In last month’s life lesson, I said “Every tool you need to be an effective communicator is in your toolbox today. No matter who we are, no matter what our circumstances, it’s time to learn to use that toolbox.“
So, why is it so important to open up our toolbox?
Because the ability to communicate effectively is the most important skill we can develop.
Let me repeat that, because it’s the most important message you can hear: The number one skill of every leader, lawyer, salesperson, executive, preacher, teacher, parent, and lover is the ability to effectively communicate with others.
Are you in sales? Gotta communicate effectively. In management? Not for long, if you can’t communicate well. Teaching, preaching, parenting? All call for effective communication skills. There isn’t a skill you can name that is more critical to your success, to your happiness, even. And that’s true no matter who you are. No matter how you spend your day. No skill I can think of is used more often, in more ears of our lives. Or causes more problems when we don’t do it well
It’s a money skill. A relationship skill. A success skill. A growth skill.
Can you tell I’ve got a passion for effective communication?
For more than twenty years now, my wife, Pat, and I have been in the business of conveying our passion to people all over the world. After leaving broadcasting and spending a number of years as a professional speaker, I realized there was more I wanted to do. More she and I were called to do, if you want to know the truth. So we began teaching others what we’d learned about effective communication. We founded the Excellence In Speaking Institute (ESI), and it’s been the most rewarding experience we’ve ever had. Because we get to watch people transform themselves.
Pat and I pass on what we’ve learned to executives and sales associates, bank chairmen, politicians, small business owners, attorneys and doctors, representatives of nearly every calling, in every state in the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Overwhelmingly, our alumni tell us that better communication skills improve their lives on every level, in every arena. Even when they think they’re already good communicators.
Here’s an example.
One of our graduates is a minister. He came to us at a time when he was considering leaving the ministry. He wasn’t reaching people the way he’d expected; he wasn’t making the kind of difference in people’s lives that he believed he’d been called to do.
So he came to us as sort of a last-ditch effort. Next step, a new career.
He experienced three days of re-learning the critical tools he’d been using for fifteen years. At the end of the session, when we asked if anything he’d heard had helped, he said, I’ll let you know after my next sermon on Sunday.”
The phone rang Sunday afternoon. Our minister friend was excited. Fired up. Said he had decided not to leave the ministry after all. Using the simple tools he’d always possessed but now knew how to use more effectively, he had experienced a huge difference when he delivered his sermon that Sunday morning. People had responded to the alter call in greater numbers than he’d ever seen after one of his sermons. People were talking about his message with enthusiasm. He had connected with his congregation, using the one tool in his toolbox that he’d been ignoring each time he stepped into the pulpit before – eye contact.
“I was always taught not to look anyone in the congregation in the eye,” he said. “All of us, in seminary, were taught to look over the heads of the congregation.
“But you told me to look people in the eye. You gave me techniques for making everyone in the congregation feel as if I was looking directly at them, which makes each one feel as if I’m talking directly to them.”
He looked them in the eye. He connected with them. He created what we call one-to-one intimacy. Simple tools. Effective communication.
He had the toolbox. He just needed some direction in how to use it more effectively.
You’ve got the toolbox, too. Are you ready to use it as effectively as possible? Are you prepared to open that toolbox and create greater success in every area of your life, personal and professional?
Another of our successful graduates is a petite woman in what was traditionally been a man’s industry – finance. Now, this woman was as sharp as they come in the financial arena, but her size was making her easy to overlook. She was under five feet tall, weighed less than a hundred pounds. So commanding authority was an uphill struggle for her.
When she first came to us, her size had also made her appear shy. But with our coaching, she learned to carry herself effectively, to create a sense of power in the way she stood and gestured and made eye contact.
Today, she is a giant in her industry.
This isn’t just a wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to-have skill. It’s a money skill, a relationship skill, a negotiation skill, a power skill, an exchange skill.
It’s a million-dollar skill.
I tell people that all the time, and I believe it. But the truth – the Truth with a capital T – goes much deeper than that. Effective communication skills are the path to a more richer, more rewarding life. Family, friends, career – all will be enhanced when we can communicate more effectively.
Of course, maybe you already earn all the money you want. Maybe you’re content without a promotion, without a higher degree of job security. Maybe you don’t care if you and your spouse reach an agreement about the direction your lives are taking. Maybe motivating your neighborhood association to adopt your vision for the community doesn’t interest you at all.
Or maybe you’re ready for greater success in every area of your life.
Maybe you’re ready to walk out of your comfort zone and become the best speaker, presenter, teacher, the best communicator you can be. When that happens, I promise, you’ll suddenly find yourself being asked to take leadership positions. You’ll find people turning to you when they want guidance or action or inspiration. You will find that every area of your life is enriched, is more satisfying, both professionally and personally.
That is a promise.
When I interviewed Gloria Steinem, she said something I’ve never forgotten about the power of effective communication skills: “It’s the fastest way to be recognized. You will be singled out and carried on the shoulders of others, all the way to the top.”
Come on, open your toolbox. Let’s get busy.
If you’re serious about advancing your skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes are filling up quickly so don’t delay! Visit this page to read feedback from our graduates about their experience.