Cometh a new year, cometh change and optimism. Each new year brings in hope, positivity, a willingness to work hard as well as be more productive. Many New Year resolutions like ‘following a special Keto diet’ or ‘hitting the gym every week’ fizzle out by February-end. However, if you want to take decisive steps to achieve professional success, you will be more determined to follow up on your resolutions.
Despite the surge in demand for niche technical skills owing to the expansion of big data, cryptocurrencies, and deep learning, corporates still put a heavy emphasis on soft skills. Being able to communicate effectively and having the human touch of empathy and understanding are essential traits for a sustainable business. In a country like India, where services (majorly the software sector) remains the dominant employer, it is necessary to have good communication skills, especially great English speaking skills.
If you have just one goal for New Year 2019, it should be further improve your English speaking skills. Whether you are a beginner or have attained a certain degree of proficiency in English or public speaking, it is recommended you strive to improve further. Here are 5 New Year resolutions for 2019 that will help you improve your communication skills. There is actually just a single resolution – to become a better English speaker – these are 5 ways how you can achieve the same:
#5 Start Casual Conversations in English
Becoming a fluent English speaker is a process that requires incremental change. Nothing happens overnight. If you stumble in English conversations, you won’t all of a sudden start speaking confidently during a client call. Start with friendly banter with your friends and family. Whatever you have to speak, say it in English. It will be even better if you can find some like-minded friends who want to improve their speaking skills as much as you want to.
The more you speak, the more you will find yourself becoming acquainted with the nuances of the language. Gradually, you will gain confidence to handle business communication also successfully. But keep in mind that this will take time. You need to be patient and keep improving!
#4 Practice, Practice and Practice
The following is a real-life experience of one of our students at Pep Talk India. Read on:
Let’s say the student’s name is Rajat. Now, Rajat had middling proficiency in English speaking and he wanted to become a good public speaker. He joined the Pep Talk Skills course at pep Talk India, and all was going good. With regular training, he started delivering business presentations with ease. Life was treating him well both personally and professionally. However, after a few months, he decided to leave his job due to some personal issues. He took a break of 3 months to relax and pursue other interests. After around 3 months, he decided to apply for jobs again. But the horror of horrors! He found himself being quite nervous during interviews and even uttering one complete, coherent sentence seemed like a huge task for him.
What changed for Rajat who was earlier able to deliver impressive business presentations?
He forgot to practice. The 3-month break period he had, he just didn’t think practicing English speaking should be a priority.
Remember, not everyone faces this problem. Some people are blessed with the gift of speech and they can speak well on any occasion, no matter whether they practice or not.
For others, if there is no practice, then there is no improvement. In fact, your communication skills will deteriorate.
Take out time to practice your English speaking DAILY. Without fail.
#3 Read Great Write-ups, Summarize and Speak Out Loud
You become the food you consume. If you eat healthy, nutritious stuff, you will feel energetic. If you gobble on junk food regularly, you will become a lazy slouch. In the same way, the content you consume defines your views and opinions. If you follow celebrity gossip and Bollywood news regularly, you will become no different from the ‘jethaanis’ and ‘devraanis’ that they show in the soaps.
There are many intellectual opinions you can read on different topics on various news portals. These contain incisive insights on contemporary affairs along with words of wisdom, all bundled into one eloquent write-up.
What you need to do is read these write-ups regularly, make summaries of the same and read them aloud, preferably to a friend. You can also use these points in a discussion over tea with acquaintances, colleagues and friends.
#2 Create a Monthly Personal Tracker
Unless you create a plan to track your feedback, most of your hard work will be in vain. Set up a personal tracker to note how much you are improving on a monthly basis. How many speaking activities you did (successfully and unsuccessfully), how much did your conversational skills improve, and whether you are able to speak strangers confidently – this could also include telephonic skills and soft skills at office.
With every passing month, you should be improving against the benchmarks, which can be changed every three months.
#1 Join a Public Speaking Forum
For many people, speaking to friends, families and even colleagues doesn’t do the job. Some feel shy and embarrassed of doing any speaking activities with their friends, while some feel it just isn’t enough to help them face real-life situations.
The best and most obvious way to shed your fears and gain confidence is to speak in front of strangers. It is even better if the group comprises of people who won’t judge you for fumbles and foibles and actually encourage you to do better. In that case, an English and Public Speaking platform like Pep Talk India is the need of the hour! (self-promotion is fun, wink wink ;-)).