How this Consultant of a Top MNC Took Her Manager’s Advice Seriously and Improved her Spoken English Skills
Lija John is a B.tech graduate who is now working as an IT consultant in a top-tier MNC working since past 2 years in Kerala.
She is currently on the lookout for a new promising position in the IT sector.
But there’s something that’s holding her back.
What? In her last job her manager called her communication skills as “average” and she needed to develop them.
She soon started to lose confidence about her abilities after her manager pointed out her weak areas.
She was scared she might not find another good job if she didn’t work on improving her spoken English.
Hence, she desired to be more fluent in spoken English and enhance her communication skills.
Keep reading to learn how Lija conquered her fears of speaking fluent English and became an effective communicator at her workplace.
How Was Lija’s Life Growing Up as a Small-town Malayali Resident?
Lija belongs to a very small village of district Patthanamthitta, Kerala. She completed her Bachelors of Technology from Kerala in 2011.
Lija studied in Malayalam-medium throughout her childhood in one of the smallest villages of Olanka, Patthanamthitta.
So, at the beginning of her college life, her spoken English skills were very poor.
She tried for jobs after her education but she couldn’t get any job at that time. Instead, she joined as a teacher in an NGO tuition in Kerala.
In her stint as a teacher, she realized if she wants to get a good job in her field she needs to improve her English communication skills.
She couldn’t bear the thought of teaching wrong Grammar to kids.
She thought what if their childhood turned out to be the same as hers when she couldn’t learn proper English?
So, she herself started learning English by attending English Grammar classes.
During this phase, she realized she loves reading a lot. But she finds it difficult due to her poor Grammar and pronunciation skills.
These thoughts of self-doubt kept circling her mind even after she left the NGO, got married and moved to Singapore with her husband.
During her 4 years stay in Singapore, she found a great job as a Consultant in the same field.
But her poor grammar and vocabulary kept coming back to haunt her. And it led her to become reluctant while talking to people at her workplace.
As soon as her employment contract got over, the couple returned back to Kerala.
And she carried the same fears and struggles of English communication skills in her next job in a top MNC in Kerala.
What Pushed Lija to Join BBR Live Spoken English program?
Lija spent her childhood studying in a village school. Growing up she was most comfortable in her mother tongue Malayalam.
Till 12th Grade she also studied Hindi as her second language. However, English was still an unchartered territory for her.
When she couldn’t find a job after her graduation, she started doubting herself.
She thought of teaching kids in an NGO, but she found she was incapable because she herself wasn’t fluent enough in English.
When she successfully landed a job in an MNC, she kept going inside her shell even more.
Why? Because her English communication was not up to the standards of her office. She felt inferior to her better English speaking colleagues.
To add more pressure, her job required meeting people offline, and writing professionally-drafted emails.
It created a lot of confusion in Lija’s mind because she wasn’t able to read them correctly.
Why? Once again, because of her English Grammar and pronunciation.
She was good at her job and she proved that with her hard work and dedication. She even impressed her manager and received appraisal.
However, he also told her one more thing that made Lija a bit self-conscious.
If she wants to progress further in the field and become a Solution Consultant, she needs to put in some extra efforts.
Why? Because its a position where she needs to gather requirements from her clients.
For that to happen smoothly, she needs to develop good English speaking skills. And chances are her inability to present can be a big hurdle in effective communication.
So, when she started working from home, she joined a WhatsApp group program for learning English.
The program was good in terms of getting all the reading material directly to your number. And she could just type and message anyone in the group to get her queries solved.
But there was one big challenge. Whenever they were give a topic to speak on, the interaction time was very short - under 10 minutes.
It didn’t work out well for her because she was looking for two important things in her learning journey:
- Longer durations to talk and speak
- 1-on-1 guidance
And her search led her to BBR Live Spoken English which answered all her questions.
How BBR English Steered Lija’s Journey to Prepare Her for Leadership Roles?
Lija went through some mental blocks in her workplace multiple times before joining BBR English for good:
- She found herself unprepared to answer whenever her manager asked her something on the spot.
- She felt underconfident when speaking in front of a group.
- She was unable to communicate effectively with the management team.
- She felt frustrated because her team didn’t understand her through emails nor she could read their emails correctly.
Once she signed up for the BBR foundation session in August 2022, everything started falling back into place.
Why? Because she found a great mentor in Tanu who was patient with Lija help her overcome fears of speaking English.
In her foundation session, she came to know her weak areas of English communication with more depth and details.
Her calibration report at the end of the session made her realise how she fared in the important areas of English communication.
The report also highlighted the areas that she needed to improve:
- Communicating With Professionals
- Delivering Presentations
The core areas of focus for each of the above broad categories were:
- Grammar for Speaking
- Structuring and speech
- Active listening
- Body language and gestures
- Presentation Designing
- Impromptu speaking
- Voice modulation
And the last section of the report created a roadmap, i.e. a customized course program suitable for her transformation journey:
According to the roadmap, the best course of action for Lija is to join the course English for Service Leaders.
Why? Because this course checked out all the boxes that Lija wanted to have command on and become a top consultant in her field:
- She would learn the different approaches to structure her ideas and make her speech effective.
- She would learn essential and advanced words and using them naturally while speaking and writing.
- She would learn how not to worry about getting stuck while speaking in front of someone and express herself confidently.
How Lija Came Out As a Confident Speaker and Communicator with BBR English?
The first two sessions were hard for Lija when she began her course.
Why? She felt she could not speak on any topic assigned by her mentor because she wasn't able to find words.
So, she would panic and use filler words like “okay” and “actually” a lot to fill those gaps.
But, from the third session she started to improve and gain confidence. She started by discussing her struggle and why she felt lost while discussing her thoughts.
As the sessions carried on, there were subtle improvements in her voice modulation, body language, and confidence level.
Here's what her transformation journey with her mentor Tanu looked like:
Sessions 3 to 6:
In the beginning, Lija mentioned to her mentor that she knows what to speak but needs to be able to frame sentences quickly. Tanu found out her first strength that she is a great listener. Yet, Lija still finds difficulties in speaking on a topic.
With Tanu, she found out some excellent exercises to improve herself in terms of structuring her speech, bringing variety with voice modulation, and recording her voice to understand the pronunciation.
From the fourth session, Lija started coming out of her introverted shell. She saw massive improvement in her speaking abilities, her confidence, and she began to express herself freely. Till the sixth session, she became fluent she could easily speak on unfamiliar topics. The biggest change was she reduced the occurrence of her filler words such as "actually" and "you know" to a considerable extent.
Sessions 7 to 10
Till the seventh session, Lija became more active and asked questions to solve her queries. She incorporated points and used them to structure her speech. When given a topic in advance, she could present it well by taking care of all the aspects of communication skills. However, she still struggled with impromptu speaking.
Tanu’s strategies for holding a communication helped Lija to speak for long. But she still mixed up 2nd and 3rd degree conditionals. Even though she could frame sentences, she needed to work on vocabulary and using conditionals correctly.
Lija’s attempt at delivering a presentation on “The job I’d love” was well-prepared. However, she still needed to improve her delivery. Her voice modulation and gestures also improved, making her speech more convincing and assertive.
Sessions 11 to 15
In the eleventh session, Lija could speak on a topic at length and prove her point without using much fillers. However, she still needed to pay some attention towards facial expression too while delivering a presentation.
She learnt how to grab the attention of audience and hold on to it, by adding an element of interaction. However she still became conscious while speaking on the spot and used the filler "okay" frequently. Even though the frequency was considerably less as compared to the initial sessions.
Lija now started exploring different avenues like blogs, videos, and interviews to polish her content and ideas for spontaneous speaking.
In the last session, Tanu saw a change in Lija, who was now more confident. She could understand the difference between formal and casual conversations. Her debating abilities also improved with longer duration, adding facts, and examples to convince the opponent.
At the end of the course, here's what a delighted Lija had to say about BBR English:
Do you also feel stuck you want to speak up in a meeting or are asked to speak on a topic on the spot?
Do you also often step back because you can't express yourself most effectively?
And do your emails take a long time to get drafted because you spend browsing the Internet for language and format?
If you have checked even two out of the above three, the following action is to sign up for the BBR Live Spoken English foundation session at Rs. 499, ONLY!
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