Why Everybody Can and Should Develop their Communication Skills

Seth Godin’s short article “Open conversations (or close them)” illustrates two important aspects of communication that should be developed for those wishing to improve their leadership potential. These are:

    1. That communication skills need to be developed both inside and outside the work environment to create links, influence or convince another individual.


    2. That any individual has the power to influence a situation to achieve a goal or to solve a problem.


In both situations, the speakers had the opportunity to control the conversation to influence its outcome but they fail to take it.


The salesman in the first situation decides to leave the client looking around the shop when he could have continued the conversation. This could have led to the creation of a potentially beneficial rapport for both the client and himself.


The client would have benefited by sharing his tastes about ties with the salesman, who could have assisted him in finding the tie that best suited his needs. He would have left the store happy, not only about his purchase, but also because of the fine service he got. On the other side, the salesman would have not only made one more sale, he would have also gained a loyal customer who would have remembered him for the good service he provided.


The second situation: the restaurant chef who inadequately responds to a client having voiced his discontent can also be seen as a lost opportunity to create a lasting link and to encourage loyalty.


An appropriate answer from the chef could have been to ask for feedback or to provide more information about the general quality of the food in the restaurant. He could have also given him a discount or have offered to make him visit the kitchen. The client could have left the establishment feeling that he did matter and that he did make a difference by choosing to express his discontent.


Also, he would probably been more inclined to go back.



Both situations show us that communication skills should be put into practice in any environment to turn around a bad situation or to increase the chances of making a sale or of achieving a goal.


This also counters one of the most common misconceptions on leadership: that it is a skill limited to a few talented individuals and that it can seldom be developed.


On the contrary, leadership is a skill that can be developed and improved by any individual, whether the chef of a high end restaurant or a salesman in a tie shop, as long as there is the will to do so.


© 2011 Edith Luc. All Rights Reserved.

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