Henry Lewis/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by Henry Lewis

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

It has hindered me from being able to express my thoughts effectively and clearly.  In my personal life, with relationship, I definitely haven’t been the best of a communicator, an effective communicator.

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

My marriage imploded because of my lack of communication.  Now I understand how important this skill is.  I’d always run from the problems I faced instead of facing them and fixing them.  Now I make sure that I communicate clearly and effectively with everyone whom I interact with.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

Everything, especially in the field of work that I will be pursuing.  In fact, my life would very well be in jeopardy if I’m not communicating with my co-workers properly.  Electricity is deadly but with understanding and communication can prevent accidents.

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

You can define and express what you want and what you don’t want for yourself or what you expect of others such as your roommate.

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

It builds confidence in an individual and further increases their chances of seizing opportunities when they present themselves.  They can only help your prospects for succeeding.  This individual can communicate his way into all types of beneficial situations.

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

You never know who you will meet while imprisoned.  It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Michael met lots of good people by communicating effectively and walking the walk the same way he talked.  It can happen to anyone at the right place at the right time.

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

Books.  An individual can buy, borrow or check out books from the library.  He could also build his vocabulary by reading a dictionary and trying to learn 10 words per week.

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

I have a dictionary and I write down words that I don’t specifically know the definition of.  I look them up and I have a list that I add onto in order to memorize and implement in my vocabulary.

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

If an individual can communicate effectively to an employer than an employer will know the type of person whom his customers will encounter and this builds confidence in an employer knowing that any situation will be taken care of.

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

By practicing and learning new vocabulary skills and in his speech, the extent of knowledge he’s required will be evident.

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

Birds of a feather flock together.  This experience should teach everyone that there are skills or weaknesses that can be turned into strengths.  Practice makes perfect.

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

It begins by being a challenge.  But after a while a person will see the results of their hard work.  They will become stronger and endurable for any obstacle that may await them.

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

It means to read with a desire to acquire useful information.  It can also mean to read information that is relevant to an individual’s thoughts and actions.  I read not only to obtain information but with an intent to implement what I learn into my thoughts and actions.

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

I started off reading the types of material that glorified what I use to do.  I gradually began to wake up and realize the foolishness that I was into.  Now I only read beneficial information, anything else is a waste of time.  I really enjoy reading motivational, inspirational and self-help type books.  Authors such as Dr. Phil, Napolean Hill, James Allen, etc.

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

They’ve helped me to reflect within and make a change for the better.  They’ve introduced me to life principle and other laws of life that I used to have no regards for.  They prepare me for success because they were written by successful individuals.  These are the types of people I wish to emulate now and in the future.

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?

As I acquire more information about success and successful individuals, I learn and implement some of their habits into my life.  Having a schedule and following that schedule is essential to being an effective individual.

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

When I read, sometimes I come across words that I’m not familiar with so I look them up.  I have a list of words and their definitions.  I try and commit them to memory and use them in my everyday communications.

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

There are a lot of smart guys, but some guys are afraid to be who they are.  The bad out weight the good guys 25:1.  The argot of the imprisoned class could be a whole lot better than it is right now.

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

They are like night and day, two complete opposites.

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

It shows that individuals depth or lack of knowledge.  Knowledge preceeds speech and action, which is why I am slow to speak.  I am always open to learning from another individual.

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

Actions speak louder than words.  Nobody wants to deal with a person who displays a lack of discipline in their grooming habits or dress.  We only have one chance to make a first impression.

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

It shows that this individual was commited to the goal and he was determined to reach his destination.  When we know what we want, we also know what we don’t want.

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?

You’ll have something that you can go back and review periodically in order to refreshen your memory, instead of having to read the entire book again.  You can go straight to the relevant information that you’ve documented.


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