Introduction: “English is the window through which you can see the outer world”, said Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister and one of the greatest statesmen of India. Communication skill is the gateway into the globalised world, and language has become the distinguishing feature to connect human beings with others.
Language is a means of communication, transcending the thinking into action and action into ideas. Human beings distinctively possess language traits, and it is a human phenomenon that they communicate their experience through language. People utter sounds, write letters, or send mails to convey messages, and the learners or readers process the sounds or letters to get the meaning.
Language is distinctively a human possession. Language is said to be an organised noise, where sound, form and meaning are the three basic components to form a system of communication. Language is organised at three levels: phonological, syntactic and semantic.
The phonological aspect deals with sounds and their organisation; the syntactic part deals with forms and their organisation. The semantic aspect deals with meaning and its manifestation in the phonological and syntactical patterns of language. Human beings communicate their experience through language.
People utter sounds or write letters or mails, to convey meaning and learners or readers process the sounds or letters to get the meaning.
Krishna Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru’s hand-picked Defence Minister, was asked by a journalist a small question, “Sir, what is the secret of your good English?” Krishna Menon responded, “You people picked up, but I have learned English.”
Language is generally defined as a means or medium of communication. Human beings communicate their experience through language. Ever since the British colonised other countries, the English language also started spiralling effect on reaching the officials.
Listening Skills: Listening skills commence at birth, and as the child grows, she starts listening and hearing what others speak. Understanding the words, phrases and sentences in context is gradually improved.
Following the direction given orally, instructions and commands, adhering to simple narratives and descriptions grasping a speaker’s substance and core idea are imminent for a more significant and broader understanding.
Listening to the radio broadcast, TV programmes and attending any cultural, scientific, social, or educational togetherness make wider attention for a reasonable period.
Michael Nicholas, who has done extensive research on listening, points out that one has to listen with his eyes and ears wide open. Listening is not a school subject like reading and writing and is rarely taught.
So, people see it as a natural part of growing up if they can follow movies, classroom lectures and instructions. Recent studies point out that listening takes up fifty to seventy-five per cent of a student’s classroom time and is one of our primary means of interacting with people personally.
Careful listening is crucial during meetings and briefings. We listen intensively when we listen to obtain information, solve problems, or persuade or dissuade others. “Every activity involves listening to a lesser or a greater degree.”
Speaking Skills: Speaking is an art. In cities, particularly mega cities, one can always find the advertisements featuring ‘speak English in thirty days, ‘learn English in sixty days, and so on.
But the reality is different as these coaching institutes cater to students’ just and immediate thirst and do not offer in-depth language and communication.
Janhavi Panwar, daughter of a school teacher in the Panipat district of Haryana, India, was just fourteen years when she learned to speak fourteen languages, including Japanese.
This Delhi University graduate student, a child prodigy, tremendously developed her speaking skills and became prominent in training the civil service probationers at Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Indian Administrators Services, Mussoorie.
Reading Skills: “Reading maketh a man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man,” wrote Sir Francis Bacon. Reading is an excellent exercise for the mind as jogging is for the body.
Most great leaders, businessmen, scientists, researchers, teachers, and other professionals used to be avid and voracious readers. People who read have a better chance of success, and improved reading efficiency enables human beings to make informed decisions faster.
Also Read: Importance of Communication Skills
People prefer reading to shaping ideas, and successful men and women spend a lot of time reading to acquire updated information on current affairs and subjects.
Writing Skills: If anyone happens to be at Oxford, Cambridge, or any other Ivy League university, it used to be a common signpost ‘Publish or Perish.’
Writing is perhaps the most difficult of all the language skills, and even seasoned writers have to make drafts of what they wish to convey before they finalise their paper.
Everyone who can write and publish is respected in our society, where good and intellectually moulded papers and manuscripts are given importance.
More than everything, our examinations usually use the written mode, and those who cannot write well lose marks and grades. Ironically, sometimes, the one who knows the subject well also may not score well because of less proficiency in the subject.
Conclusion: Communication skills are undoubtedly the pre-eminent and predominant employability skills of any individual who is aspiring to be a good professional.
As ‘good communication’ is a priority for everyone, the linguistic aspect has become an important medium of communication, and the lingua-franca through which we connect to others has become prominent and renowned.
The English language skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (LSRW), which are fundamental features for effective communication in English, perpetuate and legitimate the power of becoming a wonderful professional.
Professor Sam Nesamony,
Centre for Languages and Communication,
Faculty of Mass Communication & Media Technology
SGT University, Gurugram