#NCLGBA22 Recap Series: Communication - Making Magic in Budget

Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring reflections on the 2022 Summer Conference. If you would like to share your experience, please email admin@nclgba.org.

Our next #NCLGBA22 Conference Recap comes from Vincent Roberts, Senior Budget & Management Analyst at Guilford County.

The 2022 NCLGBA Summer Conference came through Atlantic Beach with another rousing success. Different highly informative themes found themselves throughout the conference – from capital/debt management to ARPA and how legislative decisions were impacting our economy. However, one broader theme seemed to resurface several times in the conference – communication. Naturally one can always attain some communication skills/knowledge from simply observing the array of quality speakers/panelists that NCLGBA is always able to uncover, but this Summer two specific presentations highlighted the importance of communication and how we can use it to improve ourselves even in a world surrounded by numbers.

The first presentation that centered on communication was the keynote address provided by Joshua Lozoff, titled “The Magic of Communication.” The presentation centered on three core skills for effective communication: be present, be genuine, and be curious. Josh managed to portray these skills through several examples of magic in a far better way than my words in this recap ever could, nonetheless I will do my best. The first core skill of being present dealt with being in the moment when you are communicating and to limit distractions as to give an individual or audience your undivided self. He portrayed this skill extremely well through his example of essentially reading the minds of a group of participants to guess their nicknames. The second core skill of being genuine related to being yourself and not feeling like you must do it the way someone else did it in order to be successful. He referenced a story from his acting career while on the sitcom Cheers that encompassed the fact that his effort to try to be like all the other big stars actually took away from his ability to effectively communicate his character. Being genuine is what makes your message worth communicating. The final core skill of being curious relates to the audience in front of you and looking to make the interaction about that person while putting them at ease and exceeding their expectations. Josh managed to exceed all our expectations when he asked an audience member to color a picture of himself, then revealed the exact color scheme of her picture that he had colored the morning of, even down to the green & red socks he uncovered on his own feet! Though most of us budget professionals will never be able to communicate quite as effectively as Josh, he still gave us three great skills that can be immediately instituted in our own professional/personal life.

The second presentation that centered on communication was the session presented by Toastmasters International John M. Smith & Martha Massaad, titled “Building Better Presentations.” The presentation aimed at overcoming public speaking, but the crux of that was how to be an effective communicator. It emphasized that much like Josh had mentioned, it is a personal process intended as a trusting interaction between the speaker and the audience. The goal is to love one’s audience and enjoy that interface. It is important to remember the process involves more than words, as body language serves as an equally important tool. John and Martha even provided some specific tips to improve communication when speaking to an audience, including using humor and props to convey an effective message. Perhaps the most important tip to effective communication was “don’t worry, be happy, have fun.”

It would be highly impressive for us all to aspire to be as effective at communication as Josh, John, and Martha, but it is safe to say that the NCLGBA Summer 2022 conference gave us all a high target. We may never be as good as these great speakers, but one can dream, right?