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Most people think communication is only for the office. They are wrong.
Most people think communication is opening your mouth and letting words tumble out in no particular order. They are wrong.

We use communication for every aspect of our lives. For it to be effective, it has to be purposeful and respectful. Communication is not only about words and speaking. It’s about listening, formulating thoughts that are easy to follow, pronunciation, self-talk, vocabulary, how you respond in any situation and many more elements.

Every time you open your mouth, you are creating an impression. What kind of impression are you giving? What kind of impression do you want to give? Think about it.

How you think about yourself is reflected in the words you use, the tone of your voice, your energy and enthusiasm levels. It reveals if you are confident, assertive, passive, subservient.

Is your communication matching your career goals or is there a disconnect? If you are not getting promoted or hired, it could be how you express yourself.

Ask for honest feedback from someone you trust and whose advice you value. Then start paying attention every time you speak.


Native Indians used smoke signals to send simple messages and the meanings were agreed upon in advance, they were pre-arranged. What was most telling about the messages was not the content but where the signal came from. Smoke signals were used to broadcast news of victory in battle, or to warn of sickness in the camp or danger such as approaching enemies.

Lesson #1

Their lifestyle wasn’t as hectic as ours yet their messages were concise. We need to be just as concise because our listeners don’t or won’t listen if we ramble or digress. Are you able to hold their attention and interest for the duration of your request, call or talk?

To be concise, truly listen, ask questions, know what you want to say and have the right words.

Lesson #2

They agreed in advance what the signals would mean so there would be no misunderstanding. They didn’t assume. They knew for certain. When you’re part of a team, do you ask questions to clarify, do you contribute in the discussion, do you actively participate? Or do you get your signals mixed up, assume or get flustered? Agreeing in advance requires you to truly listen, ask questions and have background information.

Lesson #3

Where the signal came from – for example hilltop or valley – conveyed most of the meaning. Where are your signals, messages coming from? Do you accept them without question? Are they from well-meaning, trustworthy sources? Don’t accept the message if it didn’t come from a ‘pre-arranged’ source. Also, what messages are you sending to yourself?

Lesson #4

Their survival depended on the smoke signals so those sending and receiving the signals had to be conscientious and reliable. Do you receive signals that broadcast good news or gossip and rumor? Are you enabling those who send out the latter? They are your ‘approaching enemies’ who can jeopardize your survival, your success.