Manuel Chavez/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by Manuel Chavez

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

As a child of mixed cultures, Spanish speaking father, a Navajo speaking mother, I was confused at why my father didn’t teach or speak to me or my younger brother in Spanish. When we went to visit our relation on my father’s side of the family I felt and still do feel inadequate to communicate. Even though we all spoke English, I still yearn to learn Spanish and with the self study that I have, I can speak and get what I want, though not with the fluency that I would like to have. And as for my Navajo, it is very minor in the least. And this has led to opportunities that I had no way of seeing the consequences.

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

In having my own business, I was baffled when a person that only spoke Spanish came to my shop. Back then, it was in fact difficult to communicate and had to revert to sign language and pointing and broken English. It is embarrassing.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

These are the big doors for success. Once you learn another language you open up so many opportunities for yourself.

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

It will open huge areas of our lives that have been taken away from us. A person who can communicate is a very powerful person.

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

With learning Spanish for instance, I will be able to communicate on the job or on the phone with individuals that can make my job even easier and I am going to marry a Mexican woman from Mexico. That is the kind of food that I like and I like the way the women look and the way they are to treat a man.

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

You can build a network of people that can help you get to the people who can help you through the rough times and to even get you a job when you get out.

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

I have taken the steps for self study and I need to get back to classes and back to studying and practicing. I just learned a good tip from the workbook. I need to make flash cards and I have some so I will do that. And I just signed up for a Conversational Spanish class which will start in a week from now.

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

By first knowing that I lack the basic skills of everyday talking in Spanish. and to get the classes I need and to practice with flash cards.

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

That is a huge bonus to an employer. When I  had my business, I hired a good worker who could talk Navajo and this helped with flying colors. My business really took off after that. So it works both ways as an employer and as an employee.

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

By taking classes and participation with others.

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

With a lot of time available prisoners should exercise to become better speakers and to learn different languages.

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

In order to get in shape takes dedication and communication  skills are not any different. you need to have a goal in mind and work towards it.

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

To read text books or learning books that will help me when I’m released into society.

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 no longer read fiction novels. I read text books or trade books that relate to the prior training that I have acquired.

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

The math and Algebra are necessary in my field of work. By using these and doing work ia am preparing my success in getting the job that I so dearly want.

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 have to dedicate certain hours fro certain things. This includes study, e-mails, phone calls ,workouts, hobbycraffts ,and work. I manage these all the time. With good use of my time , I’m efficient in getting all these done.

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

I read the dictionary on occasion and I read and study text books.

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

Almost all gibberish. I don’t approve of it  A person is judged by what comes out of his mouth.

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 am looking forward to living a purpose based life. In which, I get my business back. And without using any slang or obscene woes is the only way to get it done.

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

You have to be able to make precise speaking a priority in life and in business.  If you convey the wrong message you may not get the job.

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

A person who takes care of himself and wears proper fitting clothes and keeps his appearance neat is considered a clean person. It pays to be well groomed. People notice this and judge you by the way you look and dress.

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

It could show to others that you participated in classes that pertain to your work, and that you used your time to better yourself. My work here proves I am preparing. You can see it!

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?

By having the hard copy of a book report removes all doubt that you got the message to the book, the way you understood it. I take notes as  I read as well. I want to be able refer back to them.

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