Communication: Embracing the “Saskatchewan Goodbye”

by Jaela Menssa

Were you surprised by your strengths results? I was. In fact, when I was first given my results and found Communication to be my top strength, I was skeptical. I had an image in my mind of what a top communicator was – an eloquent speaker who used an intellectual vocabulary when speaking. This is never how I would describe myself! I find that I often search for words that I never seem to recall and I feel like I sometimes even struggle to put a sentence together. I jokingly blame it on the fact that I work with young children, most often in an additional language, so my vocabulary is now reduced to their level! The communication strength identifies those with this talent as being good presenters – this is definitely far outside of my comfort zone, yet somehow I often find myself in these situations and need to pull out my “anxiety-reduction strategies”.

The more I learned about the communication strength, however, the more I could see myself in this area. Those who share communication as a strength like to host and visit. My husband and I love to entertain and I thrive on opportunities to gather and share stories with friends and family. I usually always have at least one awkward moment or embarrassing tale to share! I love when content can be livened with a story, whether I am the storyteller or I am listening to someone else’s narrative. As a person with a short attention span, I feel that interests can be peaked with stories, humour and visuals.

As an educator, I rely on my strength for communicating to ensure that my students understand what is presented to them. If I feel that they are not grasping a concept, I will find an alternate way to explain it to them. I am also always willing to listen to my students and colleagues, if they need an open ear. As a colleague, I am conscientious of ensuring that everyone is informed of pertinent details. My co-workers can attest to my lengthy emails, outlining everyone’s responsibilities for an upcoming meeting or class outing. This extends into our family as well, as I am often the one who is extending the invitations or informing others of an upcoming event.

My husband has learned to embrace my socializing habits. I suppose being a communicator explains why when we go out together, I end up lagging 40 feet behind him when walking from one side of a room to the other, stopping several times to visit along the way. He has also learned to wait patiently as I take 20 minutes to say goodbye to someone we just spent the entire evening visiting with. I’ve since learned that this is a Saskatchewan Goodbye, so I’m embracing it!