Analytical skills are important to achieve your life goals. Logical thinking helps you to get the job of your dreams as well as in your private life.
With analytical capabilities, you will master all challenges calm and steady. Every analytical decision you will make will be based on logical reasoning and not emotions (which would be the opposite of analytical thinking). Moreover, with strong analytical skills, you can find a factual solution in any situation.
What you will learn from this article: first, we explain to you what analytical skills are and why you should improve them. We will then give you a list with 43 examples of skills you should definitely work on. Finally, we will give you guidance on how you can train and improve your logical thinking.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
- What Are Analytical Skills?
- Why You Should Work on Your Analytical Skills
- The List of 43 Analytical Skills
- How to Improve Your Analytical Capabilities
What Are Analytical Skills?
Analytical thinking (synonym: logical thinking) is about breaking down problems logically, into small bites and without emotions. People with strong analytical skills will find a well-thought-out solution in any situation, based on information and facts. In order to do so, there are various skills that we will discuss in the next chapter.
A definition is as follows:
“Analytical thinking is the ability to gather and analyze information in order to understand complex situations and solve problems.”
Analytical skills can be used to make informed decisions, at home and at work. This kind of problem-solving will become your secret sauce for a more successful life!
It is helpful to have a natural talent for analytical-logical thinking but it is not mandatory. As the name suggests, analytical skills are skills and skills can be developed.
Don’t confuse these skills with the ability of critical thinking. Critical thinking is about looking at a data set or rather situation from different angles. Analytical thinking is the breaking down and examining data, while critical thinking is the interpreting and explaining of data.
Why You Should Work on Your Analytical Skills
Developing analytical skills will not only help you at work but also in other areas of life. You will become a better problem solver and you will be able to face any situation, no matter how difficult it seems.
In this chapter, we will explain why you should work on your analytical capabilities and how they will help you.
Analytical Skills Make You a Better Problem Solver
If you master the art of thinking about problems logically, you can face the greatest challenges. Breaking down great challenges into small steps, which you do with logical thinking, will make big challenges doable.
Analytical Skills at Work
Analytical skills make you attractive – at least on the job market. No matter if you already got your dream job or not: by acquiring analytical capabilities you position yourself better in the business world.
If your analytical skills are strong, you will not only know how to do your job more efficiently and effectively, you will also be invited to job interviews more often. Simply because analytical skills are in high demand in the job market.
Especially when it comes to filling management positions, HR professionals are often looking for employees who can solve complex problems in a short period of time. On the well-known job portal Indeed alone, there were 43,000 jobs for the search query “analytical thinking”.
In management positions, responsibility increases and so does the complexity of the job. This means that prospective managers not only have to concentrate on subject-related issues, but also lead and develop employees. Other important duties are to establish business relationships and make groundbreaking business decisions.
It is such a complex work, which requires knowledge in many different areas and a high degree of logic and a pronounced ability to think. With analytical skills, all the different work areas can be planned, strategically executed and accomplished.
Highlight the analytical skills you have acquired over the course of your career in your resume, no matter if you are applying for a management position or not. Employers are almost always looking for employees that are competent and agile problem solvers.
If you are invited to a job interview, prepare for it upfront and think about your analytical skills. Remind yourself about the situations in which you shone with analytical capabilities and how it helped you and your team. This will make you more convincing in the job interview.
Here are further advantages in a professional context:
- If you have good analytical skills at work, you can ensure that the company runs smoothly and that everyone can do their job. Every company faces new problems and challenges every day. This requires plans and the foresighted knowledge of what will come next for you and the company.
- The logical assessment in certain situations helps the company to set up a suitable strategy and to lead the it towards growth and success.
- Analytical skills will help you assess your position in the company and develop a path that will take you where you want to be in the future.
- As a manager, you can better generate and analyze information and use it across business units.
- Analytical skills ensure an understanding of the benefits, costs, and risks associated with every decision you make on the job.
Analytical Skills Foster Critical Thinking
To question decisions critically leads to goal-oriented thinking and acting.
This ability is only then fully utilized when you first analyze the situation by collecting and processing information. If you do so first, you can better critically question the decisions and situations you encounter.
Analytical Thinking in Private Life
We have summarized the most common situations in your private life for which you will benefit from analytical skills:
- Relationship conflicts: if you have a serious problem with your partner, you can use analytical skills to think the problem through and find a way to settle the dispute.
- Financial planning: we all want financial security. However, a lot of people fail in financial planning and in the execution of the financial plan. With analytical skills, you will find it easier to draw up a realistic financial plan that will get you to your ultimate financial goal.
- Argumentation: emotionally charged conversations often lead to no results. In these situations, it helps to stay cool and logical. For some conversations, for example, at a car dealer, you can prepare arguments and things you want to point out.
- Shopping: even when you shop for groceries, you can use analytical thinking. Create a shopping list, make rational decisions and don’t fall for the offers and tricks of the supermarkets.
The List of 43 Analytical Skills
We have done extensive research and have looked for the most promising analytical skills. The result is a comprehensive list of 43 skills. So here it is, the long-awaited list of analytical skills:
- Creating all kind of analyses.
- The ability to win argumentations.
- The assessment of a situation applying logical thinking.
- Doing audits.
- The creation of a benchmarking.
- Budgeting a predefined budget.
- The calculation of a project or a task.
- The summary of a customer group for the classification of data.
- Collaboration with others to solve a problem together.
- The comparison of different scenarios and all other types of comparison.
- A thought-out solution to conflict resolution.
- The continuous improvement of yourself, products and processes.
- The exact verification of correctness.
- Recognizing correlations.
- Cost savings in the private household and in businesses.
- Gathering, determining and evaluating data during the process of data collection.
- Recognition of important data through data mining.
- Decision making together in a group.
- Making a diagnosis based on various symptoms.
- The evaluation of information.
- The examination of correlations.
- The financial management of your savings.
- Increasing group productivity by exploiting potentials to improve.
- Information gathering on a specific topic.
- The strategic building of interpersonal relationships to achieve your goals (more about the ability in this article).
- Taking the annual inventory of a company.
- The investigation of something to solve a problem.
- The systematic management of people and projects.
- Using mindfulness to recognize your own situation.
- The use of non-verbal communication to influence your counterpart.
- A single optimization of products and processes.
- The planning of a project.
- Prioritizing tasks and problems.
- The problem identification of a situation.
- Problem-solving of a task.
- The process analysis of a business process.
- Reporting to others.
- Researching a theory and delivering results.
- The strategic planning of a company or project.
- The ability to deliver results productively during teamwork.
- Systematic troubleshooting of systems and products.
- Skillful verbal communication for different audiences.
- Written communication to explain ideas and decisions.
You will benefit the most from this list if you look at the respective skill and add an example to it. Let’s look at the ability to process data. The analysis of data sounds very technical at first and you might think that you don’t need this ability.
In fact, you’re analyzing more data than you might know. Data analysis is simply the ability to find and recognize logical patterns and processes in a lot of information. The typical use case for this is the evaluation of an Excel spreadsheet. Even if you look at the bus schedules, you analyze data to a certain extent.
A second example is
How to Improve Your Analytical Capabilities
As mentioned above, logical thinking is a skill and skills can be developed. Furthermore, there are different ways to learn analytical skills. We’ll show you that one that worked best for us.
Step 1: Understand Analytical Thinking
As so often, you start with the theory. Get familiar with the terms and definitions. If you have read this article until here, you have already learned the most important things. Accordingly, you have already done step one.
Step 2: Start with Use Cases
Look for specific scenarios from your everyday life in which you want to start utilizing analytical skills. It’s best to start with not more than three scenarios. For example, you can optimize the time you spend at work.
Step 3: Define the Problem
After you have defined your goal, you must now think about how you want to achieve it. In order to do this, you must first identify the issues. In our example, these would be unnecessary meetings, phone calls, emails, etc.
Use a moment of peace, for example during your lunch break and put everything aside. What does your everyday life look like? How do you spend your time? Are the processes always different or are they the same? How much of your time is productive working time? Ask yourself clear questions in order to become aware of disruptive factors and problems.
Step 4: Solve the Problem
The fourth step is crucial. With the information you gathered in step three, you now have to think about how you want to reach your goal.
Simply put: in this step, you are looking for solutions to the problems that keep you from your goal.
Above all, you should be aware of the ability you need to work on, in order to achieve your goal.
In our example, it may make sense to create a spreadsheet in which you document every hour of your working day and what you have done for the day. Such a table can be used to figure out where you lose precious time.
For example, you might be invited to meetings that you don’t necessarily have to attend to, or you might be checking your email inbox way too often.
If you can reduce or even eliminate one or more disruptive factors from your daily work, you have solved a problem logically and analytically.
Step 5: Practice Regularly
As with so many other things, the key to success is consistency.
In the beginning, you should always consider each of the four steps and take notes if necessary. What is the problem you want to solve? What skills are you working on? How did you solve the problem?
Repeat this process several times until it becomes a habit. Then you can drop the notes.
Step 6: Seek out for Feedback
Actively seek feedback from your colleagues, managers, friends, and relatives. Ask them for their opinion on how you solved a specific situation.
In case you have difficulties to get started, you can ask someone for advice on how they would solve the problem.
One of the best ways is to work in teams. In teamwork, most results are discussed and presented at the end. The feedback you can get will help you to self-assess your analytical skills in order to sharpen and improve them.
The conclusion of this chapter is no matter for which way you will decide to train your analytical skills, the most important thing is that you don’t choose more than two or three skills in the beginning and that you work continuously on each of them. For every skill, you have to choose a use case, define the problem, solve the problem with that skill, repeat the process regularly to train the skill and preferably seek feedback.
Analytical thinking means to gather and analyze information in order to solve problems.
Analytical skills are skills that you use consciously and unconsciously in many different areas of life and that can be learned. In this article, we have given you a list of examples for the most important analytical skills (bookmark this article in
Lastly, we provided you with a six-steps manual to improve your analytical capabilities for long-term success. Remember that you must work continuously on yourself in order to make that skill a guarantee for more success in life.
On the other site, don’t forget the importance of empathy and the fact that not everything in life can be thought through and decided with numbers. It also makes sense to question where the data is coming from and how your decision impacts other people’s lives.
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