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Home > Teen Blog > April 2019 > Effective Communication Begins with Listening
Effective Communication Begins with Listening
Posted: 4/18/2019 5:00:00 PM

Intrepid Teen Blog

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by Aaliyah G. — GOALS Ambassador

We have all heard the classic saying “communication is key,” but I don’t think we truly know what that means. Every person has their own personal or preferred way of communicating. Some of us have no problem communicating with others while some are more reserved and may have trouble speaking up. I, unfortunately, am the latter. Communication is not always the easiest for someone like me. However, the GOALS for Girls internship at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum has definitely given me the opportunity to improve my communication skills.

During my internship, I worked on a team promoting Intrepid Museum programs through social media. On this team, communication was a vital component. Whether we were texting in a group chat or having a meeting in person, my working group and I were always updating each other with our progress. It allowed me to grow as an effective communicator and taught me a few lessons.

“It’s important to try and communicate as effectively as possible because it can allow you to accomplish things that you never thought you could.”
One essential thing I learned is that I need to be assertive and push myself to speak up, especially when I know it will be beneficial for my group. For example, when dividing up tasks for a video project, I took on the role as editor despite it being a challenge. Normally I would wait for someone else to step up, but I felt comfortable enough with my working group and more confident in my abilities. I knew that the creative ideas I had for editing the video would be something I would regret not sharing. I also recognized that I had a group that would listen and support my ideas. Through this experience, I learned that sometimes failing to communicate your skills to the people you're working with, may keep your project from reaching its maximum potential and this holds you back from reaching your maximum potential.

It’s important to try and communicate as effectively as possible because it can allow you to accomplish things that you never thought you could. Getting started just takes a little communication. Furthermore, I have also learned to communicate with my working group, not only about my strengths, but also my weaknesses. For someone who is shy like me, it can be hard to ask for help or more time to complete an assignment. However, the support and connection that I had with my working group allowed me to open up to them when I felt that I had too much on my plate. I no longer see asking for help as a bad thing, but more of a strength, because that means I know myself well enough to know what I can handle. My colleagues have shown that they will understand and help me if I need it.
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The last thing I learned about communication is that even though I may not be great at it, I can always improve. I have always seen my shyness as a problem and as something I need to “fix.” However, my mentor from the GOALS for Girls program, Walyce Almeida, taught me that I shouldn’t look at it as something negative, because that is simply how I am. My mentor once told me that “you may not speak a lot, but you do speak when you have something important to say.” That had an impact on me because it made me feel like I was really being listened to and that my words had meaning. One of the greatest fears of a shy person is that they will be brushed off or ignored, but with my working group, they helped me eliminate that thought from my head when I share. This compliment from my mentor has also made communicating with others outside the program easier, because it took some of the pressure off that I was putting on myself.

All in all, I have seen that just because I am shy, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be good at communicating. I just need to listen to the people around me and trust that they will also listen to me, but I must first start with listening to myself.

Editor’s Note: The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum hosts educational programs that introduce teenagers to careers in STEM and help them develop lifelong leadership skills. Participants in GOALS for Girls and the Youth Leadership Institute have contributed to the Museum’s Teen Blog with personal essays on a skill or quality they have cultivated at the Intrepid Museum.