In my work as a communications trainer, coach and facilitator, I regularly interact with communication professionals, authors, researchers, and executives.

Since social media is a powerful tool to learn from influencers, I’ve found LinkedIn to be an exceptional platform for discovering new insights, sharing experiences, and nurturing professional relationships. It’s my favourite social media space because it levels the playing field and opens doors to engaging interactions on communication principles and best practices.

So, when a foremost U.S communication advisor to some of the world’s top brands, who’s also the author of nine communication books (some of which are bestsellers) recently sought my insights on communication trends in Nigeria, I was honoured.

Being based in Nigeria, I work as a communications coach at a globally ranked business school. I also run a training outfit—Rethinking Business Communications Limited—where I deliver programmes and advisory services on nonverbal communication, public speaking, and business writing. Therefore, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with professionals, executives at different levels, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Regarding the importance of communication skills in this country, I shared with the best-selling author what I’ve observed, which I’d highlight below.

If you’re a Nigerian reading this article, I recommend that you have an open mind. As a citizen, I’m convinced that if we’re open to reskilling and upgrading our communication skills, we’d become more competent in our roles. More importantly, we’d compete more favorably on the global stage.

Our intellect is evident everywhere we go. That’s why we excel in the West and other regions, and we’re a resilient, creative and optimistic folk – despite certain socio-economic limitations in the country.

Yet, our communication skills, or lack thereof, limit our potential and stall our professional growth.

Therefore, here’s what Nigerians need to know about communication that increases influence and trigger results:

1) Effective speaking skills are critical to career advancement and business outcomes

During classroom and one-on-one coaching sessions with full-time and executive MBA participants at a renowned business school in Lagos, I learn about their worries about communicating effectively. Their concerns cover interpersonal communication, public speaking, and business writing. They appreciate advice on how to influence people, boost their credibility, advance in their careers, or grow their businesses.

Many intelligent and driven professionals I meet affirm that presentation skills are instrumental to getting results. They then seek my advice on how to present purposefully (and in general, how to speak convincingly in public). From presentations, pitches and interviews to impromptu speeches and talks – they know that confident speaking skills get them noticed and signal them for coveted roles in their careers. But they get anxious about speaking persuasively in front of people.

So, in addition to highlighting the science and art of powerful speaking and identifying practical techniques, we discuss how to tackle their fear by ‘reframing’ their mindset.

Here’s how it works:

Rather than obsess about how an audience will perceive them, or whether they’d be likable, or myriad other issues, I challenge participants to shift their focus to addressing the needs of the audience. With this tactic, they prioritise being of value to the audience – either by solving pain points or revealing information that will beneficial (hence relevant) to the audience’s concerns.

Personally, I use this ‘reframing’ technique for every presentation/workshop/speech or oral engagement I deliver. And I can confirm that it’s an invaluable way to become self-confident, and in the eyes of your audience, credible. A bonus is that it provides the flexibility to tweak your content in real time when you become more attuned to the audience’s preferences.

Persuasion is also a significant differentiator in leadership. Business leaders who are powerful speakers use Aristotle’s ‘pillars’ of persuasion: ethos (their credibility), logos (logic/facts) and pathos (emotions) to connect with their audiences and inspire collaboration. Other rhetorical techniques, which help create emotional bonds that trigger action include rhyming, metaphors, exaggeration, and the ‘rule’ of threes.

2) Poor business writing skills can be fixed

Despite the importance of persuasive speaking, the most frequent enquiry I get is on business writing and how to write convincing documents.

Writing fills the average Nigerian with dread. Whether it involves essays or other pieces at university or business schools, filling in application forms, writing memos/reports/business plans/contracts, or writing letters to service providers (with those requested at banks being one of the most loathed forms) – we Nigerians try to avoid writing tasks as much as possible.

Looking at the wider Nigerian context, poor writing can be seen in the media (some newspapers, web content, etc.). Moreover, incorrect grammar—such as run-on sentences, comma splices, and the use of fragments as complete sentences—can be seen, even in business documents. Then, there’s the problem of incorrect punctuation (notably excessive capitalisation and the misuse of the semi-colon) as well as poor sentence structures.

And the situation gets worse.

As I wrote in a business newspaper a few years ago, two factors contribute to the scourge of ineffective writing skills in Nigeria:

– a poor reading culture

– a weak knowledge of grammar and effective writing conventions

Fortunately, both problems can be solved. First, Nigerian professionals and business leaders should cultivate a habit of reading well-written content regularly (and I recommend the daily ’10-minute reading test’). Next, they should develop the discipline of writing regularly (and if all else fails, start personal blogs) to build their writing muscles.

Becoming a persuasive writer is achievable over time, but they must be resolute in persevering in the craft.

No other process would work.

Note another point: You’d influence people and garner support for your causes when you write using simple, clear language that arouses emotions in your readers.


So, what’s the bottom line about effective communication for Nigerian professionals, business leaders, and influencers?

It heightens professional advancement and improves business outcomes. If you’re able to communicate simply, concisely and clearly in speech and in writing, you’d inspire people, coax action, and forge collaborations that produce results.

And superb communication skills can be learned and guaranteed with consistent application.

Therefore, when you apply proven communication strategies and remain committed to continuous learning, you’d generate trust, rally your troops, and achieve great things.

There’d be no stopping you.

Before you leave:

Do you need help in boosting your public speaking and business writing skills? Email me at and let’s discuss how I can help you get the results that you deserve.

Just so you know, I deliver communication workshops, seminars, one-on-one executive coaching sessions, and custom services. Half-day, full-day, and multiple-day programmes can be arranged. Find out more about my transformational communication services here.

Remember to sign up here for my free quarterly newsletters and learn best practices. When you sign up, you’ll receive my evergreen resource on giving persuasive presentations. Ensure you download that document and refer to it before any high-stakes presentation or speech.

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N.B: All images are courtesy of Gerd Altmann, via Pixabay.

2 Replies to “What Nigerians Need To Know About Effective Communication”

  1. Agree with you that if we communicate simply, concisely and clearly in speech and in writing, you’d inspire people, coax action, and forge collaborations that produce results.

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