Communication is a Superpower

Hello Friends!

If you’ve been around here for a while, you will definitely have heard me say at some point that Leadership is Communication. Communication with your team, and communication with yourself. I truly believe that good communication is what makes the world go round. 

Humans are the only species who communicate as effectively as we do. Other animals have rudimentary communication but no other species has real language like humans. This is really our superpower!! 

What’s interesting about communication is that nobody is born a supercommunicator. There is no personality type that is more likely to be a supercommunicator. It is literally all just learned skill. 

However, it is a learned skill. Left alone, a baby will grow to crawl and then walk. That is instinct. But without input, a baby won’t learn language. It has to be taught. And we DO teach children how to talk, how to read, and how to write. Yet how often are we teaching the skill of communication?? If you were lucky, you had someone role modelling it to and for you. But rarely is it actively taught.

In fact, according to the research, we are only using good communication skills about 30% of the time. 30%!!! Imagine only using a skill 30% of the time?!? 

Imagine if Superman only used his ability to fly 30% of the time. Instead of flying to save people in need, he walked. What a waste of energy. Of time and effort. Of possibility!! 

The thing is, communication is happening regardless – but what is being communicated is a function of how we communicate. And we unintentionally and often inadvertently give up that what by not actively choosing the how!


So how do we work on that how? According to Nancy Kline, the creator and pioneer who developed The Thinking Environment and author of Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind:

“Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first”.

It’s like the difference between reacting and responding, but on a much bigger scale: we need to think about how and what we communicate. Putting in the thought beforehand is going to level up your communication!


I came across Charles Duhigg and his book on Supercommunicators when I heard him interviewed both on Simon Sinek’s podcast and in the Ten Percent Happier podcast.
Duhigg learned that supercommunicators are those who “have thought enough about communication to know how to recognize what kind of conversation is happening and then match other people and invite them to match themselves so that we really feel connected to them.”
It is that element of connection that is what turns regular communication into a superpower, and as with Nancy Kline’s book on Thinking, it is the intention and the thought behind our communication that is what takes it to the next level.


So much of what I do in my role as a Speaker Coach is help my clients recognize that more is less. We spend hours crafting dozens of slides to back up our presentations, when we really only need 5. We spend countless minutes describing how we got to a decision/conclusion/idea, rather than just talking about what it is. We use up so much air time, without actually saying much at all.

A colleague of mine recommended the book Smart Brevity as an antidote to this. And it is brilliant! True to its title, the book itself is brief (only 214 pages, many of which are illustrations) and in fact you only need about an hour to read the book cover to cover. It opens with this fabulous quote:

Never in the history of humanity have we vomited more words in more places with more velocity. […] Be honest. You’re a prisoner to words. Writing them. Reading them. Listening to them.” 

As the authors write, “we’re taught that length equals depth and importance.” And that conflation has led to us prioritizing quantity over quality. 

We also “tend to think too much about what we want to say, versus what others need to hear”. Here here!! I’ve been saying this for years. Decades, in fact!

This book is a short, powerful manifesto on how to communicate better: 

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Compelling
  • Connected

Run out and read it now!! (Maybe I shouldn’t recommend this – I might be out of a job if everyone reads it?!? 😉)


It wouldn’t be a JNH Coaching newsletter without a reference to my favourite podcast, the Long and the Short of It! 😊

I also love an acronym. As the host of the Long and the Short of It said in a recent episode, an acronym is simultaneously an instruction, a check-list, and an action!  

Three amazing acronyms to promote better communication:

Don’t make important decisions if you are:


Before you open your mouth, ask yourself: Why AI Talking?

And don’t let yourself and your communication be influenced too heavily by the Fear of Other People’s Opinions


I’m not a huge fan of fantasy fiction, I think because I like to escape into a book and there is too much work to create a new world in my imagination?! That makes me sound lazy and very unimaginative I realize, but whatever the reason, fantasy is not usually my genre. 

And yet there are many fantasy novels I’ve loved. Come to think of it, maybe I need to re-evaluate my stated opinion. There’s actually a lot of evidence to disprove the theory that I don’t like fantasy. (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter!) But I digress. 😊

A friend gave me Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros and told me she was certain I’d like it, because she knew how much I had enjoyed both The Hunger Games, and Divergent, both of which are similar dystopian, sort-everyone-into-one-category stories set in worlds that need saving by young adults. I’m all for that! Fourth Wing adds dragons into the mix. I was hooked from page 1! Absolutely devoured it, and am currently reading the second book in the series, Iron Flame. (I do love a series! 😉).

So if you’re in the mood to dive into another world and be swept away in a great story, this is it!
[A personal appeal from me: despite the links, please do support your local book store if you can!]

If you’ve been thinking about leveling up your communication, I’ve got a few spots in my 1:1 coaching coming up in June & July. Let’s have a virtual coffee and see if one of them is for you!
We’ve had the wettest May in what feels like forever this year (according to the weather guru I follow here, Wetterochs, we’ve had more than double the rain usual for May). As someone who is primarily solar-powered, I am hoping for a different weather pattern in June! At least all those rainy days gave me time – and an excuse – to read more!
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, and hopefully lots of sunshine!

Be emotional. Stay healthy.



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