I have interviewed many candidates for business process outsourcing jobs in the last three years. And the question most candidates ask is: 'How do I crack the interview; what's the secret?'
Well, it isn't rocket science. All it takes is a lot of presence of mind, good communication skills and a positive attitude.
Here is a grooming programme to help you.
Ever heard the doctor say chew your food well? Now, that requires a lot of jaw movement. The same applies while speaking.
We do not move our jaws enough while we speak and that is the primary reason why we don't sound clear.
Experiment. Process each word so that it is heard distinctly. It doesn't matter if you sound loud, but do not shout either.
You can also try this little practice. Say this aloud: 'How now can we travel down to the town?'
Now, say the same sentence this way: 'Naao haaao kaeen wee travel daaun to the taaauun?'
To check if you are doing it right, record your voice and ask your friend to listen to it. Don't self-evaluate.
If you are not sure about how to pronounce a word, pick up the dictionary.
You can also go to sites like www.m-w.com, www.Webster.com or www.dictionary.com , where you can listen to the correct pronunciation of any word.
b) Speed of talking:
How do I find out if I speak fast?
Well, people will tell you so. You need to listen to their advice.
If people generally ask you to repeat what you said because they were unable to follow or understand you, that is a warning bell. Don't turn a deaf ear to it. Record and listen to yourself and see if you are speaking fast.
What do I do once I find out I speak fast?
All you need to do is read aloud, everyday.
Take a newspaper, magazine or your favorite English book. Read a few passages, and preferably record it for yourself. Trust me, it helps.
Use short sentences -- that is the magic formula to construct grammatically correct sentences.
Don't try saying too many things at one go. Break down the information into short, crisp and to-the-point sentences.
Avoid slang -- words like 'bucks,' 'yup,' 'gotya,' 'gotcha,' etc -- in professional conversations. If you overhear a phrase and you like it, don't start using it unless you are sure you know the meaning. Copying is easy, but not a very smart thing to do.
You are NOT required to sound complex in your speech to crack a BPO interview; you need to sound simple and comprehendible.
The Thought Process
a) Listening :
Remember the two-ears-and-one-mouth story?
Let your brain LISTEN to the information to process and organise an answer. It will happen without you even realising it. Some pointers to help you:
* Do not interrupt the speaker.
* Do not jump to premature conclusions.
* Do not assume.
* ASK if you have not understood something -- asking to repeat is okay.
* Think before you speak.
* b) Organised thinking
Answer one question at a time.
If you have too many experiences to share, put them one by one. The best bet is to tell the most appropriate one, rather than ramble everything out at one go.
Take a deep breath and pause after you make a statement.
And remember the magic formula -- SHORT SENTENCES.
Try this exercise: Take a picture, and describe it. Or, try describing the recipe of your favorite dish. Or, you can give road directions to your favorite store in the city. These are good ways to exercise organising your thought process.
c) Flow of thought/fluency:
Develop a flow in speech, do not use fillers and foghorns -- words like, 'hmm, uhh, I mean, it's like, you know.' They break the flow of speech and sound irritating.
To work on fluency, read an article and then say it in your own words.
When you become an expert at that, choose some topics and speak on them.
Stand in front of a mirror and speak. It will help you overcome your fear of speaking in public and develop fluency.
Recording yourself is also a very good option.
d) Keep yourself informed:
Usually, group discussions are based on current affairs and general knowledge. If you are not a 'news channel' kind of person, turn into one. Keep yourself informed. Choose some sensible topics to speak on, not the latest Bollywood heartthrob.
Your technical knowledge is important -- however, its scope and impact in the current business scenario is also a part of your domain knowledge.
Tomorrow: Tips about your attitude and personality.
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