When you look at successful people, they may have varying
talents, which explain how they succeeded. A great voice and
or talent can lead to a career as an entertainer; a knack
for invention can make a person a great scientist, and
philosophical knowledge and intellect can make someone a
great leader. Yet, none of these people can be a success
without having good communication skills.
1. They Have to Network
With any successful person, no matter their profession, they
have to network with other people on a regular basis. As
such, they have to be able to write and speak with a variety
of people on a variety of subjects; whether it is pitching
their book or movie to a publisher or producer, or trying to
convince housewives to buy their new labour-saving device.
2. They Have to Make a Sale
To succeed in life means to make a sale, and not necessarily
the simple sale of a product. Politicians have to ”sell”
themselves to their constituents; writers and actors have to
sell themselves to agents and producers. To do that, they
have to be able to communicate what it is about them or
their product, or idea etc that is better that someone
3. People Have to be Comfortable With Them
There’s an old saying about not shooting the messenger. It
means that you don’t blame the person who brings you bad
news for the news. Nevertheless, people won’t like someone
who gives them bad news, and also they are not inclined to
buy or support a person who cannot communicate well with
With successful people, they need not be pretty (witness the
appearances of some Rock singers), but they have to project
confidence. When they make their pitch, they speak clearly;
they stand up straight, head held high, and they look people
in the eye. They project their voice and speak in a pleasant
They do not shout and scream, and they do not result to
profanity and vulgar acts. When writing, they’re clear and
articulate, and not overly wordy and their writing is
easily understood by the vast majority of the public.
4. They Have to Present Their Idea
With any successful person, they invariably have some sort
of idea and/or product to present to a client or buyer.
Whether it’s a new book or a business plan; the pitch for a
new TV series or an attempt to get a part in a show; they
have to convince someone that they’ve got a great idea or
This means either writing a great pitch letter or treatment
or putting on a great presentation or audition. In either
case, good communication skills are needed.
5. They Often Go Against “The Flow”
Truly successful people are often “ahead of the curve”
when it comes to business, music, cultural trends and so
The successful writer or producer comes up with a new idea
for a movie or TV show; the successful business leader sees
a new opportunity or market, and the successful inventor
comes up with a new device to fill a need. No matter what,
they often have an idea that is ahead of its time.
How many people could have foreseen that “The Blair Witch
Project” would be a huge hit?
How many people knew that Yahoo, eBay and YouTube would make
And how many knew that personal computers would
need user-friendly operating systems and that Windows
would be the key to that?
All of these were done by people who were ultimately
successful and had to convince others of the validity of
their idea. To do that, they had to communicate that
breakthrough idea in a manner that others could understand,
appreciate and believe in.
6. They Have to Listen, in Many Ways
This ties in with point #5.
Many successful people “listen” to the marketplace,
whether that be the business marketplace, cultural trends,
movies and television shows and so on. By being a good
listener, whatever that might entail, they can see things:
trends in pop culture, demographic trends that might hint at
what people will need in the future and they can simply
listen to what their clients say they need.
Being a good communicator means more than talking or
writing; it means listening too. You can be the greatest
inventor in the world, but if you don’t listen to what
people want, you’ll fail.
Thomas Edison invented an electric vote counter and tried to
sell it to Congress, but they did not want it; they had no
desire to speed up the voting process. Edison had not
“listened” to the marketplace.
7. They Have to Stand Out
To be a success, a person has to stand out from the crowd;
those that blend in do not rise to the top. People like
JK Rowling, John F. Kennedy, and Laurence Olivier (to name
only three), are all successful, and all have (had) the
ability to communicate well in some way.
Great authors like Rowling and Conan Doyle take the same
words that anyone has available and weave tales that keep
us on the edge of our seat and flipping pages as fast as we
can read. Statesmen like Kennedy and Reagan could inspire
and excite people with just a speech. And then singers and
actors can make girls scream with passion and grown men weep
with just their words.
8. They Can “Change Gears” in a Heartbeat
When pitching a new business deal to a bunch of investors
and then trying to sell it to new clients, successful people
know how to say the same thing, yet say it differently.
When trying to relate to a bunch of teens, throwing in some
recent movie or pop culture references can work wonders, as
can dredging up some nostalgia when presenting something to
an older crowd.
This can also tie into the form of communication they use.
Some people are good at writing, others at speaking,
and then there are modern multi-media: movies, flash files,
wav files, even twittering. Successful people have the
ability to adapt their message to whatever media is best
suited to the situation.
9. They Give and Get Respect
When trying to pitch something, whether it’s an idea or a
product, successful people do it properly. This means
communicating in a way that shows respect to their audience.
You do not see such people using a great deal of profanity,
vulgarity or insulting language. They do not belittle their
audience or talk down to them.
10. They Project Optimism
When successful people talk about just about anything, it’s
often with a “glass half full” sort of attitude. No matter
what they are trying to achieve, they speak in a positive
manner, always looking to the future, always looking at how
they can improve things.
There’s an old saying that speaks of building a better mouse
trap, and then the world will beat a path to your door.
Well, the greatest invention in the world or the next great
novel won’t lead to success if you can’t communicate to
others as to just how great your creation is.
This is where good communication skills help in building