It was day one of our second year graduation class of Commerce. The professor who was assigned to take the subject Business Law introduced himself as Jacob Thomas with the suffix Jr. There obviously was a senior professor with the same name. Soon after, he started writing on the board and what I saw was the last thing I expected. A man in his late forties teaching a relatively dry subject wrote on the board in such a beautiful manner that I could see an art form unveiling itself! His handwriting was not just impeccable but extremely attractive that after he left the class, none of us even felt like wiping the board.
Days passed by and we got further acquainted with the professor and his communication skills. His excellence did not stop with the calligraphy-class of writing but he proved to be truly awesome with his verbal communication as well. Hailing from a small town in the state of Kerala, down south in India, where we hardly had to use English in our daily lives, a sight such as the discourse by our professor was worth attending the class. Not sure if that was the reason for an almost complete attendance during his sessions.
We were fascinated by his ability to speak in fluent English using such words that we had to refer to a dictionary to understand the meaning of some of them at the end of each class. It was even more surprising to hear him say one day that he did his schooling in Malayalam, the vernacular language of our state. For a moment I genuinely wondered about the irony of getting an English medium education and not even capable of communicating even remotely, like this man, who had none of these amenities. A few of us got really interested to know how he managed to pick up this skill and requested him to share his secrets of communication.
He was a soft spoken man with a delightful smile to his credit. He was indeed happy to receive such a request from us and smiling throughout, shared the recipe of his success. These were the pearls of wisdom he shared with us that day which I quite distinctly remember applying in my life, which I honestly believe helped me improve my communication skills.
· Read an English Newspaper – Helps you develop your vocabulary. Please be careful about the choice you make since there are ones that are published with the sole intention of increasing circulation and not giving due importance to the language. But there are others which genuinely communicate using exemplary language.
· Listen to English news in radio/TV – During his days there was no television and hence the radio news from BBC was his only source of good English. These days we’ve plenty of options in radio/TV. Again beware of your choice.
· Make a friend out of your mirror – This is one of the most effective ways to improve your communication. Talk to your mirror just like the way you speak to a friend. Make this a habit and you’ll see how your ‘friend’ helps you better your communication.
· Read a lot – A habit, the worth of which is unimaginable! Develop this hobby. You do not have to focus on a particular topic initially. Start with something that interests you and slowly widen your horizon. You may stumble upon words, about which you are totally clueless. Have a dictionary handy. These days the options are quite simple with smart phones and apps which provide good dictionary services.
· Write – This is an extremely effective way to improve your language. Start with simple topics. Develop a hobby of diary writing which can be very rewarding. Create a blog. Write about happenings in your life which you could share with the public. Take a shot at writing competitions. You won’t even believe how your communication skills improve over a period of time with this awesome method.
Nothing should stop you from improving yourself. Communication in any form, spoken, written, non-verbal, whichever may it be always has room for improvement. Never stop learning and that’s one secret we need to remind ourselves time and again!