The Covid-19 pandemic, which is still lurking out there although with far lesser intensity, has impacted almost every aspect of our lives. One of such aspects that are related to you is ‘communication’, which undoubtedly is one of the most important keys to your success. The Corona-induced restrictions have turned the traditional ways and means of communication topsy-turvy, with students, teachers, employers, interviewers, interviewees, etc. all switching over to online methods and apps to reach out to the respective target audience. The online communication, which started as just a temporary substitute, has now become a norm, and is here to stay. So, it is of utmost importance for all of you to learn, upgrade and polish your online communication skills too—in addition to the traditional means and ways. It is high time that you familiarised yourself with the cutting-edge video interviewing software. Remote onboarding is no longer a new concept in India. With ‘Zoom’ and ‘Teams’ becoming the new ‘coffee shops’ or ‘meeting rooms’ for interview sessions, the need of the hour for you is to adapt to the new-age hi-tech trends of communication.
Although learning the online communication skills is the call of the fast changing times, the traditional public speaking skills remain as important as before. Our Indian education system focuses more on written tests of one’s ability than developing the speaking skills of students. As you move into Group Discussions and Personal Interviews, you will find that your ability to share your thoughts confidently in public can often make a crucial difference between success and failure when you try to secure admission in a prestigious institution or when you try to bag a lucrative job opportunity.
The father of modern public speaking, Mr. Dale Carnegie, who began to conduct his classes at the YMCA in New York City, USA, eventually built a business empire that focused on enhancing the confidence levels of young students and professionals. He was of the view that communication skills were just like any kinesthetic skill that involves your entire body and mind. He used to say that the way to overcome your fear of swimming, cycling, sports, horse riding, mountaineering, trekking or public speaking was to do the activity so often that your body-mind coordination would improve over time and you will begin to enjoy the process. It will no longer remain an ordeal for you.
Every time you get up to speak in public, prime your brain for success before the event. Remember that our mind is like an iceberg. The 90% of our mind is subconscious and ‘below the surface.’ We are only consciously aware of the 10% that is above the surface. Our thought patterns and neural networks in the subconscious mind drive our fears and inhibitions. Any negative event that had happened earlier in your life, say, a school public speaking event had not turned out to be successful, continues to play in your subconscious mind and gives rise to a feeling of fear when you are confronted by any public speaking situation in the present. The way to overcome these negative and destructive neural pathways is to replace them with positive and confident thought patterns. Think of neural pathways as paths that form naturally in a garden. The paths that are used repeatedly will tend to become more marked and definite. The paths that are unused will tend to fade away into the surrounding greenery. Our subconscious mind can, therefore, be brought under our control if we exercise deliberate vigilance over what goes on in our minds.
Before you get up to speak, fill your mind with thoughts of past success and the looks on the faces of the audience, the physical setting and how you felt when you performed well. At the next step, try to imagine how the impending public communication will end in similar success and how everyone is likely to react when you perform well. The first step is called ‘remembering past successes,’ and the second step is called ‘future pacing’ where you try to fill your mind with thoughts of your impending success. This is a method that sports psychologists also use with their clients before important events.
Take every opportunity to speak confidently in public besides honing your online communication skills as well as mastering the various related apps and software. This combination of traditional and new-age communication skills will surely take you places in your career. More particularly, take the rapid advancements of the related information technology in your stride—now and always.
I wish you every success in your life!