I think today's post is gonna be one of my favorites. Got the idea from a fellow blogger's entry.
COMMUNICATION: The activity of process of giving information to other people.
Down memory lane:
At school (not the business one) the only forms of communication I had ever heard were the written and the oral form. The former I loved - essays, critiques and letters. The latter I abhorred - speeches and debates. I still have horrid memories of my first public speech. Till my std: 10, I had participated and won most of the events based on written English in my district, be it Spelling Bees for 5 years or creative writing contests (okie, mebbe it shows how abysmally low the competition levels were but I’d like to believe otherwise) My quizmate and bosom buddy Shakir had always been the one who had stolen the show whenever it came to stages and speeches. It all took a turn for the worse in Std 11. I recollect how my English teacher cum Vice Principal Brother Thiruthuvam forcibly entered my name for an oratorical competition. It was all scheduled for a Monday afternoon and the topic had been "Should begging be banned?” I was sure I’d make a fool of myself in front of an audience of around 400 (all students from std 8 to Std 12 are usually invited for this) and so secretly planned to take the afternoon off by sneaking out post-lunch feigning illness. But smart man that he was, our VP had warned the Principal that certain students might be inclined to take this route and so I was denied leave. And then when lots were drawn, I was first up. I will fast forward the next 6 minutes of what happened but just to give you an idea of what happened, I think my dear friend Sridhar later told me that if I had been measured for my performance on the Richter scale, I would have clocked a 10 :-(
My next public performance was at REC in Trime 1 for the appropriately titled "Communication for Beginners". Thanks to Ms Banumathi, we were atleast allowed to choose our own topics. Those were the days when I used to be a last bencher, hang around with the "enfant terribles" and generally rebel for no rhyme or reason. Two amongst the numerous rules for membership to this exclusive, elitist gang was a total refusal to speak English and to completely ignore women. (the founding members of this club were obviously from Mech and Chem) I had decided I would make a one time exception and flout rule: 1 and had carefully prepared a speech on "Chances of India winning WC '96" - However Man proposes, God disposes. The lady who spoke before me, Anusha an NRI returned from Dubai, gave one of the most stirring speeches I have ever heard on Indian culture - and btw, she was dressed in a western outfit that left nothing to imagination :-) That one really got my goat and I changed speeches and launched into a furious diatribe on such pseudo people. Needless to say, I scored high on that assignment but the Prof. never ever ventured to allow us to pick our own topics after that. And better late than never, Anusha, sorry - it was never personal :-p
The advantage of working in a more than a few companies is that u get to while away a lot time under the guise of induction/training every time u shift jobs. My first job at MBT, needless to say, had a communication module as part of its initiation program. The only difference was that we were all video graphed. This time there was additional pressure since my colleagues were MBA grads from SIBM or undergrads from IIT-Kanpur. But my my, wot a ball we had. I have seen weirdos and whackos but Sarvesh at MBT has to be the best. His speech was loosely based on "Women and how to pataofy them" - half way through he was stopped and asked to change topics. He then chose "Yoga and music at 5 am (and how it helps to win women)" Needless to say I have never laffed harder than that in my whole life. My speech, relatively speaking was a tad boring on "Life in hostels". Two days later, after the course was over, we were video graphed again to see whether we had improved and I think I did fairly better. These courses actually help, you know.
Then came Infy where I was hired as a lateral so no training programs for me :-( But then there was Toastmasters. Since it had been almost 4 months since I’d challenged myself to talk in front of a crowd of strangers, I signed in. It went off well except that people seemed to have a trance like look after I had finished my speech. I had chosen to speak on MPD and how Sidney Sheldon has made a mess of it in "Tell Me Your Dreams" :-)
Hmm..Cut to B-school - Third week@SP - The course: Communication. The procedure: same old videography method except that this was to be a presentation in PowerPoint. (pssst: When I had joined SP, my only lofty ambition had been to go to Lonavla-Khandala as one and come back as two. That didn’t happen :-) This was my second chance to floor everyone) I had zeroed down on two topics that would both make me comfortable and also appeal to the "intellectual women" in my batch - "Humor in English Literature" and "Why I was born to be an SPJIMRite" - But all my plans went awry when we were all allotted topics - and mine was supposed to be a business presentation to corporates on "SPJIMR for you". Result: a B on that assignment.
After that there have been numerous other instances of presentations in Mktg classes but all that for another rainy day. Maybe I should start working now :-)