What holds us back (career progression)

I don’t watch television, even though the TV is on in the living room. And my family loves to watch the beauty pageants and film awards in Bollywood. So I occasionally catch glimpses of these shows. At these awards functions, the winners come on stage and thank the producer, director, sponsor, Mom, Dad ….. and God. And then gracefully step off stage with their award. That’s it. So when I heard Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone speak at the IIFA Awards 2016, I was stunned.

Deepika gave a very inspirational speech with a powerful message. She began by saying “she was here as a sportsperson” reminding us that her Dad (Prakash Padokune, former Indian Badminton champion) was a prominent sportsman. Deepika also told the audience about her bout with depression, two years ago, and how she overcame that difficult phase through sports.

Now that was a very inspirational speech and the audience listened attentively.

How many actors in Bollywood can make a spontaneous speech (without a pre-prepared script) like Deepika?

If you want to be taken seriously, and if you want to be respected, then you’ve got to learn to speak fluently and intelligently. 

When I go to industry events or meetings, people make small talk about the weather and use cliches on stage like “I don’t want to come between you and lunch.” Salespeople cannot make conversation beyond small talk about the weather, Mumbai traffic, or some politician/cricketer/actor.

If you go (as a salesperson) to meet a prospective customer, do you prepare enough to make an engaging conversation with him/her? Can that customer learn something new from you? Rather, we over prepare with details about the product we are pitching, and learn our rate cards and discounting schemes by heart. At most, we might visit that customer’s website and learn about their business.

I have seen sales proposals going out that are full of spelling and grammatical mistakes.The issue is, we aren’t well read and well traveled. If we don’t read and travel and engage with people, how are we going to update our knowledge? How will we ever make engaging conversation?

Our education system is lacking and we do not learn to do these things in school. Our schools and colleges are not doing a good job of teaching students research, conversational, interpersonal and writing skills.So you have to learn all this after passing out from University.

Here’s what you can do:

Watch good movies or read books that make you intelligent. Listen to /watch the BBC channel. It’s not enough to read newspapers.

And please continue to upgrade your skills.If you want to be taken seriously, and if you want to be respected, then you’ve got to learn to speak fluently and intelligently.

And because you can’t do that today, you don’t get the job.

MBA or not.

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira has over two decades of journalism experience. He is the former Editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines in India. You can write to Brian at: Twitter: @brian9p Linkedin:

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