John Broman/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by John Broman

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

EVERYTIME I try to talk with onlyl Spanish speakers! Or when I’m talking with someone older than me and some of my “slang” comes out. I wouldn’t say they decreased opportunities, they just stopped my point from getting across.

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

If I was a better listener, I would of had A LOT more success in life. Instead of finding everything out the hard way, I could’ve learned form those that were older, wiser, and had already done what I was doing.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

The ability to receive and pass along information, thoughts, ideas, etc. to others. if you don’t have the skills for this, or weak skills, then your life will be very frustrating.

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

first, you won’t have to look up “assuage”! It also allows countless opportunities to open to you through writing letters to those outside of prison. With the help of those beyond the walls, incarceration becomes easier.

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

Everything. If you come out of prison talking how most inmates do, well, finding a good job will be pretty hard. Having a felony is an obstacle that is hard to over come. To be able to communicate that you deserve a chance is huge.

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

Being able to communicate with the outside world and behind these walls also is the only way that you’ll be able to get ahead. Without the ability to communicate we will become stagnant and never progress.

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

Through reading and writing you can improve your skills. If you take the time everyday towards these activities you will progress with the skills you need.

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

I have written several short stories, as well as keeping a journal. I read only books that are geared towards the kind of writing that I do. I also practice reading and speaking Spanish.

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

They let an employer know that you will be able to clearly define the companies goals to perspective clients. Also you will be able to give and receive vital information for the company to thrive.

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

Through writing. The only way to show something is through tangible proof. With writing, all the time you’ve put in to developing your skills is right there in black and white.

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

It degrades your skills if you do not make an intentional effort to improve them. Being surrounded by those that are far from being educated, will rub off on you if you don’t take steps to improve yourself.

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

That you have to take the steps and put in the work to get to where you want to go. “Crawl before you walk” so to speak. Everyday try to improve yourself and go farther than even you think you can go.

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

To read only the types of things that will enhance the knowledge that you need for a career outside of prison.

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 read a lot of yoga, meditation, and spiritual books. As they directly link me with the career that I want on the street. I also read non-fiction books about authors involved with drugs. I write also, and this is what I write about. Therefore it helps me learn and see how I need to write for the type of “hobby” that I do.

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

All the yoga/meditation/spiritual books are what I need to learn to further a career as a yoga instructor. Therefore they prepare me for my 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?

I keep myself busy as much as possible during the day. Exercising, practicing yoga and music. Keeping my mind calm through mediation. All things I’ll use on the outside. The extra time….I guess I could use it more wisely.

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

I write stories and read. Which has me practicing or using what I know. But to the extent of learning or improving, I’m not doing so much.

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

I would say it’s extremely crude and uneducated.

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

I’m sure it’ll be two totally different languages. Where you almost have to be loud and ignorant to get your point across in here, out there I’m sure ( or would hope) that it’ll be much more peaceful.

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

First where he’s from and what his education level is. Then it shows if he has any form of real intelligence behind his words.

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

Well, you truly are what you look like. If you have your pants hanging off your ass, you’re probably not shooting for the stars. If you’ve got tattoo’s everywhere, you’re probably not going  to be getting the best job.

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

It shows dedication and gives you documented proof about how you’ve acted and re-acted to prison life. We’re already behind the 8 ball after release, to have tangible proof of accomplishments is a true asset.

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?

It will help you develop your writing skills and language through practice. It is also another form of documentation of accomplishments you’ve achieved while incarcerated.

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