When a person joins any company or organization, he or she has the fear of communicating with seniors. I personally have faced it for several years, until I developed some of the useful and simple strategies in my professional life.
First of all, let’s understand the type of such fears
- Fear of language, as many organizations have a culture to have interaction in English language or you only make your own mindset that it will be better if you communicate with seniors in English. When you are not from the English board, then your own confidence level will not be high. You will try to build up thoughts, initially in your mother tongue, and then later translate them into English. During this process, you fumble and lose an impression.
- Fear of uncertain questions, which may be asked by seniors during that interaction. You think that seniors can ask you any question and you might not be able to give a proper answer. That question may be a technical question or a personal question.
- Fear of the first impression. You are having a thought process that the first impression is the last impression. So with this, you are constantly worried to have a good impression during interaction with seniors. It will not look good if you could not give a proper answer to his or her question.
- Fear of future implications if things go wrong in the interaction. You might have thought that if your first interaction doesn’t go well then it may have a negative impact on future growth.
- Fear of poor feedback, that senior may give feedback to your boss and he or she may carry the same impression further, which may or may not be good.
“If you’re not comfortable with public speaking—and nobody starts out comfortable; you have to learn how to be comfortable —practice. I cannot overstate the importance of practicing. Get some close friends or family members to help evaluate you, or somebody at work that you trust.”—Hillary Clinton
What Would Have Been Your Questions?
All your fears are logical. All such fears remain in the mind of a newly joined person and even to an experienced person for several years. And I have seen that the early stage of your professional career is very much important. At the same time, there are very few people, not having such fears. They take good advantage of those early interactions with seniors.
But just wait for a second & think for some time, what type of interaction would you like to have if you are at that senior position. You may be the owner of the business or holding a high position in the organization. Would you like to ask some extraordinary or some serious & tough questions to a newly joined person? Probably not.
These interactions basically revolve around you. This includes your personal life, your education, family background, your hobbies, your current technical competencies, skills, etc. You will hardly be asked an out-of-box question at this stage. No doubt you are being judged on these parameters. But remember that any organization or its people want you to achieve success in your professional career at an early stage. They provide plenty of time to understand and learn the systems.
Useful Strategies to Implement
We can use the following strategies to overcome the fear of communicating-
- A long preparation for ‘tell me about yourself” :
- This includes having good knowledge of your native place
- Brief summary about your family covering your parents & siblings. If you are married then share the details about your wife or husband etc.
- Your educational background and even you can share about your early schooling
- Detail about your interests, passion, and hobbies
- Extra curriculum activities of college time
- Things that have been done in groups showing team building or leadership characteristics.
- Keep the constant focus on improving English communication. You can do self-practice or join online or offline classes. You can make an agreement with one of your close friends to talk only in English. More such practice will help you to improve your English communication. If you want a quick result, then avoid switch over between English and your mother tongue while talking to someone. This is one of the biggest hindrances to your fluency.
- Make yourself ready to answer the question such as “What brings you here ?” or “What motivated your to join this company?”
- Try to get as much as possible, information about your role and responsibilities
- Develop or hone your technical skills, which are required in your role. This may take time, but keep this in focus.
- Remember, seniors don’t ask questions related to NASA or ISRO (smile!) unless you are there! They ask questions that are related to you or your role.
- The majority of the time, they ask the question about you. If not one but other will ask for sure!
Boost Your Confidence
You can do mental rehearsal by visualizing situations like your boss is on leave and you need to resolve an issue in your work area. During this time your boss’s boss visits your work area. He asks, ‘What is going on?’ Now you need to explain the issue to him.
Remember, no senior expect you to describe the issue without providing probable solutions for it. So be mentally ready with tentative solutions. It’s not that your solution will resolve the issue completely, but your approach will be well noticed.
You can even imagine as if your boss would have been there and providing resolution to that issue. What type of solutions he might have been given? If you build up your mindset for solutions, you will get good solutions for most of the problems at the workplace.
Do this rehearsal frequently. You will build up good confidence to face any such situation in real life at your workplace.
Imagine your company’s CEO is on a surprise visit, you spotted him at the entrance of your workplace. You quickly rush towards him. You greeted him and he greeted you and then ask your name. and you are with him throughout the workshop round. He is asking you various questions and you are providing him relevant answers. Just visualize, what type of question he may ask
- Which projects are running fine
- Which projects need focus to deliver on time
- Any specific concern or issue to resolve
- Show me some good improvement of your areas etc.
When you have experience then you can elevate your thinking for your future role with this imagination. When you are a junior, you need to take a few decisions daily at the workplace. But as you move up in the corporate ladder or grow in your professional life, then the number and level of decision-making rise.
Imagine, you are in the middle of a meeting with your boss, one person explains him a situation and asks for his final decision. Quickly analyze the situation in your mind and then make your own decision and wait. Wait to listen to the response of your boss on that situation. Once you listen to that, then internalize your decision and compare it. What was the level of your decision compare to your boss? Your decision may or may not be equivalent to your superior decision. If it is, very good. If not then find out ways to fulfill the gap. Once you are committed to filling those gaps, your mind will work out the ways through various means.
You can make several such situations based imagination. Such mental rehearsal helps you to build confidence to overcome the fear of communicating and boost your professional career.