If you do not SPEAK or WRITE well, then you most certainly are dead. Here’s why.

If you do not SPEAK or WRITE well, then you most certainly are dead.
~ Onyait Odeke

Life depends on being able to communicate and better still, communicate effectively. From the time a baby is born, it attempts to communicate in various forms and when they learn to talk, you sometimes want them to shut up for just a second. The premise for my assertion is that life depends on communication and us being able to understand each other. Communication is either visual or auditory. In the course of your life, you will receive instruction (verbal or written) you will be required to interpret it and then react to it based on the instructions given.

In school we are required to write exams or present or defend a case or an argument in class all of which requires that you speak or write well. When you see that girl who makes your heart go Budoom Budoom, except you have some intelligent and witty things to say, (verbal or written)  you may be winking in the dark for a while. When you go for that job interview and they ask you why you think you are the best candidate for the job, you better say something convincing or else you will on the streets for a while. When you have to negotiate (whatever it is) a business deal or even bride price regardless of what personality you are, you need to be able to either speak or write well or both.

Whether you are speaking  to a few people or to a crowd, it can be scary to anyone even the professional public speakers. But with time and practice, it’s a skill that we all can harness. I remember when I was participating in a business hackathon with my colleagues. We were competing for 10 million shillings and it was my turn to deliver our pitch. I was very nervous that I froze right in the middle of the pitch. I do not need to tell you that it was the most embarrassing thing or that we lost because of my weak pitch. Regardless of what happened (Of course now we can laugh about it but then it wasn’t funny) I became better and learned a thing or two about public speech and how to communicate ideas.

I was thinking to myself this morning about how people influence others. What did Mahatma Ghandi do to bring about that change? How did Martin Luther King lead the civil rights movement? Or may be mother Theresa. Let’s bring it home a little. Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Kwame Nkrumah – What is their common denominator? They spoke, wrote or both. Now is everyone a Mandela or a Ghandi? No they are not. One thing is for sure though we cannot deny the power of communication. The power in words. Everyone regardless of who they are, what they do or where they come from should be able to ably communicate and this means that they can speak or write (In whatever language)

Apart from communicating, speaking or writing is the one way you can influence and impact people.(this includes art, music and singing as well) So it is important that you are good at one or both of the two skills. Together, speaking and writing make you a good communicator and since communication is a vital life skill, we should all strive to be good at it. If you can speak or write well, it means that you are able to express yourself and communicate ably. It means that you can convey an idea, a thought, a message, an emotion etc. What about non verbal communication? doesn’t it count? well it does but in and of it’s self isn’t sufficient to help you communicate in the world we live in.

I applaud sign language enabled to help the deaf communicate. Not being able to communicate means that you are literally cut off from the world. So how about those people who are better at doing than speaking? well, even people of action have to speak at a certain point so regardless, we all have to learn to not only speak or write well. We have to learn how to COMMUNICATE. So If am to rephrase my statement,

“If you cannot communicate in this world, you most certainly aren’t alive”

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