I often emphasize empathy, relatability, clarity and confidence as being the key characteristics of a strong and effective communicator. But I’ve come to believe that the foundation is… curiosity.  Curiosity fed the cat.

My dad always used to tell me that I ask too many questions! The only reason I even got into this line of work at 15 years old was simply because I was curious about what my friends thought of the new blockbuster hit, Men In Black. Let me explain.

It’s the year 2000. In January that year, when most of my friends were celebrating the turn of the century on dancefloors across Manila, my mom insisted I stay locked in the pantry in case the Y2K catastrophe won out and planes fell from the sky and the city went into total meltdown. Anyway, it didn’t. Everybody had a hangover the next day and life went on as usual.

Later that year, Will Smith stars in the Hollywood flick and as I’m leaving my high school gates with some friends, an MTV crew approaches us wanting to ask a few questions on camera about our thoughts on the latest film. As the producer points the microphone towards us, for some reason I just take it from him and ask my friends loads of questions. We chat, we laugh and giggle and then I pass the microphone back to the producer. I never gave my own thoughts on the film.  “Did you get what you wanted?” I asked.  He looked lost for words but smiled and said…yes.

How I Started My Career in Communication

I got the call a few weeks later, asking if I was keen to audition as a VJ on MTV Asia! Let me be clear. In the late 90s to early 2000s, there was nothing cooler than being a VJ on MTV! My street cred shot up massively as a 10th grader in high school, covering the coolest parties and exploring the Philippines while getting paid (a bit). But doing homework and working at the same time didn’t mix well. My parents asked me to quit but I’d already had my taste for it. I knew that I was absolutely obsessed with people and their stories.  

Flash forward decades later and I’ve interviewed the likes of Boris Becker, Lewis Hamilton, CEOs of multinationals and…Jerry Seinfeld. I’ve introduced Tony Blair, let Condoleezza Rice borrow my laptop and even had a cigarette with Mahmoud Abbas. (I’ve quit since. Hurray!) Sometimes, I wonder how on earth this all came to be! I’m just too bloody CURIOUS!

What Do Broadcast Journalism Majors Do? (My Story)

What should curious people do? Take up Broadcast Journalism so you can become a professional nosy parker! So that’s what I did. I believe my curiosity about people, their lives, what motivates them, what moves them, excites them and how they overcome challenges, stems from my being an only child. I have a deep need to connect with people quickly and authentically. Sometimes that comes across as prying but most of the time, people respond well. It can be disarming and that’s when someone is most likely to open up to you. 

I like what Simon Sinek said, “Empathy is about caring about the person. Not just what they can do for you.” I interviewed a Chef recently who teared up during our chat as I was gathering research. I was curious about his childhood and about the support he had received when following his culinary passion despite the odds.  He recalled vivid memories and told me a story about his mother leaving cookbooks on every other step as he was coming down the staircase of the house on his first day of culinary school. That’s when he knew his mother (who had always wanted him to be a lawyer) was truly supportive of him and took his vocation seriously. That’s when he paused our chat and said, “Nobody has really asked me this before. I haven’t thought about this in a while.” And he quietly started to cry. 

Curiosity as a Communication Skill

When you are genuinely curious about the person and recognise that human beings are sensitive and complex, that they have a tribe of unsung heroes who helped them along the way, that there are poignant turning points in their lives, as there are in yours, that they’ve known struggle, disappointment, loss as well as success, joy and wonder….that’s when true connection comes to life. We are all much more alike than we think.

Be curious, listen well, follow up on something if you feel it sounds important and meaningful. That’s the core of being a strong communicator. That will ultimately make you a more collaborative colleague, a more supportive partner, a more present parent and more compassionate friend. And boy do we need more of those in this world.

If you’re interested in unlocking the of power effective communication, discover more on the blog about post, “High Vibe Communicators”, which explains the keys of nonverbal communication as important skills of a good presenter and communicator.

Or download a specially curated and comprehensive guide inspired by my go-to philosophy for winning the room! I discuss tangible tactics to connect quickly and empathically while generating buy-in at your next presentation. Learn more about how to “Win the Room”.

As a brand or business owner, if you’re keen to achieve any of the following, I’d love to work with you:

  • Drive customer experience
  • Help create a cohesive corporate culture
  • Support conscious leaders
  • Improve sales and growth
  • Stimulate employee engagement
  • Celebrate businesses success
  • Feel inspired & motivated for your next right move

Learn more about my services below and let’s connect.

Join the excitement! Let’s rock the stage together and keep the energy high and the fun flowing as a LIVE Event Host.

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