I started thinking about communication for the first time when I read an article on the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) website. It was titled – hard case for soft skills.
In engineering research and product development, hard skills were the knowledge and application of technology ideas. The article emphasized the importance of soft skills or interpersonal skills – relating to people and communicating effectively.
It created awareness in me about developing my communication skills. It was the beginning of a journey. Little did I know then that it would be a journey filled with exciting stories and fun experiences. It expanded my horizons beyond any stretch of the imagination.
How have I used communication in my life and career?
- I use it every day with family, friends, colleagues, and customers.
- My communication skills are integral to the teamwork while working with teams that developed a range of products – manufacturing machines, telecommunications backbone systems, wireless phone systems, web technologies.
- Project and program management while working with teams from different disciplines and also countries.
- I enjoy articulating ideas and explaining them to others in marketing collateral development, customer presentations, and training. Positioning and packaging content so that it resonates with the audience is a fun experience. I get to combine my understanding of psychology, emotional intelligence, human relationships with the core value prop of the offering on the table. I learn from it every day – about myself and others.
- Sales training and support – the experience of engaging with customers and prospects has opened up a whole new perspective to communication for me. The journey of sales has developed my personality more than anything else.
- My seventeen years with the toastmasters - Preparing for the speaker presentations, practicing and giving them, thinking on my feet for table topics, giving/receiving constructive feedback with evaluations, planning, and running meetings, mentoring others has taught me to think differently. It showed me how to balance perspectives and how to lead smoothly.
- I do presentation workshops, seminars regularly.
- Running Youth Leadership Program and coaching 11 to 19-year-olds in public speaking, communication, and leadership. This coaching initiative has given me a balance that I never had; it sharpens my saw and brings a unique perspective to think about my communication.
What does it mean to me? What can I say about it?
For starters - I would say these three things:
- Communication is a matter of action - learn it by trying it, doing it.
- I have learned that being aware of my emotions and then controlling, channeling those emotions helps. I look for the cues as to how my message is received and adjust conversation, presentation, or speech to make that personal emotional contact. I strive to be a better listener every day of my life.
- It's worth my time and drive. It has had a huge, positive impact in every possible way that I could ever imagine. There are so many intangibles to it.
I think of communication as a journey of developing my brand. I look forward to sharing more on communication in my blog.