Marko Avramovic/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by Marko Avramovic

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

When I applied for a job and the interview went all wrong just because I had a poor knowledge of the language.  That is what you get when you first come to America from across seas.

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

When you can express what you have on your mind and when your plans come out of your mouth in a nice way as a sophisticated speech, you can go anywhere and do anything.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

They mean a lot to me because I’m going to have to use them upon my release.  That is the way we are actually separated from other living creatures, we can talk and communicate by using words and signs.

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

Skills help us communicate with people from the outside of these walls and by that we get to prepare ourselves for life, we get to know more people, our support group grows, etc.

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

The better we represent ourselves to people the more opportunities we are going to have, opportunities such as jobs, relationships, housing options, etc.

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

With knowing how to express yourself, you can actually show people in prison that you are not just an inmate but a human being as well.  You can communicate with your family and let them know that even though you are in here, you are with them too.

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

It takes practice.  Reading, writing, listening and speaking is all it comes down to.  The more a person tries to speak in public, the more comfortable he gets because that is when all that practice comes into a play.

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

My being from another country required me to put a lot more effort into learning English than a normal citizen.  Until today’s date, I have learned reading everyday, presenting myself to people, writing as much as my time allows me, etc.

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

Employees represent a company whether they interact with customers, shareholders, coworkers, suppliers, partners, etc.  they create a wage of a company and that is why employers value communication skills.

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

By writing we actually put what we know on a piece of paper and that is an actual proof of what we have learned.

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

This place is not going to do anything good for an individual and especially not in improving the speaking skills because we are surrounded by slang, poor communication and uneducated people, so any actual improvement requires more effort.

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

Both of them require a lot of work and dedication and if left alone, can cause a lot of damage.  Fitness, gaining weight and poorer health and communication becoming less interactive and less self-esteem.

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

Books are knowledge and different books contain different messages and ideas.  I read non-fiction books and all of them help me learn information that are going to be useful to me upon my release.

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

The question above can answer this one too!

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

They contain information that I did not know before and sooner or later there will be a situation where I am going to use that information to show people that I know a lot about different topics.

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?

In here, I got all the time in the world to learn and try to better myself which I do by developing my body through exercising and my mind through reading and studying and that is basically what every day is like in here.

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

Some people are just naturally at using words and communicating with others but as I mentioned before, I am a foreigner and that requires more effort.  I try to wright and read as much as I can and it is not like I have a choice by speaking it.

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

Poor, arrogant, full with slangs, some people are actually proud to be here and they do not need to speak or write in a normal way.

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

Based on the way I use English language, I do not expect anybody on the outside to notice that I have spent some time behind the bars because I am a well educated young man who knows what he wants and have enough respect not to use prison terms.

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

Pronunciation of the words, dropping words, etc., can change the view of the listener.

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

To be a leader, I have to look like one.  That is the reason why I am always groomed, clean, nicely smelling, etc., that plays a really big role because who does not know you judges you based on your looks.

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

People tend to judge us while we are in here but if we can show them in our journey what we had been doing while locked up, they can change their mind.

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? 

Talking alone sometimes can mean just a little bit educated but by writing down from what a book had done to help us prepare for the outside life.  Clear as day.

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