By Kevin Eikenberry
So, did my headline makes you wonder? That was my hope.
Maybe you are guessing what that one skill is.
Perhaps you are thinking I am pretty presumptuous to suggest I know the most important skill you need. After all, I don’t know you, your experience, or what you do for a living.
This skill is so ubiquitous that it doesn’t matter what you do, where you live, how old you are or what your present skills are. Unless you live on a desert island, or in a cave all alone with no internet and no interest in ever seeing or interacting with another human being, this skill is critical to your success – and even your survival.
The skill is communication.
Since you don’t live in a cave or on a desert island (or if you do, you at least have an internet connection), you are and will interact with others. Therefor, your ability to communicate your wants, needs, ideas, desires, plans, and approaches will impact the results you get – both in the short and long term. And however you want to measure it, building these skills is nearly a sure bet to increase your success.
And because we can all communicate with some level of proficiency, we forget this important fact. We search for missing keys and success secrets in many places – from the practical, like building our technical skills, to the mental, like therapy, to the spiritual, like finding our passion, and much more. The fact is, the biggest secret isn’t a secret at all, it is right in front of us. While any or all of these other paths or secrets may be of great help, without increasing our ability to communicate effectively, tactfully, and persuasively, we put a limit on our satisfaction and success.
Perhaps a more accurate title for this piece would be – The Level of Your Success Depends How Much Of This Skill you Have.
However effective you are as a communicator, you can improve. You can build your skills, you can acquire better habits and as you do, you become more effective with those around you. So whether you view success as great relationships, being a great parent, or making a difference at work or in your community, your communications skills are right there impacting every moment of your efforts.
Communication Skills are Life Skills
So I have already covered this point, but let me be clear – as you increase your ability to communicate in one area of your life, you take those new skills and habits to all other parts of your life. This means you will have a massive and immediate return on your investment and effort in becoming a more effective and confident communicator.
Communication Comes in Many Forms
As you have been reading, you have likely been thinking about one type of communication – perhaps one you know you need to improve, or even one that is a current strength. Whichever that is, be it written, face to face, over the phone, non-verbally, in a group, or presenting in front of a large group, they all matter and improving any or all of them can have a positive impact on your life.
Communication is Interconnected to Everything
Think about anything you do, and you realize that communication is a part of it. When you are with others you are always communicating and you really can’t stop. Given that nearly everything you do during your day is impacted by your effectiveness as a communicator, as you get better at it, everything seems to improve all at once.
Communication is a Hinge
One of my favorite quotations, which I first heard from a mentor of mine is: “little hinges swing big doors.” Your ability to effectively communicate is a hinge. As you communicate better, you will literally open bigger and bigger doors for your future. Consider it like as massive leverage for your future success.
If you are still reading, you agree with me in at least some way, and chances are you want to be a more effective communicator. If so, I congratulate you on that choice. Your next step is to determine how you will improve your skills. There are many ways to do that, including, reading a book, getting some coaching, observing and emulating others, asking for feedback, taking a skills assessment, or taking a workshop.
Here are two good places to start:
Wherever or however you start, start. Your future success and happiness depends on it, and you are worth it.