You have the right to make mistakes and falter - The New Indian Express

You have the right to make mistakes and falter

Published: 09th September 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 08th September 2013 05:33 PM

It is on-campus recruitment season in many colleges. It is the dream of many students to get placed in top MNCs, reputed IT companies or core companies. Will their dreams come true? It all depends on how students perform at various stages of the recruitment process: 1) Written tests that test students’ logical reasoning, verbal ability and English language skills, 2) Group discussions that assess their interpersonal skills, critical thinking, group dynamics and language skills, 3) Interviews that assess students’ knowledge in their chosen field, their communication skills and attitude. Students who are not good at studies but have excellent communication skills may outperform their classmates who are proud of their academic record but are quite apprehensive of their communication skills. Communication skills are a key to most students’ success in the recruitment process.

Almost every day my inbox attracts emails from students who ask me for tips to improve their English language and communication skills. Very recently, a student from Kovilpatti in Tamil Nadu sent me this email: “Sir, I’m a final-year engineering student. I have a good academic record. Two weeks ago, I took three mock placement tests and my score in the verbal ability and reading section was too low. It made me very upset. All of a sudden, I realised my English is not good and consequently, my brilliant academic performance in core subjects has no value for recruiters. I seek your help. I’ll be grateful to you if you give me some tips to improve my English…” Yes, campus recruitment is a nightmare for students who lack communication skills.

Almost all placement written tests have two sections: 1) Numerical ability, and 2) Verbal ability. Even to understand questions in the first section, the candidate needs an adequate level of English language skills. Even if one manages to pass the written test and enters the remaining rounds, the person is likely to be rejected if he/she is not articulate.

One cannot develop communication skills overnight. It requires constant practice. If a person has the desire to become a good swimmer, he has to have constant practice. He can’t become a swimmer by reading books on swimming every day. Unless he shakes his hands and legs in the pool of water and master the skills required he can’t make his dream come true. Similarly, one cannot become a fluent speaker by studying books on grammar, public speaking, group discussion or interview techniques.

Many students are reluctant to speak in English because they think they can’t speak without grammatical errors. Every great speaker must have made stupid mistakes in the process of becoming a great speaker. My advice to students is this: Uttering grammatical errors is not a sin. It is your right to make mistakes. It is your right to fail. All great speakers have made mistakes. According to Public Speaking Bill of Rights, “I have the right to be authentic… I have the right to not know all the answers... I have the right to make mistakes…. I have the right to walk in like I own the room.”


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