The second key untaught skill


  • I’m not saying that these 3 skills are never taught, because you can certainly take numerous courses in a variety of flavors for all 3
  • However these 3 skills have largely been left out of the current education system, to the serious detriment of far too many people
  • My point here is not to put down the education system, but to aid in the uptake of these critical skills for the thousands/millions of people that they don’t come naturally too (and that’s the majority)

The second key skill: To communicate

  • In addition to the first key skill of failing, the skill of communicating is equally important since as humans, all we do is communicate (verbal communication is everywhere and every day, but as if often pointed out, non-verbal communication is even more significant)
  • I’ve attended networking events, worked with business owners, managers, students, met random strangers (intentionally and not), interacted with family, colleagues, friends, volunteers, and many other people that we all come into contact with
  • Few can communicate comfortably
  • We can all speak, but there is a big difference with being truly comfortable with one’s self and their own ability to communicate
  • Whether its a friendly conversation with a neighbor or someone responding to a question about their dream job, few people, 1. appear at ease, and 2. clearly define their ideas, stories, and thoughts
  • I’m sitting in a Starbucks right now in Vancouver and love to ‘people watch’ and am always amazed at how few people will make eye contact
  • The Starbucks is in Vancouver Canada, which sits nicely on the west coast of North America, a place where society doesn’t generally condone (nor encourage) interacting with fellow strangers
  • Culture plays a part, a big part at times, into how people communicate with one another and how open and friendly they are (Compare waiting in line in a coffee shop in New York or Toronto with queuing up in a coffee shop in Madrid or Florence and where you’d likely get into an interesting conversation with a stranger)
  • But its no reason to simply conform to the societal norm, especially when its not a positive one

Back to school

  • Culture certainly plays a part and there are a lot of factors involved here, however if children/teenagers (when we all had far less inhibitions) are encouraged to communicate, converse, collaborate, and explore their ideas and passions in an open and constructive environment (this doesn’t really exist yet, but it would be exciting to create/implement), they would be far less inhibited as adults and therefore more free to interact with fellow humans
  • Kids are often reprimanded for talking in class and conversing and sharing still play such a small part in the classroom (Bring on the field trips and group work and events)
  • Communication can happen in so many ways, and in so many new ways that haven’t yet been developed
  • I’m currently working with Desire2Learn’s ePortfolio tool which is a game-changer in the way it easily facilitates, promotes, and tracks sharing and feedback among various people; One of many effective ways to enhance communication, especially when technology is complemented by in-person interaction


World, different

  • There is too much competition, jealousy, and fighting going on in the world right now
  • A great deal of this can be overcome simply through better communication to reduce misunderstandings, false pretenses, and anger
  • We’re all human after all and we’re actually seeking things not so different from one another
  • I’m always somewhat amazed when arch enemies end up friends and their enemy status was based only on misunderstandings; What’s even more amazing (and sad) is that so much time, often years, are wasted for no reason
  • I saw Invictus recently which had a number of great scenes on breaking down barriers, but one small part that I really liked (which probably won’t get mentioned in any reviews) is just before the World Cup final between the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks; As they come onto the pitche, the All Blacks players look fierce and angry, however this demeanor is quickly disarmed and shifts to friendliness and grins when Nelson Mandela (with his big smile) shakes hands with each of them; Appearances serve a purpose, but they don’t always convey the true person inside


Practically speaking

  • Make eye contact and hold it (It’ll feel awkward at first) and then smile
  • I’ve talked about smiling before and its so under emphasized, under played, yet a powerful tool to enact positive change
  • I’m not going to go on here about smiling, but I challenge everyone to make it their daily mission to smile (nothing complicated) as much as possible; For those of you that need something specific and for those who would find this too difficult, make the effort to smile (big grin) at at least 3 people a day (morning, noon, and night); And do this for 21 days
  • Other than smiling, influence the education system by speaking to teachers, administrators, board members, and get them to bolster the communication that goes on in school (If you need ideas or specifics, talk to me and I’ll help you come up with a specific plan for your contact)
  • Take a course or courses on communication; With better communication comes better confidence, something that most people can use more of; With it automatically comes better and more opportunities, success, and happiness