My Communication Toolkit

I’ve never been a handy individual — I have no idea how to use a hammer effectively, & I barely know what a screwdriver is for, but when it comes to interacting with other humans I am really rather skilled. I never used to be comfortable communicating: I was shy, awkward, & a bit backwards, to be honest. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, but that I was unsure of how to do it. Luckily, I’m a good actress. I faked it to make it, and eventually I faked it enough that I became it.

With a hammer, I’m all thumbs. With communication, I’m all ears. I’m a really good listener: an underrated communication tool. I don’t just wait for my chance to speak; I listen carefully & respond accordingly. Listening was a skill that helped me expand and uncover my other communication tools: listening to how others deal with situations taught me how to deal with situations of my own.

I’m a quick learner, and a critical thinker. I learn from others, but I don’t just emulate what they do: it’s not monkey see, monkey do. I apply my knowledge to my own personality, and my own situation, and figure out how I can communicate better as my own person.

Being a shy individual has made me incredibly self-aware & reflective. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It is what gave me difficulty in social situations (until I finally got over myself and gave social stimulation a chance), but it is also what made me choose the career path of a writer and also what made me decide to eventually start blogging — something that quickly became my favourite past-time.

Since I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a writer. Before I even fully knew what being a writer entailed, I’d decided that would be my path. Well, that or a ballerina — I also had no idea what that meant either, seeing as I’d never taken ballet. I wrote poems, and short stories, even essays, and I kept a diary religiously. Throwing down my thoughts on paper was invigorating. I loved to write, and I was good at it, too. My love of writing bled into my love of blogging, and before I knew it I had graduated from a personal diary and was airing my thoughts on the Internet for all to see. It was scary at first — I would be lying if I said freeing my thoughts on the world wide web didn’t give me some minor anxiety. But the positive feedback made it worth it. I started my blog over a year ago, and I have been updating it on a weekly basis for that entire time.

Setting a deadline like that for yourself and meeting it is no joke, trust me. Writing on a schedule is like an exercise routine: you have to train your brain the same way you train your body. Now, I never go a day without writing.

I can’t.

Putting pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) on a daily basis has polished one of my already exceptional communication skills into something I can really be proud of. Writing doesn’t make me anxious. Writing feels like coming home. Writing all the time has made me a better writer, and promoting my writing has made me a better overall communicator. Writing stories has made me better at telling stories. Sharing my experiences on my blog has made me more comfortable sharing my experiences in real life. Receiving validation from strangers on the Internet via comments, likes, and follows has made me more confident offline as well.

It’s crazy for me to think about, because I started my blog on a lark. I wanted a place to put my thoughts and now it is the most successful thing I have ever done. Not just successful in the sense of gaining followers, but successful in becoming a better person. It’s given me something to be proud of, and it’s made me feel accomplished. I started my blog searching for a boyfriend, and I ended up finding myself.

And I even kind of like that person.

That person is still shy, but she is comfortable enough to speak her mind. She has a killer sense of humour. She can accept a compliment gracefully. She is a good friend. She can make her own schedule, and actually stick to it — time management can be tricky, but you wouldn’t know that looking at the way she works. She’s a storyteller and a story-writer. She’s great with social media: she doesn’t tweet 21 times a day, but she doesn’t need to. She is slowly becoming an expert at promoting herself: business cards, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn. These things aren’t scary anymore; these things are second nature.This is the girl who could barely speak up in a group of people she knew well, but now she is declaring loud and proud: I am a writer.

I was always a good communicator, but my tools were just covered in dust. Starting up a blog and giving myself a chance to succeed made me dust them off and put them to work. I didn’t realize that my writing, or my critical thinking, or my ability to listen actively counted as skills. I hadn’t ever thought of them as things other people couldn’t do, but they are. Writing is my biggest strength, and since I started blogging it’s only become more effective. But it has also become more valued by me, because I’ve been made aware that I am special. I am different. I am powerful. What I do with words is really special, and the deeper I dig into my communication toolkit, the more special it becomes.

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