Maybe it has to do with the beginning of the school year? Maybe it is the change in seasons? Perhaps it is the end of ‘vacation time’ and the need to ‘get back to work.’ For many of us, the fall is a time to refocus and reset. I was reminded of that rhythm a few months back reading Martin Short’s funny, thoughtful book, “I Must Say.” Short puts it this way, “…I still operate according to the school-year calendar, where September heralds a new start and May/June the conclusion of another grade. I am finishing up what I think of as Grade 59.” I think Martin Short is probably not alone.
When a fresh start is before us, it should be energizing – an opportunity not to be overlooked. But what do we do with that new beginning? Can I suggest communication skill should be part of what we stay focused on as we begin the 2016/2017 year of learning, no matter what ‘grade’ you might be in.
Focus on what makes a difference: As I look ahead, I also consider what I’ve learned. You might think writing a book on communication means you no longer have a lot to learn on the topic, but the opposite has been true. After writing “There’s Not an App for That!” last year and spending some of this year talking about the topic, it has been a revelation. One of the biggest learning moments came around the idea that communication skill really is the difference maker for many of us. Your great idea has exactly no chance of moving ahead unless you or someone you know can explain the idea to a bigger group. If you are the person who has both a great idea AND the ability to explain it, you are golden.
Part of the reason for writing the book was to provide smart people some of the overlooked, yet critical tools designed to make them that unique individual who can do both. Do you know someone who needs a more balanced skill set? Get them the book. Force them to read it and incorporate the lessons. It can be a fresh start for them – leaving behind frustration and opening doors to the world where great ideas can really take off.
It’s the little things: I just received a note from a student who had heard me speak and her words rang true. “Little things I am starting to pay attention to are actually very big things.” Yes. Every day is a job interview. Look upon this fall as the time you pay more attention to dressing professionally, having something worthwhile to say in conversation and telling your story in a more compelling way. Are you an interesting person to meet, or just another face in the crowd? A strong social media presence is terrific, but what happens when people meet you? Now you are entering my world – the stuff I think about all of the time. This is not about vanity or self-importance, but instead it is about being your very best more and more often.
The leaves start changing. What about you? We keep moving ahead or we start moving back. Make better communication part of your plan and really work at it. It’s a little thing which makes a huge difference.
Follow along with Cary on Twitter @CaryPfeffer
Cary Pfeffer is the founder of ClearComm Consulting, www.clear-comm.net, a Scottsdale, AZ communications consulting firm that helps people tell their story. He works with clients to make the most of their media and live audience communication. Email him at: [email protected].