I’m preparing a presentation for tomorrow for a group of resident assistants on the art of effective communication. We’ll be seeking ways to connect with tough residents as well as their fellow staff members.  Possessing such a skill set can often be a make or break when interacting with colleagues, fellow leaders or volatile personalities. These points also work greatly for building relationships of any sort. Speaking of relationships…

Introducing Drake and Serena Williams. They are apparently embarking on a new potential love life themselves. How exciting?! Now, I’m not one to gossip, but if this is true, those two will certainly need to effectively communicate to survive onslaughts from TMZ, meme makers and of course Funkmaster Flex.

While working on my presentation for the students, I realized that not only could Drake and Serena learn from this workshop, but they could actually teach us a thing or 2. Both of them, in their individual and personal lives have exhibited some excellent communicative characteristics. As a couple, putting those skills they possess to use as a team or union would be excellent for development. The following ways I’ve provided, are tips for any type of leader to improve as communicators. With a little help from the newest alleged power couple, we add a twist to the assessment.

Drake and Serena, if you’re reading is, it’s not too late. (see what I did there?) Feel free to take some notes.

1. Respond, Don’t React

joe carter

Touch em all Joe!

Drake & Serena: Look no further than to how Drake handled this Meek Mill beef. We all waited to see what what the Canadian rapper would do. He could have easily reacted to the tweets and accusations with denial or anger.  Instead, he dropped an initial record then followed up 4 days later with another masterful record which included some dope cover art. (Big shouts to Joe Carter.) Sidenote the Toronto Blue Jays won like 11 thousand games in row once the record came out. He ended the conflict by performing at his own label’s festival, with memes poking fun of Meek, made by the fans. Flawless victory. If he and Serena are indeed together and run into conflict,I hope they handle it with savvy of this little rap beef. Take your time, breathe easy, then respond accordingly.

Effective Leaders: At times your organization or position will require you to make a tough decision. When that moment comes, before reacting, think about possible solutions before prior to responding. Immediately reacting doesn’t allow for room to assess. Even before you respond, create a plan that involves pros and cons. It might be that angry resident, or long term rival egging you on. It could be a competitor looking to induce an angry reaction. You never know when you’ll be goaded into saying or doing something potentially detrimental to your position, club, Greek organization, or office. Always think about the long term effects. The only way to do so, is to not react but respond after thinking accordingly.

2.Communicate with a Purpose


Drake being interviewed by Elliot Wilson

Drake and Serena: Drake once said, “get off the internet. Tell somebody like,come meet me for a drink, let’s have dinner, let’s go for a walk. like real life shit.” He stated this while discussing his feeling on self expression during an interview with Elliot Wilson. I won’t speculate on their relationship but good ‘ol paparazzi has snapped images of Drake being supportive at Serena’s tennis matches and most recently at dinner. This is a better look than a “good luck” DM or a meal over Facetime.  If we see Serena at the next OVO fest, well then folks, We Made It! I mean they made it, but you catch my drift.

Effective Leaders: This is the era of the missed text message or the tweet that didn’t go through. We say things like, “but I texted you the information last night.” As a leader it is important that you are present when communicating. That doesn’t mean one must be physically occupying the space but rather, your voice should not be distant.  Whether dealing with sorority sisters, club members or co workers, it is essential to not leave all correspondence to come from a device. Instead of saying good luck at your game, try and attend a match. Ask a person how their midterm went without being provoked. Your relationships will only get stronger when people have seen that you care about spending some time and talking things out as opposed to the snapchat story you forgot to send.

3.Self Awareness

Serena & Drake: Serena Williams has been unfairly attacked in regards to her body image over and over again. She has dealt with struggle most of her life as1439238936_serena-williams-new-york-magazine-zoom she states here, “Most women athletes are pretty thin. I didn’t really know how to deal with it. I had to come to terms — as every teen and young adult does — with loving myself. I had to find different role models. But my body type is in style now, so I’m loving it!” She was clear an honest about her struggle but also recognizes how important it is to love herself. Drake could have subscribed to the nonsense that she’s too muscular for me. Serena could have thought man, this rapper sings way too much and doesn’t subscribe to traditional definitions of masculinity. If they are in fact dating, all those insecurities will disappear the more that each one is honest about who they are.

Effective Leaders: It is important to know that not everyone is going to like you. Every person you interact with won’t be cheering you on. Even the cool Resident Assistant is despised by someone on their floor.  Being self aware will empower you to seek positive change at all times. You’ll be able to recognize weaknesses and turn those into strengths. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t for the sake of approval. When others see the level of comfort you have in yourself it will encourage them to seek personal development.

4.Articulate your Goals

Serena & Drake: Serena Williams might be the greatest American athlete in the history of sports. If not, she’s Serena-Williams-with-US-Open-2012-trophycertainly in the argument. She has often spoken about her goals to be great and has proven to do so on the court. Her most recent accomplishment known as the Serena Slam is another notch on the greatness belt. From a young age with the push of her father, Richard Williams, the confidence on the court was always apparent as was the excellence.  In that aforementioned Back to Back record, Drake said “please think before coming for the great one.”  I hope he was thinking before he went for the great one that he is “allegedly” dating. Two great ones together is never a bad thing as long as they articulate their goals and Drake stays away from Instagram models.

Effective Leaders: It is important to know where you’re going before you make any trip. Knowing your goals helps smooth down bumpy roads. Set attainable and measurable goals and articulate them clearly. If you want to increase your membership, create a comprehensive recruitment plan. Instead of backing away from tough expectations, take on those challenges with the confidence of solid goal articulation. Making these types of commitments leads to trust from those watching. When people are able to recognize your focus on the prize, it helps them understand exactly what you want to accomplish.

This post is in reference to a longer presentation available for workshops and presenting by MrJeffDess. To book this presentation or to view it in full inquire to MrJeffDess@gmail.com

jeff trill

Stay trill, folks.