Today I spent a day packed with surprise. Last Friday I was told about a training programme about personal effectiveness, but no one had any air about what it was about. Until yesterday it appeared like just another seminar or training programme where one could enjoy a good buffet lunch and get to sleep. In fact, it was designed for all segments of employees and strangely enough, I was kept in the juniors’ what made me pretty dismayed. In fact, I later found that there were 4 persons whom I have selected in a campus interview. So, that was pretty uncomfortable!!
Surprisingly enough, when I reached the Hotel Lindsay, I had a hunch that it’s going to be something else. I found that it’s rather a personality grooming programme in a business environment. We started off with the introduction, most did it in a trembling voice and most had an interest in “watching cricket”!. Then the guide introduced himself, and it was surprising to know that he is a Mechanical engineer, a PG diploma holder in Hotel management, had been a professor in Oxford school in hotel management, did a diploma in entrepreneurship, did his MBA in HR and had been a HOD or HR dept in the same college….and he has been to 40 countries and speaks 9 languages!!!
He took us into the intricacies of business etiquettes like answering telephone calls to dressing up for formal business meetings. I found my ideas about dressing up fairly matched with the things he said in the class; though I never wear it! Then we went on to the business grooming and lots of pics were there, kinesics, occulesics, and many more (eeeks!!!). Yet, I found those lessons invaluable and a must for a huge set-up like ours. The concepts of correct eye-contact, voice modulation, connecting to the crowd are really helpful in the long run. I was, in fact, devouring the details like a greedy monster because I knew if I were to go to the UK, these skills that are being considered as “soft-skills” will be rather “necessary skills”.
Three most interesting events conducted on today’s programme were business writing, dining etiquette and presentation skills. While I learnt many things about business communication and writing like emphasising on “you”, making “I” factor invisible, communicating directly, avoiding negative words…I thought these were pretty commonplace concepts. It was very shocking to find out that only a few follow them. Then came the dinner etiquettes. Who could have imagined western dining could be so frustrating!! This fork, that plate, that goblet…ohh! Thank god we didn’t practice the entire lunch in that manner. The last part of the programme was a business presentation. That part was fabulous. It was time to exercise and implement all the tools we learnt throughout the day. The topic was “the happiest or saddest moment of my life”. I related to nature with Milan Kundera I’m reading now; it was a fine speech, complete 5 min long, but it only had some unwanted hand postures and characteristically I strayed a bit! Then we saw our videotaped presentations and pointed out our mistakes. That was fun, as I happened to be the most finicky judge of the lot!!!
Well, that’s about it. It also made the employees of different divisions come together. All came to know that someone person went to Indian idol finals and had to come back for exams, someone is a national swimmer and tennis player and three years state champion, someone is a plurilingue (don’t know the English), someone’s IAS brother in law sent detectives to his college, someone wrote his phone no on a bus ticket and threw to the girl sitting opposite him in a bus and they are great friends now….but one last thing that emerged out of the videotapes, that we all have a round midriff!! Jokes apart, this was a great experience and it widened the path for business excellence…