Speak up for success

Paul looked at the clock. There was barely any time left! Cold sweat ran down the side of his head as he anxiously waited for the door to open. He stared at the gold placard on the door: “Chief Operations Manager, India.” Yep. A bigshot in the company. And he had a presentation to give to him! Rumour had it that the man was a blunt, to-the-point type manager. Intimidating, to say the least. The door creaked open....Paul walked in apprehensively.

'Good evening Paul. Let's get right to business.'

'Ye-yes sir.'

He opened his laptop and connected it to the projector. He tried calming himself. But to no avail.

He froze.

How many of you have been in a situation similar to Paul? A lot of you, isn't it? Even though you spend days preparing for a talk or a presentation, your work ends up in shambles because you aren't able to communicate well. Bluntly put, you're scared of speaking. And it's not just you, a significant portion of today's society is scared of public speaking. In some studies, fear of public speaking even occupies a higher position than the fear of death! Does this mean we'd rather be in a funeral casket than on stage making a presentation? Strange, isn't it?

But before we get into the nitty gritty of communication, let’s take a look at why it’s important in the first place. Let's look at a few examples:

A cricket captain conveying instructions to his team. What does he use? Communication.

A scientist presenting a ground-breaking hypothesis to a leading research organisation. What does he use? Communication.

Sal Khan from Khan Academy making even the most complex maths seem simple. What does he use? Communication.

A person bargaining with a shopkeeper? What does he use? Communication.

I could go on and on with this list. Truth is, every aspect of todays world requires the art of communication, be it sports, teaching, management or practically anything else. For those of you prospective IT employees, here's a fun fact: according to NACE's Job outlook 2016 report, employers rated communication as the most important skill, giving it a grade of 4.63 out of five.

But the overbearing questions? What causes this inane fear of speaking to an audience, or to superiors? And how do you overcome this?

This and more in the next episode!