Call Center Training

The newest industry that seems to have provided employment to a large number of youth in the various cities is the call center industry, better known as the BPO industry. In fact, across the various levels, a company requires at least five thousand staff. This will would the be the smallest scale call center. The numbers increase with the largeness of the parents company. Today, there are call centers spread across the various cities of the country, with the promise of more companies coming to Indian shores.

One of the basic requirements for a call executive is effective communication skills, more so in the area of attending calls. Thus, while employing executives each company puts their new incumbents through rigorous training in the process, as well as in a subject known as voice and accent.

Some call centers demand specific accent training such as British, Australian or then American. Along with training the executives in these specific accents – speaking and understanding, they are also taught the cultures of these nations, so that they are more sensitive to the international locals while making or receiving calls.

Typically call center training comprises of voice and accent training, team building activities, and other culture specific knowledge provision. Thus, when designing a training program for a call center, the trainer puts together program consisting of the following modules:

Broad-based the three primary modules are:

I. Accent Comprehension
II. Soft Skills
III. Culture specific knowledge

Accent comprehension consists of the followings sub-modules:
Phonetics:

  • Vowel sounds
  • Tense vowel sounds
  • Lax vowel sounds
  • Vowel shifts
  • Consonant sounds
  • Word list
  • Pronunciations
  • Intonation
  • Inflection
  • Syllable stress

Soft Skills consists of the following sub-modules:

  • Customer Service
  • Call opening
  • Mind you P’s and Q’s
  • Call closing
  • Hold and transfer procedure
  • Question tags
  • Why questions
  • Use of open ended questions
  • Use of closed questions
  • Listening Skills
  • Paraphrasing
  • Empathy

Culture:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Food and entertainment
  • Values and beliefs
  • Sports and adventure
  • States (cities) and capitals
  • Names – males and females
  • Phrases and idioms; jargons

Customised Corporate Training Workshops

The range of training options provided by most training solution firms includes the likes of customized workshops, phased interventions in the classroom or outdoor setting, in order to carefully structure Executive development Programs. The company provides a comprehensive range of learning solutions and services to help companies make their business strategies happen.

The training companies evaluate a company’s training needs, and in accordance determines, along with the in-house training manager, as well as HR heads, whether the company requires competency enhancement for a large group or the company requires multiple team specific initiatives. The training company is generally placed in a position to design and deliver result-oriented customized learning programs.

The customized corporate training workshops include:

  • Skills training
  • Knowledge-based training
  • Technical training
  • Attitude training
  • Behavior training
  • Techno-behavior training
  • Induction training
  • Certificate programs
  • Role-readiness programs
  • Outdoor-based training
  • Adventure-based training

The training companies also provide consulting sessions in areas such as:

  • Training Needs Analysis
  • Training Content Development
  • Setting up Internal Training Academy
  • Internal Trainer Readiness
  • Internal Trainer Empowerment
  • Learning Retention Process
  • Learning Retention Aids
  • Measurement Assessment
  • Impact Assessment

A training company or experienced trainer usually provides customized training solutions in the following areas (the list here is not all-comprehensive, with certain modules that are added by specialized trainers…

  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Listening skills
  • persuasive presentations
  • Rapport building
  • Persuasion skills
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Leadership skills
  • Managing diverse workforce
  • Mentoring
  • Motivation
  • Assertive skill
  • Emotional Intelligence at Work
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Business Etiquette
  • Business Grooming
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Decision making
  • People Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Art of Negotiation
  • Effective interviewing Skills
  • Train the Trainer
  • Influencing Skills

Corporate English Training

When it comes to training in corporate English there are two important aspects:

  • Written English Skills
  • Spoken English Skills

Here, we will look at written corporate training. This mainly includes writing emails, business proposals and presentations, as well as varied other written communications required to develop business. Given here is a list of rules to help one improve their corporate writing skills:

  • One should not write using gender specific language, unless one is sure about the gender of the recipient.
  • One should always finish what they start.
  • One should avoid the overuse symbols and abbreviations.
  • Using analogies in business communications is like using feathers on a snake.
  • Avoid annoying alliterations
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Making an appropriate selection when it comes to idioms.
  • Do not shift the point of view in the written correspondence – be focused.
  • Avoid clich├ęs
  • Do not use commas unnecessarily
  • Avoid using foreign words – stick to basic English words
  • Do not overuse exclamation marks
  • Avoid using quotes that are not attributed to the personality concerned.
  • Avoid ending sentences with prepositions.
  • Avoid being repetitive
  • Be as specific and to the point as possible.
  • Avoid misspelling words – ideally refer to a dictionary or thesaurus

Where spoken English is concerned, the trainer has to cover modules that include every aspect of spoken communication skills such as:

  • Listening skills
  • Speaking skills, which include:
  • Voice – tone, volume, accent, diction, etc.
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence construction
  • Pauses and flow
  • Non-verbal skills, which include:
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Body movement
  • Overall Presentation, which includes
  • Grooming
  • Etiquette
  • Personal hygiene

English Speaking

 

The basic underlying factor for learning any language – written or spoken – is its grammar. Thus, any trainer involved in teaching English speaking prepares are module, wherein grammar is the larger chunk of learning. What follows here, is a typical English speaking learning module…

  • Basic Grammar: Under basic grammar the participant is taught the Parts of speech, which includes the following:
  • Noun – a word used as the name of person, place, animal, bird, object, etc.
  • Pronoun – is a word used instead of a noun.
  • Verb – is a word which expresses action or state of being.
  • Adjective - is a word used to add something to the meaning of a noun or pronoun.
  • Adverb - is a word used to add something to the meaning of a verb, an adjective
  • or another adverb.
  • Preposition - is a word used with a noun or a pronoun to show how the person or object denoted by the noun or pronoun stands in relation to something else.
  • Conjunction - is a word used to join words or sentences
  • Interjection - is a word that expresses some sudden feeling

Sentence Construction: The basic factor taught here is SVO (subject-verb-object) pattern of sentence construction; wherein the verb is always between the subject and the verb. Grammatically incorrect sentences take the form of SOV (subject-object-verb).

Advanced Grammar: This includes the following -

  • Agreement of the Verb with the Subject
  • Articles
  • Special usage
  • Tenses
  • Questions tags
  • Active and Passive Voice
  • Direct and Indirect Speech
  • Vocabulary: This includes topics such as:
  • Commonly misspelled words
  • Irregular nouns
  • Irregular verbs
  • Interesting and challenging words

In some training programs voice and accent become a part of the training, with emphasis on accent neutralization.

One can find English speaking courses in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkatta, Hyderabad, and other major and smaller cities of India.

Presentation Skills

“Conversation… is the art of never appearing a bore, of knowing how to say everything interestingly, to entertain with no matter what, to be charming with nothing at all.” Thus, communication is best achieved through simple planning and control. To ensure efficient and effective conversation there are three prime considerations:

  • Presentation Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Speaking Skills

According to experts in the field of communication training, presentation skills includes not only, aspects relating to non-verbal skills, etiquette and grooming, but also other factors such as listening and speaking.

In order to ensure effective communication and presentation skills one needs to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Avoid ambiguity
  • Accept feedback in order to gain confirmation and rule out confusion

The non-verbal presentation factors are:

  • Voice: This implies the tone – sarcastic or sincere; warm or cold; rich and expressive; or dull and flat. The other voice aspect is the volume – shouting, barely audible or medium volume.
  • Speech pattern: slow, hesitant, fast, jerky, abrupt or even-steady pace.
  • Facial expression: This includes:
  • The brow/forehead: Wrinkled or smooth
  • Eyebrows: wrinkled or smooth
  • Jaw/mouth region: firm or relaxed
  • Eye contact: Whether the speaker is looking at the listener/audience being addressed.
  • Gestures: This includes the hand movements such as: hand-wringing, open hand movements, finger pointing, fist thumping, etc.
  • Postures: This is important, as it shows how interested the speaker or listener is.
  • Body movement: This includes the movement of the body such as shrugs and shuffles, arms crossed or left lose, strides or standing in one position.

 

Public Speaking

Speaking in public tends to become a rather stressful task for many. In fact, even the best of speakers tend to go through those few moments of anxiety and stage fright just before getting onto the stage or podium to address their audience. One of the main reasons can be language, which for instance could be lack of English speaking words. But then how to improve English speaking can be looked at, as a different subject, all together.

Yet, before going any further, one tip for improving English skills, one can practice grammar and vocabulary exercises, as often as possible. Also reading loudly in front of a mirror helps one improve their language skills. Exposure to the language is also important, which includes reading English newspapers and books, listening to English music and watching English movies.

Coming back to public speaking… here are 9 tips to speak successfully in a public situation…

  • Control stage fright
  • Select the subject well
  • Gather all ideas and information
  • Organize the material
  • Plan the beginning of the speech
  • Plan the body of the speech
  • Plan the conclusion of the speech
  • Practice the speech
  • Bring in humor, spontaneously

Here are the 6-key details to ensure smooth speaking at a public event, of any magnitude…

  • Check all arrangements
  • Be comfortable in venue
  • Know how to use the microphone
  • Conduct a microphone check before the function begins
  • Be ready to deal with distractions
  • Be prepared to answer questions, politely avoid irrelevant questions

 

Body Language

Non verbal communication includes the following aspects:

  • Facial expressions
  • Voice culture
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Spatial arrangements
  • Patterns of touch
  • Expressive movement
  • Body language

Of all the non verbal factors mentioned here, one should be aware of body language, as beyond the words this speaks volumes. Thus, one needs to learn how to effectively use their body to communicate better.

Take for instance, eye contact. Eye contact is an important channel of interpersonal communication. This factor helps regulate the flow of communication. It signals interest in others. Furthermore, eye contact with the audience increases the speaker’s credibility. It is also an important part of effective team communication skills.

Another instance are the varied facial expressions. Take for example, the importance of the smile… it is regarded as a powerful cue that transmits: happiness, friendliness, motivational, warmth, liking, affection, etc. With a gentle smile on the face one is sending out a friendly signal, which is almost always reciprocated in a positive manner.

Gestures are another important part of non verbal communications. If one fails to use gestures while speaking, they tend to be perceived as boring, stiff and unanimated. A lively and animated teaching and speaking style captures the audience attention, at any given point. For example, nodding the head, communicates positive reinforcement, indicating that the speaker is being heard.

Other aspects of the body that are important in communicating is the posture of the body; as well as the proximity being maintained. For instance, while listening one should lean a little forward to show that they are interested in the conversation.

Personality Development

Personality is generally defined as the deeply ingrained and relatively enduring patterns of thought, feeling and behavior. In fact, when one refers to personality, it generally implies to all what is unique about an individual, the characteristics that makes one stand out in a crowd.

Basically, according to experts through the ages, a person’s personality is developed through the intermingling of hereditary and environmental factors. As a child grows, hereditary tends to play a smaller role, and the environment with the experiences thrown in contributes to the continuous process of personality development. While classes and training programs can help one grow and develop each day, yet one can actually climb the personality ladder by being aware of the self.

In order to develop a healthy and popular personality one should delve deeper and deeper into positive thinking. One needs to understand that problems are a part and parcel of life; but it is the way in which one deals with the problems that determines whether one is going from strength to strength; or weakness to weakness.

Given here are some affirmations that will help one develop a positive personality.

These can be used as mantras on a daily basis…

  • I believe today is my lucky day
  • I am grateful for every opportunity life has given me to learn and develop
  • I am an honest and sincere person
  • I have a healthy body, which I will take care of
  • I am compassionate towards others
  • I appreciate constructive criticism to help me learn and develop my skills
  • I am full of love
  • I am kind and generous
  • I am dependable and every ready to help others
  • I have faith in myself
  • I have faith in others

Voice Culture

In the case of verbal communication skills voice plays an important role. After all, one maybe knowledgeable in their domain area, but conveying their knowledge may seem like a mammoth task. This is the reason why, as a part of communication skills training there is ample emphasis laid on voice culture.

One aspect of culturing the voice is understanding intonation. This is the rise and fall in pitch, which occurs as we speak. There are various patterns of intonation. For instance, there is singsong, monotone, jump up and step down (JUSD), etc. When one intonates one puts music, melody and rhythm into the way they speak.

Basically, intonation follows certain guidelines that help one decide which are important and key ideas on which one needs to rise and fall in pitch. When one follows these guidelines, one can clearly communicate to the listener the important idea/s in the message.

The following are the various factor that can help one to modulate well and gain correct intonation, inflection and syllable stress…

  • Be enthusiastic
  • Avoid speaking in a monotone
  • Exaggerate voice inflection
  • Pause to create effect
  • Pace between fast and slow
  • Modulate between high and low pitch
  • Bring power with the play of volume – loud and soft
  • Enunciate the words to bring about clarity
  • Match tone with attitude

 

Communication Barriers

No matter how good and effective a communicator one maybe, yet the fact is that one does face certain barriers, from time to time, which forces them to work on becoming even more effective in their skills to communicate. Given here are the communication barriers that occur while listening, speaking and in the case of non-verbal communications…

Listening barriers:

  • Interrupting the speaker
  • Not maintaining eye contact with the speaker
  • Rushing the speaker to complete what he/she has to say
  • Making the speaker feel as though he/she is wasting the listener’s time
  • Being distracted by something that is not part of the on going communication
  • Getting ahead of the speaker and completing his/her thoughts
  • Ignoring the speaker’s requests
  • Topping the speaker’s story with one’s own set of examples
  • Forgetting what is being discussed
  • Asking too many questions, for they sake of probing

Barriers while speaking:

  • Unclear messages
  • Lack of consistency in the communication process
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Not understanding the receiver
  • Not seeking clarifications while communicating

The other barriers include:

  • An individual’s subjective viewpoint towards issues/people, which leads to assumptions.
  • An emotional block, which can lead to an attitude of indifference, suspicion or hostility towards the subject.
  • An emotional block or bias that is based on a third party’s view point, or on what you have read/heard.
  • Words can have different meanings to different people, thus blocking communication.
  • Use of negative words