“You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Joel Osteen

Have you ever made a choice, and then found that what you said had been misunderstood, so that you got something other than what you wanted? More difficulties and trouble are  caused by poor communication, or by a lack of communication skills, than by almost any other problem.

Do concerns about your speaking or your writing make you hesitate to talk about your choices, even when you know what they are? Do you hesitate to speak up in meetings even though you know that you have good ideas? Do you worry that when you write, you will not be clear about what you intend to say? Or that people will assume that your ideas are poor because your writing is not the best?

Here are some of the communication stumbling blocks I have seen.:

Lack of confidence, hesitation, uncertainty, sounding unsure of oneself, hardly daring to speak up even when it is your turn.

Difficulty in getting your point across. This can happen in both the spoken and written word. Sometimes we don’t know where to begin. We may spend so much time setting the scene that we never get to the bottom line. Or we may think that, having presented our case once, explaining it again, and perhaps again, will make it clearer, when in fact the repetition just turns people off. If you need to learn how to present your case strongly and concisely the first time, I can help.

Difficulty with grammar and spelling. You may be the smartest person in the county, but if the ideas that you communicate in writing do not clearly showcase them, or are presented with grammatical and/or spelling errors, many people will fail to discover your brilliance. Your writing needs to be your best advocate even though in today’s culture appropriate language seems to be given less respect than in the past.

Speaking in public

If you are nervous about speaking in front of others, have spent much of your life being told to “pipe down,” and/or “speak up,” then one of the best organizations to help is Toastmasters International. (No, if you’re in the United Kingdom, not the folk in red jackets who charge money to MC your events. They, too, are called Toastmasters but I refer to the Toasmtasters International clubs that are springing up across the country, and have already sprung up in over 142 countries to encourage people in their speaking.) The atmosphere in a “TI” club is warm and supportive, most clubs meet twice a month, and, having been a member for the past 18 years I recommend them heartily. Check out Toastmasters International and look top right to find a club near you.

In addition to my TI experience, I have been certified as a World Class Speaking Coach. Some people prefer to work one-on-one, and if Toastmasters does not work for you I’d be surprised, but I will be happy to talk with you.

As for writing style, grammar, etc., this is often a slow process. I have over my years of teaching at the college level, worked with a lot of people whose writing skills were way behind their thinking skills. Some of them have since credited me with the fact that when they continued on to advanced degrees they appreciated how I had guided them.

If you would like to learn more about how I may be able to help with communication skills, feel free to contact me at my Contact page. (You may also want to check the “Communication” category of my previous blogs, in the right-hand sidebar.)