Degree Versus Skills- A never ending dilemma and controversy!

Hi there! It’s been a never-ending discussion as to which is more important- Degree or Skills.

I am here to debate and pick each one of them and see how they work separately; and thereby conclude what is needed in actuality. Coz without that we can keep talking till ‘cows come home’ and the whole debate will become a deception point rather than a decision point.

As you guys already know me, I believe in Story-telling! So I will start with an anecdote.

It was in early 90’s when this incident took place. Once a rich business man was on a road trip, where his car gave way while driving up a hill. He was very upset and tried all possible permutation and combination, as per his knowledge, to fix the car; but to no avail. He walked up the hill to seek for some roadside garage, but couldn’t see any. Feeling lost and dejected he started cursing his fate. This is when he saw a truck coming up the way, and he saw a ray of hope to rescue himself from that awkward situation. He stopped the truck and explained his plight to the truck driver. The driver readily agreed to help him but kept a clause saying, he needs to be paid whatever amount he claimed for. Seeing no option the businessman readily agreed. The truck driver opened the bonnet and checked what happened. Then he asked the businessman to try starting the car. Once he figured out where the problem was, he walked up to his truck, took out a screw driver and tightened a screw in the car. He again asked the businessman to start the car and this time it worked. There was an evident sigh of relief from the car driver and he thanked this man for his help. The truck driver gave a weird smile and asked the businessman for 100bucks. Aha! A businessman will always be a businessman; and he tried to negotiate on the amount, as he felt that it was too high. After a heated discussion he said-“OK, I will give you your 100 bucks. But you need to justify the reason why do you claim this money?” The truck-driver smiled back and gave an instant answer which put the so-called educated businessman in a shock. He said- “50 bucks is for my knowledge, coz I knew which screw to tighten. And 50 bucks is for my skill, for I knew how much to tighten it!” The businessman finally had to yield-in to his desires and gave away the 100bucks; but this time with a hearty smile J

This is the basic difference in a Degree/Knowledge and a Skill. If you go by stats, 45% of the recruiters go by the degree or certificates. There is a reason to it. Not all professions depends on just skills. Imagine you are at a restaurant and there is some problem with the food that was served. Will you speak to the waiter or will you speak to the manager? Undoubtedly, you will speak with the manager. But why? Because he has the Hotel Management Degree; and will be able to give you the exact reason for such a mishap. The waiter can only apologize and get you another plate. Therefore Degree is needed.

Another classic example, which was brought up by my colleague was- If you need a surgery done, will you go a normal doctor or a good doctor who has degrees from reputed institute? Of-course the latter! Who would like a take a risk on his own life? No one, isn’t it?

Enough with Degrees, now let’s take the argument towards skills. This is an interesting topic. Steve Jobs and many other entrepreneurs are the ones who are school drop outs. Yet they made multi-million dollar companies. And this was possible only because of their skills. Here is a quote from one of the websites which says-

When it comes to what’s most important to advance their career and earn a bigger paycheck, more than three in five (63%) employees report learning new skills or receiving special training, compared to those who report receiving a college or graduate degree (45%).

There is a Learning and Development Department in any organization where there is a TNA or training need analysis done per employee, and training calendar gets published based on the ‘Skill Gaps’ thus identified. Also you need to constantly update your competency matrix each calendar year, to prove your worth and showcase your abilities to be cross-functional.

According to a survey done this year, employers and hiring managers may be looking for something other than a specific degree as three in four (74%) employees believe their employers value work experience and related skills more than education when evaluating job candidates. Plus, half (48%) of employees with a college degree believe their specific degree is not very relevant to the job they do today, while four in five (80%) report that they have never been asked about their college GPA (grade point average) during a job interview. More than half (53%) of employees also believe a graduate degree is no longer necessary to be offered a high-paying job.

 

Having said all this, let me tell you that Degree is something which is concrete. Degree is an authenticate certificate that the person applying for the post has the knowledge of the requirement; and has the ability to manage the functioning and justify the post. On the contrary, it is skill which attracts the employers, clients and management which lifts or drops the person. Without the skill, the person would not be able to catch hold the interest of their superiors and attain success. Degree gives you the confidence and helps you build the insight which will help you make employable and add/upgrade skills.  However, it is the skill that will drive the path and make you improve and explore on your capabilities.

To conclude I would say, degree is the first step to success and skill is the ladder.
Anindita.

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Art and Creativity- The mirror of your life

Art and Creativity is an integral part of human life. You cannot separate these two from the existence in anyone’s life. If we go by the definition of art- ‘It is a diverse range of human activities and products of those activities, usually involving imaginative or technical skill’. Starting from dressing up daily for work to building a website – everything is ‘Art’. Is Art really that influential? Facebook stats show that 71% of them say ‘YES’. It depends upon YOU when you identify your area of interest.

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. Arts teach us that sensitive attention to relationships is critical for creating a coherent and satisfying piece of work. The way qualities relate to each other – whether in sight or sound, through prose or poetry, whether in the choreographed movement of dance of in an actor’s lines and movements – is critical. Decisions about these relationships cannot be reduced to rule; they depend upon somatic experience. This is not limited to the arts. To the extent to which the practice of science is an art, it too requires that judgement about the rightness of an idea or the beauty of a theory be determined by somatic experience. In the arts the somatic experience of relationships, is a central basis for making judgement. So remember you are been judged at every point of life..be it art of living, art of parenting or art of communicating!

I remember this one piece of classic art-

In the opening page of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, Thomas Gradgrind (the infamous character) offers advice on educational policy to a schoolmaster: ‘Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and it is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to the Facts, sir!‘ No matter how much you may try to stick to facts and figures you are bound to stress more on your brains leading to the dark hollow!

Choosing your art form may be tough as we do take a lot of time to explore our lives and see what works best for us. But creativity is something that can be adapted at ease and can be exercised in a wide variety of contexts. You need to find what works best in which form of work. Let me come down to some specifics to make your life easy. If you are a home maker what can you do/buy for your house which will make it look awesome? That’s creativity! If you are into marketing what can you write better to increase your visibility in the field that you work? If you are planning to travel to your client location what other languages are you aware of other than English and your regional language? Having said this let me also remind you that ‘Human intelligence is not just art or linguistic’. Visual artists and architects are examples of people who show the spatial intelligence, while dancers, actors, athletes and surgeons demonstrate the bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. The arts help people to have a deep understanding of a concept by connecting their incentives, directions, judgments, and rational utilization. It acts as a mirror

Remember, “Your life is an artwork in progress.” Your lives, and all aspects of it, are a part of your community. Therefore, who you are, what you do, and how you do it, have great potential and importance to the art of your community. The values and beliefs that you emulate to your colleagues, your families, and your communities, are significant in shaping, molding, and celebrating the lives you touch. The more creative you are deemed more cultural among your circle.

At LearnSocial, we do have the potential to touch the future through who we are, the values and beliefs that we model, and the values and beliefs that the ARTS communicate, through experience, to those in our world. Explore the Art and Creativity tab on the home page and see what attracts you the most! Happy Learning!

 

Anindita

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Become an accomplished Polylinguist and reply in multiple languages

I was to take a connecting a flight from Doha to New York. But there was no board for Qatar Airways. I looked to the left and then to the right. Yet there were no signs of it! I reached out to a receptionist in one of the helpdesks; and she asked me to wait for some more time. Every minute passing by only increasing my bp (blood pressure) coz the time to board the flight was getting nearer and nearer. At length there was a lady who came and sat next to me in the waiting lounge.  I was almost shivering with tension and the freezing temperature of the air conditioner. Very politely she asked me what the case was and I told her the matter. She walked up to the same kiosk where I enquired initially, and spoke in Arabic. The gal at the counter instantly gave a smile and made a call. After around 5 min the lady was back and asked me to go to different gate number where I found the boarding details. My excitement knew no bounds as I got the right flight. Also had a hard realization- ‘How important it is to be polylingual’.

Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits. But there are some other reasons to it as well.

Makes you smarter– There are situations in life where it is necessary to know the local language.

Show respect to international colleagues– I still remember my first client meet in my office. I had chill running down my spine when I saw Josh Duke walking down the aisle. I by- hearted the first two lines in German- “Hallo wie geht es” (Hello How are you). It got an immediate smile on his face and I kinda half cracked the business. Thanks to Google. It saved me on that occasion and helped me increase my PR skills with my clients.

Be more sensitive to cultural differences– By studying grammar — for example, the different forms of “you” and how they’re used in different languages — you’ll learn how and why to be more sensitive with business contacts who will appreciate your effort.

Cut-out-the middleman– It’s necessary for you to make your position strong. If you can work as an interpreter in your office, half your job is done. You can also command a higher salary.

Your memory improves– Educators often relate the brain to a muscle, because it functions better with exercise. Learning a language involves memorizing rules and vocabulary, which helps strengthen that mental “muscle.” This exercise improves overall memory, which means that multiple language speakers are better at remembering lists or sequences. Studies show that polylinguals are better at retaining shopping lists, names, and directions.

Brings the world to you– Make new friends, travel around the world, order food at a restaurant; everything is in your hand. If you can speak with a local in their native language, they’ll be friendlier and may turn you on to better spots to visit.

 

Globe in Hand

 

Understand your own culture– You’ll draw connections and comparisons between your culture and your new country of study, giving you the opportunity to understand where you come from and how it had affected your personality.

Last but not the least

It becomes easier and easier– Once you have picked up a new language, you will find ways to learn more new languages. E.g. Once you’ve picked up Italian, it’ll be easy for you to learn Portuguese and Spanish, too; and then even French.

Happy Learning!

Anindita

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Mandarin- Not just the collar, the Language matters too!

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

 

Hi All! It’s been long that we had a discussion on some hot topic related to Language. Let me start with some stats here. It is reported that over 3,000 universities and colleges in 109 countries provide students with Chinese courses. Take a look at the number of places in the world does people use Chinese.

Capture

 

The fallacy of people saying that European Languages are always easier is something that we need to get over with. Mastering Chinese is not what I am trying to promote here. But getting you basics right and socializing a bit by intermediate Chinese; is something we all can achieve. And the moment I would say …you will definitely ask me the reason ‘Why?’. So without much ado let’s get to our pointers.

First, the popularity of Mandarin is directly proportional to the great achievements that China has made in the last 30 years. Thirty years ago China was a poor and undeveloped country, but it has come out of his own dungeons since then! China has become the second biggest economy in the world. With the Beijing 2008 Olympics and the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the world has learned more about China and China has learned more about the world. China has played important roles in some international affairs.

 

Second, when the 2007 global Great recession broke out the Chinese government’s stimulus plan helped the world economy to bounce back.

Third, some entrepreneurs and businessmen would like to trade with China and they require their employees or children to learn Chinese. It’s expensive to hire a translator to figure out what had been communicated. Also that personal touch is missing. There is huge potential of business in China, so why not learn the language?

Last but not least, governments and social organizations are taking great measures to encourage people to learn the language. For example, in the Universiade village in Longgang District Shenzhen, a Chinese Language Learning Center was set up. About 80 foreign athletes came to the center to learn basic Chinese. Wherever you went, you heard “nihao”, (hello), “xieexie” (thank you) and “zaijian” (goodbye). Some athletes learned how to write their names in Chinese characters. They said Chinese traditional culture was very interesting.

Now the question that arises here is- How hard is it to learn Mandarin? Well, language is not a tonic that I can prescribe in daily doses. It comes with practice and effort. You need to unlearn and re-learn so many things to even start from the basic. You are justified in making comparisons with other languages but it’s equally important to stop looking through the magnifying glass. It will take you nowhere.

Wearing Mandarin Collar is a trend; so is the case with learning the Mandarin language. This is the time to move ahead!

 

Anindita Chatterjee

 

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One on one training , pros and cons

Hello all! Its been long that I had an opportunity to write about something. But I found one today; and the topic is ‘One on one training’, its pros and cons. Well this is not a new thing at all for us coz majority of us had been a part of this training at some point of time in life. Isn’t it? Don’t disappoint me by saying NO. When you first started learning your mother tongue, it was your loving mom or dad or anyone in your family who sat with you and taught you everything. So, is an age-old method that we had been following.

Keeping the above statements in mind, why do you think I had chosen this topic to write. Well, with age we all tend to forget the most basic things. Therefore this only going to be a recap of something that is already known.

Let us first discuss the ‘Six Steps to Effective One-to-One Training’
We would, however like to update Allen’s process. Modern behavior science tells us that there are really six steps in effective one-to-one training:
1. Prepare for the training
2. Ask questions to determine the trainee’s experience
3. Tell the trainee about the task
4. Show the trainee how the task is done
5. Encourage the trainee to do the task
6. Follow up to insure the trainee can do the task

  • Prepare the training– One of the most helpful, and forgotten things you can do before one-to-one training is to properly prepare for the session. In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, “Knowing and doing what’s important rather than simply responding to what’s urgent is foundational to putting first things first.” The problem is training preparation is important, but it’s not urgent. And because urgent tasks must be done today, important tasks like preparation for good training can often be postponed until later. But appropriate preparation can insure that your training is concise and realistic, and it will almost guarantee a positive experience for you and your trainee.
  • Ask questions to determine the trainee’s experience- Before you jump into a demonstration, a good trainer assesses what the trainee already knows. Asking questions can:
    • Reveal previous experience
    • Respect trainees for what they already know
    • Allow the trainer to relate current training to prior experience
    • Reduce training time
    The trainer needs to show a sincere desire to probe for any possible past experience that can be linked to the new information. Generally, open-ended questions that start with “what” or “how” are most effective. Questions like “Can you be more specific?” and “Could you give me an example?” are also effective in gaining the information you need.
  • Tell the trainee about the task- ‘Telling’ is a step most of us do well, right? Wrong! Because it’s easy to tell our employees everything they might ever want to know about a specific task (after all, we are the experts!), we tend to talk, talk, and talk. As we already discussed, part of this problem is solved by careful preparation in step 1, where we delete anything the trainee doesn’t absolutely have to learn. We also help avoid our potential talking problem by carefully asking key questions about the trainee’s experience in step 2.
  • Show the trainee how the task is done- First of all, “showing” in this step is not the same thing as showing a drawing or picture to illustrate the “telling” portion of step 3. In this step, you act as a model of how the job should be done. As you demonstrate the task in step 4, provide verbal clues to the trainee.4 “Talk” your thoughts, so the trainee hears and sees what, why, when, and how you do the task.
  • Encourage the trainee to do the task- We can read a book on riding a unicycle, write an article on “The Joys of Unicycle Riding,” and even watch someone else ride. But we can’t do it until we actually ride that darn thing ourselves.6 Your employees can’t learn how to do a task by reading about it. They can’t learn skills by watching you. They have to do the task them-selves and receive accurate feedback on their performance. That’s your job as a trainer. Watch them do it in a practice session and provide helpful, constructive feedback.
  • Followup to ensure that the trainee can do the task- Following up does not consist of making the familiar statement, “My door is always open. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to stop by.” Trainees who are apprehensive about their jobs may not feel comfortable coming to you with their questions. Following up means you follow up. You’re the one who needs to take the initiative and visit the trainee on a regular basis. Make time in your schedule to visit your trainees. Good intentions don’t count here; actions do! Look at this step as an interview with several objectives. First, find out how the trainee is feeling, and what he or she is thinking about the job. Next, determine how well the task is being done, and if there are any areas that need to be improved.

 

An outline of the advantages and disadvantages of one-on-one teaching for students.

Advantages

  • Learners have the constant attention of the instructor so they can listen to and speak more English than they might in a group
  • Learners can contribute to classes more and feel part of the learning process by bringing material like books, videos, articles from local newspapers to class
  • Their strengths and weaknesses are addressed more consistently and fully without the competition of other students for the instructor’s time
  • They can become better learners through learner training with their instructor
  • There are less time constraints so they can go at their own pace and not feel pressured by the progress of other learners
  • According to the Natural Method, as suggested by Stephen Krashen, learners acquire language best through the modified input of the instructor . This means that the instructor adapts their language to the level of the student and in one-to-one classes the amount and type of input can be maximized by the instructor to benefit the learner

Disadvantages

  • There is a similar potential for exhaustion as they too can be in constant interaction in an unnatural way with the instructor
  • It can be difficult to measure progress without other learners to compare with and the possible lack of a syllabus
  • There can be a lack of individual study time. They might not have the same “sink in time” as they would have in a group. This can go against the acquisition of language, especially if instructors don’t give enough restricted practice (Scrivener, 1987) of new language and students don’t absorb the language as effectively as they would if they had more time to reflect and process input in a class where the instructor might be more comfortable with silent periods
  • The lesson format can become monotonous if a instructor lacks the confidence to experiment with change of pace and type of activity. They might assume a student would not be open to activities such as dictation, videos, moving around the class,  drilling, etc.

Remember– Take time to save time. Effective instructors save time in the long run by spending time up front with learners to help them succeed. They don’t waste time cleaning up mistakes that happened when no one was watching. It’s a Win-Win situation!

I hope this was a clean snap-shot of what we are also trying to achieve at LearnSocial. Bye for now. Will catch up with the next blog.

 

Anindita

Language Specialist at LearnSocial.

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How to become a Master Communicator?

Hello All! Welcome to my next blog. Yes..You have the topic right in front of you. ‘How to become a Master Communicator’?

To come to this point first read this…

According to this year’s annual job outlook survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the No. 1 skill employers seek from 2013 grads is the “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization.”

Now do you think that communication is an easy task? If your answer is YES then you don’t have to read more. But if your answer is to the contrary then go ahead..

OK.. lemme give you one more instance here.

In the 1990s, Volvo found itself with excess inventory of green cars. People just didn’t want them. So the Sales and Marketing departments came up with all sorts of great deals just forgreen Volvos—and they started selling.
Problem is, no one in Sales or Marketing told the rest of the organization what they were up to. So when the Manufacturing and Planning teams learned green Volvos were flying off the lots, they took it as a sign of the color’s popularity. And they ramped up production of green cars!
Now, consider how much more likely you are to remember that story than if I had simply written, “Increase interdepartmental communication to improve organizational effectiveness.”

The best way to communicate an important point or insight is to put it into story form. If you want your written documents to compel your staff or colleagues or prospects or other constituents to take action, wrap your points and insights into great stories.

See I have just given you the first point i.e. Tell a Story. The next thing that you need to keep in mind is that ‘The smaller the word is the easier it is to be read’. Try reading this in one breath.

After endeavoring to ascertain the
origins of the problems in the customer
service department, I am of the opinion
that these issues necessitate more
training, and, as per your request for
suggestions, I recommend that new
programs be implemented forthwith.

Now read this…

After searching for the source of the
problems in our customer service
department, I think the issue is poor
training. The solution, I believe, is a
better training program.

Can a piece of writing physically harm its reader? Yes, if it fails what master copywriter Bob Bly calls “the breath test.”Often when we’re passionate about our topic, we write too much in each sentence. But our readers need to receive information at a reasonable pace. More important, they need oxygen.
As you review your writing, read it aloud and give every sentence the breath test. Your readers can’t take whatever action you want them to take if they’ve fallen unconscious.

The next thing that you need to remember is ‘Lead with the bottom line’.

The recipients of your business documents are busy. So the first statement of any document you send—a report, proposal, status update, even an email—should summarize the document’s purpose and content. This shows clarity of thought—and respect for your readers’ time.
An example:
This report outlines the results of Customer Service’s survey of first‐time customers on their experience with the company.
Or:
Dan:
I am not impressed with the new marketing campaign. Here are my reasons:

Many professionals miss this easy opportunity to make their documents more readable and compelling. Instead, they write linearly—starting with an introduction, building their case with fact upon fact, and finally explaining at the end the document’s conclusion and purpose.
Give away the punch line up front. Start with your conclusions and then go into your facts. This not only shows your readers you respect their time, it enables them to read your document with much more context, and with an understanding of why you are including each point.
Leading with the bottom line also gives you more of an opportunity throughout the document to persuade your reader of your argument, if that’s what you’re trying to do.

The next point will be – Think like a reader.

My friend works for a small software company. At one point, the business struggled to stay afloat, and the staff knew that without new investment the company would dissolve. So imagine what the average worker thought when they read this subject line in an email that the CEO sent to the whole company:
From: CEO
To: All Employees
Subject: Closed
Looks like bad news, right? Nope. The CEO was enthusiastically announcing an investor had acquired the company. It was this company‐saving deal that “closed.” Not the company. Phew!

The lesson: That subject line could have given someone in the company a cardiac event. Had he stepped back to consider how his nervous staff might read his words, from their point of view—
the CEO might have used a different subject line. Maybe, “Great news on the financing front!” Always try to think like your reader when you write. You’re writing for them, after all, and the more you can see things from their point of view, the more effective your writing will be.

Last point – Easy on the LOL.

 

It takes so little effort to send an email that we tend to think of it as less important, more disposable, than other forms of business writing. But remember: Your work email is a professional document that reflects on your reputation—and it can end up anywhere.
What if you include a great idea in an email and a colleague prints it out and puts it on the desk of someone whose opinion you care about? Do you want that person to see that you’ve written
“wut dew u thk of this craaaazy idea?!?” or “OMG” or “:)”?

Still think you can put less thought and effort into your professional emails than into your otherdocuments? LOL!

I don’t want my reader’s to fall asleep so I will end it here.

Share your comments, if any, on our site.

Anindita

Language Specialist.

 

 

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How to improve my Spoken English 

 

Good Day Guys!! I hope you had a great time last week. I am back with the topic I promised … How to improve my Spoken English. I always keep up my promise, don’t I? I know you are eager to come to the topic directly.. so am I. So let’s talk about the top ten points (in my opinion) that can be used to improve Spoken English.

  1. Talk talk talk– When you were kids, how did you learn to walk? You started making mistakes and fell down for uncountable number of times. You were picked by your mother or baby sitter or anyone else in the family. And then, you tried again. Imagine if you were scared and had stopped attempting to walk, do you think you could have walked today? The obvious answer is NO. It is the same with English. In a multi-lingual country like India, there are many languages that we are aware of. But do we know to read and write them.. well that is insignificant. If you can speak..is fair enough. So why stop? Make the conscious effort and keep speaking in English. The more you speak, the better you will be and your confidence will grow automatically.
  2. Use Google translate– If you are reading my blog, it is understood that you know how to browse. And if you know how to browse, you can google up for help as well. When you are unsure of a word or a pronunciation of a word, ask google! It’s easy to use! Enter the word in Google Translate and listen to the correct pronunciation by clicking on the audio button.
  3. Listen– Again I would like to take the example of your childhood here. When a child is born, he/she starts speaking for the first time after listening to the most spoken language at home. So when you need to speak English, you first need to listen a lot of English. Listen to news bulletins and songs in English to listen to the pronunciation of words. You can also learn new words and expressions this way. The more you listen, the more you learn!
  4. Read out loud– Read the newspaper or magazine out to yourself daily. If you read correct English, you will start getting into the habit of using correct English. Another thing to mark here is that, when you hear yourself read, you can easily detect the flaws and will be able to make the conscious effort to change for good.
  5. Learn a new word everyday– It is easy to say and hard to follow! And I completely agree with that. But understand that vocabulary building is extremely important. You can’t sound like a broken tape-recorder by using the same word time and again.
  6. Watch films– Watch movies in English and pay attention to new vocabulary and pronunciation. Imitate the actors and have fun with it. It is advisable that you watch them with sub-titles so that it’s easy for you to grab what it means.
  7. Make friends- Networking is the best way to learn English. Try making friends who does not understand you language. By default you will have to talk in English and automatically you will gain confidence. Also exchange ideas so that you take topics to talk about.
  8. Do interesting activities in English- Take a cooking course in English, or join a book club! Do anything that you enjoy, but do it in English. This may sound funny but trust me- it works !
  9. Have a debate- Pick a topic and start a debate. By default you will get hyper and will start talking out your mind. This will be like stopping medicines and starting yoga! You will heal up your English automatically.
  10. Beat your own drum- This is the easiest thing to do. If you have learnt something, go and show-off in front of your friends or someone who has let you down before. Then you will feel happy that your efforts have finally brought color. Also, this will give you the motivation to try even harder when you get praises from them.

 

Try these things and see the result yourself. If not, help is always available at LearnSocial with Anindita.

I am signing off for today. Have a great week ahead.
Anindita, Language Specialist.

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Why do we need Spoken English?

Hi guys!! How are you doing today? Hope this week went through well. I am back on this Friday evening with another topic on English. This time I wanted to pick Spoken English. I love talking about this because all these blogs, I am sure, will act as an eye-opener to many of you. Why do we need Spoken English? Here is my answer to it.

Good English speaking skills are required in every aspect of our lives. We all know that English is the language that unifies the world, as it is the language known to maximum number of individuals around the globe. Today if we want a decent job, want to impress a girl, or desire respect in society, everything circles to our speaking skills. I was taking an interview last week, and to check on the communication asked a guy to talk on ‘How to improve Spoken English?’ The name of the candidate was Vishesh.

Vishesh found the topic to be very interesting and started talking of it right away. But when the group discussion started, he found it very difficult to handle the objections. In fact, he was unable to speak a single word. Whenever he attempted to speak, he was embarrassed thinking if what he was saying made sense and whether the crowd would laugh at him. No doubt that rejection was also on his mind as I was present there and he started sweating at 18 degree room temperature. The whole thing made him feel so heavy that he dropped the idea of going ahead with the interview and pro-actively walked off.

I felt sad at this instance. But, if you think for a while, you will find that we come across these cases so often in our daily lives. My question is what leads to these issues. After some deep observation into the minute details of these interviews, I was able to infer the following:

  • Poor Vocabulary– There are many people in my friend and family circle who knows English but lacks in vocabulary. Take the example of a simple acknowledgement. How many times do you hear OK?

Daughter- Hello Papa! I reached home.

Dad- Ok

Daughter- I hope you will be home by ten.

Dad-Ok

Daughter- I won a trophy today, I wanted to show you.

Dad-Ok

Daughter- Come soon.

Dad- Ok

Too many OKAY is absolutely not OK. Couldn’t he have just said- alright, I see, That’s wonderful etc.

  • Lack of practice– There are people around us who knows all the languages spoken in that region but never uses them and thereby lose practice. Take an example of my Mom. She is from a place that close to Karnataka border so she used to speak in Kannada. But ever since she got married and moved to Hyderabad she started speaking a bit of Telugu. Hindi is her mother tongue. After 40 years of marriage she can neither speak Kannada or proper Telugu. All she speaks is Hindi in the Hyderabad lingo. That is too much to handle; don’t you think so????
  • Anxiety-There is no need to lose your composure if you are not able to speak in English. If you think that interviews make you mad…just take a deep breath once you reach there and try to focus. Do Not get anxious. You cannot predict what the interviewer is going to ask you.
  • Lack of preparation-Many times we are not prepared on what to speak. Like when asked to give a Seminar on some topic, and we are missing the starting sentence to start with. This happens when we have not practiced or given considerable though to the topic. If we have free flowing thoughts and ideas, then conversation becomes a lot easier.
  • Memory loss– Imagine you are meeting the ‘would be in-laws’ and you can’t speak in English in front of them. It will be a shame for sure. I remember reading this somewhere…Akshit was invited to his girlfriend Ritu’s birthday party. He went there with a costly gift to make a good impression. There Ritu introduced him to his parents in English. Her parents asked Akshit about what he does and his hobbies. Akshit started to reply in English, but found himself struggling with words. Slowly he changed to his native language and his entire conversation was a mix of native language and English. Akshit was aware that he is creating a very bad impression by mixing the languages and his inability to speak in English is very clear. He lost all words and couldn’t keep his cool. This led to further frustration and shattering of his self-confidence.
  • Laughing stock-Many times it happened, that my teacher asked a question and I knew the answer but kept quiet, fearing that I will not be able to communicate my thought properly in English and people will laugh at me.
  • Unable to express correctly-I may know what needs to be said when, but due to lack of expressing it correctly, I may not like to speak it out. This leads to further frustration, as we knew that the listener is not able to understand our words.
  • Unable to understand others– In a communication, we need to interact equally with others. To converse properly we need to understand what the others are saying, and then respond to them. But if we have poor vocabulary, or are unable to understand what others are saying, then there is no way by which we can respond to them correctly.

The main idea over here is to identify your weak points and work towards them.

In my next blog, I will give you some tips that you can follow to improve on your skills. Till then Good Bye! Have a nice day ahead!!

 

Anindita Mishra

Language Specialist.

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Hey! Can You Talk In English?

Hello all!! Today we will discuss about speaking English.  I have been a mentor in English for quite some years now; therefore I will start with my experience sharing here. Last year I was doing a recruitment drive for the company I was working with; and I were to co-ordinate with the other departments in the selection process of their candidates. After sitting there for about 1hr or so, I felt like taking a tea break for some time. I was walking through the corridor where all the candidates were sitting and happened to overhear the conversation of one of them….

A girl, well decked up, was sitting a little aloof from the rest of the team at the waiting zone. I initially thought that she might be feeling uncomfortable as majority of them were male candidates. I went and sat in a chair right behind her. After about a minute or so another girl came in and she sat just next to the previous girl. It is definitely obvious that two ladies sitting next to each other is definitely going to start a chat; and that is exactly what I wanted to happen, to remove by boredom. The later introduced herself to the former in a nice a cordial manner. But the reply that she got from her was in a local language which this girl didn’t understand. So she said; ”I beg your pardon please? I didn’t understand what you said”. She tried explaining something but in vain. Losing her cool she just asked “Hey! Can you talk in English?” Now, the former girl was all the more embarrassed and said in a low tone that she can’t. I was not shocked at this at all. I have seen these situations for a number of times as I know the difference between first and second language. I do not blame the individuals for this; I rather blame their families who make them lame.

We are in the21st Century using variety of gadgets every day. We want to stay connected with the world all the time. But the families that we belong to cannot foresee what we need actually. They feel that giving my kids all the worldly pleasures will prove them to be a good guardian. They cannot understand that the growing rate of jobs, where their kids has to fit in some day, needs to know 2 languages to get through; of which one has to be necessarily English. We can’t accuse them as well, because the generation of the millennial is the one who is a part of this rat race. If you know Java, people expect you to know BigData and Hadoop to sync with the client requirements.

Then where do we go?

I question the intelligence of my readers here. I believe one is the best critic of oneself. So, if you know that you can’t talk in English, what measure have you taken to be one of the players in the market? You knew nothing before coming to this world. You have learnt it over a period of time with the help of a teacher or guru. Then why not for English? To learn any language you have to start speaking it first and to do that you need to start somewhere. There is a famous saying- ’The destination is not important. The journey is!’ I would say the same… You need to start with me or with someone who knows better than you about the language.

Now, it is in our blood that we love to procrastinate. We think that there is enough time for everything. But let me tell you friends, that is not the case. It comes with years of practice. Hence, it is very important to begin TODAY and then keep using it in daily lives to get into the habit of using it. Learning English is a necessity and there is no way you can ignore it. I think by now I have done the job of an eye-opener for you!

 

If you think I can be your mentor and guide you through for the next few months, feel glad to join LearnSocial ‘Spoken English’ classes; where I will teach you the ABC of grammar and will help you overcome your shyness to talk in English. I would also help you increase your vocabulary and make you practice in every session individually.

Join me in my classes and feel the change.

-Anindita Mishra

Language Specialist.

 

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Emails- Boon or Bane

Helloooo to all my readers there!! Nice to see you with me again! Today I thought of selecting the topic of Emails. We all have heard of ‘Death by Presentation’. But how many of you feel that you can even die with an email? I am sure many of you who have been working since years will agree with me. One can be successfully killed by a bad email. And I am head bend to prove my point today.

When I first started my career, I used to feel that sitting in an AC office and sending emails from your laptop or PC is a cool idea. What pressure do we have? But I was completely novice of the fact that I can get stinkers from clients and managers and get mis-communicated emails which can make me go mad (in the real sense of the term). Lol.. I am sure some of you might have started laughing by now thinking of the instances you have come across. After becoming the scape goat for so many times, I started looking into things more closely and then came up with some few points that make us commit these mistakes.

Firstly, we do not understand what to write in an email because we do not think from the receiver’s /reader’s perspective. Let me show you an instance here.

Sample1

What will you understand by this? Yes, this is the MOST informal mail that I have ever got. What is that ‘Hello Everybody_Edited’ document? I wonder how someone can name a document that way.

The subject line is the mirror of the email that we send. Imagine, when you have100 mails flooding in your inbox daily, will you actually take the pain of reading this mail which says ‘Hello Everybody’?

Also, the body of the mail is missing.

Secondly, we like to write essays rather than something that is easily readable. That’s in our DNA and takes years to understand what is going wrong.

Date: Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Subject: Re: APPOINTMENT LETTER AND VISA PROCESSING INFORMATION
To: 

Hello,
Good day. Am disgusted when i read your mail.You are talking about what you knew nothing about and your write up show how pride you are if not,i can’t imagine you are telling me to call you.
How ever,if your registration go beyond today,am sorry that will be the end of your visa processing.I will notify your company in U.S now your action and they should not blame me for any reasons.Awaiting your reply.

A Dempsey

 

This is a mail that has been sent from a correspondent of US embassy.

Why is that subject line shouting at me?????

Check on the number of grammatical errors. Can someone tell me what does that third sentence mean?

Thirdly, apology emails are a curse to your inbox for sure. When you send an apology email, you don’t have to beg for sorry. It can be short and simple.

I once received a mail asking for the sales report that someone was supposed to send some days back. It was actually a stinker. I replied stating that it was a mistake made as I was not the one who is supposed to send it. This is the reply to that mail which successfully got tears in my eyes…….

 

Sample 3

After reading this mail, I wished I could have changed my name permanently. This is the most pathetic one I could have ever got.

If you dissect the email it will look like this.

‘SORRY for the Communication’- the better would have been ‘Apologies for the mis-communication’. ‘MADAM’ should not be shouting at me. Using capital letters for no reasons is a worst thing that one can do. What we can interpret from this is that he wanted to emphasize on it, thinking it will add more respect to the word. Instead, using the right vocab adds value to it and not that capital letter. He made me understand that he was in mere frustration as his supervisor wanted the report and the TAT (Turn Around Time) was over.

I still do not know what he meant by-“ I am lost now. I got the Anindita I want”. Was I so wanted? Lol.

“I will never do this to anyone”- do I infer that you will never mail anyone?

“Hope you accept my sorry and give me sorry.” – Where is my ‘Sorry’? I couldn’t find one:)

If this guy works in an MNC- I wonder who might had been the recruiter!!!

Last but not the least; we need to remember that we are all human beings. Therefore, when we send an email, there has to be a humanly touch. Sending business emails does not mean that it was written by a robot or it HAS TO BE BORING. It just means that we need to be professional with the choice of language. In any written communication the tone of the writing plays the pivotal role.

 

Hello John,

Thank you for showing your interest for ‘XYZ’ @ABC.

As requested, we have made some changes to the batch timings to meet the needs of the professionals. Hence the new timings are as follows:

Start Date                            :           26th Jun (Thursday)

Sessions on every            :           Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat

Time                                      :           05:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Batch Duration                  :           3 Weeks, 10 Sessions

Fee                                        :           Rs. 100 /- only

 

I understand that you are looking for a better offer in terms of the course fee. Therefore we can offer you a waiver of 10% on the total fee.

This means that the amount that you need to register for is 90 INR. This is the best that we can offer.

Kindly reply for any further queries in this.

Looking forward to hear from you.

 

Don’t think that I have gone mad and have mentioned 90INR. I have purposely removed it as it was official. ”Looking forward to hear from you”- Was a deliberate statement to make him feel that there is a human hand behind the mail.

If this is the kind of correspondence sent for all kind of emails, then I am sure that we will consider emails as BOON and not BANE.

Happy emailing!!

If you think you need help, contact us for learning ‘Business English’.

 

Anindita, Language Specialist

 

 

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