If I were to start all over, what one skill would I learn? I am not sure what made me think about this question, but in the end, I thought my reflection might be valuable to a few people.

After four years of doing what seemed like a waste of time to many of my peers, a considerable number of people now consider me a success. To date, many of them still don’t understand what I do – or the importance of it. Given that I meet ‘important people’ and travel abroad occasionally, I am a success. Honestly, it is not entirely easy to explain what I do either. So, Maame advised me to tell people that I am making the world a better place.

A Photo of Ozaal and me at European Development Days 2022

When I look at my journey retrospectively, I must say, it is incredible how much one can learn – or achieve – while doing what looks dumb. As Erik Torenberg would put it, I took an asymmetric bet and accumulated optionality. Throughout this journey, I have acquired valuable skills, accessed compounding networks, impacted hundreds of young people nationally, and gained international recognition.

My Answer

If I were to start over, what one skill would I learn first in a bid to smoothen my journey? I would learn how to be an excellent communicator. Yes, I would focus on being good at conversing, talking, writing, etc. I would read every book, take any course, and grab whatever opportunity I had, to practice and perfect my communication skill. Here is why.

Like it or not, the world revolves around relationships. People form the brick and mortar of who we are – and who we eventually become. And I have found, in my experience, that communication is one of many fundamental skills needed to nurture and maintain relationships. I had also mentioned how vital communication is to a leader in this piece.

A good communicator can easily connect with people. They can sell ideas, products, or themselves, with ease. Excellent communicators can transform ordinary into extraordinary things through storytelling. And this list goes on.

I recently spent some time at the University of Buea listening to some engineering students defend their final year projects. I had been invited to a friend’s defense, and I got to the hall about half an hour early. During this time, I watched other students present their projects to a three-person jury panel while a few other guests sat far back. I wasn’t surprised when some scores were read, as I had noticed their subpar performance throughout the presentations.

Well, I have digressed a little from the essence of this piece. My aim was not to talk about our poor communication skills but to dwell on the potential and importance of being a good communicator.

Conclusion

Most opportunities require you to convince the jury why you’re the man for the job. You might have all the qualities and meet all the requirements, but you might not make the cut if you don’t know how to sell your worth to them.

Are you starting a business or a nonprofit? You’d need to convince many people down the line. And it’s way easier if you can communicate properly.

Yes. That’s it for me. If I were to start over again, I would learn how to communicate. Well, this was probably a lot to follow. But if you read every bit of it, I’d like you to hear what skill you would learn if you were asked to start over again.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this article. Just as you, I’ll learn to communicate effectively and how to keep and sustain valuable relations. As you mentioned, people are basically the foundations of our success.

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