By Sarah Berry | New Delhi
With almost 65 per cent of India’s population below 35 years of age, India boasts of a rich demographic dividend waiting to be tapped. The government has and is undertaking various measures to boost the productive utilization of this resource, however, the inculcation of basic skill sets that enable and empower youth remains a challenge; this includes the vital art and science of communication.
According to Anjaney Kumar, a public policy scholar at the Indian School of Public Policy,“Communication skills are essential in every domain of life. In the professional domain, this prerequisite is considered a skill. When we talk of skilling, an important aspect in enhancing the capacity and productivity of our country’s youth, communication of the self and the craft one holds is vital. It is also to be remembered that communication is a two-way approach or a multi-pronged approach and cannot be practiced in silos.”
Communication – verbal and nonverbal – serves as the basis for both professional and personal lives, and is vital for intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. ‘Communicating more in less’ is the new mantra. The question, rather challenge, remains, how does one master this mantra?
The beginning is, as always, made with the self – the introduction of the self – an essential in every phase of life, but introductions are easy: name, educational qualifications, professional background, hobbies et cetera. Is it not? Well, that defines the conventional. What makes this important aspect unique? Try practising introducing yourself in five sentences to begin with – a synopsis of your journey, with eyes on the reason for the introduction. This exercise works wonders.
As ironical as it may sound, listening is a vital element of communication too. How much attention do you pay to what others have to say? Do you give them a chance to say anything at all? Listening is learning – communication is not only about ‘me’, but also about ‘we’ – food-for-thought, indeed!
Then, your voice and pronunciation are key to the words you utter, so go for tongue twisters, practice speaking extempore (at least five sentences to begin with) on a random topic, ‘verbal yoga’, and many others. The 7Cs of communication – Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete and Courteous carry weightage, as does the way you say what you say, to whom and when, not to forget voice modulation and correct pronunciation that are essential elements too. Another important component, especially in the professional world, are ice breakers, for which knowing something about almost everything helps, so spruce up your general knowledge and vocabulary.
And if we thought that verbal communication is all that matters, we repeat the all-to-often-made-mistake – non-verbal communication; this part of communication accounts for more than 90 per cent of the communication made (according to some studies)! So, the next time you wish to communicate, try playing your facial expressions, eyes, gestures, body language, among other such, to your advantage – these speak volumes, where one may run short of words.
Adds Lokesh Kandregula, a student studying public policy: “From my experiences, I feel that non-verbal communication plays a key role in social relationships. Many researchers have found that this form of communication can relay till about 93 per cent of our attitudes and beliefs. Moreover, non-verbal communication is the primary supporter of verbal communication. In fact, they supplement one another, adding deeper meaning and impact. Acquiring the required skill sets for any job is essential, but what is a prerequisite, in parallel, is the way one positions the self, the personality, and the matter at hand.”