Skills for Communication: Versatility

There’s an old joke:

Doctor calls a patient, tells the guy: “I have bad news, and I have worse news.”

The man says, “Okay, give me the bad news first.”

Doctor says: “You have 24 hours to live.”

Man says: “Jesus Christ. What could possibly be the ‘worse’ news?”

Doctor says: “I’ve been trying to reach you since yesterday.”


I love this joke because it’s pretty funny, but also because it’s pretty insightful.

Nowadays, as I’ve said before, all communication is not equal.

You can’t reach everyone with only one medium. Nowadays, one of the most needed skills for communication isn't eloquence: it's versatility.

Today, if you want to be successful in business, you have to be up on all the social media sites.

You have to text the people who respond to texts, call the people who prefer being called, and email the people who only respond to email.

Note these statistics, which show how commonplace some things that didn’t even exist ten years ago have become:

  • 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site.
  • 55% of Americans 45-54 have a profile on a social networking site.
  • 22% of Americans use social networking sites several times per day.
  • 901 million people use Facebook every month
  • 555  million use Twitter
  • 4.8 billion people worldwide have a mobile phone. 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.

If you didn’t like my joke, think of the old saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

If you’re not using multiple methods of communication by now, you’re in danger of becoming a barbarian - a term the Ancient Romans used to describe foreigners whom they couldn't understand.


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