Having spent the last forty years in the field of academics, serving in Pakistan and abroad, the author has observed that there is a dire need for the young generation of Pakistan to improve their communication skills. Also, the feedback received from the media personnel, old students, foreign faculty, working professionals and the parents spells out the ominous requirement of including an interactive class which focuses on grooming and improving communication skills of Pakistani students. The feedback has prompted us to introduce a course that will improve communication skills of Concordia Students studying at the intermediate level. The objective is to help the students improve their communication skills and groom them to a level where they are identified as smart, fittest and intelligent students with high level of acceptability in the society. As a result of these focal points, the Course has been designed along with a Teachers Guide. A total of 7 lectures have been prepared for the purpose. In addition to delivering these lectures, practice sessions will be conducted by the in-class teachers. With the help of Teachers Guide the focus of the Course has been to raise the confidence level of students and improve their interactive abilities. Ideally, on successful completion of this course, the students would be adequately and properly groomed to behave and talk properly.
The emphasis of this course is on good ethical and moral values as expected in civilized societies in the world. Students will be taught to respect each others opinion, to accommodate and avoid any form of confrontation. A conscientious effort would be made that students learn to avoid passing comments, judgments, imposing personal opinions and avoid giving sweeping remarks. While discussing personal, political, controversial, sensitive and religious matters, students would be trained and groomed to be careful. Ignoring other peoples viewpoints, cracking harmful jokes and hurting other peoples feelings is also very deeply disliked. It has always been in the largest interest of the society that everyone obeys rules and regulations. No one should be allowed to bypass the established and defined laws of the land. At public and private places jumping the queue should be discouraged. Similarly, respect for merit and justice and values of sharing and caring should be promoted in the society. Benefits of some qualities such as adaptability, flexibility, tolerance and resilience should be explained. Concepts of unity in diversity also needs to be properly highlighted.
Students will be taught the general advantages of humbleness and compassion; with a clear message that every form of arrogance and pride is to be avoided. Modesty in words and statements and in body language will be demonstrated in practice sessions during the class discussions. It has been observed by the Members of various Interview Boards for the selection of various positions that candidates generally do not present themselves well before the interview boards. When these candidates are asked to give their brief introduction, majority of them become nervous while some totally fail to bring important points into the attention of the Members of the Board. Mostly such opportunities are lost because they normally do not perform well. The course content titled How Do I Introduce Myself and Preparing for Interviews teaches students and potential candidates for the jobs to prepare well and practice well before they appear in any formal interview or an important meeting. The points in the related slides provide all the necessary details on that subject.
Some other important aspects of interviews and meetings have also been highlighted. First and foremost is the submission of a job application; and for that, students will be taught how to prepare a good CV or Resume. It has been observed that very few candidates are able to prepare their CV accurately. Sometimes when they are shortlisted, even their accessibility becomes a problem; at times their contact addresses and other relevant information proves to be outdated and their support documents also do not give a clear picture to determine their eligibility, suitability and fitness for the job they had applied for. There is a golden rule to make a checklist almost in every case as a reminder to do things according to the requirements and nature of work. This list, if properly made, will also help at the time of interview or an important meeting. In an actual interview, it is observed that candidates also commit some general mistakes. They do not bring with them their original documents or supporting documents. Some do not prioritize as to which necessary points to be brought into the notice of the interviewing panel of experts. In some cases the body language, dress, behavior and the manner of answering questions is not proper and formal.
Likewise, in some interviews sometimes candidates are required to make three-to-five minutes presentation; this is the most important part of the decision-making as far as the interview of a candidate is concerned. Due to this very reason, Concordia Colleges have made it mandatory for every student to learn the art and science of making presentations. It has been observed that a majority of students shy away from public speaking. But experience tells us that when a student on the encouragement of his teacher does it once, he himself feels more confident next time. Subsequently this student starts enjoying making presentations and his confidence level is tremendously raised as compared to other students who either do not make attempts or are reluctant in doing so. It is a proven fact that verbal as well as written presentations have very deep effects on raising the confidence level of students.
Furthermore, young people should be trained how to make and answer a telephone call correctly; and also how to take an important message and then forward that message to the concerned person. There are 7Cs of effective communication written in the books on Business Communication titles. The message must be complete in all respects, covering all the important points; message should be concise avoiding unnecessary details; it should be courteous, correct and clear in all matters. The Course contents emphasize on the usage of kind words and polite phrases. As far as formal interviews, meetings as well as informal talks with elders and seniors is concerned, it is always recommended to use Sir and Madam as prefixes while answering the questions or simply addressing a member of the Selection Board. In normal conversations, words like kindly and please are to be used wherever appropriate. Some polite statements for good image-building should be rehearsed in the practice sessions. Students are strictly advised not to use offending words; even if a complaint is to be registered, these students will be trained and groomed to choose appropriate words in order to keep the relations undamaged and the situation does not reach a stage where it becomes irreparable. Students will be trained to ensure that they do not rush things; they are well-composed, they have already thought through the whole process and display the positive behavior that will ensure a suitable outcome. Students will be made to realize that kind and courteous words always soften the hard attitudes.
Students will also be made fully vigilant about their safety requirements when they are travelling on busy roads. Now-a-days, a heavy load of traffic on roads and highways has become an intolerable problem resulting in deaths and fatal injuries almost on daily basis. Most of these accidents can be avoided if traffic rules and regulations are followed in letter and spirit. In good times, Traffic Police used to observe traffic weeks to inculcate the knowledge of rules and regulations among the members of the civil society. Vibrant electronic and print media of Pakistan can help in promoting good values in this direction. But unfortunately none seemed to be truthfully fulfilling its responsibilities in this regard and much needs to be done. Young motorcyclists have not been provided with guidance to stay away from the fast-moving car lanes; it is often observed that motorcyclists are spread all over the roads and often maneuvering in a zigzag manner or overtaking fast moving cars and frequently changing lanes all over the fast lanes. The car drivers have not been inculcated the message to save lives of the exposed, inexperienced, and in some cases illiterate and uneducated young motorcyclists. It has also been frequently noticed that car drivers are using cell-phones and at times even texting during driving. Also, more often noticed phenomena is that Pedestrians are hit from behind by fast moving wagons and cars; they do not know that perhaps it would be better for them to walk on the opposite side of the flow of normal traffic.
The importance of improving communication skills has been recognized globally. However, an important question arises: why should we improve our English language in order to improve our communication skills? In the past, there has been a great deal of resentment against learning or speaking English language not only in non-English speaking countries like China, Russia, France, Germany and East-European countries but also in countries that had been colonized by the British imperial power. Until the 1990s in those countries simple words like Bus Station, Museum, Train Station, Coach Station, Airport, Way Out, and Washrooms etc. were not translated in English language even for the tourists at historical and cultural places. In diplomatic talks, debates, and at the United Nations most countries preferred to use their own national language. But now the situation has changed tremendously and countries like China, Russia, Germany, Japan and France have internationalized their educational institutions; foreign students have been allowed to use English language in their normal courses as well as reports and theses. Even China and Russia have been sending their students to Britain and the US for higher studies; China is number one in the UK universities as far as number of foreign students there is concerned. There are various people-to-people contacts as well as student-teachers exchange programs implemented by the European Community under the EU assistance in promoting the globalization process in the world. In summary, the importance of English language has greatly increased over the years which demands its learning more as a communication tool and language
And last but not the least, Communication Skills Class may be the only class that would not be graded by the class-teacher alone but by any person interacting with the Concordia College Students. And this evaluation may continue not only during his or her student days but throughout his or her life. Good manners with good communication skills will form the basis for Concordia Students to gain a competitive edge over students from other institutions. In conclusion, this course will help the students sharpen their communication skills if the teachers make the students become aware of the importance of the lifelong benefits.