“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer
Everyday we communicate or rather we talk. Whether it achieves the intended outcome may not be certain but we do pass some information from one end to the other. In writing this piece, I am hoping I get to communicate the power of communication and how it’s a human superpower and I hope you get to decode the message to make sense of it. That’s the basic goal of communication: ensuring the message being relayed gets relayed in the right form and format to the ultimate recipient who then deciphers the intended meaning and acts accordingly. If this happens, we’ll have mastered the art of communication.
Communication is our superpower. As human beings we are able to converse and influence others to align with our agenda. Great community, civil and social movements have drawn upon the power of human communication to mobilize individuals to align with their course. In the climate change arena we vividly remember Greta Thunberg, the Swedish Activist who went all out for environmental conservation. Her power and ability to convey her message in a compelling way and with a concise argument made it draw others to support her mission. The very same communication took Obama to the White House from community organizing through Senate to Presidency. With all this, the question we then need to ask is what these individuals have been doing right that we need to emulate. Once we know that we’ll be good to go.
I recently saw in an animation clip aimed at challenging fake news that before you believe anything; ask yourself the source, why they are communicating it and what they want you to do with that information. If you can identify these then you’ve gotten through the initial phase. In communication, you for one need to have your facts right depending on the circumstances and the nature of communication. Once you are equipped with information, encode the message in a coherent and intelligible format. Ask yourself what the hook will be in your message, can you appeal to their emotions to be inclined to listen to you more. Once you’ve got this attention, tell them the importance of aligning with your cause and finally your ask. Any communication that expects something of another without a clear ask is as good as not being made.
Oh! In one of my interactions with a friend today I realized that often times we fear making our ask to whoever it is we want to do something for us to the point of not talking at all. On the same note, often times we find individuals who make an ask like they don’t mean it. If you don’t believe in your ask then there is no reason for me to believe in your ask. It means I won’t play ball. That’s how you lose my support. Before you ask for anything, believe in it to the point that you can write a thesis on why it is important that the recipient acts the way you want them to. Once you can do this, then make the ask. To add to this, don’t assume that the recipient understands what you mean because often times they don’t and if they do, chances are that there are some background noises based on previous interactions that may cloud their judgement making your suffer the consequence of something you know nothing about. Go all in and win or lose with your head high over your shoulders.
You are endowed with a gift and a superpower in the form of language and the power to communicate. Use it the best way you can. Lose not that you didn’t communicate but because it was beyond your abilities after doing all you had. As I was reading Shoe Dog, I came by this quote on Pre, one of the first athletes that Nike signed up as a brand ambassador and he had only one philosophy in his life:
“Somebody may beat me but they’re going to have to bleed to do it… Sure there will be a lot of pressure. And a lot of us will be facing more experienced competitors and maybe we don’t have any right to win. But all I know is that if I go out and bust my gut until I black out and somebody still beats me, and if I have made that guy reach down and use everything he has and then more, why then it just proves that on that day he’s a better man than I.” – Pre as narrated by Phil Knight, Founder – Nike