This article is excerpted from chapter one of Secrets of Great Communicators, a 6-lesson video based curriculum by Dr. Jeff Myers. This excellent homeschool and personal development course is one of a three-part series including Secrets of World Changers and Secrets of Everyday Leaders for all ages high school and above. They can be purchased in the Summit Bookstore.
Six Ways Communication Skills Help You Reach Your Dreams
In a complex and competitive world, people with excellent communication skills have a tremendous advantage over those without them. Most jobs—even so-called “unskilled” positions—require public speaking, and even companies hiring for jobs which focus primarily on technical skills increasingly hire candidates who possess strong communication abilities over those who do not. The Department of Labor asserts that seven out of ten jobs require good speech skills. Without clear communication, the world’s systems do not operate properly and cause great hurt. So, if you are willing to unleash your gifts and communicate dynamically with the world around you, six marvelous changes will occur in your life.
1. You Will Find a Stronger Sense of Purpose.
A fear common to a great many people is that they will not discover the purpose for their existence. They give up, convinced that life is meaningless, hopeless, and boring. Your life—and mine—should not be like that. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10).
Purpose emerges, in part, through action—we find our sense of purpose through trying lots of things. A person who knows how to communicate well and is willing to speak publicly will discover abundant opportunities. I have seen young people who develop communication skills start Bible studies, organize community activities, testify before legislatures, appear on television, conduct radio interviews, participate in press conferences, speak to community groups, and run political campaigns.
Through communication activities, you can develop a vision for the world around you, and ultimately for the things of God.
2. You Will Become More Aware of the World Around You
In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul calls us to “do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility to consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3-4). As you learn to communicate with greater impact, you become more sensitive to those around you and more aware of the significance of everyday events. Your heightened senses actually increase your intelligence and make you aware of possibilities you otherwise might never have dreamed exist, and the possibilities make the world more intriguing than ever.
3. You Will Become a Better Learner
Limited by the narrowness of their self-perceptions, unsuccessful people get stuck in a rut. Successful people, on the other hand, aggressively seek out opportunities to learn, to grow, and to improve their effectiveness.
Communication skills can really help you shine. Learning to communicate well verbally strengthens both your reading and writing skills. Stronger reading and writing skills, in turn, allow you to take in more information and to make better use of it. One study of college students noted that those who display the greatest mastery of words exhibit a higher level of scholastic ability than their counterparts, regardless of their department of study. Similarly, research with children shows that those who are given the opportunity to communicate orally and who are encouraged to use language as a tool to satisfy their curiosity develop a stronger foundation of language learning which ultimately helps them become better communicators. “My language is the limit of my world,” wrote philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. As you expand your communication ability, you will be amazed at the world of opportunities that open up to you.
4. You Will Become a Better Thinker
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation in which you did not know what to say? Have you ever thought of a retort or argument to use—three hours after the discussion was over? Good communication skills help generate structures in your mind to promote creativity. That means you become adept at “thinking on your feet,” quickly and accurately understanding a situation and formulating a response to it. Wouldn’t it be great to always know the right thing to say? Wouldn’t it boost your confidence if you knew you could improvise on your feet and give a great presentation? Communication skills move you down that road of self-assurance.
5. You Will Develop Greater Poise in Social Situations
People expect good communicators to know how to act in a socially appropriate manner. If your behavior is awkward and embarrassing, or if you are unsure of how to communicate your thoughts clearly, you are seen as unintelligent by your teachers and bosses. On the other hand, polished communication skills open doors throughout life. In his book Top Performance, Zig Ziglar reports that 85 percent of the reason a person gets a job, keeps it, and moves ahead in that job is people skills and people knowledge!
In my own life, I have noticed that the better I articulate my thoughts, the more people tend to view me as a leader. They take stock of what I say, and they say good things about me when I am not there. They also think of me for greater and greater opportunities. In short, they trust me. As your communication skills improve, you will find the same thing happening to you.
6. You Will Relate Better to Others
Communication skills connect us to our environment. People who “link-up” with their environment find it easier to relate to others and, therefore, enjoy smoother social interaction. Dozens of studies show that people who communicate well—regardless of social status and physical appearance—are more attractive to others.
“Being popular” may not be a major goal in your life. But consider this: people who are highly regarded by others are more influential. They can get people to work together. They can organize things. They can make progress toward their own goals and ultimately make life better for themselves and those around them.
Have you ever been frustrated over being unable to persuade a person of something important to you? Have you ever been discouraged at the state of things, wishing you could create change? Now is your chance to develop the skills to help you do just that.
When all six of these factors are taken together, communication training unleashes your potential and generates enthusiasm.