Ray Rowan/ Class 6: Communication Skills

by Ray Rowan

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

Being a product of my environment, effective speaking or the art of linguistics was not required in “The Hood.” Our everyday language was vulgarity, profanity, and using curse words. This is what resonated with intelligence and street credibility. I never had a job where I had to use a vernacular that depicts my schooling or educational status as being sophisticated. Cooking, washing dishes and cleaning cars were details that required no customer contact. The manager talked to them.

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

Interviews could have been a little more resourceful. However, the jobs I applied for did not need a person with a degree or who could speak effectively.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

Today, I am extremely aware of how essential a persons vocabulary makes first impressions. First impressions are based not just on appearance, but your education level can be acknowledged by your speech as well. I wish I could speak with piercing remarks, and metaphors. I would like to be able to speak in a way that people would hang on my every word.

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

Improving communication skills can give a person the confidence they so desperately need to succeed. For one, understanding the terminology of the industry.

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

Strengthening my vocabulary gave me self-confidence and self-empowerment. Confinement is something I’ve learned to  overcome. Prepare to overcome adversity and in order to do that, continue to educate yourself.

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

Communication skills are your defense mechanism. Can you litigate or explain your point of view in a persuasive way without being rude or challenging. If policy is what’s being argued, be sure to understand it. To open any door, be within Your right. Communication skills can help get doors open, but be within reason.

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

Correspondence classes through the mail for effective speaking courses. Practice public speaking. Learn to develop attacking skills. Get straight to the core of the conversation. Communicate and hold meaning conversations on a regular basis. I like holding intelligent conversations. Watch learning channels like C.N.N., PBS, FOX News Financial networks, etc…

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

Continuing to read classroom material. Conversing with educated inmates who has the same aspirations as I do. When I run across words I don’t know the meaning of, I grab my dictionary and look the word up. I see several people who read the same material as I do. They skip over the complicated words with no problem.

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

I’m thinking the employer would like for his employees’ to be eloquent speakers. Especially when there’s an outside tour that comes through and they ask questions from the workers. Employers’ should take pride in having a sophisticated and intellectual work force.

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

By writing and reaching out, showing others the ways we have improved. I am gaining skills which allows me to show this progress and growth to others. The investment I am putting into my future is paying off.

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

Being in prison where slang is the norm of everyday dialogue. I wanted to be looked at differently and with more respect. I’ve always envisioned myself as being looked upon as somewhat educated.

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

Why only look good and physically fit. Guys that workout are stereotyped as being airheads. So, educate yourself to kill the social stigma. Give them intelligence and handsomeness.

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

His reading was to heighten his education. Michael had devoted himself, all his time to reading material and books that would help mode him into the person he wanted to become. I remember his statement, ” leisure reading is a luxury he can not afford”.

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’ve read majority of business books paraphernalia. Michael’s book was the first book I have read in years that was not finance, real estate, stock market, export/import, trucking , auto dealership, etc… I only like material to read that can educate me.

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

Not only does these books enlighten me. They also give me confidence to overcome my fears. Upon my release I will not have time to study or go to school. So I’m taking advantage of my incarceration. This is my college campus.

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?

My free time causes me to stress or day dream to much. All I think about is freedom and how I can do things in here to help make this transition easier and less frightening.

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

I have over 300 words that I have written down over a period of years. The biggest downside to having a great vocabulary is that most of the time you will lose those who you are talking with. So, over time atrophy eats away at my vocabulary. Also, people make you feel uncomfortable when you use words that they do not know the meaning to. It’s embarrassing in a way.

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

The prison classes speaks with a lot of profanity and vulgarity. Mostly, conversations are belittling and embarrassing that we teach this way. But it seems that this language is the only way the teacher can communicate with most of the class.

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

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

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

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

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?

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