B. Com. II compulsory English

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B.Com. II

Compulsory English

Prose Lessons

Essentials of Education

-Sir Richard Livingstone

  1. What, according to Livingstone, is the attitude of an educated man to the problems of his life?

In the lesson Essentials of Education, Sir Richard Livingstone gives us a clear and vivid idea of what education is for and what the attitude of an educated man should be towards the problems of life. The author begins by asking what subjects should we study in order to be called ‘educated’. This of course, depends upon the answer to another question: ‘What is the aim of education?’

The aim of education, says the author, should be to know the first rate in any subject or field of study. Here lies also, the difference between the attitude of an educated person and an uneducated person towards the problems of life. Because an educated man knows the best and the first rate, he has the ability to select only the most suitable and reject the unwanted and unnecessary among a number of options. This ability to choose the best and reject the second rate defines the attitude of an educated man towards life and the problems and challenges of life.

  1. What are the essential ingredients of education according to Sir Richard Livingstone?

In the lesson Essentials of Education, Sir Richard Livingstone discuses the ingredients of education. The author first cites the example of the variety of dishes on the menu card of a Transatlantic liner or an American hotel and says that the same baffling variety is available in the field of education too. There are so many subjects to choose from that one wonders what subjects should be studied to be called ‘educated’ in the true sense of the term. Livingstone then says that this question cannot be answered without first answering the question-what is education for? He himself answers this question and says that the aim of education should be to know the best and the first rate in the subject concerned. We must not limit our scope only to pass examinations and secure degrees but to pursue excellence.

After this, the author comes to the original question and says that among the components of essential education comes, first, vocational knowledge- knowledge that would make us employable. But this is not it. To be called truly ‘educated’, we must also know the first rate in art, architecture, music and literature because these are the activities that spring from the creative and intellectual faculties of human nature

Child Marriage

-Mahatma Gandhi

Describe Gandhiji’s views on Child Marriage.

The lesson ‘Child Marriage’ is an extract from the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi. In this lesson, Gandhiji gives us an account of his own marriage at an early age and makes us aware of the disadvantages of child marriage.

Gandhiji tells us that he was betrothed thrice- without his knowledge. Two girls chosen for him had died in turn but he had no recollection of these events. He was seven at the time of his third and final betrothal. Subsequently, he was married at the tender age of thirteen and he remembers his marriage very clearly. The elders of the family decided to marry Gandhiji, his second brother who was two-three years his senior and a cousin older than him by a year or so, together for the sake of convenience and saving the expenses. Soon the preparations of the triple wedding started in full swing, but for Gandhiji- then a child of thirteen- it was only an occasion to wear good clothes, rich dinners, music and a strange girl to play with. Gandhiji’s father was a Diwan in the princely state of Rajkot and just as he was arriving for the wedding at Porbandar, his coach toppled and he sustained severe injuries. The interest of both Gandhiji and his family in the marriage ceremony was destroyed. But the ceremony had to be gone through.

Gandhiji finally tells us that he and his wife were just innocent children when they were hurled into the ocean of life all of a sudden prematurely. Gandhiji was against marrying children at an early age against their wishes and burdening them with responsibility thus hampering their growth into full and mature individuals. That is why he expresses satisfaction in the beginning of the lesson that the children around him have been lucky enough to escape his lot.

A Tiger for Malgudi

-R.K. Narayan

Describe the meeting of the peasants with Swamiji.

The lesson ‘A Tiger for Malgudi’ is an extract from the novel of the same name by R.K. Narayan. In this novel, the author has shown animals have feelings, understanding and pride too and if we cast our fear aside and assure them that we mean no harm to them, they can be loyal companions and friends. Even a tiger can stop being violent and eat fruits and reflect on God and soul. In the present extract, the tiger has been taken by the Swamiji to forest where he is not chained and yet lives in harmony with his master. This extract has been narrated by the tiger wherein he describes the meeting between the village peasants and the Swamiji.

The tiger tells us that as his master saw the villagers approaching, he asked the tiger to keep himself out of their view. However, the peasants knew about the tiger and were afraid to approach the Swami. When they told him that they had come for his darshan, but hesitated to approach him because of the tiger, he objected to the word darshan and asked them to return if they were so afraid. Having come a long distance, the villagers did not think it fit to return and they finally approached the Swami. They offered him fruits and flowers and contrary to the Swami’s instructions, prostrated before him. The Swamiji also prostrated in reply. The villagers regretted fighting among themselves and pledged not to engage in fighting again. He told the villagers that he was just a simple and ordinary man like them. He asked them to worship God, seek His darshan and ask for His forgiveness. He told them that no cause was ever worth a fight and it is only the foolish who waste their lives in fighting.

The Panorama of India’s Past

-Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

  1. Describe, in short, Pandit Nehru’s approach towards India.

In ‘The Panorama of India’s Past’, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gives us an account of his understanding and analysis of India as a country- her past, present and future.

Nehru begins by saying that during the years of his involvement in the freedom struggle of India, his mind has been full of thoughts about India and he was trying to analyse and understand her. The author says that ever since his childhood, his mind has been obsessed with the thoughts of India. He liked many things about his country and was, at the same time, ashamed of things like poverty, superstition, slavery and many other evils that were rampant in India. As he grew up and got involved in the freedom struggle, he sought to understand the enigma called India, more systematically. For this, he first turned to understand India’s past. He approached India as an alien critic first and tried to understand what was it that gave India the uninterrupted cultural continuity and the strength and vitality to survive as a nation since thousands of years. He visited many historical sites like the hills of Mohenjo-daro (the seat of Indus valley civilization), Sarnath (where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon) , ancient caves like Ajanta, Ellora and Elephenta and cities of historical and cultural importance like Allahabad, Benaras, Agra and Delhi from where flow the scared rivers like Ganga and Jamuna. He wondered what was the spirit behind this wonderful cultural continuity. Pandit Nehru also tried to understand India from the accounts written by the travellers from China and Western and Central Asia who visited her in the past.

Gradually, the panorama of India’s past began to unfold before the writer’s eyes where India emerged as a country with remote, ancient and ever-flowing cultural continuity. Only China has had such a continuity. The period of the British rule in India, then appeared just as an unhappy interlude in a huge tradition of more than five-thousand years. Then the author ‘s mind was filled with optimism and he felt confident that India would find herself again and already the last chapter of this unhappy phase of India’s slavery was being written.

My Lost Dollar

-Stephen Leacock

Why does Leacock want to start ‘Back to Honesty Movement’?


What was the painful thought that disturbed Stephen Leacock?

Stephen Leacock, in his humorous essay, ‘My Lost Dollar’, brings to our attention, the fact that people often borrow small amount like a dollar or two and forget to pay it.

The author begins the essay by narrating an incident that occurred to him. Once, when his friend Todd was leaving for Bermuda, he borrowed a dollar from Leacock to pay his taxi and the author readily lent it to him. When Todd returned after three weeks, he did not have any recollection of the dollar borrowed from the author and had cleanly forgotten it- of course, unintentionally. The author made several attempts to give a hint to Todd about the dollar but in vain. Finally, the author gave up and simply added Todd to the list of the people who owed him a dollar but had forgotten to repay.

But then, a painful thought struck Leacock all of a sudden that just as Todd has forgotten to repay his dollar, it is possible that there must be some people to whom he himself owes a dollar and has completely forgotten. Leacock is sure that he would never remember to repay the dollar on this side of the grave. He therefore says that he would like to start a general movement called ‘Back to Honesty Movement’ for paying all those odd dollars borrowed in the moments of expansion. After all, one should never forget that the greatest nations were built on the solid foundation of honesty.

Leacock sums up in a humorous style by requesting the reader not to be careless enough to leave the copy of the book containing this essay at a place where it might be seen by Todd.

The Golden Watch

-Mulk Raj Anand

How did Srijut Sudarshan Sharma react when he learnt of his early retirement?

Mulk Raj Anand’s short story ‘The Golden Watch’ depicts the cruel treatment of the Indian employees by their British masters. An aging man is made to retire prematurely without any consideration of his liabilities and on top of it, he is given a useless watch as a parting gift.

Srijut Sudarshan Sharma was a dispatch clerk in the distribution department of the great Marmalade Empire of Henry King and Co. He was not even a matriculate but was employed in the company twenty years ago as a special favour. Known in the company as a loyal and sincere employee, Sharma was fifty and was scheduled to retire at fifty-five. After retirement, Sharma has planned to settle in his native town of Jullandar where his father still ran a confectionary shop. He had a wife and a son who was yet to matriculate.

One day, suddenly, Mr Acton, the manager of the company came to Sharma’s table and asked to him to meet on Monday as he had bought a special gift for him from London. The very fact of Acton Sahib’s visit and his revelation of the gift, made Sharma anxious. It was difficult for him to wait till Monday. After the office, he rushed to Mr Acton’s car to know what the gift was as well as what the reason for the gift was. Mr Acton saw Srijut Sharma’s anxiety and told him that it was a golden watch with an inscription on it-however, he did not reveal the reason. After some time, it suddenly struck Sharma that this may well be his parting gift meant as a consolation for a premature retirement. Sharma’s fear proved to be true on Monday when Acton Sahib, coldly revealed the fact of Sharma’s premature retirement to him on the pretext that they wanted to increase the overall efficiency of the company. Sharma was dumbstruck. He wanted to explain the Sahib that he still had five more years to go and had many liabilities. His son was not even matriculate. There was no other source of income for him to maintain his family. But drops of sweat appeared on Sharma’s face and he could say nothing except a shaky ‘Thank you’. In his anxiety, he even dropped the watch on Mr Acton’s table once. Finally, Acton Sahib picked the watch up and showed the inscription to Sharma. Finally he bade farewell to Mr Srijut Sharma. As soon as Sharma came out of the Sahib’s cabin, all the staff members gathered around him. They immediately realised what had happened. Sharma could not even stand and he sat in a chair and broke into tears. Everybody offered him consolation. Finally he walked his weary way out of the office. He was totally dejected and to add to this, he suddenly realised that the watch had stopped and it worked only when shaken. He could not afford to mend it and he had already given his old silver watch to his son. He was without a watch now but then he thought he doesn’t need a watch in a placid town like Jullandar.

The Two Friends

-Margaret Atwood

How does Margret Atwood present the problem of adjustment among women ‘The Two Friends?

Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Two Friends’ is an extract from her novel ‘The Edible Woman’. In this extract, the author has portrayed how a woman has to work hard and to be alert in order to be independent. However, there are problems of adjustment among the women themselves. In the present extract, Margaret Atwood portrays three women and each one of them is different from the other in terms of temperament, preferences and attitude towards life.

Miss Mac Alpine and her friend Miss Ainsley live in a rented house. Both of them are working women and have met each other through a common friend. Their landlady is a woman of suspicious nature. She is always circumspect about the behaviour of her tenants. She frequently visits them to check whether they are doing any damage to her house. One morning she stops Miss Mac Alpine in the doorway to complain about the smoke that she believes was coming from their apartment. Miss Mac Alpine convinces her that they were just cooking some food. The landlady asks her to tell Ainsley not to make such smoke again as it upsets her child. Ainsley and Mac Alpine meet at the bus stop and Ainsley, after knowing everything from Miss Mac Alpine, curses the landlady.

Miss Mac Alpine then narrates the peaceful coexistence she was having with Ainsley. She tells us how they ignore the unpleasant habits of each other and how they have silently divided work among themselves. We also get good picture of the persona of these two friends. Miss Mac Alpine is gentle and soft-spoken while Ainsley is bold and straightforward. Their likes and dislikes are different and so are their jobs. However, with mutual understanding, respect and refrain, Miss Mac Alpine tells us, they have managed to maintain frictionless equilibrium.

Monday Morning

-Mark Twain

How did Aunt Polly frustrate Tom Sawyer’s plan?

‘Monday Morning’ is an extract from ‘Adventure of Tom Sawyer’- a novel by the famous American humorist Mark Twain. Young Tom who is living with his brother Sid, sister Mary and aunt Polly, is reluctant to go to school one morning. He wants to remain at home and for this he first pretends a sore toe and then a loose tooth. However, his aunt Polly foils his plan.

Tom was always reluctant to go to school on Monday after the weekend holidays. One Monday, he decided to fake illness. Lying on the bed, he started inspecting his body from top to bottom but could find nothing. On a second try, he found that is toe was a little sore and he started groaning to build up the symptoms. Tom started groaning louder and louder to attract the attention of his brother Sid who was sleeping by his side. After some time, Tom’s groans became so fearful that entire family gathered around him. Aunt Polly was very frightened to see Tom’s condition at first. But when Tom revealed that it was his sore toe, she immediately came to know that Tom was just making an excuse. As Tom saw her becoming normal, he came out with another excuse which he had, until now kept in reserve- a loose tooth. However, Aunt Polly was determined by now that she would not allow Tom to stay home and go for fishing. She immediately asked Mary to bring a chunk of fire and a silk thread and with their help, she pulled out Tom’s loose tooth.

Thus Aunt Polly frustrated Tom Sawyer’s plan and sent him to school.

Passage To India

-Walt Whitman

What was the experience of the men who tried to find a passage to India?

Bring out the central idea of the poem ‘Passage to India’.

Walt Whitman’s ‘Passage to India’ is a poem that celebrates the feats of mankind that have resulted in bringing people of the world close to each other.

The world has been in constant contact with India since ages. India fascinated the people of the entire world. Many discoverers like Columbus and Vasco Da Gama tried to discover a shorter sea route to India in the fifteenth century. In this attempt, Columbus ended up in discovering America but Vasco Da Gama finally succeeded in discovering this sea route.

Whitman celebrates such brave attempts in this poem. He says that in the discovery of this ‘passage’ to India, there is God’s purpose in bringing the people of the world together. It is His wish that all parts of the earth should be connected to each other, that the races and cultures should be familiar to each other. People of the world should be tied to each other in the bonds of relationships and distance in the lands should be bridged. The poet sings praises to captains, sailors, voyagers, engineers, architects and machinists. Many people had to struggle, many of them had to sacrifice their lives for discovering the unknown lands of the earth. Still the voyagers like Vasco Da Gama and Columbus continued their efforts and finally succeeded. Thus was discovered the a shorter sea route to Indian and thus, the poet says , was America born and thus the purpose of God of bringing the people of the world together, was fulfilled.


-Keshav Meshram

Describe the life of the trees as given by the poet.

In the poem ‘Trees’, Keshav Meshram tries to find a new meaning in the existence of ordinary trees and highlights their importance in our lives.

The poet finds the trees outside his colony, lonely, and frightened. They are dumb and blind folded and stand, as if, on guard while the sun is beating down harsh on them. Flocks of birds come and rest on them. Stray cattle rub their back on their trunk. There are dried leaves, seeds, cattle dung around them. Whenever there is a storm, it seems that the trees are being churned.

For the idle village loafers, the trees are a place where they can stand idly. The village youth also stands there looking lustily at the dark belles. The trees stand silently, bent, neglected by all.

In the evening, the kinds returning from the municipal school rest in their shade when there is a storm gathering in the distant sky. The trees, nevertheless, stand always there, on guard.

The Unknown Citizen

-W.H. Auden

Describe the persona of the Unknown Citizen.


What are the virtues and weaknesses of the Unknown Citizen?

‘The Unknown Citizen’, is a poem by W.H. Auden which is in fact, a satire on the dictatorship found in the communist countries. In a communist country, the life of the citizens is controlled by the state and the individuals have no freedom, no rights. They are supposed to live and die for the society.

This poem is written as a tribute to an unknown citizen who lived a perfectly obedient life in a totalitarian rule. His name is not known and even his monument erected by the government also mentions only his number. However, it doesn’t matter as the individuals have no identity in the communist countries.

According the government’s Bureau of Statistics, there was no complaint against him an all reports agree that he was like a saint in his conduct. In all possible ways he served the society till his retirement-except during the war. He worked in Fudge Motors Inc and was regarded as an obedient worker. He was popular, had a membership of the union and paid his dues regularly. He bought a newspaper every day, had all the modern equipment of comfort needed by a modern man, including a refrigerator, gramophone and car.

Even his opinions were suited the situation and he never held improper opinions. He was married and had five children which was the right number for a person of his generation. The teachers also reported satisfactorily about him saying that he never interfered with their education.

The poet ironically says that whether he was free or happy are absurd questions because had anything been wring, it would not have escaped from the eyes of the State.

Auden thus portrays an ironical picture of the life of an ordinary citizen under dictatorial rule.

Whom Dost Thou Worship

-Ravindranath Tagore

What, according to Tagore is the best form of the worship of God'?

‘Whom Dost Thou Worship’ is a poem from Ranbindranath Tagore`s famous collection of songs—‘Gitanjali’. In this poem, the poet talks about the omnipresence of God and tells us that God is everywhere. Traditional form of worship is not the only way to reach God. One must learn to understand God’s omnipresence and to see God everywhere. Tagore asks the worshipper to stop his chanting and singing of hymns and mantras and the telling of beads. God is not to be found in the dark corner of the temple with doors all shut. God is manifested in the entire universe in different forms. He is out there with the tillers and path—makers in sun and shower and heat and dust. The poet exerts us to come out in the open and work like him in the dusty soil. We must come out of our ivory towers and our meditations and leaving aside flowers and incense join the tiller in the open.

There is no escape from this because- no Deliverance because the Almighty has happily taken upon himself the bonds of creation. Moreover. God is also bound with all of us forever.

The Cloud

-P.B. Shelley

Describe the journey of the cloud from the sky to the earth and back.

Shelley’s poem ‘The Cloud’ describes the life cycle of a cloud in a beautiful fusion of scientific facts and lyricism. The cloud brings fresh showers from the seas and streams for the thirsting flowers and the parched earth. It bears cool shade for the leaves and the dew—drops from its wings wake up the sweet buds. The cloud whitens the plains under with the flash of lightening and dissolves everything in lashing rains and laughs as it passes in thunder. The cloud is a child of earth and water and s nursling of the sky.

After falling in the form of rain, it merges in the oceans, rivers and streams and remains alive-though in a different form. The shiny blue dome of the sky after the rain does not last long. The cloud then slowly regains its original form and unbuilds the blue dome of the sky —rising just like a child from the womb or a ghost from the tomb.

The Railway Clerk

-Nissim Ezeikel

Describe the life and work of the Railway Clerk.

Nissim Ezekiel’s poem ‘The Railway Clerk’ has been taken from his collection of poems called the `Hymns in Darkness’. This poem gives us the picture of a railway clerk, who, despite being well-paid constantly complains about his petty problems and gives excuses for not working. He wants more pay and more facilities and less work and even lesser responsibilities.

The railway clerk is unhappy because his leave application has been rejected twice. He is overburdened and (according to him) ill- paid. He complains that he doesn’t even have the opportunity to take bribe like the other clerks. His desk is too small. He doesn’t get overtime and can’t even get a promotion because he is not a graduate. His wife always asks for more money but he can`t provide it.

Then there is a long list of domestic issues- the fan is not working, the children are neglecting studies. There is an ailing mother-in—law to look after. But still our poor clerk takes out time to watch a film from where he gets consolation. He meets his friends sometimes to discuss the country’s problems. Some of his friends are thinking of going abroad but he can’t think so due to circumstances.

Thus, Ezekiel, in this picture, gives us a satirical picture of a typical railway clerk.

B.Com. II

Communication Skills

An Introduction to Communication

What is communication? How is it important in our lives?

The word ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin word communico or communicare which means to ‘share’. Communication has been defined as the science and practice of transmitting information. Communication is one of our most basic needs. It is the process of conveying our thoughts, ideas and feelings to others with verbal or non-verbal signs. Whenever we communicate, we send and receive messages. We communicate for varied purposes. We communicate to control the actions of others-formally or informally, to share our emotions, ideas, information, to resolve conflicts as well as to coordinate.

Animals communicate only for the fulfillment of their basic needs. But human beings communicate for countless purposes. Wherever we are- in society, school, at home or workplace- we must communicate. In order to be successful, it is therefore essential to have good communication skills. Effective and successful communication helps us achieve our goals while miscommunication may lead to disastrous effects. Thus, communication forms an integral part of our lives.

Types of communication networks:

  1. Downward communication:

In this kind of communication network, the information flows from top level of an organization to the lowest level through different tiers in the hierarchy. For example, the Managing Director of a company may communicate to the workers through Senior Managers, Supervisors, and Assistants and so on. The management of the organization uses this kind of network to convey policy decisions or give specific directives to the employees as a way of exercising control over them.

Downward communication can sometimes lead to the distortion of the original message as it has to pass through several tiers. Many organizations are now solving this problem by shifting to a more open work culture where the person at the top will talk directly to a worker.

  1. Upward communication:

Upward communication is a type of organizational communication networks in which the information flows from to the lower level of organization to its upper level through different tiers of its hierarchical structure. This kind of communication is useful because it gives the management the feedback and suggestions from the employees not just about different policies and products of the organization, but also about how the employees feel about the organization and the working conditions there in general. Usually, it is the people at the lower level who are more aware of the grass root realities and problems and can give valuable suggestions and feedback to the top brass of the organization.

However, there could be a number of barriers to this kind of communication. Firstly, the people at the bottom may feel hesitation and fear about giving honest and true feedback. Secondly, even if such feedback is given, it may be blocked by the people in the middle because it may not be convenient for them.

These problems can be addressed by creating a open, friendly and secure atmosphere within the organization and by rewarding good and fruitful suggestions.

  1. Horizontal communication:

Horizontal communication network, which is least structured, enables each employee to communicate freely with others. There are no restrictions on who can communicate with whom. All are equal as no one employee, formally or informally assumes a leading role. Hence, everybody’s views are equally and openly shared. The persons participating in this form of communication are usually peers from the same or different departments or branch offices. The best example of this kind of communication is a hospital where consultants, resident doctors, nurses, support staff etc all talk to each other freely despite belonging to different ranks.

This kind of lateral information flow is very fast and it increases the speed of work and the speed of decisions. People at the same level can share information, experiences and ideas more freely. Such type of communication is important not only in large organizations or complex organizations with specialist divisions, but also in small organizations because it fosters better coordination and team work. However, personality clashes, unhealthy competition and poor communication skills are some of the things to be avoided to make this kind of communication network successful.

  1. Informal Communication Network (Grapevine):

Grapevine is defined as an informal transmission of information, gossip or rumor from person to person. The grapevine is the informal and unsanctioned information network within every organization. This network helps the people in the organization understand what is happening around them and thus provide relief from emotional stress. Keith Davis, one of the leading experts on the subject, says that in every organization, grapevine is an expression of healthy human motivation to communicate.

Since it is unstructured and not under complete control of management, it grows in every direction. But it is possible to classify grapevine into some types which are as follows:

1. Single Strand: It is the way in which, most people see grapevine. Here the message is passed from one person to another along a single strand.

2. Gossip: In gossip network, one person passes information to all the others.

3. Probability: In this type of network, each person tells others at random.

4. Cluster: Cluster is the most popular type of grapevine network. It refers to that flow of communication, in which some people tell a select few of the others. Which persons are active on the grapevine often depends upon the message.

Barriers to Effective Communication

1. Absence of the Common Frame of Reference:

Communication process takes place in a common frame of reference i.e. the shared knowledge about the same subject by the sender and the receiver. Absence of this knowledge will not help make meaning to one or both the participants in the communication process.

2. Noise:

Noise can be the human noise or electronic noise that creates disturbances in the communication process and hampers the transmission and/or perception of meaning. This ultimately ruins the communication process.

3. Muddled Messages:

The sender sometimes sends badly organized or confused messages which form a barrier to communication.

4. Language (Linguistic Barriers):

It is important that the sender and the receiver should share the same language. If they do not share the same language, the communication will fail.

5. Stereotyping/Selective Perceptions:

Stereotyping is to have preconceived notions about others. Selective perception means incomplete understanding of the other person. These two barriers do not allow the communication process to happen in a neutral and unbiased way and thus damage the communication process.

6. Use of Jargon:

Jargon means the technical terminology related to a particular subject. If the sender uses too much jargon, the receiver will not be able to understand the message and therefore there will be a miscommunication.

7. Selective Reporting:

If the sender reports selectively, i.e. if he reports only those parts of the message that are convenient to him, the receiver will not be able to get the complete picture. Thus the message will be transmitted only partially and the communication may lead to nothing.

8. Poor Listening Skills:

Listening is a skill. It is important to give due attention to the message of the sender to understand it completely. Poor listening skills lead to wrong perception. Proper listening ensures proper communication.

9. Gender Psychologies (Male vs. Female):

Males and females are fundamentally different in certain aspects. This difference results into different gender psychologies. If the sender and the receiver are of different genders, it is important for them to understand and respect these differences.

10. Communication Apprehension (Phobia):

Sometimes the sender or the receiver or both suffer from a phobia or fear of communication which prevents them from communicating freely.


Essentials of a good presentation:

Presentation is basically a talk giving information about an idea, a product or a subject. It is used to present reports, proposals, policy statements and feasibility studies. Presentation has nowadays become an important form of oral communication in the fields of academics and business in particular. Students, teachers, administrators, businessmen- all need to be skilled in giving presentations today. Some of the different types of presentation are:

    • Computer projection with LCD Projector and applications like PowerPoint.

    • OHP (Over Head Projector).

    • Slide Projector.

    • Note cards /Cue Cards.

    • Flipcharts/Blackboards/Whiteboards

    • Interactive Whiteboards.

    • Vide or film.

    • Real objects.

Following steps are involved in preparing and giving a good presentation:

  • Planning the presentation

First step in planning a presentation is to decide your subject if it is not already not already given. The subject should be well-chosen keeping in mind the audience and the occasion. Your formality and style will depend on the kind of audience you are going to address. Break down the topic into main points and sub points. Prepare a script of your presentation. Also, be mindful of the time limit provided to you.

  • Structuring the content

You should structure your presentation smartly. It should have a beginning, middle and an end. The first part should contain a general statement of purpose and a broad introduction to the topic. The second part will have the main content of the presentation, and this will have its own internal structure. The last part should contain a brief recap or summary of the main points and concluding remarks. The presentation should be structured logically so that the audience can follow the presentation. At the end, there should me some time for a brief question and answer session.

  • Choosing visual aids

Visual aids make presentations effective. You should choose the one most suitable for you. You may choose one or more visual aids but always make sure you are comfortable with it. Know the technical operations properly. You may choose one or more of the following visual aids:

    • Computer projection with LCD Projector and applications like PowerPoint.

    • OHP (Over Head Projector).

    • Slide Projector.

    • Note cards /Cue Cards.

    • Flipcharts/Blackboards/Whiteboards

    • Interactive Whiteboards.

    • Vide or film.

    • Real objects.

  • Making the presentation

Besides preparing and structuring the presentation smartly, it is highly important that the actual giving of the presentation is successful. It is vital to remember following points while making your presentation:

  • Plan your presentation in such a way that you can observe the time limit strictly.

  • Stick to the topic of your presentation and avoid diversions howsoever attractive or tempting they may be.

  • Use your voice cleverly according to the size of the room and vary the pitch and tone of the voice to avoid being monotonous and boring.

  • Avoid pacing up and down. It often distracts the audience.

  • Your appearance, eye contact and body language contribute a lot to the success of your presentation. Work on them and improve them.

Interviews and interviewing skills


An interview is a formal meeting at which people are asked questions by one or a panel of interviewers to see if you are suitable for a job or course of study. Interviews are generally followed by and application or they may be walk-in interviews where a candidate can go straight to the interview with relevant documents.

Preparing for an interview:

An interview needs as careful planning as an examination. Following are the necessary things to be kept in mind while preparing for an interview:

  • Brush up on the subject or area related to the job and update yourself on recent developments. Get some information on the organisation and products.

  • Prepare answers to some probable questions like:

Tell us a little about yourself.

Why do you want to be with us?

Could you tell us why you want to change your present job?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Would you be willing to travel?

How do you expect to contribute to the field/institution?

  • Arrange the papers and certificates that you may be asked to produce neatly in a folder. Check the interview call letter sent to you to see if there is anything you have missed.

  • Wear a dress that is comfortable as well as appropriate for the occasion.

  • Try and reach early as this will give you time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and to relax.

  • Think positive and try to regulate your breathing to remain calm.

Facing an interview:

  • Wait for your name to be announced, and seek permission before you enter.

  • Greet the people in the room in a formal but pleasant manner.

  • Do not sit down until you are asked to.

  • Make eye contact with the person speaking to you and of maintaining a proper and relaxed body posture and a steady tone of voice, which should not be either too loud or too soft.

  • Do not interrupt the interviewer and allow him/her to finish speaking before you answer a question or react to a statement or opinion.

  • Listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions and comments and speak clearly and at a moderate pace to avoid having any of them repeat themselves.

  • Do not ask questions to impress, but only if they happen to be genuine, intelligent queries.

  • Avoid answering questions with just ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Even if the questions are actually yes—no questions, the interviewer will find it more satisfying if you add to or explain your reply in brief.

  • Do not feel embarrassed to say that you do not know the answer to a question. Use expressions such as ‘I am afraid’ ‘I don’t know . . .’ and ‘I’m sorry, but I am not really certain.

  • Express your opinions politely.

  • Do not argue or speak negatively or criticise former teachers, colleagues or employers.

  • Do not boast or display your knowledge, skills and experience, but if asked state your achievements simply and honestly.

  • Wait for the interviewer to invite you to ask questions in case you have queries. In case this does not happen, wait until you sense that the interviewers are done before asking them politely if they could clarify something for you.

  • Wait for the interviewer to tell you that the interview has ended before you get up from your chair. Thank all the persons in the room before walking out of the door and closing it softly behind you.

Interviewing techniques

  • The change from the situation when you were interviewed to that when you have to conduct one may not take very long, and it will therefore be useful to understand how to perform well as an interviewer in case you have to play the role.

  • The following things should be kept in mind while conducting interviews—for jobs, for getting information and opinions from experts and for finding out details about the lives, experiences and work of famous people, such as sportspersons and actors:

  • Prepare to conduct an interview by getting information on the candidate’s educational as well as personal background, his/her area of work, experience, etc.

  • Be clear about the purpose for which the interview is conducted—to select a candidate for a position, to get expert opinion or to talk to a celebrity about his or her life and work.

  • Always begin by greeting the interviewee politely and end the interview by thanking the person.

  • Your tone and body language should be appropriate—polite, friendly and interested, not critical, aggressive or intimidating.

  • Use a variety of questions—yes—no as well as Q—word to conduct an interview. Examples of the two kinds of questions

  • Another technique is to make a statement about some known aspect of the candidate’s life or work or about a fact related to the subject area on which an expert has been invited to share his/her views and knowledge, and follow this up with a question.

  • While it is always important to be courteous, vary your approach slightly when conducting interviews of different kinds. Make an effort to put the interviewee at ease especially in a job interview. Interviews conducted to seek expert opinion are usually very formal while interviews with celebrities could sometimes be chatty and less formal.

  • When interviewing dignitaries or persons in authority, it is appropriate to use less direct questions of the following kinds: If I may ask ,... /Could you now tell us about . . ., please.

  • Except when you are conducting a radio or a television interview, it is useful to make quick, brief notes.

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