“Communication – the human connection is the key to personal and career success.”
Paul. J. Meyer
As a media and communications specialist, this is one of my favourite quotes. It highlights the power and importance of words that we underestimate in our day to day lives. The truth is, words are powerful and potent and perhaps one of most powerful weapons we possess. Using them wisely and effectively in our personal lives, in our work and in our business is an art form that we should all strive to master.
Some of the greatest changes in history have come through the power of the spoken word. Political movements, religious transformations, new ideologies, and influential personalities have all made their impact through the words that have been spoken. Martin Luther King’s oratory and ability to communicate from the soul was behind the restoration of civil rights for African Americans in the 1960s.
It is one of the reasons I am so passionate about coaching and training in the communications niche. I know through personal experience and though the role models I admire, just how important the way we communicate is and just how profound a ripple effect it has on our lives, our careers, and our businesses.
With my company Wizz Media, I currently focus on four key areas of communications training. These include, how to be an impactful public speaker, how to deliver memorable media interviews, and how to be an effective communicator both personally and professionally. I also deliver training on how to build relationships with the media. There are some core themes that run throughout each of my workshops that are the central tenants of all good communication.
Firstly, it is always crucial to understand your audience to relate to others at optimum level. Whether that is on a public speaking platform or if you are delivering a media interview or just having a conversation with a friend. Being in tune with who you are speaking to allows you to be on their wavelength.
Tools of persuasion are also pretty universal. There are some tried and tested tools of persuasion that have stood the test of time and that are essential to use if you want to make an impact. Telling interesting and engaging stories is perhaps the most important. It’s the way that human beings are wired to learn, grow, and connect with each other. When Apple founder Steve Jobs delivered his speech to graduates at Stanford University, he only told three stories in his entire speech. For those who have seen it, it’s a speech that leaves a vivid impression.
Many people are intrigued as to how I came into this line of work. How did I come into the field of communications coaching / consulting and set up my own business? Ironically, I tell them, it is all connected! Prior to Wizz Media, I worked as a news anchor for BBC Spotlight and worked as a reporter and news anchor for ITV. Before this, I had spent much of my career working as a news editor for a national Asian paper and in local radio. It was a great career, exciting, dynamic, and full of adventure; however, after seventeen years in the media industry, I was tired of the rotating shift patterns and the constant travelling and very early starts. The novelty of being on camera every day was also wearing thin and I was desperately craving a better work-life balance and the desire to be my own boss. It was a tough decision but one that I fully considered.
Running my own coaching / consulting business has given me the balance I desire and more fulfilment than I thought possible. With my entrepreneurial spirit, I love meeting new people from every walk of life in the fields of business, education, and in the corporate world. As natural teacher and giver, it is great that my work is about helping people learn, grow, evolve, and become their best selves. Its hugely satisfying to see my clients progress and excel.
Being an insightful communicator, I know, however, that it is thanks to my career in the media that I learnt much of the art that I teach my clients today. I feel that my work as a reporter and broadcaster really helped me to fine tune my own communication style and understand the subject at a much deeper level. As a broadcaster and reporter for the BBC and ITV my work was very much about relaying stories to an audience in the most effective, efficient, and engaging and attractive manner, a skill that is truly relevant to what I am teaching.
My media career also exposed me to people from all walks of life and pushed my confidence and interpersonal skills to the limit. In highly pressurized reporting situations, you would have to build rapport with total strangers from politicians to policemen in just a few seconds.
So, to me it feels that destiny has led me to where I am today and will continue to move me forward. As I meet and connect with people from all around the world and from many different industries, I’m excited about the many collaborations and opportunities that I am yet to explore and that are unravelling themselves. I’m also finding that as I teach others, there are always lessons that I am learning myself, and that there are always new insights and “aha” moments that allow me to grow, evolve and become a better version of myself. As says one of my other favourite quotes, “Communication is an art form that is crafted throughout our lives,” for me, at least, that certainly seems to be true.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead April 2022 issue.
Aysha Iqbal is the Director of Wizz Media, a media and communications consulting and coaching business. She works with businesses, corporations and educational institutions showing them how to enhance their communication skills and how to connect and engage with the media effectively. Prior to Wizz Media, she was a news anchor for BBC Spotlight.