Darrell Tatum/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by Darrell Tatum

151. Describe situations you can recall when inadequate communication skills led to decreased opportunities in your life.

I have tried to have good communication skills, but I can remember one time 10 years ago.  I was just getting another contract for my janitorial company.  I was so anxious to get the contract, that I didn’t read the fine prints of the contract.  I let one of my employees perform the nightly duties which he brought alone a friend of his.  Well, this was a bank and they don’t allow anybody else that isn’t on the contract.  Well, I lost the contract and almost got prosecuted, ’cause it was a theft that night.  Just inadequate communications.

152. Describe situations where stronger communication skills may have enhanced your prospects for success.

I always check on my employees daily to make sure every was done properly.  I try to communicate with all my surroundings.  If I have a problem that I can’t solve, I don’t just go at it.  i communicate with that person to get a better understanding.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

Means a lot.  To pass knowledge from one person to another.  Whats good to have a steady relationship without communication.

154. In what types of ways can improving communication skills assuage the burden of confinement?

Try to get everybody on the same page in confinement.  We have to live together, so communicating among each other will assure the burden of confinement.

155. What types of influence do communication skills have on an individual’s prospects for success upon release?

My point of view from this question is that when you talk with positive people who are on the positive path of success.  You can always learn something out of the conversation.  Especially if it’s somebody that is trying or have done the same thing that your trying to do once release.

156. How can developing communication skills open opportunities through imprisonment?

With the right people and open minds you can develop all types of opportunities.  It’s all about who you know and what they want out of life.

157. In what ways can an individual take clearly-defined, measurable steps toward improving communication skills?

Learning to speak up.  Think before your actions.  Open up your feelings.

158. In what ways have you taken measurable, deliberate steps to improve your communication skills?

Well, I always believe and used communication.  The steps I took to improve my communication skills in the past was to think on how to approach and talk to that certain person.  It’s all in the language.

159. What value do enhanced communication skills offer to a prospective employer?

It offers a lot.  Say for instance that you’re late for work.  Some people might not call to say they’re late which is the wrong way.  Always call for anything.  Good communication goes a long way.

160. How can a prisoner convey the extent of his communication skills and his personal investment to improve such skills?

He can improve his skills if he puts his mind and heart into it.  Practice makes perfect.

161. How does the prison experience influence an individual’s development of communication skills?

Now this is a good one ’cause in here all you have is your word!  Only a prisoner will communicate to get around.  That’s all we have to do, but you still some that is just stuck stupid  To get what you want, you have to communicate.

162. In what ways do developing communicating skills resemble the development of physical fitness?

To me I write down weekly on what type of exercise I’m going to do.  I keep a record of it to see what developments I have achieved.  Now, if I’m training somebody else, I’ll write them down a routine.  Thats relating the weekly drills.

163. What does it mean to read with a purpose?

To strengthen your vocabulary.  Reading something that your interesting in doing positive in life.  When going to college, you have to read to learn.  This is the best way to improve your knowledge.

164. Describe the pattern of books you have read throughout your term in prison. What kind are they and why do you read them?

Well, this time around, I read the Bible thru my studies.  I read that to keep me calm in mind.  Thats something that I always have done.  I read the books for this course (Earning Freedom, Straight-A Guide, Prison! My 8,344th Day). I can relate to everything the author has to say ’cause I’m going thru the same thing.  I’m not other people in here that  still read the urban, street books.  They still have that criminal thinking.

165. In what ways do books you read prepare you for success upon release?

They can give you great ideas business wise.  Now, I do read investments and business opportunities magazines and gets me prepare on trying different skills upon release.

166. When you consider the amount of free time available to you on a typical day, how do you determine the most effective ways to use it toward preparations for success?

There are a lot of things to do, but I can speak on my time and how I use it.  First, I work out in the morning and doing lunch.  After that, I go into my notes on preparing myself.  I find various of business magazines and take notes.  All of this on a daily basic.  I take time out to write my kids.  I make sure that I use my time wisely.

167. In what ways do you work to improve your dexterity with language, using words, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate ideas?

Well, I read a lot of magazines of all kinds, so when I run upon a word that I don’t understand or just can’t pronounce, I get out the dictionary.  I try to keep them words in mind so the next time I’ll already know and how to pronounce it.

168. How would you describe the argot of the imprisoned class?

I would describe it as very different from the outside.  In here, the slang is different and I can relate to it, ’cause it’s like we are in our own small world.  As you know, a lot of the words in here isn’t in the dictionary.

169. In what ways does the jargon of imprisonment compare of contrast with the language in the society you expect to encounter upon release?

A lot of language in here is slang and it’s comparable, but not in a proper manner.  you have to speak clearly and professionally.

170. What does an individual speaker’s enunciation convey to his listeners?

He makes sure that his listeners understand exactly what he is saying.

171. In what ways do an individual’s grooming habits or manner of dress communicate his values?

A great deal of values.  How you do in here is how you done on the streets.  While you have plenty of time in here, it is good to start good grooming habits and appearance.  That’s a good step upon release.  Your appearance shows a lot in person.

172. To what extent does documenting a prison journey communicate an individual’s commitment to success upon release?

It can show what a person has gone thru and gives that individual the outlook of what not to repeat in life.  It shows them their mistakes.

One of the exercises Michael embraced to develop his communication strategy included writing book reports. In Earning Freedom, he wrote that books opened opportunities that contributed in meaningful, measurable ways to prepare him for triumph over the obstacles he expected to encounter. Each book had a purpose, and to stay on course, he used the following format to write his book reports:

  • How I came across the book (title of book):
  • Why I choose to read (title of book):
  • What I learned from (title of book):
  • Ways in which (title of book) will contribute to my success upon release

173.  In what ways would writing similar book reports contribute to the development of your communication skills and preparations for success upon release?

Each format is a question that you ask yourself.  Writing what you have learned throughout your journey in prison helps you develop better skills and preparations for success upon release.  Keeping good notes and using that literature strengthen your abilities to be successful in life.

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