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What many students think of “Communication”

by Christian Masset

· communication,public speaking

A few days ago, I was chatting with students at a local university asking whether they would enroll in verbal communication workshops. Their answers came with skepticism : “I am studying architecture”, “I am studying mechanical engineering”, “I am studying science”...

Why would students not immediately realize how important verbal communication is, for studies, at work and in daily life ? Is verbal communication such a dreaded subject ?

Within the heavy program school and university students have to absorb, communication is rarely part of the official curriculum, therefore, the assumption that it's after all, not that important.

Interestingly, human beings are natural “communicators”, whether by intent or by default. The difference is whether we always express what we really mean, in the way we deliberately choose, and in a climate of harmony.

Communication by intent is, the desired objective. The reality is somewhat different. Only rare individuals are natural, talented communicators. As for acquiring any skills, most of us have to practice consciously and get some form of training depending on our innate aptitudes. Some notions have to be explained and used, allowing individuals with poor dispositions to improve, and those with standard capacities to excel.

The training we have in mind is about human interactions. It is about relating and sharing in order to live and work in an harmonious way, while recognizing our individual differences. Another purpose is to explore, and explain, to bring clarity and fun, to replace the fear to speak by the joy of being listened to.

We all know, that for many, the most feared experience is to speak in public, ranking only second, after the fear of dying.

We aim at fostering self-confidence, social maturity, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, creativity, and even social responsibility. All intangible assets the community and companies could use, to face the many challenges of today.

It is now proven that skilled communication in the work place for instance, extends the scope of individual competence to a more inclusive and collaborative space: the famous “soft skills” HR departments of large companies are claiming to look for and groom, to sustain the corporate culture, staff retention, and probably ... the year end financial results too.

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