Saturday, August 6, 2011


Happy Birthday Mr President
Barack Obama turns 50 this week, the first non-white president of the United States.  Follow from my last post, Obama is a person I admire and respect.  A big part of his success to achieve presidency is his communication skills.  To get there is a testament to his own personal leadership and competency,  coming from a humble poor family.  It shows anyone is able to achieve greatness with the right focus, attitude and skills.

Communication is not just Speaking
I was pinging a fellow Toastmaster, and I said to her, that it is a 2-3 year journey to achieve competency in communication (anything else too), but at the end of it you can basically combine the mastery in communication with any field at work, at home, with friends, at church etc to propel yourself to the next level to get a promotion, to deepen relationships and so on.

Communication is not just speaking, it is understanding and connecting to others with respect and empathy and as equals

Communication is not communication without any of these elements.  It is not just about speaking, but listening, empathizing, connecting and doing the right thing always, sitting on the rock of integrity and respect.  Communication skills has been one of my biggest challenges, going to the worst school in NSW Australia, didn't help.  I was fortunate though to meet some excellent role mentors though.  I still struggle with communication and my old bad habits, however I try to improve it every day consciously, half of it is just listening and acting on your inner "golden compass", and tapering your response with genuine concern for the other person.  I need to apply it to all aspects of my life including my family.

A Place to Practice Communication
The Toastmaster Club is an excellent cheap way to learn and practice communication, it provides a safe haven to learn critical speaking, listening, non-verbal communication skills which benefits one in all areas of life.  I am 2 speeches away from completing my Competent Communication (CC) manual, I look forward to some of the other modules particular Story Telling.  Here is a personal testament that I can relate to.

Further to my note on my colleague, I was telling her that all elements of the Toastmaster CC manual was in the keynote speech by Obama above.  Obama uses body language and hand gestures, "pregnant" pauses, connection to the audience, personal stories and emotions, powerful descriptive vocabulary, pitch variation and tempo and so on.  Just watch the end of this speech on how he issues a call to action increasing the intensity of his voice and his emotion, with a powerful unifying message.

You don't need communications skills if we are all Mind Readers

Its a pity that Communication Skills are so neglected as a core competency for success almost everywhere.
 Communication cannot be taken for granted, unless we are all mind readers!  
Spend time improving this core skill, and it will reward you handsomely in the future in all aspects of life.  

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