Picture this: You’ve managed to earn a great degree in your field, slogged through placements and/or multiple applications, interviews and managed to get your hands on a pretty good job. That first pay cheque has given you a thrill unlike no other- like an ideal child, you’ve bought your mum and dad something nice, treated your friends and managed to buy yourself something small with whatever you managed to not spend on others- yes, it is okay, you don’t always think about saving when it’s your first cheque. Everything’s ideal. Then, a couple of months down the line, your manager asks you to make your first presentation, all by yourself. You stand up, and freeze.
You find yourself in business conversation in English, this makes you feel nervous and you may not be able to get the desired outcome that you would, in your first language. These experiences lead you to feel more dejected and this dejection overshadows your genuine technical skills. Gradually, all of this amounts to you trying to avoid using English as much as you can, thus limiting your opportunities, both at work and socially.
For many us, English forms a crucial part of our resume. Even with a basic education of English at school or college, we don’t feel comfortable with using it fluently in everyday communication, unable to steer a conversation that gets us closer to the desired outcome.
This hesitance makes a lot of us stagnate at entry or mid-level positions at the companies we aim to work in, because while we are often very well-versed with the business at hand, we are unable to communicate or sell the same- both to internal stakeholders and external clients.
We can’t forget the words of a senior Human Resource office at a prominent global manufacturing plant, “If I find that an employee is skilled in communication skills, I may give her preference because that’s a more difficult skill to build. Technical training and updates can be easily taught. Communication skills take a much deeper personal effort to develop.”
When English isn’t a natural part of everyday communication, the fear of expressing yourself clearly in English surfaces more frequently. This is a valid fear, isn’t it?
The CEO of a prominent head hunting agency with offices across India and the Middle East reported that they screen up to 400 resumes and conduct 150 interviews to hire for 8 headhunting positions. They have to scan so many resumes specifically to look for sound English communication skills. This is something they don’t have the time and energy to work on after hiring.
Global companies want skilled, educated and hard working people, but also those who can communicate well in English. People who are otherwise perfect for certain jobs, get passed over in favour of smart-talkers. Utilising your dormant training in English to communicate effectively can give you a huge edge over others, thus freeing you from being limited to mid-level positions, especially in fields such as marketing, sales, front-desk jobs, negotiations, hospitality, customer-service and so on.
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