What are Soft Skills?

What are Soft Skills?

Soft Skills are combinations of varieties of skills and attitudes like peoples skill, social skill, attitude and personality traits, Communication skills, Emotional intelligence, etc., which are essential in a person’s career enabling them to work effectively and enhancing their working mood with complementing hard skills. The Collins English Dictionary defines the term “soft skills” as “desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.”

Meaning of Soft Skills –

The term “Soft Skills” comprises all the Positive Qualities of a person. For Example Self-confidence, Self-motivation, Time-Management, Constant Learning Ability, Art of Problem-solving, etc. Soft skills themselves are cultivated over a period of time through some routine activities.

Objective of Soft Skills –

The basic purpose of learning soft skills is to communicate your meaning effectively to others to achieve your objectives. Unfortunately, unlike hard skills soft skills are quite hard to acquire. People mostly learn them through projects, books or friends. They are like riding a bicycle: failure is unavoidable at the beginning. There are even some Soft Skills Training Courses which lets you cultivate some of the very important soft skills.

What’s counted as Soft Skills –

  • Communication Skill
  • Problem Solving Skill
  • Leadership
  • Self-confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Time-management
  • Presentation
  • Negotiation Skill
  • Art of Learning
  • Positive Attitude
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Art of Adaptability
  • Team Work

To know more about Soft Skills you can visit our Soft Skills Training Course personally organised by Animesh Gupta, who specialises in enabling people to communicate more powerfully.

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

3 Body Language Tips to Improve your Public Speaking

Body language plays the biggest role in the way we see and judge each other and impacts things like hiring and promotion. It even intimidates us or disarms us. For example, body language communicates dominance. When showing power, we tend to stand taller, have a posture that’s straighter, and keep our shoulders back. On the contrary, when we feel powerless, we usually do the opposite of this.

Here are 3 body language tips to improve your public speaking skills:

1. Where to keep your hands!

A very basic, but also an extremely common question. Just keep them on the side. That’s it. Yes, it’s going to feel weird. Get used to it. For the majority of your time standing up and speaking, keep them on the side. Of course, in between you should use them to articulate your point… ideally the palms should be out to the side facing the audience, as if you’re showing them something to the right or to the left. Avoid keeping your hands locked behind, in front covering your groin, in your pockets, or folded on your chest. Avoid rubbing or fidgeting or holding things like a pen/paper when you don’t need it as much. And avoid pointing at the audience or anywhere whether you’re making a point or asking someone in the audience for something.
For a demo on most of this, watch the speakers’ hands in this TED talk.

2. Feeling under-confident? “Fake it till you make it” actually works!

Merely adopting a “power pose” can change the neural and hormonal connections in our bodies, thereby making us feel more confident (or less confident, depending on the pose). She talks about a study where participants were asked to adopt high-power or low power poses for two minutes and then asked how powerful they felt. Those who used high-power poses felt more confident. In summary, the “fake it till you make it” ideology does have a scientific basis. (These Power Poses are described in a popular TED talk on the subject by Amy Cuddy. You can see the video here.)

3. Smiling is going to increase your likeability and engagement.

When you smile, people perceive you as warm, likeable, and more competent, according to a recent study at Penn State University. Obviously, your smile needs to be genuine. Some people don’t have a problem with this, while others have a “resting bitch face” or a serious face. In that case, you need to find things that make you truly happy and incorporate that in your content…. a story or joke or something… or simply smiling when you make eye contact with multiple people in the audience (please don’t hold the gaze for longer than a second, for obvious reasons!) as if to say, “I’m happy to have this opportunity,” or “I’m thankful that you’re all listening.”
Watch the TED talk “The Hidden Power of Smiling” by Ron Gutman at TED.com If you are looking for professional help to get better at Public Speaking, you’re in the right place.

We have 3 Public Speaking Course Options:

  1. Complete Transformational Program
  2. 2 Day Workshop
  3. Online Course

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

How to Improve Communication Skills?

We understand that our program is not financially feasible for many people, and there are many people who are unable to enrol with us. This article presents some alternative options for you!

However, before mentioning the options, please keep in mind that just because something is cheaper or more expensive does NOT mean it’s good or bad. For example, “The Personality School” or “Indo-American Society” offer courses on public speaking in Mumbai which aren’t expensive, but they also don’t get results!

Here are 3 options worth considering:

1. Drama School Mumbai.

https://dramaschoolmumbai.in/
Charni Road; offers 3 day workshops every now and then. Rs.7000.

Yes, it may not sound like a lot of speaking and working on your communication skills, but there is a huge overlap in public speaking and theatre. Your body language, verbal power, and presentation style in front of the audience will get a solid boost if you practice theatre. Secondly, it’ll be the best thing to do if you have any issues with confidence or stage fright.

2. Toastmasters

https://mtm.toastmastersclubs.org/
Several locations in the city, every Sunday morning, Rs.3,000 for several months.

This is a very inexpensive forum for speaking in front of a crowd. However, it is going to take you a long time because there are too many people and you don’t get an opportunity to speak every time. In fact, you only get an opportunity once in 4-5 visits! So the rest of the time you have to just listen to the others. When you do get an opportunity, it’s just 2-3 minutes of speaking. Secondly, there aren’t any experts who are giving you feedback or special attention or revisions. It’s just the other speakers and peers who are evaluating you and offering suggestions. But if you want to learn public speaking in Mumbai, there aren’t many cheap options available where you get a forum to speak in front of many people, so this might be worth a try.

3. Teaching at NGOs.

You can easily find an NGO (in the Education field) near you who would be happy to have volunteers come in and teach students. Just start teaching whatever you like or whatever you are qualified to teach. Not only is this free, but you’ll feel great while you learn, get confident about addressing a crowd, and also add value to the community!

 

Of course, these are only suggestions that may appeal to those who are desperately looking for classes on public speaking in Mumbai, and who are on a tight budget as well. Therefore, it may or may not be ideal, depending on your taste. If speaking in front of people is something that you think will enhance your career and job opportunities to a great extent, it is advisable to think of it like a medical operation and spend all the money that you can. Otherwise, you can go with one of the other options above.

With Animesh, you can even take up the new 2 Day Public Speaking Workshop or the latest Online Public Speaking Course

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

TedX- public speaking course

Fear of Public Speaking

Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking

Animesh Gupta presented a 19-minute talk on how to conquer the fear of public speaking. Here’s a quick summary and highlight of the main points.

1. Self-Talk: The Essence of Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking

You must understand how to communicate with yourself! Animesh demonstrates this by enacting two sides of his own self talking to each other in the following dialogue:

Scared Side (SS): “I’m really anxious, I can’t speak in front of people”
Rational Side (RS): “What’s wrong? Of course you can!”
SS: There are too many people and I’m nervous.
RS: You need to speak. You need to stop caring about “these people”… your career depends on this. Would you think so much if I put a gun to your parent’s head and threatened to shoot them if you didn’t speak?
SS: That’s silly! Of course I would go up and speak without doubt. That’s a life and death situation!
RS: Exactly. So you can speak! And this is a life and death situation as well, because your career is at stake.
(He does this while maintaining a very scared/under-confident tone when enacting the scared side while keeping a very strong/confident tone with the rational side.)
In sum, you need to speak to yourself and answer your scared side’s questions and concerns, with the same confidence you’d display when you would be advising your best friend or spouse.

Put yourself up for the challenge and tell yourself, “you can do it to save your parent’s lives; you can do it to save your career; you can do it to get what you deserve; etc.”

2. Re-evaluate how you think of Public Speaking itself

People who are uncomfortable always say, “oh shit, please no, I don’t want this,” etc. This is
going to guarantee high anxiety! You must now use the self-talk discussed previously and start saying, “wait, why am I trying to escape this…no I WANT THIS!” And you need to pump up your fist and get ready for a challenge and tell yourself that you want this.

3. “What if I forget?”

There are two points to this.

a) Just simply carry a small chit of paper with notes so you don’t forget your points. If you’re still unsure, then carry the entire speech! Worst case, just read everything out… even that will be a step ahead of freaking out and escaping the entire thing altogether.

b) Just because you might forget and look stupid or whatever, doesn’t mean you give up and not try to learn/become better for the rest of the your life. It’s like choosing to be comfortable in the short run and then messing up or living in anxiety choose forever! Not a very good deal, especially considering that the stakes keep getting bigger as time goes on, so it’s better to practice and fail now than later.

4. Getting Uncomfortable with Too Many People in the Audience

Tell yourself again, “I want more people to look at me. I want this stage. I want to practice… even if I fail or look stupid. I want to do this for my long-term growth. I don’t want to live in anxiety all my life. This is a skill, and there’s no easy way out. I’ll have to learn the hard way.

I’ll be proud of myself for taking up this challenge. Let there be more people!

5. “My English is not Fluent”

What if Modi thought the same thing? What about all the successful Europeans who speak in broken English all the time? People aren’t judging you on your English as much as they’re judging you on your confidence. Besides, that’s not a reason to escape short-term anxiety because you’ll be worse off in the long run – as mentioned in point 3(b) above.

(Speak in Hindi as much as is acceptable/practical, and don’t worry about making mistakes with English. If English is crucial for your situation, then spend time practicing and learning it. But don’t worry about it when you’re on stage.)

Make a decision: be comfortable in the short-run and keep escaping, or accept the challenge and free yourself from the anxiety in the long-run.

Watch the video to get more insight in how to conquer your fear of public speaking. Type “public speaking” on YouTube for the full video.

If you would like training to conquer your fear of public speaking, directly from Animesh, you can get in touch with us here.

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

Advanced Guide To Mastering Interviews

WINNING BODY LANGUAGE

Think of the times when you are coerced into going to a social function or a birthday that you don’t want to go to. You travel to the place whining about why you have to go and wondering how to manage the impending boredom. But when you reach there, your complaints magically change into smiles and warm greetings. You end up saying, “It’s so nice to see you!” instead of saying something like, “Argh! I hate my life!”

We play several roles in our lives. We’re playing a different role in front of our parents, professors, other students, close friends, at work, etc. When you go for an interview, you are entering into a role-play. You must be switched on from the outset, because you have very limited time to make an impression. The role requires you to market yourself, be more talkative, and focus on the positives. Thus, if you find such things difficult, you must pay careful attention to preparing better.

Whether you “sell” yourself, or say everything nonchalantly and honestly is your call. But you have to mention how you’ll add value to them throughout the interview! If you want to MASTER interviews, practice the following part like you’re auditioning for a million-dollar role in a big movie:

Adopt the style in which you would speak to a professor you respect very much and whom you’ve spoken to multiple times. So you would automatically smile when you see him/her, you retain eye contact, your face is pleasant, you’re honest, you speak with enthusiasm, you accept your contradictions/mistakes, you’re candid, etc. This is an area you should focus on, because this is the game-changer (the tone, language, and style). The only way to know you’re doing this right, unfortunately, is to get feedback from people or do engage in such interactions as much as you can.

INTRODUCTION: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

The answer to this question is basically a quick recap of your CV, mainly your work experience or other skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.

If you’re below 21, you can mention a few of the following:

  • An achievement in your high school (academic or co-curricular). (Avoid this if you have enough things to talk about post high school.)
  • Highlights of what you’ve done in your college, in co-curriculars, and in your academics.
  • Internship/work experience – emphasise the things you’ve done where you added value to the company, and also try to connect it with the skills required in the job you’ve applied for.
  • End with what you are currently seeking.

If you’ve done Master’s, just use the above, except don’t go as far back as high school. So stick to 1-2 highlights from your Bachelor’s, and then move the focus to the last 2 years.

If you’re above 25, then again, focus little on the things you did in your education, and more on the last few years. As a general guideline, refrain from things that were more than 4-5 years old.

At the end of your response, it’s good to add what you’re now looking for. So, something like, “Currently, I’m seeking a position that allows me to use my expertise in technology and marketing.” Secondly, once you’ve finished your responses, stop, nod, smile, make eye contact with everyone. This is the proper way of indicating that you’ve answered the question and are awaiting the next one.

Sample answer for a Bachelor’s student:
I went to Bombay Scottish School, where I was the sports head for 2 consecutive years. I’m presently in my final year of BBA (or I’ve recently completed my BBA). During my college, I actively participated in various extra-curricular activities like debating, and organizing cultural fests. I’ve also interned with company A where I consistently exceeded expectations as the business development executive for region X.

Sample answer for someone who’s done a Master’s:
I’m presently in my final year of MBA (or I’ve recently completed my MBA). In college, I have actively participated in various extra-curricular activities like debating, and organizing cultural fests. In my final year, I have performed in the top 10 percentile of the batch, and also represented my college at the ABC Competition. I have won numerous awards (or academic awards) throughout my school/college life. As for my work experience, I’ve interned with company A where I consistently exceeded expectations as the business development executive for region X. I also worked wit Company B where I was responsible for streamlining the online sales process and achieved a conversion rate of 95% throughout.

For someone who’s more experienced:
If your education is relevant and has weightage, mention it in 1-2 lines. But overall, just talk about your work achievements and relevant experience, emphasising the most recent work you’ve done.

HOW TO BE CONVINCING!

Everything you say in the interview such as “I work well under pressure, I am a team player, etc.,” must be backed up by evidence of having demonstrated these skills. You can’t just say “I will be able to do well in this job.” Every statement must be substantiated. For example:

  • I’m extremely dedicated/hardworking. While doing full-time college, I also worked part-time throughout, and was an active member of the college fests.
  • I’m really interested in the field of Finance, I have been investing some money in stocks, and have also studied extra courses on Finance, apart from the college curriculum.
  • I will be able to do well in this job. I already have some experience working in a related field where I was one of the top performers. I did well in my academics also especially in the relevant subjects.
  • The job I’m applying for requires skills X and Y, and I have experience doing this during my College fest where I was part of a team that did …

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?

The answer should ideally be tailored for the job you’re applying. Pick the strengths you have that are connected to the job duties/required skill-set. Secondly, when asked to mention your strengths, back up each statement rather than giving a 5-word reply for each strength – see the section on “how to be convincing.” Be ready with 2-3 strengths.

Examples of responses:

  • I am very good at managing people. I have been an HOD for several of my college fests.
  • I’m technically strong. I have an advanced knowledge of the… I have scored high in subjects like…
  • I work extremely well under pressure, and have performed above expectations in Company A, where we faced high-pressure situations all the time.

The answer should differ if they ask you why you should be hired. Strengths is more generic, but this second question has to be solely relate to the job. So if one of your strengths is knowledge of Advanced Excel, it wouldn’t be an apt answer to “why should you be hired” for an HR role that doesn’t require Advanced Excel. For the question, “why should you be hired,” mention 2-3 reasons. Example:

  • Mention your skills/experience (give PROOF; e.g., “I’ve handled the core part of this job in my last internship successfully”. Feel free to list several points here, as long as they’re all solid and backed up with practical work/references.)
  • Talk about your interest/passion in the specific area of work
  • Mention a few of your personal qualities that would help you succeed in this role.

You don’t want to mention how “this would be a great learning experience” for you or any of those clichés. Don’t insult the capitalists by asking them to pay you just so you could “learn”. They don’t care! Instead, show them how you can add value to them.

WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES? WHY SHOULD WE NOT HIRE YOU?

Be honest, but pick the “harmless” ones that wouldn’t interfere in your ability to carry out the task at hand. (Otherwise you shouldn’t be applying there in the first place anyway!) Examples:

  1. I’m not very good with number-crunching or data analysis. (Don’t mention this for a job that requires this skill.)
  2. I’m not very good with academics. (If your scores are low, you can mention this because it will be obvious to them anyway.)
  3. My English isn’t very good. (Again, if it’s true, the recruiter would have already noticed, and would appreciate your honest assessment.)
  4. I trust people easily and get taken for granted.
  5. I am very self-critical and put myself under unnecessary pressure.
  6. I’m not very good at judging people in the first meeting. (And no one expects this of you anyway…the CIA failed to judge Bin Laden, too!)

The ones you don’t want to mention are mostly about character and discipline. And whatever you do, don’t say “I don’t like working with people/teams” – you’ll be working for a business, not for a Buddhist Monk in the Himalayas.

HANDLING A “STRESS INTERVIEW”

Sometimes people want to see how you respond under duress. They might deliberately confuse you, ask something you’re not supposed to know, or ask something they know that you don’t know. This is one game you just cannot lose, if you follow my two rules:

  1. The winner is the person who stays cool and holds a pleasant smile. Whether or not you know the answer is inconsequential.
  2. Think before attempting a question. If you start answering a question you don’t know (maybe something outside of your domain/field), you’ve already lost.

Avoid writing things on your CV that you don’t know fully, or that you aren’t updated about. Also, don’t answer questions you don’t know. If you don’t know something, just say, “I’m sorry I don’t know that.” If they keep asking you something related to that, keep saying, “I’m not sure”, “I have no idea”. What else are you going to do anyway – look like a kid who’s been caught cheating in an exam? If you get tangled up in circles about an answer you gave and you’re not sure or if they’re asking you the same thing repeatedly, just say you’re not sure! Remember, if you’re cool and giving a pleasant look, you’re going to win. However, you’re also supposed to know “basic things” about the field or subject you’re claiming to be good at. If you don’t know that, then you should acknowledge and apologise, if you feel they aren’t happy with your response. “I’m sorry I know that’s something I’m supposed to know…”

One strategy you can use is this: “I’m not sure about the marketing strategy of Cadbury, but I do know something about Netflix’s advertisement strategy, can I talk about that?” Or even asking the interviewer to test you on something else. “I’m sorry my knowledge about the stocks is very limited, but if you ask me something about the recent budget, I would know.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

HOW TO ANSWER BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS?

Behavioural questions are used to convince recruiters about your skills. These are in the form of questions such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you handled a crisis.
  • Why do you feel you would be able to manage a team this size?
  • How do you know you’ll be able to sell this product?
  • Tell us about a time when you exceeded expectations.

You can answer such questions using the “STAR” technique (Google it). Start with the Situation – background or context, then Task – what you were required to do, then Action – what did you actually do, and Result – what the outcome was. An example of the answer to the 2nd question above:
There was a time during my first job where I was coordinating with another department. There was a lot of rift between the departments because everyone had their own deadlines and their own focus areas. (Situation.) I was supposed to manage their expectations and convince them to work more smoothly with our team. (Task.) I first convinced my colleagues within my team to begin by helping them. We provided them our resources/contacts so they could increase their goals of acquiring more funds for the program. Then slowly we started establishing better relations. (Action.) Eventually we got along really well and the other department also didn’t mind helping us out. (Result.) So I think managing people comes naturally to me, and I will be able to handle a team this big easily.

Make sure you practice 2-3 such common questions. The good thing is if you have 2-3 situations in your mind, you can connect them to multiple different questions. For example, the above response I fleshed out can also be used to answering questions related to: “Tell us a time when you showed Leadership,” “… teamwork,” “…how you managed a challenging task,” etc.

WHAT IS YOUR SALARY REQUIREMENT?

“I’m interested in the profile and growth at this time, not the salary. I understand your company has a fair, competitive salary structure, which is good enough for me.” “I can’t say how much, I’ve not yet begun working full-time. I’ll leave that to you.” Don’t give any figure if you’re not sure, regardless of how many times they ask you.

However, if you have 2 or more years’ of work experience, or if you are clear about a particular figure in your mind, then by all means, let them know. But you must know your own market value, and what the company usually offers.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR INTERVIEW IS GOING TERRIBLY?

During your interview, you may realise that you aren’t doing very well. Maybe you’re nervous, you didn’t prepare well, you said the wrong things, or any other reasons. If towards the end of the interview, you feel that this is the case, you can STILL get through… if you have 2-3 solid reasons for “why you should be hired.” So, all you have to do is, before leaving the room, tell them: “I realize the interview didn’t go well, but I feel I’m an excellent candidate for this profile because…. (give the reasons you have for the question, “why should we hire you?)”

Or you could say, “I’m sorry I was really nervous, I’m actually pretty bad with interviews although my communication in other areas is very good. I’d like to say that I’m really suited to this role because… (give the reasons you have for the question, “why should we hire you?)”

You could even say this right at the end when they ask you to leave or when they ask, “Do you have any questions for us?”

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US?

You can ask: “Is this going to be a sales-only profile or is it going to progress towards a marketing role later?” “Is there a particular technical background you’re looking for in the candidate?” If you don’t have a genuine question, don’t try to sound desperate or intellectual. Saying, “no, everything’s clear”, is perfectly alright.

NERVOUSNESS AND ANXIETY

A common reason why interviews don’t go well is because of the anxiety we face. To ease your nerves before the interview:

  1. Notice where the anxiety is coming from (hands shaking, heart beating really fast, etc.)
  2. Notice what you’re saying to yourself. “I’m so screwed! I have no idea what’ll happen! What will I say in the interview? Will I be able to answer the question?”
  3. Reply to these questions with the following:
    • “I will answer what I know, and say, ‘I don’t know’ for the other questions. It’s not like panicking will help me come up with answers.”
    • I have 2-3 reasons why they should hire me for this role. If they like me for who I am and what value I can add, then that is exactly the kind of company I’ll be successful in.
    • I will achieve my life goals one way or another. One job or one recruiter’s decision is too insignificant to change my entire life. Being desperate will only make me choose the wrong job or become more nervous.
    • Ask yourself: “What can I do to increase my chances?” “What can I read about?” Make sure you do whatever is in your control to prepare better.
    • Getting the job is not in my control. Doing better than I did in the last interview is. That is what I’m going to try.
  4. Focussing on the above self-talk. Just ask yourself what advice you would give to your best friend who’s getting nervous. Make sure you’re breathing deeply.
  5. Look at the “What if they ask this or that; I’m so screwed” thoughts with contempt. Hype yourself up like sportspeople do, pump your fist, get excited for facing a challenge, and say, “I’m going to move ONE step closer to mastering interviews. All I need to do is do better than the last time. I just need to tell them clear reasons as to why they should hire me. One interview will not define my career. ”

For more on eliminating anxiety follow the Instagram page @animeshgupta01

(If you are someone who trains people on interview-skills or if you are going to be a part of any Personality Development classes in Mumbai, make sure you focus on your body language and style of presentation which is most appropriate for the job you’re applying for.)

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

Making Strong Points In Group Discussions

You would be selected based on at least one (not necessarily both) of the following two:

01. Content: Knowledge, critical-thinking, creativity, reasoning, logic, and argumentative skills.
02. Behaviour/Personality: Confidence, soft skills, communication-skills, leadership, and assertiveness.

GD is a method of screening candidates for a job by testing their
KNOWLEDGE, CON

BASIC IDEA

  • Around 8-14 people at a time, arranged in a semi-circle
  • Time: Usually around 10-20 minutes long; they may or may not tell you in advance
  • May be organized or chaotic, it’s not certain. The discussion does lead to a fight sometimes!
  • Topics: Be prepared for anything, from abstract to specific technical ones. (E.g., “And the clock struck 12” to “The impact of E-commerce on the Kirana stores in India”)

IMPORTANT POINTERS

  1. SPEAK UP! If you don’t speak up, you’re almost guaranteed to get rejected. Make at least 3-4 solid points in the entire discussion.
  2. Be loud and clear; use gestures; and make eye contact with everyone while talking.
  3. Look at the moderator’s reactions every now and then to gauge what he/she might be interested in. (Don’t make eye contact with moderators, just glance quickly!)
  4. Give your input, back it up with an example or logic, and then conclude the point by connecting it to the topic.
  5. Don’t leave the point hanging without a clear message. Use examples and information that people can relate to and then substantiate your point. (Do NOT use personal examples or stories only you know.)
  6. Carry a paper and pen, and write down the topic if you need to. Misunderstanding the topic will be suicidal. (Carry water if your throat gets dry due to anxiety or speaking too much!)
  7. If you’re not fluent or confident in English, mix it up with Hindi. If you need to, speak purely in Hindi! Yes, it’s not ideal to do that, but understand: Speaking in Hindi gives you a chance, whereas staying quiet does not. You MUST speak up.
  8. DO NOT get into a personal debate with someone. Don’t try to prove someone else wrong. Stick to the topic. Make sure you talk to the entire group; refrain from a side-discussion.
  9. If the moderator asks you to wrap-up, or tells you only 1-2 minutes are left, then begin summarizing/concluding; avoid introducing a new point at this time.
  10. You CAN go against a point you made previously if you want to. But keep the focus on moving the discussion forward. (To be clarified in the session.)

AVOID BEING INTERRUPTED

DO NOT allow someone to interrupt you (unless you’ve spoken many times already).

  • Increase your volume, ignore them and continue talking
  • Request the person to let you finish (or ask them firmly)
  • Keep saying the same line repeatedly until everyone’s listening. E.g., “I think that we need to…” – Repeat this line 3 times, each time increasing your volume, until people let you finish.

INTERRUPTING AND GETTING YOUR POINT ACROSS

  • You can argue against what someone said, by presenting your own view.
  • Being a moderator: You can bring the group/person back to the topic if they’re digressing; Allow others to speak; Ask a quiet person for his/her opinion; Request the loud ones to calm down; Set an agenda or rule for the group.
  • Introduce a new point altogether. Try connecting the topic to topics like Education, Politics, Sports, Business, Economics, Government, Law, Environment, Social Media, Religion, Culture… or ANY topic that you are strong at. E.g., a dry topic related to FDI in India can be connected with the rise of international Fashion brands, for someone who’s interested in Fashion and has no knowledge of the financial sector.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE SOFT-SPOKEN, OR IF YOU CAN’T THINK OF NEW POINTS

  1. You will need to “YELL”. Don’t worry, it won’t be rude!
  2. Take someone else’s point and package it better. Or repeat someone else’s point if it wasn’t heard/discussed by the group earlier.
  3. Show high involvement through active listening (including head nods); and use verbal agreements followed by a quick example to solidify someone’s point. E.g., “Yes, I think policing in India is improving. Women officers are more commonly seen now…”
  4. Practice speaking very loud in your daily conversations with groups.
    Practice speaking up in the classroom. Sit in the back of the class and yell out your questions or responses during lectures.
  5. Understand that it doesn’t matter if you have been soft-spoken all your life. It’s a skill, without which you will not be able to handle a dominating person or a disorganized scenario. You’re not born with a habit of speaking softly; you should be able to use a loud voice when required… like in a GD. This is a situation that requires you to times SHOUT! Don’t go home without getting that desired job simply because your voice is too soft!

THE LEADER

  • You’re running the show if you’ve already made 3-4 solid points, and if the group is looking at you when they’re talking, as if to seek your approval.
  • However, you must be liked by them also. This is the key – you must be easy to get along with and have a pleasant personality.
  • If you’ve spoken enough or established yourself as a leader, then instead of hogging the discussion, try “being the moderator” (see above).
  • If there are more than 2 strong players, you may need to compete with them to take control of the discussion. Find an area they know little about, and which the group enjoys discussing. This could mute the competitor for a few minutes. (Be careful when using advanced tactics like these, they can backfire!)

To master these skills, you can join our Workshops on Speaking Skills Mumbai

Posted by: Animesh Gupta

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