I’m often asked when I’m invited for interviews or podcasts how I got to where I am today. Like all of us, there are a number of driving factors and influences that guide us throughout our lives. However, I frequently think of my father, who was a professor of linguistics. He had the unique ability to bring his subject matter to life. It always comes back to communication!
I never forgot the way that he did that and how it made me feel as a pupil and a son. I knew then, as I know even more today, I wanted to be able to bring that same ability and passion into whatever I chose for a career. How grateful I am to have had that kind of example in my life – to learn and understand, early on, the importance of effective teaching, coaching and leadership.
That’s the impact good communication can have – on your family members, co-workers, strangers, etc. Good, effective communication is like a fine cheese, chocolate, wine – whatever your preference. You know it when you taste it, when you come across it. It differentiates itself from all other kinds and it leaves you wanting more and remembering the experience.
This is what I experienced early on in my career. I witnessed there was something that set executives apart – beyond just their title. There was a presence – an executive presence – that they possessed. Before they said a word, their body language communicated an intensity and sense of purpose. When they spoke, it was with passion and conviction. They opened meetings with themes that grabbed our attention. They closed meetings with strong calls to action that inspired us to exceed their expectations. People hung on their every word. Whether they knew it or not, they were some of the best teachers I ever had.
Since they were too busy to directly teach guys like me, I watched and studied their every move and mannerism. All day people were in presentations, either giving or receiving information. Success, in my mind, seemed dependent on a person’s ability to communicate ideas with passion and conviction — inspiring those around them by establishing both trust and enthusiasm. I realized that if I didn’t figure out how to significantly improve my communications skills, I’d be stuck where I was at— with little hope of advancement.
One thing I know for certain: despite evolving management theories, differing corporate cultures, and various product lines, there is a common thread that weaves its way through today’s economy: the top jobs go to the most compelling communicators.
Learn how to become an effective communicator and leader – start mastering the 10 Commandments of Great Communicators here.