If someone asks me about one thing that has helped me immensely in my professional growth and journey, I would, unequivocally, say that it was nothing but my communication skills, more so in English.
I happened to be in a school where the medium of studies was English, however, the arrangement was very different, we wrote in English but spoke only in Hindi. After passing my school I came to college and this lack of the ability to speak fluently and effectively in English became a sore point. I somehow got convinced that this one shortcoming in my personality would militate against achieving my career goals, and that was to join the Indian Air Force as an officer.
This realization got me worried. I started getting desperate to find a way to change and acquire the skills that were nothing but paramount.
Now, the question that stared me in my face, was the way to go about learning this fantastic language. During my college days, there weren’t too many ways to learn anything, except, by joining some coaching or institution, for lack of online resources, internet and all. This is when my habit of reading books came in handy. (well! if you too want to develop this habit of reading books, read my other blog on “Sure ways to pick reading books as a habit”). albeit, my entire reading was in Hindi.
After much deliberation, I devised a plan. I thought of bringing English into my life, in a big way, by embracing it in every aspect of my life. And boy! that worked.
I now wish to share that plan with you, with the sole purpose of helping those who wish to learn this language and become proficient. The plan is very simple but highly effective, which I would describe by narrating my personal experience.
I first, took a vow of not reading any book, other than in English. This, coupled with my habit of reading, proved to be highly beneficial. I started reading English books, and though, found them a little boring initially, gradually started developing an understanding of the same and eventually started enjoying them as well.
The second step was to work upon the realization that a rich vocabulary is important to speak well. For that, I made a routine of learning four words a day quite sincerely. And where did I find them? well, I found them while reading the newspaper loudly, yes loudly!!
This, my friends, was my third act, that helped me become effortless in speaking English. I started doing loud reading by putting in as many expressions as possible, recording myself, and subsequently listening and fine-tuning my pronunciation. This proved tremendously helpful, not only in becoming at ease in speaking but also in gradually understanding the nuances of the language.
The fourth routine, that I inculcated into myself, was listening to good English, which, I felt, was one of the most effective ways of learning English. The idea, more particularly, was to listen to standard English and constantly keeping your attention on the language and how people were using words, framing sentences, asking questions, rather than getting engrossed in the content.
I followed this routine, quite sincerely, for a few months, And not only I, but my friends and acquaintances too, started noticing a change in the way I was talking and becoming more coherent and effective.
Learning a language doesn’t need any high intelligence or any special talent, what it actually needs is commitment, routine, and loads of enthusiasm. Feel excited every time you come to know a new word, a new rule, or the correct way of talking, and just keep repeating that concept, right pronunciation, or the expression, till that becomes a part of your language.
And, the final piece of advice is, to use your power of imagination; imagine yourself speaking absolutely with ease, confidently using the right words and phrases. Also imagine that those who are listening to you, are getting highly impressed by the way you are talking and are secretly admiring you. This one particular method which creates a very positive image about yourself, will make all the efforts that you are putting into learning the new language worthwhile. It is this positive image of the final result, that will pull you towards working harder and take all the drudgery away from the effort.
Thus, I would end by telling all the aspirants who wish to speak well, that learning a language takes time and a bit of patience, however, if you are persistent and completely committed to learning, then the reward is something you will cherish your entire life.
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Prashant Kumar Dubey