Developing communication skills

Abhinav Sharma
When we talk about communication skills the first thing which comes in our mind is the ability of an individual to express himself.  As all of us know that English is an international language and has become the primary mode of communication in schools, colleges and corporate and hence it has become very important for everyone to have the ability to speak and understand English. English is a language which is seen as a symbol of growth and prosperity of any nation.
To sustain in the society we need to work proactively to develop effective communication skill strategies which will help the students and candidates to communicate effectively through techniques which have been designed over time and are practical in nature.  As I have been working in the corporate as a trainer for the past 5 years and what I have observed in the schools and colleges is that the most students do not have basic knowledge of English. They are not able to express themselves just because they can not speak in English. This is not a problem of state but it’s a global problem where English is the second language. Every one desires to speak in fluent English. If you want to be placed in reputed company, you need to know the art of English speaking.  Many deserving candidates lose job opportunities because they do not have command over English.  Across different nations the desire for learning English is ever increasing as everyone wants to be at the global front. May it be group discussion, job interview, presentation or an international symposium all you need is the ability to speak English effectively.
English can never be learnt in a night. It needs practice.  I would like to share a gist of a lecture attended by me at LSE London, England; this will be highly beneficial for all the students who hesitate in speaking English or lack the confidence in doing so. People say hard work is the key to success,  but I say Practice is the key to success.  Being a management graduate, I have many friends from villages across India who had never been to a English medium school but strategy worked wonder on them in the college. They never spoke in English during their school time but became powerful orators in a couple of months. All this was not a magic, it was a result of practice, patience, tolerance and a strategy which transformed the lives of many. I was also one of them, although I was from well reputed English medium school but still found English a tough nut to crack.
Below are the strategies which I always advice my students to adopt and assured results are guaranteed if proper time is given to each activity. All these activities can done between friends, family members, colleagues and alone. I do not recommend alone because a research has proven that person learns faster in a group and develops competitive abilities to argue and discuss.
*Watch Television: Parents should allow their kids to watch English programs for at least 30 minutes in a day. English training should begin from school life so that they do not have any difficulty in the future. Preferably they should watch English news. It will quickly teach new vocabulary, correct pronunciation and listening skills. Videos and documentaries of leaders, commentaries, speeches etc are of utmost importance and are freely available on internet.
*Group Discussion: The best and the cheapest way to learn English is forming discussion forums. Students in the schools and colleges should be encouraged to devote adequate time for this activity as this will build confidence and courage to speak before the audience. This activity can be done in a room or hall with members more than two.
*The Mirror Technique: This technique is unique and requires practice of speaking aloud in front of mirror. This method will improve and rectify the errors in speech and will boost up your confidence level to an optimum level.
*Reading Books and Newspaper:  This is my way of learning new words and improving language skills. You should buy a book to increase your vocabulary and understanding the English language better. The newspaper is the cheapest source of information and is highly recommended to make a command over English. One should daily read a newspaper or book continuously for at least 20-30 minutes to make a pace in English. We should mark the difficult words and should consult a Standard English dictionary to understand their meanings. This will surely enhance your language skills.
*Dictionary:  You can use a pocket dictionary but now a days,  dictionary is available online, also installed on your personal computers, laptops, mobile phones etc so you can use it any time on the move. You can learn the correct pronunciation and will get familiarized with the difficult words.
*Content Part: Much of the emphasis is given on the speech but we always miss on the content part. Our content should be crystal clear, flaw less, grammatically correct and easily readable and understandable. We should prepare the content part with determination.
*Meet New People:  Try to make contacts who are good at English. One should try to reach out to strangers whom you feel are good English speakers, try to talk to them and speak up what you want to say, least you will be feel conscious about them as they might not know you.
*Thought Process:  We should pen down our thoughts on a piece of paper. This should probably done in English. We should then try to read them loud. This will enhance your creative writing skills and will add fluency to your English. For example, if you have to appear for a group discussion round in a recruitment process, without wasting time, you should write the thoughts on a paper and make sentences and relevant points. This will do miracle as you will be able to express your thoughts which you have had in your mind new seconds back. This will give you confidence to take any verbal challenge.
*Speak slowly:  Candidates who are in the initial stage of learning spoken English, they should never try to speak too fast as this will further deteriorate the language skills. This will bring the candidate to a complex situation. Speak slowly and clearly whatever you want to communicate with others.
In due course of time with practice, you will develop excellent communication skills with profound knowledge of grammar.  To be a master in spoken English one must put his best efforts in order to reap the desired results. If any person will follow the above tips, a tremendous change in the communication skills will be observed.