In 2012 Annual Conference, Monday

By: Lauren Antista

An engineer by background, Steven Moore might seem an unusual speaker on interpersonal communication. But his personal experiences give him the authenticity to drive home the message the importance of this kind of communication.

“Recognize opportunities and make the most of them.”

His story: Raised in Alabama, his father owned a bulldozer company and one summer a routine drop-off of one of the machines would result in an accident that would change his life. A large metal pipe would hit his throat, fracturing his larynx and cut off his air supply. Quick thinking from his parents saved his life, but the prognosis was bleak – an 80 percent chance he would never speak again.

“It’s the small things that make a difference.”

It wasn’t until this point that he’d realized how important the cues of interpersonal communication were, especially eye contact; and, according to him is critical, overlooked and underutilized. It became a primary way of expressing how he felt to his family.

“Recognize opportunities and make the most of them.”

Three months of silence and one day he was able to whisper. With this new development came new hope and new opportunity. A surgery could remove scar tissue, giving him a 50/50 chance of getting better or losing the progress he’d made. He went for it. Awake for the whole surgery, he helped the surgeons reposition the vocal cords to bring back his voice. It didn’t end there.

“Your approach and directness will drive your success.”

Flipping through an ESPN magazine convinced him to go the extra mile. A Coca Cola ad that said, “Give your vocal cords a little something for the effort,” inspired him to go through yet another surgery (the icing on the cake) to bring resonance to his voice, making it sound like the old Steven. And, success.

While interpersonal communication is just a small part of his story, it is a key part of his message that, “interpersonal communication is inescapable, irreversible and complicated” and that we take for granted. Sometimes it just takes a reminder, like his story, to recognize an opportunity to appreciate and hone our interpersonal communication skills, a vital tool for every PR professional. Thank you, Steven for the welcome reminder.

Steven Moore holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and recently completed his MBA from the University of Florida. He is currently Manager of Research and Product Development with RTI Biologics (RTI) in Alachua, Fla., where he is responsible for creating ideas and/or interacting with surgeons to cultivate ideas and developing them into life changing products for individuals who need them most. His passion, though it sounds cliché, is to help others. More specifically, it is to interact and make a difference in the lives of every individual he meets.

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