Qasim Rashid’s lecture, “Message Mapping and Effective Communication,” taught LLSP 2016 the skills to communicate and engage with an audience, which are necessary in becoming a successful leader. Mr. Rashid started by asking the participants to come up with one line describing their ideal job, together with why and how they would do it. He then helped them synthesize each participant’s description so that it sounded concise, catchy, and suitable for social media. Effective communication is cutting through all the extraneous noise and striking at what is the heart of the issue.
As part of his effort to teach how to convey a clear message, Mr. Rashid helped the class distinguish the “why,” the “how,” and the “what” behind every individual’s efforts and causes in life. This was extremely useful because initially the participants found themselves mixing up these three very distinct concepts. The “why” lays out the vision, or the conviction that motivates an individual or an organization into doing what he/it does. The “how” is the vehicle through which we manifest the why. The “what” is the end goal underlying all the effort. One of our participants provided a particularly effective message. Her “why” consisted of her belief that when women join Islam, they should have access to support that would otherwise be common for any newcomer joining a religious group. Her “how” involved training and helping new female converts connect with other Muslim sisters. Finally her “what” was simply to help and provide support to new converts to Islam.
Mr. Rashid then moved on to discuss how to communicate the “why,” “how,” and “what” to the public. He stressed the importance of being aware of one’s body language and tone of voice, especially in situations when we are put in a tight spot. He also talked about the importance of being memorable.
Mr. Rashid concluded his class by laying out the dos and don’ts of social media. He explained, “do not confuse your audience by talking about things that you are not qualified to talk about. We live in a world where it’s difficult to draw line. Eg. wearing two hats, one for Karamah and one for another Muslim organization.” He emphasized, “remember the rule before writing an email, a tweet, or any other form of social media: if this were on the front cover of NYT tomorrow, would I approve it to be posted online? If no, then delete it. Finally, “be consistent with social media presence – inconsistency may result in loss of audience.”
In this digital age, social media is crucial in reaching audiences and engaging the public. Mr. Rashid helped our LLSP class gain the skills to navigate the difficult and often delicate waters of social media, while reminding them that before attempting communication of a message, it is essential to reflect on one’s own motivations and goals.