Communication Skills

June 3, 2020

Homeschooling has shaped the way in which I undertake activities in study and work. Not only has it made me a successful student, it also transformed me into an effective worker.  Communication tools, which I have learned through completing IEW courses, still impact my thinking whilst reading, writing, and speaking. Both in the workplace and higher education, I stand apart from many others where these skills are concerned. Professors can distinguish effective communicators regardless of the output medium.  This distinction critically influences in how you are treated and assisted during your tertiary level studies.
Since I have always been an efficient learner, it was difficult for me to fathom how I would fare in a mixed-skills group setting.  University and the opportunities for working closely with like-minded individuals provided evidence to how possessing excellent thinking, speaking, and writing skills benefits everyone in the group.   It elevates the collective skill and I have learnt much from patiently assisting others to gain understanding of the material at hand. I strongly encourage students to participate in co-operative work, and especially to write together, as it garners a better environment for creative thinking and writing.  Assisting peers who were less prepared for critical thinking and writing tasks at university level, made me thankful for my homeschooled journey.
As a full time student at the Florida Polytechnic University, I also hold a position as an intern for a fitness and tech startup company in Lakeland Florida.  Specializing in data science and analytics, I am the only person with this portfolio of responsibility in the company.   Many of the decisions by my CEO and CFO are based on insights I provide. Being able to effectively communicate my findings makes me extremely valuable in the workplace. You may ask: “Why this is so important?”  Let me explain by way of an insight I gained from Dr. James Dewey, who is one of my professors.  In class he referenced the NASA Challenger accident.  It is known now that people knew the NASA Challenger had a nearly certain probability of exploding on lift-off.  Bob Ebeling, an engineer for a NASA contractor knew that the likelihood of a certain fuel valve failing was a lot higher than initially calculated because of the climatic conditions on the day of the launch. He had tried to communicate the statistics behind how he knew for certain that it would lead to the demise of seven people. Bob Ebeling lay in bed the night before the launch and he told his wife that the Challenger was going to explode the next morning. This is an extreme example, however it illustrates how the failure to communicate crucial information effectively is something that plagues many people.
Unlike Bob Ebeling, I can attest to the value of having received an excellent education in all aspects of effective communication.  In thinking, speaking and writing I was instructed in critically evaluating the logical structure, elegant style, and effective techniques, as taught through the IEW.  This program laid a rock solid foundation for my communication skills!  Once I began advising the company where I intern with my insights based on statistical evidence and analysis, the growth rate has been exponential.  I am nearing stock options, and a proper salaried start to my career.  This isn’t because I am excellent at math and statistics, although I can assure you I am adequately proficient, but because I have honed communication skills to an excellently Everest-like level!

Kahlil Wehmeyer