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Hello! My name is Jacqueline Cho and I am a 3rd year Criminology and History student at the University of Toronto. I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Sam, a workshop detailing the importance of connection. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about the importance of interpersonal communication skills, and evolution within the workplace.

While listening to Sam's recounting of personal stories of connections that he had made be it from former students and mentees to LinkedIn connections, it became abundantly clear to me that communication, above all else, will be the component to set you apart from other applicants. What stood out to me in particular was Sam’s story about the 2 students: out of 60 invited to a conference developing soft skills, only 2, or approximately 3.3%, showed up. The 2 that showed up ended up gaining not only a deeper connection with Sam, but additional connections that the missing 58 did not have access to. To me, this carries across the point of never shirking opportunity to fruition

What I enjoyed the most about Sam’s lecture was that it didn’t feel like a lecture at all; while Sam was clearly well versed in public speaking, his maintaining of a conversational tone felt like a conversation as compared to a lecture. This is the best way, in my opinion, for the lesson Sam was trying to impart to sink in: by communicating with us in a conversational tone, I was more inclined to listen.

This experience and what I learned from Sam is something that I will absolutely take into account moving forward. As I move further into professional spaces, I will keep in mind how I felt when Sam spoke to us: as an equal, and as a person, not just a potential LinkedIn connection.

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