In this world where electronic communication is seemingly taking over, effective communication skills have become more important than ever. Have you ever asked yourself, “How much is the way I am communicating, or not communicating, costing me?” That’s the question Vinh Giang helps to answer for influential leadership professionals around the globe.
Posts by Vinh Giang
Interview with Ty Bennett and Vinh Giang
Ty: Why the focus on communication and what led you down this road?
Vinh: I think a lot of the times when we do the things we do, it's probably because of the impact it's had on our life. For me for a long time in my life. One of the things I do in my workshop is I show my students a video of me from about seven years ago. I freak out every time I look at it again. I can't believe that's how I used to communicate. What is really cool is I used to not want to show the students because out of, you know, pride but by showing the students, they kind of go “wow, you used to be really crap”.
It's cool because I didn't know that inspires them. For me, it changed my life in that I wasn't able to communicate to my parents effectively. I wasn't able to communicate to those I was working with, I wasn't able to express my value to love interest. Not being able to communicate well held me back so much as a magician as well. I lacked the ability to communicate well. I didn't realize how much I was missing out on. Only in hindsight, is that so painfully clear. Every time I play that video, there's a moment in the workshop I'm kind of inspiring myself to teach even more because of how much I realized. Now having the luxury of having students and the videos that they send me, you know, a year down the track or two years down the track, I go back and I dig up the old videos. It just inspires me so much to do what I do know, because seeing that transition is unreal.
Ty: Yeah, I think it affects all of us, right? Communication is such a universal skill to develop. I often find that people think it should be natural, right? You have a young son and I've got kids, and it’s not a natural skill. You have to develop that. You have to have to work on that. One of the great points that I've heard you make before that I think is maybe a good way to kind of kick this off is, is, regardless of how good you are, how proficient you are at what you do, let's say that you're a great leader, and you have the knowledge, the skills, the competency, that the way that you're perceived will be in direct proportion to the ability you have to communicate that value. Do you want to speak to that a little bit?
Vinh: The way I summarize that is: you may be a 10 out of 10 at what you do. But if your ability to communicate is a 2 out of 10, people don't perceive you to be a 10 out of 10. People perceive you to be a 2 out of 10 and you're only as good as you can communicate. Just like you said, I think in a lot of organizations, as we travel and speak Ty, we both know as speakers that we see so much potential out there in the audience. That potential is not being realized, because the audience hasn't been taught how to improve their ability to communicate. So as we look out into the audience, there's plenty of people who are sitting at a 9 out of 10, 8 out of 10, 10 out of 10. But because their ability to communicate is at 2 or 3 out of 10, the potential is not being realized. As they improve their ability to communicate, they renew their potential.
How many people are sitting there in boardroom meetings, not voicing their thoughts, their opinions and their ideas? How many people in team meetings are not sharing their thoughts on how things could be better? Not because they don't know how things could be better, but rather because they're either either afraid to voice their thoughts and feelings or they don't know how. Maybe the last time they tried to voice an idea they couldn't do it properly. I didn't know how to do it well and then got shut down because of it. So to me when people talk about, oh, there's so much potential here, I think the pragmatic version is literally what we just spoke about. That as we improve their ability to communicate, we improve their ability to collaborate, share ideas, and to help improve the business.
Listen to the full episode here!
Communication skills are near and dear to my heart. Why? Because they quite literally changed my life. At an early age, I decided to invest in my future by building an online company that could teach magic tricks. I also wanted to become a professional magician. Mom and Dad were thoroughly disappointed that I did NOT become a doctor or an accountant as you can imagine.
Up until this point, I believed, like many magicians, that if we become technically brilliant at something, we become wildly successful. It wasn’t until I learned to couple technical dexterity with powerful communication skills that I was able to fully expand and realize my potential.
All of a sudden I was winning awards for my magic, and for entrepreneurship. I felt a level of success I hadn’t felt before -- and (this is the good part) -- I found LOVE.
When I met my wife, I saw her in a bar and I decided to talk to her. I used technical skills - I had a pack of cards with me. I walked over to her and am about to speak when I lose all my confidence. In a terrible, strangled voice I said, “Hello. Would you be impressed if I transform this King of Hearts into the Queen of Hearts like you?”
And she says, “I'd be more impressed if you transformed yourself into a real man and had a conversation with me.”
Communication Skills NOT Technical Abilities are Important
Message received. No, thank you. It's five weeks later and I remember communication skills are key. Not technical abilities. I go to the same bar every Friday just to try to see her again. Months later she was there. So this time I changed my approach. I said, “Hi. Would you be impressed if I transform myself into a real man this time and took you out for a coffee?”
What is lovely about that is I married that girl. So now you can see, the reason why communication is so dear to my heart, is that it's fundamentally changed my life. I've decided to dedicate my life to teaching people to be better at communication skills. I teach leaders how to use their voice. I teach everyone how to use their voice. In whatever you do, you have to know that you are the power behind the power. Do not feel fear when it comes to exploring how to use your voice or when it comes to learning how to use this instrument. As you learn how to use this instrument, your voice will grow and you will expand your potential. I hope that by the end of all of your lives, you'll play many beautiful songs so that you live full, and you die completely empty with no music left.
Why are communication skills so important? Why is it so important for leaders to train their “leader's instrument”?
I was super fortunate to be able to speak at the CFO summit for LinkedIn. It was really cool speaking for LinkedIn, because it's one of the platforms that I use to produce a lot of content. LinkedIn has definitely helped me create the lifestyle and speaking career that I have now. I spoke to the leaders there on a very specific topic: why it's important that leaders learn how to master effective communication skills.
Here is what I told them…
There are three reasons why communication is so important and how to improve your communication skills.
The first reason why strong communication skills are so important is: you’re only as good as you can communicate.
As you improve your ability to communicate, you reveal potential to others and you're able to amplify the best parts of who you are.
When we communicate our ideas or our vision, and people don't buy into that idea or that vision, the reason isn’t because it was bad. It’s because our ability to communicate that idea or vision is bad.
When you improve your communication skills, it allows you to amplify the best parts of who you are. That's what makes you a successful communicator.
The second reason is, as a teacher, when I run my workshops, I tell my students the following:
“I see all of you in the audience as an island, you're one person on their own island, every single one of you. It's quite tragic and lonely, I know. Depending on how well I can communicate, I build a bridge to you. If I communicate poorly, then my bridge is small and tiny, and the amount of value that I can transport is minimal. Whereas if my ability to communicate is strong and powerful, I can build a very big strong bridge and the amount of value I can deliver across that bridge to you is enhanced.”
When we think about collaborations, the stronger the bridge, the more value I can transport across when we collaborate. Therefore, collaboration is enhanced when communication skills improve.
And the final reason is that as leaders, you often need to get others to do the work you need them to do. This is the key instrument we use to connect with others.
When others connect with our vision, when they connect with our message; they give you their own. Yet this instrument we've never been taught how to use.
When you book me for a keynote, you have the opportunity to also book my breakout session - Creating Communication Magic. Here is where I teach your audience the skills to use their greatest instrument - their voice.
I had to learn this one the hard way, but luckily my singing teacher taught me this little trick to remove the frustration out of my voice!