Experts are often poor speakers

It is not the first time that someone is writing on this subject. I was going through one such work by Conor Neill that inspired me to write this article. Basically, this is one of those situations that we encounter frequently in our daily life. But people often seem to be ignorant about the reality. Seldom they show interest in improving the situation for themselves.

Let me give you an overview. Here, we are going to discuss on two distinct attributes of human capability. The first one is Skill, i.e. the competence or talent which is a primary requirement to be fulfilled for a job or role. It may be operational, functional, technical, etc. The second and the most ignored one is Communication. Though, from our early infancy we start our life with an effort to establish communication with others around us, we hardly invest much, later in our life, to improve it further. Whereas we invest in abundance on acquiring skills which generally has quite limited usage. i.e. in terms of lifespan and area of significance. In contrast communication is required in every phase in our life irrespective of place, time and people.

So, since you have already read up to this point and are still feeling interested, let us spend a few more minutes in understanding some of the dynamics around the importance of communication in building our career, I mean any career. I am taking help from a simple 2X2 metric below to elaborate on this subject. In the horizontal axis we are measuring the competence or talent, so towards the right, the person will have higher level of skills. On the vertical axis we are measuring ability to communicate. So, towards the top it will indicate a better communicator. This gives us broadly four quadrants as shown below.

In the 1st quadrant there are people who have low skills and they are equally poor in communication. This happens due to various reasons, I am not digging deeper into that, but the society and the government takes care of them. Then in the 4th quadrant we have the extreme contrast to the 1st, i.e. there are people with high competence, and they are also masters in communication. They are rare but the society takes good care of them. They do very well in their lives.

The problem comes with the 2nd and 3rd quadrants as there are imbalance between levels of competence and ability to communicate well. In the 3rd quadrant we have people who are very good at communication, so brilliant that they seem to be as good as the experts are supposed to be, but actually have less or no competence. These are the charlatans, the inauthentic ones, who oversell and underdeliver. They will promise something but will never be able to keep them as they do not have the required skills to fulfil that. They look good but deliver a mess. These are the most dangerous section of people who must be kept away from the system. We must learn to identify them and avoid getting into their plot. They bring no benefit to any enterprise or the society.

Now the people in the 2nd quadrant. In fact, they are the purpose of writing this article. Those who are high in competence, the true experts in what they do or what they are, but they are low on the ability to communicate well. They should do well, we should trust them, give them important works to do, the opportunity to apply their expertise. But unfortunately, the society gives so much value to the ability to communicate well, that they end up doing terribly. The problem is that there are so few 4s in the world, that most of the good communicators we come in contact with frequently, are the fakers, i.e. the ones with no competence (3s). And the 2s, being experts, easily figure out the fakes in what the 3s say. That there is no real content behind their versions, they are shallow, yields nothing. So, it appears to the 2s that the good communication is the faker’s business and they better indulge into improving the competence they already have, paying no regards to the ability to communicate well. This mindset puts them further deep into trouble. Unfortunately, the path from 2nd to 4th is through the 3rd zone.

Unless you are naturally good at communication, you have to learn a bit of the art of faking things, to act, bring a flavour of theatre in your gestures and voice until you become the true you. By doing this you will not be a faker as your work will have substance behind it, that will also yield results. The only point is through your words you have to penetrate the mind of the audience, which will bring more opportunity to apply your expertise and generate more benefits to the enterprise and society. Gradually you will become your own self and you will not need to act any more. It will come in your natural flow and you will win every game of life. Olivia Schofield, a well-known executive coach and keynote speaker says, "An actor is an expert at being someone else. A speaker is an expert at being themselves.". Here the 2s have to be the Actors first. Once they have mastered the art of speaking, they will no more need a script to speak, mind the gestures, improvise the voice. Instead, everything will come naturally to them.

No doubt, I like the 4s. I am interested in 2s. I see many of them daily around me. and want to help them in the best of my capacity to make them grow as 4s. They deserve it. I also have empathy for the 1s. I do like to help them as well in whatever way possible. I have seen the 3s in abundance in every segments of the society. I pity them. I wonder why they don’t put the minimum efforts to improve on competence. That's a mystery to me!

What do you think about these 4 quadrants? Please put your thoughts in the comments!

Disclaimer: The views shared in this article is completely based on personal observation and understanding, not intended to hurt or promote anyone!

PS: This article can also be viewed in Medium


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