Friday, 29 July 2016

Are You Still Making These Errors In Business Communication?

As a professional career consultant, I am contacted by corporate employees almost everyday, looking for effective solutions to various types of workplace problems that they might be facing. One of the most common requests I receive is a plea to provide some quick fix to polish up the communication etiquettes of workers – from almost all levels. While there are no magic recipes for becoming the smartest communicator and interaction expert in a corporate environment, ironing out the common mistakes is definitely likely to prove handy. Thorough business communication training in Kolkata is what’s required, to stay away from these errors:
  1. Launching a personal tirade – There will be infuriatingly stressful situations at office – but you simply must not lose your head on such occasions. At my corporate training institute, I keep emphasizing to students the importance of staying calm and collected, even in the face of extreme provocation at workplace. Do not ever personally attack anyone, even if (s)he has made a serious mistake. A war of words can permanently destroy working relationships. Instead, take your time and find out ways to settle problems amicably.
  2. Not following up after initial communications – This is probably how most apparently ‘sure-shot’ sales deals are missed. According to any experienced skill trainer, following up after an initial business interaction – right from a meeting, to a simple email conversation - is an absolute must. In case you find the other party to be not contacting you after a certain period of time, you need to be proactive enough to give that person a nudge.
  3. Showing that you are vulnerable – Your boss can rebuke you, your seniors might be dissatisfied with your performance, or you may simply be feeling pressurized with the volume of work handed to you. As far as my knowledge in soft skill training goes, it would be grossly inadvisable to come across as too weak or vulnerable under such trying circumstances. In particular, crying in front of anyone at office (including your closest colleague) is an absolute ‘no-no’. Be confident, keep your chin up, and tackle difficulties efficiently.
  4. Being too funny for your own good – In a corporate environment, being witty works great, but having a frivolous attitude does not. Communication training experts maintain that, while having a proper sense of humor is ideal in a young employee, (s)he should never be looking forward to crack jokes at every opportunity. During meetings with your boss or a prospective client, don’t make remarks that are out of place. Avoid sharing anecdotes that reek of racism and/or have a lot of slangs.
  5. Asking for a raise without having a case for yourself – If you are putting in the hard yards for your organization, it is only natural that you would expect regular increments and other perks. If the same are not forthcoming, the onus is on you to get in touch with your senior(s), and ask for a raise that you feel you deserve. If you are proficient at vertical communication training nuances, you would know the importance of preparing a record of the facts and figures, which would clearly justify your demands. Simply bursting in your boss’ room shouting for a raise might end up with you being handed the pink slip!
  6. Not seeking the opinion of others – Managing a company is not a one-man job, and consensual decision-making is something that is instrumental in steering any corporate organization in the right direction. That’s precisely why the leadership training in India modules at my institute include lessons for participative management. If you are employed in a senior position at your office, you need to consult other important colleagues/peers – before arriving at any important business decision. Do not simply impose your opinions on others.
  7. Overlooking the importance of employee training – Over my career, I have come across many aspiring professionals who tend to treat initial orientation and employee training programs as a bit of a waste of time. It is vital to realize that these training sessions are the best time to get a grasp of the workflow processes in an organization that you would have to handle later. Being attentive would also help you get an in-depth understanding of the company mission and visions. No matter how qualified you are, do not make the mistake of neglecting the importance of regular training.
  8. Being the office flirt – Being an efficient worker does not give you the license to flirt about with everyone at office. In fact, if your advances keep distracting your colleagues of the other sex – you might even get reported to the HR department/directly to the boss. A severe reprimand might follow, which would definitely hurt your personality development process. I keep cautioning my students against trying to portray themselves as veritable Office Casanova-s – it can be very dangerous!
  9. Poor body language – Communication training is not only about verbal interactions, and you need to be constantly aware of this. During one-to-one interactions with peers/seniors, make sure that your body language is such that, you genuinely seem interested in what the other person is talking about. Maintain eye-contact, do not lean back on your seat, and avoid glancing at your watch repeatedly. Employees with smart and sincere body language are looked favorably upon by all business leaders.
Devise ways that would be best suited for you to keep daily stress levels down, so that self-motivation levels are maintained. Find out in detail about all the rules and regulations at your office, and make sure that you do not violate any of them. Over time, my institute has churned out a fair few successful corporates, and I believe that avoiding the above mistakes has done wonders for their careers!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

11 Corporate Visionaries Who Inspire Me

When I had first joined a corporate training institute, the tutor had told that – to be a great business leader, a person had to first start thinking like one. Since then, reading biographies/autobiographies of various highly regarded corporate entrepreneurs and managers has been a constant habit of mine. While some of the books did make for pretty dour reading, I found most of these literary accounts to be instructive, informative, and definitely inspiring. On a professional front, some of my idols are:
  1. Steve Jobs – Imagine being ousted from your own company, and then making a grand comeback – to save the same firm from troubled waters. Well, Steve Jobs did exactly that, and rightfully deserves a mention at the top of this list. The thing about Jobs that really stands out for me was his fantastic self-motivation levels, which helped him become the head of Apple – and the most recognizable name in the world of computing and telecommunications.
  2. Martha Stewart – The head of Living Omnimedia, and an inspiration for every aspiring corporate leader like me. I had first seen her at a television show – and, being intrigued by her track record, had decided to read up more about her. It is nothing short of amazing how well Stewart had managed to provide employee training to each of her peers and colleagues. The lady has definitely managed to create a legacy of her own.
  3. John Cadbury – There has to be something special about a person, whose surname has, over time, become synonymous with chocolate products, right? Thanks to Cadbury’s (the person, not the brand!) superior communication training in Kolkata, workplace conflicts at his office were pretty much unheard of. The manner in which Cadbury and his successors managed to expand the reach of the brand steadily over time is remarkable too.
  4. Larry Page – At any contemporary leadership training institute, instructors typically advise candidates to read up on the biography of Larry Page – the person who is at the helm of Google, the premier online search engine worldwide. Together with Sergey Brin, Page gave practical shape to his vision of making the process of searching for any type of information online easy and quick. Now, ‘googling’ something is used in colloquial English as a verb!
  5. Richard Sears – The tale of Richard Warren Sears is a classic rags-to-riches story. Born in a humble background, Sears made it a point to pursue expert soft skill training, to eventually rise to the top of one of the most famous multinational organizations in the United States. If you wish to get an idea of how to progress with your personality development – read up about Sears, and you will get a fair idea.
  6. Walt Disney – Okay, I’ll admit this – it was not my professional skill trainer who got me interested in Disney’s works. Even during college, I was a huge fan of Disney shows (I still catch re-runs of the ‘Duck Tales’, whenever it is aired). He was much more than an average business head – and was, at one time, the top animation movie producer in entire Hollywood. From a cartoonist in local dailies, to one of the most known faces in showbiz – Disney’s journey had indeed been an outstanding one.
  7. William Morris – The person who literally change the face of the international print industry, at the end of the nineteenth century. Morris was a master at providing specialized corporate training to each of his employees, so that the latter could function at their most efficient levels. At a time when autocratic leadership was much in vogue, Morris’ man-management style came as a fresh, welcome change.
  8. Estee Lauder – Not often mentioned in the various ‘top-10’ lists that are published on the net – but for getting valuable pointers for providing sales training to my workers, Estee Lauder’s example is the one I find to be the best. From perfumes and hair products, to practically all other types of high-quality cosmetics, Lauder was never shy of trying to come up with new and improved products – and most of her attempts were successful ones.
  9. Ralph Lauren – According to the prestigious Forbes magazine, Ralph Lauren features among the top 200 richest people in the world – but his professional excellence cannot simply be managed in monetary terms. From a young age itself, Lauren was well-versed in social communication training, and often used to sell apparels and accessories to his friends. Later on, he became one of the most revered fashion moguls in America – and even opened his own clothing line. Undying ambition and a clear career focus can indeed take a person to great heights!
  10. Louis Mayer – If you are a Hollywood fan, you must be aware of the immense popularity of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Mayer) productions. MGM would not have been half as well-known, if it had not been for the efforts and visions of Louis Mayer. It was Mayer’s self-motivation that helped his company to successfully survive (in fact, thrive) the Great Depression phase – which engulfed many other established companies.
  11. Sam Walton – It takes a lot of guts to leave one’s parents’ relatively profitable farmlands and venture out to establish one’s own line of chain stores – and Walton had more than the requisite amounts of courage and determination to do precisely this. Thanks to him, the whole world is now familiar with the Walmart and the Ben Franklin outlets. Recognized as one of the most influential businesspersons of the century – Sam Walton had a keen eye on quality-management and used to regularly organize employee training sessions.
Since I take an active interest in Linux programming, I find the works of Linus Torvalds to be mighty inspiring as well. As far as soft skill training related to the hospitality sector is concerned – J. W. Marriott (Jr.) is easily the person I look up to the most. Do make it a habit of reading the chronicles of professional leaders who have excelled in their respective fields. I certainly benefited from doing so!