

Knowing the appropriate terms to use with your tailor can make life for both you and your tailor’s a lot easier. As with many technical terms, they are hardly interchangeable, and communicating clearly and effectively can save you the time you need on the suit. There is nothing pretentious in knowing those terms; it is only time-saving. And for the self-made man in the making, time is money.


9. Read widely and wholesomely

No matter what your business is, reading widely can offer you many insights to various aspects of your work. Instead of focusing on reading up on topics directly related to your current venture, explore other subjects so that you can adopt a more well-rounded understanding of your situation in life. There’s no such thing as being too avid a reader!


10. Speak with passion

Whenever you speak, you should learn to speak with passion. Even if you’ve been around the world thrice, no one’s going to listen to your story if you emote as much as a dead fish. In business, you need motivation and drive to succeed, and in order to obtain them, you need to be passionate in whatever you are doing. Cases in point: Jack Ma and Mark Zuckerberg. If you have the passion for something, it will show in whatever you say or do.


No one is born with the skills needed to be a self-made individual. However, what each and every one of us has is the potential to be one. Acquiring some of these skills may be simple while others, not so simple. Regardless of their level of difficulty, such talents are to be considered indispensable when it comes to the trimmings of a confident man. Know them, learn them and master them!