We all have a communication toolbox — a set of skills we use to convey what we’re trying to say in our writing and speaking.
I started mine when I was a kid.
From a young age, my dad expected my twin and me to each turn in weekly communication reports to him. As you may imagine, I did not particularly like doing these assignments.
The good news — we could report on anything: a book, a play or a poem, someone famous, a philosophy or concept we weren’t familiar with, etc. The bad news was they had to be turned in each Sunday, week after week, year after year.
Here were some of the earliest tools that found a secure place in my communication toolbox, which I use today in my work on behalf of TSN clients – and I’m guessing are similar to yours:
Writing a report at the last minute can be stressful.
Throughout school I carried a heavy schoolwork load and was on a local sports team. Not to mention friends, hobbies, chores, etc. Efficiency was needed if I wanted to get these reports done, too. A little planning went a long way. Grown-up lesson: Manage time wisely.
There’s writing, and then there’s rewriting.
I usually did just enough to keep my dad happy, but sometimes I went all out — and realized I’d created something extra special simply with words and effort. Then it wasn’t about meeting my dad’s expectations but my own. Grown-up lesson: There’s no such thing as writing, only re-writing.
When bored, turn to fun.
The reports were actually kind of fun (and memorable) on topics I found interesting. When reporting on something that confounded me, I learned to be creative, such as developing a word find, crafting a haiku or even writing a silly rhyming song about the topic. Grown-up lesson: Imagination is often stronger than knowledge.
What’s in your communication toolbox?