I had the good fortune of being able to speak in front of 75 students at the local high school. First-year students i.e. about 9 months into a 3-year programme. The topic was world-class communication. What does it take ? Is is within reach? Why should they worry about communication – worldclass?
After the event one of the teachers used the phrase “There is a culture of silence – that is why students are reluctant to react to questions from the speaker” and she was right. It took some time for students to react – but with a little patience – no problem.
Generally the students were a great audience. Attentive, curious and alert. They wanted to know. And they clearly bought into the key message: “You should take an interest in communication – worldclass – because you will have a more interesting high school life, you will get better results i.e. better grades and you will get more influence, power and make more money. Good arguments that anyone wanting to get ahead might want to take note of.
“They will change a lot over 3 years” the teacher said – and I totally agree. Lots will happen when students are in good hands over time. And I am confident that at the end of the 3 years they will have broken the culture of silence and be much confident owning a stage.
Only to find out that once they start working later in life – say in their late 20s – they will discover the reemergence of the culture of silence – meaning that many companies struggle with an open dialogue among equals about issues that matter. Speaking up in front of others, making others listen, engage, inspire and motivate. Actually it is a lifelong process which needs constant care and attention.
A key point with the students as with any audience I work for. If you go for world class communication – it takes a decision. You MUST decide: “I want to be a worldclass communicator” The rest is training. Tough training to get you there. Daily practice where you are pushed by yourself, your surroundings and best of all a professional coach, advisor or consultants with effective tools to optimize your training.