Back in my childhood, nursery and preschool was a luxury. So primary school is the first education system I have gone through. From primary up until high school, there was no mention of the system's communication skills. Dozens of teachers crossed our paths we identified them as good or evil at the time. In hindsight, we can locate them in the following four-type matrix:
· a good person, but lousy communicator,
· good person, and a good communicator,
· bad person but good communicator,
· bad person and a terrible communicator.
In the above matrix, one can fit a lot of people. She might locate her spouse or parents in the first category; they are intrinsically good people who love her dearly, yet they cannot communicate their love in the best efficient manner to her. In the third category, he can fit his boss at work who is Machiavellian and politically savvy and communicates her subtle desires efficiently and convincingly. In the fourth category, she can hold her colleague or neighbor who is ill-intentioned and projects his maliciousness in the most destructive manner possible.
When I joined the university, "communication skills" was an extraterrestrial term. I landed at my first job and started to hear for the first time the word "communication skills" during the appraisal session. I was taken aback. I muttered, "what utter nonsense that is to judge me on those soft skills," and forget all technical capabilities." Little did I know about the implications of "soft skills."
I started the journey of delving into the products of the self-help industry. Not having a mentor or a leader to look up to or directly guide me in life, I had to rely on myself. Books were the only sources. I read many books on public speaking, time management, positive attitude, communication skills, teamwork, leadership, and management. I spent years learning these materials. After every setback I faced, I thought the solution to the situation must be in some books I did not put my hands on yet. How come cannot I muster and apply all those ideas in the books I read. I kept reading these kinds of books repeatedly. Meanwhile, several confrontations, conflict, arguments, and criticisms took place at the workplace and were all attributed to the same reason: you need to work on your communication and people skills!
"Communications skills" is not an item on a checklist of your appraisal or features as a public speaker, author, or consultant. It is not attribution. It is not a technical skill that can be harnessed by a course or a couple of books. It is not soft skills or even hard skills. It is not something to be practiced and mastered at work to win the colleagues' and decision-makers' hearts and minds for promotion or make everyone loves you while being a jerk with your family, friends, and beloved ones.
Communications skill is not confined to the workplace, families, or friends.
Our communication is our life.
Communication is not only about conveying love speech, compassion, or agreement. It is about the art of expressing disagreement, criticism, and extent of suffering without causing suffering and disruption to the connections among those who were involved.
Communication skills start with communication with ourselves, our ideas, beliefs, feelings, idols, and God.
Communication skills are both a mindset and lifestyle.