One of my highlights of this month has been presenting to a group of young people in Bedfordshire. The attendees have all faced adversity and are currently out of work, training or education. In attending the course, which is organised, funded and led by Kriss Akabusi, they are taking action to turn things around.
Harness your Communication Superpowers
I invited the group to consider how they could use their skills, interests and values to help others as well as themselves. Sparking up a conversation may seem overwhelming, but we can communicate with every action. Eye contact, a smile, holding open a door or getting an item from a higher shelf, which someone is unable to reach, are all forms of communication.
These actions show that you care and that you are engaged. They tell the other people quite a lot about your character and can make quite an impression. They also make you feel good and help to build confidence in other aspects of communication.
Breaking Down Barriers to Success
In the activity prior to my talk, the attendees created vision boards. These were full of images of their goals and aspirations; the careers and lifestyle choices they would like to work towards. They were pinned up on the wall.
The next task was to write the factors that were holding them back and preventing them from working towards those goals onto cardboard boxes. These boxes were stacked in front of the vision boards to form a barrier. The course aimed to help the young people to break down these barriers so that they can realise success.
We all have barriers in the way of our dreams. When we work out what they are, we can decide whether we have the drive to tackle them. This often involves stepping out of our comfort zone, taking risks and committing to hard work. It also involves challenging our own perception of what we are capable of.
Who do I need to Communicate with?
One barrier that really caught my eye was ‘Hanging around with the wrong people’. The individual who wrote this had recognised that the people that they were communicating with were not the ones that were going to help them achieve their goals.
This really got me thinking. We are all comfortable speaking with the people in our peer group, but if we want things to change, we need to find ways to communicate with others. As an example, the management team that wants to improve customer service can come up with fantastic ideas, but unless they effectively communicate with staff at all levels, their vision will not be realised.
I have my own public speaking aspirations. I tell my friends and family all about it and they offer words of encouragement, but they aren’t necessarily the right people to help make it happen.
Having been given Kriss Akabusi’s details at a business networking event, I had to be brave and put aside any thoughts of doubt. I had to take a deep breath and get in touch. It was a leap out of my comfort zone, but within weeks he had invited me to present at this event. I’d communicated with the right person to help me take a step towards achieving my aspirations.
Communication Skills Training
Communications Skills Training often focuses on what you say and how you say it. From now on, I will be giving equal weight to who you communicate with. It is our interactions with the right people that can really make a difference.
If you would like to find out more about communication skills as part of Customer Service Training, or are seeking public speakers for your event, please get in touch on 01296 596958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.