Looking Beyond the Campus

Looking Beyond the Campus 

The Importance of Effective Communication

“I think people underrate the importance of investing in communication skills as a way to progress in your career”
 By Julie Sweet

Our colleges and universities churn out thousands of professionals every year. Among them are doctors, engineers, lawyers, scientists, economists, to name only a few. The system of education followed in our schools and colleges lays stress on only acquisition of domain knowledge, skills and expertise. The sad consequence of this is that many of these young women and men are hopelessly unprepared to enter the corporate world. This is because they are lacking on the basic skills required to function in the new environment.

It is seen that one of the most important skills that has to be imparted to budding professionals is the way to communicate, both written and verbal. It is necessary, in the training module, to harp on focussed and sharp communication that is concise, brief and to the point. Professional courses in general, and engineering courses, in particular, attach very little importance to study and practise of language. The argument often put forward by academic experts is that, for technical professionals, language can take a back seat. Nothing can be more farther than the truth.

The hard fact dawns on these graduates when they appear for interviews after they graduate from the campus. The inability of candidates to understand questions asked of them and to paraphrase their answers in grammatically correct language, with proper usage of words, puts them at a very big disadvantage. The genesis of this problem lies in the fact that English, which is the medium of the corporate world, is essentially a foreign language and the overwhelming majority of graduates do their basic and secondary education in the vernacular medium. When we look at reasons why the percentage of engineering graduates who are employable are dismally low, effective communicate will stand out as one of the main causes.

The stakeholders in the effort to boost the level of soft skills, including communication skills, of young professionals must take this problem by the horns and assume responsibility to bring about a change in this state of affairs. The professionals themselves, their parents and guardians, the community, the academicia, the university and college administrations, the corporates, and professional trainers are the major stakeholders who should be in the forefront to tackle the issue.

To make the acquisition of communication skills an organic growth process, the stakeholders should put their heads together and design a structure or syllabus to be included in the curriculum. There are bound to be professional trainers and organizations who would be glad to associate themselves with this process of establishing a structure with their inputs. Universities and colleges should take the lead in this.

The most important job, however, is to convince the students themselves, that they would be at an advantage to put in some effort beyond their regular curriculum to acquire a skill that would make them more confident and acceptable. The costs for this course should be borne, at least partly, by them. Presentations to students by professionals stressing the advantages of possessing good communication skills will go a long way.

Corporates, who have a huge stake in this exercise, should come forward and sponsor these language courses, either fully, or, at least, in part.

To conclude, good communication adds a lot of value to knowledge and experience and makes a person stand out.



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