Over 100,000 years of continuous transfer of communication skills and capacity face a threat of interruption for the first time in our history. As device-filtered communication through laptops, tablets, and smartphones dominate the waking hours of the day, thousands of hours of face-to-face communication practice are being lost each year.
In the face of this deficit of practice hours, and markedly lower levels of self-reported confidence in communicative capacity among workforce-entering candidates, employers and higher learning institutions are placing greater and greater demands on the mastery of “soft skills.”
How can students and job candidates be expected to meet these elevating expectations when they do not have the culture of practice and passive development that shaped the generations now setting the expectations? How can they be expected to fulfill an unmeasurable competence in “soft skills” when those that set the criteria cannot model or define their own requirements?
HCS has spent 3 decades developing metrics and processes to fill the education gap with curriculum and strategies for the active development of skilled, confident, effective communicators in education and the workforce.
Our results at a glance
Our programs and curricula survive on learner outcomes and client success. Take a look at what data shows from their feedback.
Active development and communication fluency
The Human Communication Studio is dedicated to solving challenges of understanding. When there is a need to persuade, impress, listen, perceive, or advance an objective during face-to-face interactions the HCS methodologies provide effective and personalized solutions. Not only are these skill sets designed to address in-person communication, they are also uniquely positioned to address the challenges of video or audio telecommunications that have become the daily reality of the modern workplace/education environments.
Despite the dominance of device-facilitated communication, high level communicative expectations remain in place, both in the office and in the classroom. How can these expectations continue to be met when those entering the workforce and the student experience have increasingly fewer daily practice hours with the analog face-to-face paradigm of human interaction? Screen time for an average individual in the United States, according to DataReportal, has risen to a staggering 7 hours and 4 minutes per day. Regardless of other potential effects this may have on society and culture, it means that the average student or employee spends more than 7 hours a day NOT engaged in face-to-face interactions with peers and colleagues. This amounts to an approximate 2,725-hour annual deficit in in-person communication practice and fluency when compared to students and employees in 1990. To place this in a communication perspective, the Foreign Service Institute estimates that basic fluency in a foreign language can be achieved within a range of 480-720 hours. The amount of time the average American spends each year neglecting the maintenance of their human communication abilities is sufficient to reach basic fluency in 3 foreign languages. What could it do for soft skill competencies coveted by employers?
The modern, device-driven world is not going to revert to the analogue days in which the applications for in-person communication skills were omnipresent and practice hours were blended seamlessly into the demands of the day. So, what can we do to develop and refine soft skills within the context of our current environment?
To increase communicative fluency, both verbal and non-verbal, we need to contextualize the problem. We need to understand communication skills as competencies that are developed actively instead of relying on the passive development through social and group interaction that served the species for over 100,000 years up until the advent of the smartphone. Of course, that passive development is still taking place, but it is doing so through the dominant forms of communication at present day, i.e., messaging, email, and social media applications. Skills in those areas receive hours and hours of unconscious practice a day, at the cost of in-person communication competency. To address this, practice and engagement of in-person communication skills must become active, focused, and deliberate. This requires both a curriculum and routine engagement.
The HCS methodology focuses on two important concepts present in language learning: pattern recognition and approximation. Pattern recognition increases speed and depth of comprehension, and approximation allows for more efficient and adaptive skill development. As a learner becomes familiar with common patterns, and becomes more comfortable in the employment of those patterns while working toward a communicative goal, they develop a greater capacity to communicate nuance and subtlety through the personalization of their developing skillset.
This sounds like a lot of work, why is this so important?
At first it may appear that society is getting along just fine in the smartphone era, but when we consider all the areas of life that still require efficient and clear communication the applications for in-person skills begin to stack up. Job interviews, presentations, speeches, classroom instruction, family life, intimate relationships, teamwork, litigation, advocacy and a myriad of other social interactions continue to demand effective communication without the use of a digital interface.
Equally important, many of the most critical functions of our society require sustained attention and active listening for long periods, free from the interruptive chimes, dings, ringtones, and vibrations constantly drawing attention back to a device. In our jury boxes, classrooms, auditoriums, operating rooms, kitchens, boardrooms, cockpits, emergency response vehicles and laboratories critical operations must be executed or engaged without the textual and visual filtration, and inherent limitations of an intermediary social device.
It is time to consider whether social skill sets and functions developed over millennia may disappear within two generations of a technology-tethered population, and whether we want them to.
If we decide that the answer is “no,” and we determine that the benefits and functions of in-person communication in society should not be abandoned, then we need to ask ourselves another question: Now that we can’t rely on passive skill building at the kitchen table, in our schools, or in the workplace, who is training those communicators?
Not only is there no universal system of communication education there is an absence of a shared lexicon around every day strategic communication skill needs and expectations. There is also a time crunch. As our society evolves and responds to our relationship with technology, there is a short window in which to transition a skillset that once developed organically into one that is deliberately preserved in a curriculum.
But the issue is not simply confined to communications that take place face-to-face. The real challenge facing the upcoming generations in the workforce is communication quality as a whole. Even as more and more jobs transition to remote-labor and automation, there is a growing call for meaningful and skilled virtual communication. The good news is that in-person communication skills are transferable to the virtual environment.
Like any language, it can be codified and it can be taught, but only if we take strides to do so before our collective native fluency is lost. To date, colleges and businesses are hit and miss in providing comprehensive expectations and the “how to” for young scholars and employees. Most training programs train in ‘Be and Do this’, but do not train a communicator how to employ the capacity of their personal attributes and communication instrument toward a clearly defined outcome. In other words, they define outcomes while failing to provide actionable instruction.
The Human Communication Studio delivers the necessary constructs for understanding how humans use breath, thought, body, voice, space, energy, personality, and experience through the lens of given circumstances and desired outcomes. Those constructs become the platform from which a lexicon is introduced and skill building strategies are taught. Short dynamic videos create a network of resources that the client can access to learn how to practice face-to-face communications to further their own objectives. The Foundation Course material lays the foundational curriculum from which hundreds of communication problems can be explored and solutions offered.
A storehouse of techniques and strategies are assembled from a number of disciplines that articulate and define not only what is occurring in the communication of an individual, but how to adjust and strategize with skill building that becomes replicable.
Derived from working with thousands of bodies and solving thousands of communication problems over three decades in the field, this curriculum establishes identifiable human communication patterns and processes that can be learned and communicated in the way we learn a language. By breaking down a component of communication, identifying it as a part of the system and revealing how the component parts of the system interact, there is an allowance for the individual to not simply understand their unique communication patterns and habits, but to strategize with other patterns and combinations of components that are best suited to their use case or situation at hand. When practiced over time, and executed for the purpose of meaningful communication, the user gains fluency in their individual preferences, strategically plans for iterations and substitutions, and achieves a high level of audience or learner reception and understanding.
Universities seek to graduate highly skilled communicators and critical thinkers. Doctoral programs, research institutions, select industries and companies are seeking to hire highly skilled communicators and critical thinkers. The hiring, cultivation and retention of high producing employees means today’s educational institutions must pay attention to implementing a set of required in-person and virtual communication curriculum initiatives that produce candidates with a competency in communication skills and companies must make communication training a priority in today’s workforce. Investing in each person and measuring how communication impacts the revenue and growth of a company is a challenge worth acting upon. Simply said, high level communicating job candidates mean highly skilled communicating employees, producing the potential for high dollar outcomes and increased job satisfaction.
This leads to the important question of retention and workforce stability. In today’s market what is job satisfaction? And, if it can be defined does it equate to employee retention? The up-and-coming workforce may not perceive that decades of their life will be devoted to a singular type of work experience or company. What swirls around the edges of a job interview are subjects like autonomy, flexibility, time control, time off, working remotely and wanting the job to be meaningful. In the end what compels an employee to stay put, give a company all they have or grow with the company? Is it a connection to the company culture, the people, the mission, the perks, or, is it something deeper and much more difficult to promote in a company, such as a sense of belonging, stability, being seen and valued. The interaction and communication that spans all categorization of employees in a company is key to achieving employee satisfaction on a more personal level and is also key for retaining people to grow a dedicated and dependable workforce. Developing the core communication skills of people is key to production, longevity, the bottom line and a meaningful workday experience.
Communication cuts across all aspects and stratus of a company. Communication competency is reflected inside the company culture and transmitted outside a company’s virtual or brick and mortar place of operation. Recent workforce generations of digital natives possess a skill set socially and professionally rooted in tech. Whereas previous generations reflect a comfort level and proficiency with in-person communications, the rising labor pool has neither formal training nor the benefit of a culture that cultivates person-to-person social skills. The importance of introducing the craft of communicating ideas and thoughts, building associations and connection, generating emotional and sensory understanding is only one side of the coin. The other side is the craft of delivery and transmission of meaning and is what constitutes effective communication.
The HCS methodology provides the solution to better communication between people world-wide. We serve all industries, businesses, educational institutions, cultures, and ages. Beyond establishing the foundational principles through our courses, expertise is focused on ensuring all people discover what they need to make their communication transformational.
The key is compounded inputs over time. 15 minutes of engagement a day over the span of a year yield over 90 hours of highly specialized communication skills training. That’s more than double the total number of professional development training hours offered by the average US based organization, which come in at an average price tag of $1,252 per employee, more than 10 times the cost of training in the HCS curriculum.
The cost is low, the results are measurable, and the need is universal. All people, businesses or institutions can take action. The first step is to recognize that effective communication, at all levels of human interaction, has value and requires cultivation and training.
The next step is getting started.
Not Just the "What" but the "How to"
Built on three decades of field work
Every concept presented in the HCS Methodology is meticulously broken down into its component parts. A carefully developed, non-contradictory lexicon brings together key strategies from practices in theatre, dance, martial arts, literacy theory, mediation, and disciplines of martial arts to synthesize thousands of years of communicative practice from around the world.
HCS focuses on providing resources to the learner that not only offer them effective patterns and strategies, but most importantly promote a practice of self development that evolves a highly personalized, physical and personality-compatible set of skills that maximize the personal attributes of the user.
Bespoke Marketing Plans
effective planning advanced by improvisation skill sets
The only thing better than having the perfect plan is having the ability to react to unexpected inputs in real time. The HCS Methodology focuses on how to build effective content strategies from the ground up- but more importantly how to build in margins and latitude to improvise within controlled boundaries to achieve success.
Physical tools are organized in a network of mutually influenced systems, with clear explanations of how to affect outcomes and navigate interactions under unforeseen circumstances.
Concepts of Physical Orientation, Proxemics and Gesture mutually influence one another to create fluent, purposeful non-verbal cues
Clear Intentions, Emphasis, Supportive Action, Attention Management, and Visual-Verbal focus relationships allow for efficient content panning