Almost every soul in the class was trying hard to understand and comprehend what Vikas was stating. Those who were in no mood to wrack their brains went into deep slumbers. The presentation was on a particular topic in Human Resource Management. The team presenting their views on the topic with the help of audio-visual aids undoubtedly had worked hard but Vikas was turning out to be a wet blanket.
Vikas, a bright and promising student was trying to deliver his part of the presentation with utmost zeal and enthusiasm but every word he was speaking made audience lose interest and finally when it got over, the loud voice of the mentor had brought everyone back to senses. Vikas was left dumbfounded and was wondering what went wrong. He had worked against time to make it a grand success as it had some value as far as internal marks were concerned. Anyways, dejected he assumed his seat and went in a state of confusion. “Were my peers unable to understand and comprehend what I spoke? But why?”
This is not something new, in fact, it is quite common in classrooms. Being a B-school student myself, I had encountered this problem several times and it had left me completely drained. Master in Business Administration (MBA) involves and demands effective communication and interpersonal skills, no matter which field you major in such as Finance, Marketing or Human Resources. Majority of us work sincerely on honing our communication skills but often ignore some few basic facts and our efforts go to waste.
Many of us have a fair command over the universal language, English but we all tend to improve upon it. Editorial pages of Economic Times, magazines like Business Today along with novellas and novels become an integral part of our lives. It makes us better informed but it takes a great deal to become an effective communicator. I seek to share a few useful aspects which I learned from my own follies and try to avoid in when I present something.
- Being too verbose can be an overkill
Here I would like to mention my own student life and some personal instances. I started learning new words, phrases and expressions and soon they found space not only in all my writings but also verbally. New and difficult words became a part and parcel of my vocabulary of daily use and soon I got addicted to it, without realizing when and how to use them.
I did not pay any heed to this aspect and would be really engrossed in learning new words and expanding my vocabulary with each passing day. I used to get immense pleasure when my friends were unable to understand the umpteen words which I would use and I would fill them in with the meaning. My peers congratulated me on my impressive vocabulary every now and then. My sense feeling of pride was going out of bounds but I did not care much.
I got the biggest jolt when I was delivering a presentation. In a particular paragraph on one of the slides, I had mentioned- ‘When companies adopt Blue Ocean Strategy, they cannot afford to be pusillanimous and once they enter a new market, it is not so easy to elope’. Majority of my peers started scratching their heads looking at the first bold word. I had to explain that it meant non-courageous but soon the entire class including my mentor burst into uncontrollable peals of laughter.
I was getting hyperactive when one of my friends pointed out- “Brother, elope means to escape”. That’s what I had meant which was why my tone was filled with agony and anger. “Escape with a person”- he continued and started smiling. I looked at my mentor and apologized. Do remember friends, use simple and effective words which are relevant to the context you wish to bring to others notice. We do not join the course to become a litterateur.
- Be thorough, Be confident–
When you start talking about any topic, discuss any issue or simply deliver a presentation on any topic, make sure that whatever information you are sharing is accurate, updated and precise. There will be many instances when your peers will put up a counter question or simply question the authenticity of the information provided. It can be truly genuine or simply concocted.
If you know that you have delivered accurate information, be confident and face your peers putting valid points and evidence to support your points. If you are not unsure about the accuracy of the facts, be confident and mention that you will check about it and revert. Never ever surrender your guns and start apologizing. But yes, if anyone from the audience puts forward enough and real evidence to support their point, never hesitate even for a nanosecond to admit your mistake and thank them profusely.
Further, you should never digress from the main topic. You may share your viewpoints with others but need to link the information provided in such a way that it appears coherent, related and relevant in all respects.
- Be natural and conversant–
It has happened to me numerous times that my presentation appears to be incredible but when I start delivering or discussing about it, it becomes utterly boring and uninteresting. Capturing audience is an art which you need to be dexterous at. Be natural, simple, conversant and clear in what you intend to convey. Using personal incidents, experiences and anecdotes makes it more conversational, arresting and appealing.
In the end, I must admit that I have not scribbled something which you do not know, have not heard or experienced but this is a tiny write-up to reinforce what you subconsciously are aware of but if followed religiously, it will be of immense use and help. You may turn into an effective and impressive communicator in a real sense. Learn from your experiences as everyone does but learn from others sermons as well.
Wish you luck!
Contributed by Vineet Mani (Class of 2010,IBS GURGAON )