Monday, September 29, 2008


The hire and fire concept is taking the center stage in the corporate world with the shake up of American economy due to the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros. Its repercussions are felt across the globe. It is like if American economy catches cold the rest of the economies in the world getting sneezes.

Every company has its objectives and goals based on its vision statement. It recruits the employees with certain expectations to deliver the goods. What happens if the employees fail to deliver the goods? Is it justified to fire them just because they failed to live up the expectations of the employer?

The concept of hire and fire is to hire the employees with certain expectations by the employers and if they fail to live up to the same then the employees would be fired. It is widely prevalent in the private sector and it is more so in IT sector

The concept is justified if the employees fail to prove themselves despite repeated reminders about their inefficiency. And at the same time they should be given sufficient time to pull up their socks. Even then if they do not come up to the standards they should be given adequate time to look for other alternative opportunities and should be released with dignity and honor with certain financial benefits. And also it is necessary not to mention the same in their records as it would jeopardize their prospects of getting placement elsewhere.

If the company does not have projects or contracts at hand and if it fires their employees on one pretext or the other it is totally unjustified. Usually when a few companies do not have business or contracts then they start looking at the employees on disciplinary grounds for termination of services so as to cut down their costs. If that is the case, then there is something wrong with the company policy itself. Why should the company hire the extra staff when the projects are not at hand? Whose fault is it? The employees cannot be blamed for the same. Now a day there are only nuclear families and both the spouses are working. What happens when there is only one breadwinner in the family and if he or she loses job?

It is rightly said that the quality of employee performance begins with the quality of the hire. People are different on paper and by performance. When the gap is wide between paper and performance then the point of firing starts. First of all there should be correct recruitment policy to avoid the pitfalls of firing. When hiring is perfect the question of firing does not arise. It is an HR issue. The companies should look at various traits like knowledge, attitude, skills and habits at the time of recruitment itself. Whether the candidate is suitable for the post or not and, if not, can the candidate be trained and groomed in tune with the vision and mission of the organization are to be looked at thoroughly, at the time of recruitment itself.

In extreme cases it is necessary to fire the employee. Not to fire the poor performer may encourage another poor performer for taking the system for granted. At times, the good performer may also be encouraged by the behavior of such employees. Some times the poor performers may bring down the morale of other good workers. Likewise there are number of factors that have to be taken into account before firing. In the HR there is a popular slogan "hire slowly and fire fast" and it looks good and sounds good for alliteration but in reality there are many implications and complications involved in this.

If the companies protect the mediocre employees then over a period of time the company would be beset with mediocre staff and the results would be poor. Gradually the leadership falls into the hands of mediocre persons who never allow talent persons to enter and if they enter the company by chance, they will not be allowed to survive.

Usually when the firing starts, it is only the lower rung that are unproductive and redundant would be on the hit list. No company would like to lose the talent who has been trained and groomed. Providing right training and upgrading the skills and abilities of the employees regularly will help the organizations to do better and to avoid the concept of firing. Ultimately firing represents the wrong picture for the employers and for the employees too.

Remember, nobody should take his or her positions in the organizations for granted. Everywhere risk is involved. There is an element of risk in every aspect of life.
If somebody is talented they should not bother for firing. Anyhow it is not a good practice to deprive their employees from jobs.


Saturday, September 20, 2008



The article focuses on the importance and significance of MBA. There are three problems being battled by Indian youth such as lack of soft skills, entrepreneurial skills and leadership skills. The article dwells at length about the same and also focuses on the differences between the leaders and the managers. At the end it called upon the youth to face the challenges squarely and soar like an eagle as eagle stands for leadership.

KEY WORDS: Why MBA? Importance of MBA, Problems for Youth, Industry Expectations, Challenges, Leaders and Managers, Overseas Indians, Conclusion & Message.

“Indian youth are strikingly more optimistic about their own future and also about the future of society. The general picture in other countries is that young people tend to be personal optimists but societal pessimists,” said Mats Lindgren, CEO and founder of Kairos Future Group .


When one of the richest persons in the world, Mr.Laxmi Niwas Mittal was asked what regret he had in life, he replied by saying that he did not do MBA. He is the only Indian who leads in a particular sector globally i.e. steel sector. He achieved success in life and made lot of wealth and yet he had one regret of not doing MBA.

MBA is one of the most sought after qualifications in India. After the completion of the graduation the students prefer to go for this qualification because it offers wide opportunities. The engineering graduates are also opting for this management qualification as it widens their mental faculties as well as provides faster career growth. As a result, we find mushrooming Business schools in India. It this context, it is essential to go in detail to find out the significance and importance of this qualification. Let us also look at various prospects and problems involved with Indian youth in this regard.


Engineers are technically competent in their trade and can excel as very good engineers. But it takes them in one direction. When they are armed with MBA qualification they cannot only work as engineers but also can work as managers. In brief they turn out to be technocrats and full-fledged professionals. Acquiring management qualification will be a value addition in their career. They can work as engineers as well as managers and it paves the way for fast career growth. Besides it inculcates entrepreneurial skills and enhances the ability to stretch their imagination levels. It is not the case of engineers but also doctors and other professionally qualified people opting for this course. The advantage of management education is that any graduate can opt for this course, as it is basically management oriented with least technical orientation. This provides ample ammunition for any graduate to pursue this course.

With the growing population and economy there would be more industries and there would be need for more managers and leaders across the country. Therefore, there is growing importance and significance attached to this qualification.


Indian youth are battled with three skills lack of soft skills, entrepreneurial skills and leadership skills. It is a cause for concern. We do not have unemployment problem rather we have umeployability problem as the freshers after passing out of their educational institutions do not have requisite skills and abilities to match up with the industry demands, standards and expectations. In this context, let us briefly know what do soft skills mean.

Soft skills are the non-domain skills that include various skills like communication skills, presentation skills, team building skills, business grace, etiquette, and related to people skills. The people should know how to deal with their clients, customers, and suppliers and should know how to behave with their subordinates, peers and superiors. People are good at their domain knowledge i.e. the area in which they are qualified and that becomes the technical knowledge, which is also known as hard skills. It is rightly said people rise because of their hard skills but fall due to lack of soft skills. The present educational system encourages more of technical and domain knowledge and less of non-domain knowledge thus resulting into unemployability.

Second problem for the youth is lack of encouragement towards entrepreneurial skills. Entrepreneurship is the process of setting up own business venture, which involves lot of risks and returns. It is not a cakewalk. It requires lot of energy and efforts. It takes active involvement round the clock because it involves having a business idea, mobilizing resources, proper execution skills and managing both internal and external forces and factors so as to pursue the passion of entrepreneurship.

Although Indian youth are interested towards taking risk the parents do not encourage them, as there are more risks involved. The parents want their children to get secured jobs and start earning steady and decent regular income. They also want their old age to be properly secured. In western countries, there are social security measures where government takes care of their citizens in old age. There are old age homes, unemployment insurance, and so many protections as they have already developed. Since India is still a developing nation we cannot afford to provide social security measures to the citizens. Therefore, it discourages the parents to discourage their children towards entrepreneurship. In the past, Indian economy was mixed economy and it did not encourage entrepreneurship skills. Ever since the opening up of Indian economy the climate is conducive for encouraging entrepreneur skills among the youth.

The third problem for the Indian youth is lack of leadership qualities. Small countries with tiny population produced leaders in various disciplines and it is very unfortunate that India with a billion plus population could not produce global leaders in proportion to the population. What ails with Indian youth?

The present educational and economic environment is not encouraging the leadership qualities. In some cases, there is dearth of talent. And in some cases, there is talent, which is not tapped to develop as leaders. We do not have sufficient training institutes that encourage leadership traits.


Industry looks for plug and play recruits. They want the recruited employees to be the on the toes right from the day one. They want the freshers to be industry ready so that they can be productive and useful. However, it is not the scenario. Lot of jobs are available and the industry is not getting the competent manpower to execute the tasks. There are few traits that the industry expects from the freshers. They are learnabilty – the ability and capability to learn new tools and techniques, absorbability – the ability to grasp and understand new kind of tasks, suitability - looking for the right peg in right hole. Nobody would like to have a round peg in a square hole or a square peg in a round hole. Capability – the ability to execute the challenging tasks at ease is another trait expected from the industry. And skills like adaptability, flexibility, assertiveness, team spirit, communication, leadership skills and last but not the least is the passion to learn and grow. To put it succinctly, they look for right mindset, tool set and skill set.

Infosys, the Indian IT giant started a programme titled ‘Campus Connect’ where the faculties of various institutions would be short-listed and selected and are called for Soft Skills Workshops. It is a kind of Corporate Social Responsibility. The faculties are trained free of cost who in turn would train the faculties in their respective institutions. And the faculties provide training to the students about soft skills and other skills that are needed for the students to get placed in the industry. Likewise, many IT companies are taking initiative in this regard. It is an indication that everyone is realizing the importance and significance of employability skills and its results would be felt in the near future. It is like a ripple effect.


Students work hard and climb the ladder to reach the heights of success only then they realize that the ladder is on the wrong side of the wall. It indicates that youth lack right direction, guidance and counseling. This is so in various ways such as selection of career or setting of their goals. They set the goals because of parental or peer influence. Or sometimes because of herd instinct. In the long run it does not give any satisfaction resulting into frustration and fatigue. While planning for their career the youth should look for 4 As – Aptitude, Attitude, Abilities and Awareness. When their career is planned in this way, they can easily accomplish their goals and career aspirations.

Because of growing technology the business environment has become highly challenging and as a result the employees have to deliver their best to meet the rising demands of the customers and consumers. During this process, if any employee falls short of expectations he would be served with pink slips. There is more element of risk involved even in employment. The youth should learn to perform well or else would be perished. It is a case of ‘do or die’ situation where non-performing and inefficient employees are shown the door. There is more need for smart work rather than hard work.


"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter Drucker .

There is vast difference between the leaders and the managers. Let us look at what differentiates between the leaders and the managers. Managers are efficient while leaders are effective. Managers climb the ladder where as the leaders place the ladder on the right side of the wall. Managers are machineries while the leaders are visionaries. Leaders know what to do where as managers know how to do. Managers put in hard work where as leaders put in smart work. To put it succinctly, if managers are the actors the leaders are the directors. However, in the recent past there is growing emphasis on managerial leaders which is combination of managerial and leadership qualities and, of course, the combination of hard work and smart work.


Indians are doing extraordinarily well across the seas because of various reasons. Laxmi Niwas Mittal has done excellent by becoming a leader in steel sector across the globe and also one of the top five richest persons in the world. Indra Nooyi , Pepsi chief is one of the most powerful women in the world who is a symbol of success and a guiding and motivating model for Indian women managers. All these people could do it because of several reasons such as more opportunities in overseas and also probably they travel from comfort zone to effective zone. Renowned Motivational Guru Zig Zigler Zig said, “97 per cent of the people live in comfort zone and only 3 per cent of the people live in effective zone”. And success comes to the people who live in effective zone. The successful people keep shifting their orbits and reinvent themselves as per the changing conditions and scenario.


To sum up, Indian youth definitely have an exciting future and promising career with an MBA degree. By improving and developing soft skills, entrepreneurial skills and leadership qualities they can leave a mark behind.


Education and character are the two sides of the same coin. When you have these two, you can survive and succeed in any part of the world. Success would touch your toes. Never complain like a duck and soar like an eagle as eagle stands for leadership.


Friday, September 12, 2008



The recent acquisition of Axon – A British Company by Infosys has boosted the morale of the Indian industry. The research paper focuses on the fundamentals of mergers and acquisitions and the related terminology. The merits of M&As , the importance of multi-cultural skills and India’s competitive strength are highlighted. It also dwelt at length about the M&As at the global level backed with statistical facts and figures. At the end it concluded that we can expect many more M&As as Indian economy is becoming robust.

KEY WORDS: Introduction, Merits of Mergers and Take Overs, Infosys Initiative, Indian Industry at Global Level, Multi-Cultural Skills, India’s Competitive Edge & Conclusion.


“With a burgeoning Indian economy, a competitive private sector and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Indian companies are increasingly seeking help in identifying and acquiring suitable domestic and overseas targets.” Pankaj Karna Grant Thornton, India.


According to Wikipedia, “The phrase mergers and acquisitions (abbreviated M&A) refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling and combining of different companies that can aid, finance, or help a growing company in a given industry grow rapidly without having to create another business entity.”

Now days, there is too much talk of Indian companies taking over the companies in abroad. Infosys’s initiative to acquire Axon, and sometime back, Tata Steel’s take over of Corus has hit the headlines. It was a very bold initiative by Ratan Tata. Of course, there was a talk of paying too much price for the acquisition of Corus by the critics. Over all it has demonstrated and displayed the leadership capabilities of Indian business leaders.

We had hostile takeovers also in the past. Hostile take over means when one of the parties is not willing to be acquired by other company. Let us look at such instances also:

The take-over era was inaugurated way back in the early eighties, when Swaraj Paul brought his boisterous and street smart ways to shake up the quiet world of Indian board rooms and launched his bid for Escorts and DCM. Many other take-over artistes followed in his footsteps. R.P. Goenka cobbled together an industrial empire by taking over companies like Ceat and CESC. So did Manu Chhabra, buying companies like such as Shaw Wallace and Dunlop. The Ambanis almost succeeded in taking control of Larsen and Toubro (L&T) but were eventually checkmated by the government of the day, which instructed the Financial Institution (FI's) to keep their distance during take-over struggles.

Many global MNCs used to take over Indian companies in the past. During the preliberalisation era foreign companies were on the offensive mode to take over Indian companies. In post liberalization, things have changed better for the Indian industry. The Indian economy has looked up and is becoming a robust economy. As a result, the Indian industry changed its stance from being defensive to offensive.

In this context, let us briefly define what is ‘merger’, ‘demerger, ‘reverse merger’ ‘reverse takeover’ and ‘acquisition’. Merger is the combining of two or more entities into one, through a purchase acquisition or a pooling of interests. Differs from a consolidation in that no new entity is created from a merger . On the contrary, demerger is a corporate restructuring in which one part of a company is spun off as a new company, often with quoted status of its own. Examples in the UK include Zeneca, which was spun out of ICI, and Argos, which was spun out of British American Tobacco. Reverse takeover (reverse IPO) is the acquisition of a public company by a private company to bypass the lengthy and complex process of going public. The transaction typically requires reorganization of capitalization of the acquiring company. Acquisition is the acquiring control of a corporation, called a target, by stock purchase or exchange, either hostile or friendly. Acquisition is also called takeover.

The Oxford dictionary defines an acquisition as `an outright gain of something (especially useful)' and a merger, less rapaciously as: `the joining or gradually blending of two previously discrete entities' .

To put it succinctly, Merger refers to the process of two business units becoming one. On the other hand, takeover refers to the process of taking over of one unit by a relatively stronger business unit.


Both merger and take over has many merits such as

· Competitive edge in the market. There is synergy in this and one plus one is three, six or just more than that. The raw material can be purchased in bulk quantity thereby reducing the cost of production. When the cost of the product or service is reduced, the company has better chances to have more profits as well as it can compete with others by slashing down the prices. In a nutshell, there is 'economies of scale' and increased ‘economic efficiency’.
· There is increase in market share in the same segment or sector thereby having better brand image and good will for the company.
· Increased benefits to the shareholder value. The benefits so gained are passed on to the shareholders thereby increasing their value.
· There could be tax benefits to the company in few cases.
· Consolidation in the sector wise and it eliminates the unhealthy small time players who are weak and cannot survive in the business.
· Many other strategic advantages.


At a time when India’s pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy sold its stake, the India’s technology titan - Infosys ‘s acquisition of Axon has boosted the morale of Industry industry. It is one of the mega mergers from the belt of Infosys as it wanted to consolidate its position its field. Infosys acquisition of Axon is indeed a feather in the cap of Indian industry especially in the IT sector.

The analysts are bullish about the company-Axon , which is the world's largest independent consultancy within systems, applications, products in data processing (SAP), and laud its recent efforts to enhance margins and diversify its revenue stream across a large roster of clients.

Infosys wanted its presence felt in Europe and it wanted to grow and did not mind for paying little more than what was required. Because had Infosys negotiated for lesser price other Indian IT players would have entered who were also ready to price little more for the same. "(It's) hard to get everything aligned and satisfied," Mr. Gopalakrishnan , CEO and MD said in an interview. "There are companies out there - the only thing is they may not want to be acquired, or the valuation may be too high." And he further said, Infosys has about $US2 billion in cash or cash equivalents, which could be used for deals. "We have the money available for one, or two, or more, or a significantly larger acquisition, if need be,"

Infosys had agreed to buy British consultancy Axon Group Plc for £407m (US$753m), as Infosys wants to look beyond uncertain American economy. The deal is to be completed by November 2008. Infosys said the acquisition would “accelerate the achievement of some of Infosys’ current strategic corporate objectives, including the continued expansion consulting capabilities” .

CEO of Infosys, Kris Gopalakrishnan said, “We are excited about this acquisition. The strategic combination of our groups will accelerate the realization of our common aspirations – that of becoming the most respected provider of business transformational services in the global market place. We hold the management and employees of Axon in high regard and look forward to welcoming them to the Infosys Group.”

Commenting on this acquisition, "This is a landmark transaction for the Indian IT industry as it reflects the tremendous growth of the industry," says Madan Menon , country head of global banking and markets for India at ABN AMRO, which is advising Infosys.

But the benefits of geographical diversification for Infosys are indisputable. Axon derives 61% of its revenues from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 34% from North America and just 5% from the Asia-Pacific. Infosys currently derives less than 30% of its revenues from Europe and the potential to better penetrate the continent are a key driver of the deal, say sources.

Some bankers suggest that this deal will herald a slew of large acquisitions by Indian firms. Indian IT companies are sitting on cash piles making it easy to finance such expansion ambitions.


“Throughout 2007, mainland China and India experienced a raging bull market and while the uncertainty in the financial markets has removed some of the shine, 2007 has left a public listing as an aspiration for many business owners in these countries.” Fiona Owen Grant Thornton, UK

Indian industry has huge appetite for mergers and acquisitions ever since the economy has been opened up due to liberalization, globalization and privatization. The world is watching Indian industry very closely and it seems that there would be too many M&As in the near future. Indian entrepreneurs are looking for North American and European markets to make their presence felt and also to encash the existing opportunities across the globe.

Here are the top 10 acquisitions made by Indian companies worldwide:

Acquirer Target Company Country targeted Deal value ($ ml) Industry
Tata Steel Corus Group plc UK 12,000 Steel
Hindalco Novelis Canada 5,982 Steel
Videocon Daewoo Electronics Corp. Korea 729 Electronics
Dr. Reddy’s Labs Betapharm Germany 597 Pharmaceutical
Suzlon Energy Hansen Group Belgium 565 Energy
HPCL Kenya Petroleum Refinery Ltd. Kenya 500 Oil and Gas
Ranbaxy Labs Terapia SA Romania 324 Pharmaceutical
Tata Steel Natsteel Singapore 293 Steel
Videocon Thomson SA France 290 Electronics
VSNL Teleglobe Canada 239 Telecom

If you calculate top 10 deals itself account for nearly US $ 21,500 million. This is more than double the amount involved in US companies’ acquisition of Indian counterparts. Let us look at the graphical representation of Indian outbound deals since 2000.

Let us look at the Mergers and Acquisitions at the global level as stated below:

Statistical data :
91 acquisitions in 2000 valued in excess of $47.1 billion.
46 acquisitions in 2001 valued in excess of $6.5 billion.
37 acquisitions in 2002 valued in excess of $4.7 billion.
48 acquisitions in 2003 valued in excess of $2.8 billion.
45 acquisitions in 2004 valued in excess of $22.1 billion.
45 acquisitions in 2005 valued in excess of $18.5 billion.
57 acquisitions in 2006 valued in excess of $10.7 billion.
58 acquisitions in 2007 valued in excess of $19.9 billion.
19 acquisitions in 2008 valued in excess of $2.1 billion.

Since the year 2008 is yet to complete we find only 19 acquisitions valued in excess of $2.1 billion. Research reveals that across the globe there is huge appetite for Mergers and Acquisitions in the Privately Held Businesses.


The global scenario has changed drastically especially after the liberalization and privatization in India. The rapid growing technology has made the globe smaller. People began understanding, respecting and adopting the cultures of other countries. At the global level it is essential to focus on multicultural skills. The cultural gap amongst all the countries is getting narrowed down. And there are more efforts and avenues to grasp various cultural diversities across the world. Many companies across the world are coming to India and setting up their shops. It demonstrates and displays the strength of the Indian economy.

In the past we have seen global MNCs and now we are witnessing Indian MNCs shopping across the globe and acquiring number of strategically significant companies. In the past, Indian companies fell prey to global predators and now there is a U turn where Indian companies have turned out to be predators.


India has much inherent strength as a result the Indian economy is all set to conquer the world. Presently Indian economy is impacted by US economy and whenever there is changes in the American economy the spill over is felt across Asian markets. And in the near future Indian economy will be independent and will be shielded from American economy. Below are the few competitive advantages India has:

· Gateway to international markets in SAARC countries.
· Well-developed research and development (R&D) infrastructure.
· Largest resources of untapped natural resources.
· World’s largest democracy.
· Information technology base, in terms of both software and hardware.
· Technical and marketing expertise.
· English as the preferred business language.
· A vibrant capital market with 25 stock exchanges with over 9,000 listed companies.
· The largest supplier of cost-effective technical and non-technical manpower.
· Conducive environment for foreign investments by providing freedom of entry, investments, location, choice of technology and import/exports.
· A well-organized judicial system with a hierarchy of courts.
· Legal protection for intellectual property rights.
· A transparent approach for promoting domestic and foreign investment.
· Declining share of agriculture and allied industries in the GDP. The Economic Survey 2000-01 reveals that the contribution of services sector to the GDP is 40 per cent whereas agriculture and industry contribute 30 per cent.
· Increased investments in the priority and high growth sectors such as software, electronics, food processing, oil and gas, power, electronics and telecommunications, chemicals, electrical equipment, food processing etc.,
· A well organized banking system with a network of 63,000 branches supported by a number of national and state-level financial institutions.
· Offers a large market (middle class population of over 25 to 35 crore with increasing purchasing power).
· Current account convertibility and capital account convertibility for foreign investors.
· Increase in the number of joint ventures or wholly-owned subsidiaries most of the domestic companies consolidated around their area of core competence by typing up with foreign companies to acquire new technologies, management expertise and access to foreign markets.
· Deregulation of interest rates with a greater freedom to banks to assess credit requirements.
· Large and solid infrastructure throughout the country.
· Simplified systems for administration in government departments.
· Special investment and tax incentives for exports and certain sectors such as power, electronics and software.
· Lower tariffs for trade.
· A transparent approach for promoting domestic and foreign investment.
· Significantly large manufacturing capabilities through latest technologies.


“When a piece of a log is subjected to severe pressure becomes charcoal. And if it is subjected to extreme pressure results in a diamond. Entrepreneurs are made from men like that”.

The Indian economy is bullish with the GDP growing. The growing number of M&As is a sign of India’s economic strength. And the global economy began taking Indian economy seriously. Indians need not to go overseas to work. Rather they should work with in India itself so as to make Indian economy more vibrant. There are plenty of opportunities with in India itself. The foreign countries are getting more benefits by making use of Indian talent and expertise. What we get in return is far lesser than what we Indians invest in terms of abilities and capabilities to other countries. It is time Indians realized their inherent strengths and stayed in India itself.


Thursday, September 11, 2008



Teachers, trainers and presenters are often battled with difficulties in delivering presentations due to lack of adequate expertise in usage of cue cards. Cue cards often make or break the presentations. The research article has taken the case study of Robert where he failed to prove himself as a trainer during employment interview as he did not use cue cards during presentation. The merits, precautions, stages and tips for cue cards are highlighted in this research article. It also dwelt at length about the types of presentations and the techniques to be used during presentation. It has focused on an action exercise where the audience can involve and learn the preparation of cue cards. At the end it concluded that cue cards are clue cards and these will play a crucial role in future also.

KEY WORDS: Case Study of Robert, What are Cue Cards? Merits of Cue Cards, Precautions, Types of Presentations, Tips During Presentation, Stages of Cue Cards, Tips for Cue Cards, Action Exercises, Conclusion.



Robert applied for the post of corporate trainer and was called for demonstration. He was given with a few topics where he could choose one of the topics and prepare thoroughly in one week in advance and had to deliver demonstration of the topic he chose. He prepared thoroughly by going to various search engines and by referring several books on the topic. And he converted the content into an article and sent it to a famous magazine that within less than 24 hours had accepted the article and confirmed the publication of the article. Robert felt very happy with his preparation. And he was confident of giving the demonstration.

At last, on the D-day he delivered the demonstration of his chosen topic extempore. Robert was so confident that he would please the panel of judges who assessed his demonstration. After the completion of the demonstration one of the panel judges asked Robert the reasons for not using power point presentation and Robert said that he was comfortable with extempore speech. Subsequently as a selection procedure, Robert was given another topic by the panel members who asked him to prepare with in ten minutes and deliver the presentation on impromptu topic. Robert, as usual, was confident of the topic and he prepared bulleted points on a rough sheet given to him and entered the room and delivered the demonstration extempore as it was impromptu speech. After the completion of demonstration, Robert was asked why he did not use cue cards during presentation. Robert replied by saying that he was comfortable without cue cards and also he was confident of delivering the speech without any aids. He left the interview room and the panel of judges said that Robert would be informed about the results after a week. When the results came in, to his surprise, Robert was not selected for the post of Corporate Trainer. Robert asked the selection committee for the areas for improvement in case he lacked something. The head of the panel members said that everything was fine but he did not deliver power point presentation in the first demonstration and the in second demonstration he did not use cue cards.

From the above case study it was clear about the importance and significance of power point presentations and cue cards as this play a crucial role in this technology savvy world. In this context, let us know what cue cards are?


Cue cards are like hint cards, prompt cards and direction cards that provide clues to the presenters or trainers or teachers at the time of presentations or speeches. Let us look at few of the definitions of cue cards from various sources.

“a card , unseen by the audience, carrying dialogue, lyrics, etc. as an aid to a television performer”.

A large card held out of the audience’s sight, bearing words or dialogue in large letters as an aid for a speaker or actor chiefly in television broadcasting.

These cue cards are used by news readers in television and actors in film industry which are held out by someone who is not seen by the camera. Some people also call cue cards as idiot cards.

Cue cards were originally “invented” when Barney McNulty, a CBS page and former military pilot, was asked to write ailing actor Edd Wynne’s script lines on large sheets of paper to help him remember his script. Barney volunteered for this duty because his training as a pilot taught him to write very quickly and clearly. Barney soon saw the necessity of this concept and formed the company “Ad Libs.”

To overcome some of the short comings and also to improvise the cue cards teleprompters came in which is read by the actors in front of camera. A teleprompter is an electronic device used primarily to display text and cues for on-air newscasters and other professional talents. However, many of the teachers, trainers and presenters still use cue cards because of several advantages.


• Aids as a memory device to the presenter.
• Provides a kind of confidence and comfort to the presenter.
• Helps in staying focused on the key contents. It is human tendency to go off the track during the course of delivering speech. Cue cards check the presenter to be on the right track and on the smooth track.
• Minimizes human mistakes which usually happen when depended on memory.
• Provides chronological and systematic approach to presentation.
• If there are any problems in verbal cues the cue cards will set right any irregularities and misunderstandings during presentation.
• Helps in maintaining proper pauses during speech.
• Provides flexibility for the presenter by allowing both the presenter to speak and also the listeners to absorb and assimilate the contents smoothly and easily.
• It is rightly said that a picture is worth hundred words. The cue cards have tremendous effect on the minds of the audience.
• It eliminates usage of fillers like “um, ha, he, ok,” etc.,

Although there are plenty of merits in usage of cue cards there are certain areas where we have to take certain precautions and the same is mentioned below.


There are certain precautions to be observed while usage of cue cards. Write only one side of the cue cards and do not write on both sides as it will not have clarity and also it diverts the attention of the audience. Excessive looking at the cue cards loses the eye contact with the audience and it leads to loss of interest towards the presentation. Ensure that the cue cards are short and precise and do not make lengthy. And also make sure that there is right coordination and synchronization between the cue cards and delivery of presentation.

In this context, let us look at styles and types of presentations and the tools and techniques during presentation.


There are three kinds of presentations. They are impromptu presentation; prepared and read presentation; and the presentation in which there is conversation with the audience with cue cards. In the case of impromptu presentation, lot of stress is laid on memory and it is indeed stressful. Sometimes it loses its focus from the audience as the speaker concentrates on the memorized stuff. In the case of prepared and read presentation although it is good it may not be effective as it loses eye contact with the audience and results in boredom and monotony. In the third type of presentation the audience is very much actively involved in the presentation as there are cue cards, interaction, questioning and participation. This is the best of all the three types of presentations and cue cards play a crucial role in this presentation.


For any presentation to be successful there are certain tools and techniques by which one can reach and impress the audience. Every presentation will have introduction, body and summary. And the time allotted to the same can be; 10 per cent of time towards introduction, 80 per cent towards body and 10 percent towards summary. The time mentioned is an indicator and can be flexible depending on the topic and also on the profile of the audience. Having decided the time for each segment, let us know that there are always three segments among the audience. The first segment does not know anything about topic of the presentation, the second segment knows little about the topic and the third segment knows the topic fully. The introduction and the summary part is to be focused on the segments who do not know and who know little on the topic and the body of the presentation is to be focused on the segment who are experts on the topic. If this strategy is followed the presentation would balance all segments of the audience.

Sergeant Major said, “Tell them what you are going to tell them, just tell them and tell them what you told them” this is all about the any type of presentation. At the introductory part, the presenter should tell the theme and idea or theme of the topic and highlight the key points at the body part and at the end should summarize what was presented succinctly. During the presentation the presenter should focus on three aspects such as; the self, content and audience. Usually presenters fail in this area as few presenters are over sensitive about the audience forgetting about himself/herself and on the content. Some presenters focus too much on content not on audience and not on himself/herself. And few presenters focus on himself/herself forgetting on the audience and also the content. Therefore, the right presenter should focus on the audience, content and on self equally.

During presentation, the presenter should focus on the entire audience equally by maintaining eye contact with all. If the audience is huge, then it is advisable to fix one person in each side of the audience as a point and keep shifting his eye ball movement equally in different directions so that the audience feels that the presenter is talking to all. Never gaze at a particular individual for a longer as it causes discomfort to the individual. In a nutshell, never look at an individual for more than 4 seconds. The ideal focus on an individual should be between 2 to 4 seconds and then keep shifting eye ball movement from one person to another. And also for presenters who are beginners, it is advisable to deliver one sentence by looking at one individual and another sentence with another person and so on. When it is practiced in this way then the presenters will become successful professional presenters. And finally do not stand in one place and deliver the presentation. On the other hand, move freely in the room and deliver as it looks lively and interesting.


There are three stages of cue cards such as making cue cards; preparing speech as per the cue cards; and writing and rehearsing cue cards. While making cue cards ensure that each idea is put in each card, the letters are bigger than the normal size, use only one side of the cue card for better clarity, number it chronologically and finally add emotions to make it effective and efficient. While preparing the speech for the cue cards ensure that the flow is logical, allocate time for structure and delivery of the contents and speak louder for your feedback. Taking feedback helps in checking your pitch levels at the time of presentation and helps in delivering better presentation. While writing cue cards make sure that different coloured cue cards are used for each activity such as for main idea one type of coloured cue card, for supporting idea another coloured cue card, for quotations another coloured cue card and for transition a separate coloured cue card and finally for summary a different coloured cue card is used. Each color of cue card represents each stage of presentation. After having done entire work then it is time to rehearse the cue cards for effective presentation. Each and every stage is equally important in bringing out cue cards.


1. Always keep number of points per slide 4 to 5.
2. Keep cue cards in point form.
3. For better visibility of cue cards keep the font size large enough so that audience at a far distance can see and understand the contents.
4. Keep the background of the cue cards neutral.
5. Don’t decorate cue cards.
6. Avoid adding uninteresting information.
7. And finally flow must be natural from one cue card to another.


Ask two or three volunteers to come forward from the audience and ask them to name any one topic of their choice and give them white sheets to write the topic and tell them to write the key points related to their chosen topic. Let other members also watch but not to disclose the key points related to the topic. Once the volunteers wrote the key points in skeleton format and then ask other members among the audience to add few more key points on the same topic which are meaningful and add value to the topic. And then ask them to rearrange the key points in a chronological order and then make a mnemonic device. Make it as precise as possible and it should work as a trigger to the mind of the presenter. And also ask the volunteers to make cue cards from the key points.

If the above exercise is done number to times it helps the audience to unlock their hidden creative ideas as well as encourage their thoughts chronologically and finally preparing cue cards effectively and efficiently.


To sum up cue cards are the clue cards for both presenters and audience. Although the technology is changing rapidly and other electronic devices are inundated with much better benefits than cue cards, the role of cue cards can neither be underestimated nor undermined in the years to come. We can therefore, conclude convincingly that cue cards are indeed clue cards for any presentation.


Thursday, September 4, 2008



Classroom Management is a cause for concern for teachers. With the rapid changes in technology and the major influence of media on the students there are certain behavioral changes, which are at variance with the accepted standards and norms. As a result, teachers find it difficult to manage the students in the classroom. The research paper highlights about the concept of classroom management, the Six Cs that is essential for teachers, innovative tips for teachers and tools and techniques for conducive classroom management are dwelt at length. The research paper also focuses on sandwich feedback and how to handle question and answer session in the classroom in detail. In the conclusion, it has called upon the teachers, students, parents and administration for effective coordination and synchronization for ensuring conducive learning environment in the classroom.

KEY WORDS: Introduction, What is Classroom Management? Six Cs for a Teacher, Teaching Methodologies, Innovative Teaching Tips, Action Exercises, Tools and Techniques for Conducive Classroom Management, Giving Feedback, Handling Question and Answer Session & Conclusion.



According to Skinner , “We are on the verge of a new educational method a new pedagogy in which the teacher will emerge as a skilled behavioral engineer. He will be able to analyze the contingencies, which will arise in his classroom and design and set up improved versions. He will know what is to be done and will have the satisfaction of knowing that he has done it.”

For every teacher the problem ahead is how to manage the classroom. It looks and sounds easy to maintain discipline the class. But in reality it is tough task for the teacher to ensure the same as no teacher can afford to incur the ill will of their students. At the same time it is essential to maintain discipline and decency of the class so as to impart the knowledge. In this context, let us look at the meaning of classroom management.


According to Wikipedia, Classroom management is a term used by many teachers to describe the process of ensuring that classroom lessons run smoothly despite disruptive behavior by students. The term also implies the prevention of disruptive behavior. It is possibly the most difficult aspect of teaching for many teachers and indeed experiencing problems in this area causes some to leave teaching altogether. In 1981 the US National Educational Association reported that 36% of teachers said they would probably not go into teaching if they had to decide again. A major reason was “negative student attitudes and discipline”. (Wolfgang and Glickman)

From the above it is very obvious that classroom indiscipline has become a major concern for the teachers. It is astonishing that just because of classroom issues teachers do not like to opt for teaching as a career.

In a nut shell, classroom management can be defined as the process of disciplining, interacting, educating, entertaining, eliciting and integrating the students in a constructive and creative class environment for providing knowledge, skills and abilities. The sole objective of classroom management is to provide conducive learning environment for the students. It basically revolves around three factors like discipline, motivation and respect. Only when the students are disciplined, motivated and respected then can we ensure effective classroom environment. All the three are interwoven in such a way that one without the other has no meaning.


Every teacher should have sic Cs such as courage, competence, confidence, communication, commitment and concern. The ability to face good number of students requires courage and at the same time the teacher should have managing, controlling, commanding skills. Teacher not only teaches but also plays several roles in the class. For all this, s/he should have courage. Competence is one of the core areas and it is one of the major characteristics of any teacher. Competence comes only when the teacher is thorough with the subject knowledge. And the competence in turn leads to confidence. Students can pose any number of questions and the teacher should display confidence levels to respond the same. However the competency the teacher posses s/he should be able to communicate the same to the students effectively. What is the use of having extensive knowledge when you do not know how to communicate? The teacher should have commitment towards his/her professional roles and responsibilities. It is the commitment towards teaching that brings out great respect towards the teachers. And regarding the final sixth C – concern, the teacher should have concern about the students whether they understand the topics being taught in the class. It is possible to know by observing the body language of the students. Therefore, all SIX Cs are crucial for all teachers. It is right quoted by Anon , “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”


Edgar Dale said, “People remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% what they hear and see and 80% of what they hear, see and do.”

Every teacher has unique way of teaching, as no two teachers are alike. However there are certain teaching and training methodologies that can be adopted which are common in nature. After following the same one can evolve one’s own way of teaching methodology based on experience and expertise and convenience and comfort.

Any teaching should have combination of audio, video, interaction, questioning, case studies or examples or short stories and summary. All these ingredients are essential more or less in any classroom teaching and the same may be customized based on the profile of the students and the domain one covers. Every teacher speaks in the class, which can be called as an audio, and at the same time the teacher should use black board or power point presentations or cue cards to support the audio version of teaching. Only when these two are effectively coordinated and synchronized with case study or short story with active interaction and questioning the teaching would be complete and effective. At the end encouraging the students to summarize what was discussed will make the teaching process highly effective.


· Maintain a diary exclusively for collecting motivational and inspirational quotations and pass on one quote for one class to the students regularly. It helps in motivating and inspiring the students.
· Maintain a diary exclusively for collecting short stories and the same can be used in the classroom to fill the gaps if any during the classroom teaching. We humans love to listen to stories and any small story which is message oriented will arouse the interest among the students and it also helps in character building.
· Daily teach one new word or concept other than the domain, which indicates your interest in teaching and also encourages the students to learn new terminologies or concepts on regular basis. It also helps in widening the knowledge base of the students.

The above innovative and creative tools will help the students to think broadly thus helps teachers commanding respect from the students.


Below is the action exercise that triggers students into action. First pose a question like “What gives you 100 per cent result?” and then invite their answers and probably students may come out with words like discipline, knowledge, experience, commitment, intelligence ……

Then give the answer as “ATTITUDE” and justify by telling students as below: Number the alphabets of English from 1 to 26 with A assigning with number 1, B assigning with number 2 and at the end Z assigning with number with 26. Then assign each number against each letter in the word “ATTITUDE” and then sum it up then it comes to 100. Therefore, ATTITUDE gives 100 result.

Likewise design your own exercises that enthuse and excite the students that will help in providing knowledge to the students and also helps in better classroom management.


“First, understand that behavior and classroom management are two different things. Behavior has to do with discipline. Classroom management has to do with procedures and routines.” Harry Wang .

· If the teachers possesses competency in their subject then the students would fall in line of discipline and they respect their teachers.
· Teachers should command rather than demand respect from students.
· It is necessary to have proper rapport with students. It minimizes any gap in understanding between the teachers and students thus promoting classroom harmony and peace.
· According to Emmer and colleagues, assertive behavior is the ability to stand up for one’s legitimate rights in ways that make it less likely that others will ignore or circumvent them. (2003, p.146) Teachers need to be assertive right from the beginning as it conveys right attitude towards them thereby having longevity in understanding and maintaining relations accordingly. There should not be any aggressive or submissive behavior in the initial stage as it conveys wrong signals to the students.
· Teachers should memorize the names so that they can address their students by their names and that strengthens the bond between them.
· Teachers should set personal example in their behavior. If the students find any gap between what the teachers preach and practice then the teachers would lose their credibility. In the long run, it leads to classroom indiscipline.
· Knowing the students psychology will help the teachers behave amicably and it helps in furthering better relations between the teachers and students.
· Teachers should be very good time managers and should not waste their time in unproductive and meaningless discussions. They should be punctual to their classrooms.
· All efforts should be initiated to avoid classroom politics and all students should be treated equally irrespective of their merits, ranks and social positions.
· If the students misbehave then the teachers should use their body language with serious facial expressions, eye contact.
· To control the commotion in the class until then it was unattended by teacher then start giving notes to the students as they keep themselves being busy with notes and diversion from snafu to silence.
· As soon as the teacher enters the room if two or three questions are written down on the board and ask and the same is posed to the students to respond then the students will get engaged in answering the questions. This can control classroom commotion easily.
· The teachers can also crack jokes and direct the classroom from commotion to normalcy as students enjoy the jokes.
· By asking the students what was discussed in the previous class it not only engages the students in constructive thinking but also provides lead to the present session by threading.
· In the larger interests of permanent classroom management, the teachers should list out their expectations from their students and at the same time they should find out the expectations of the students. If there are any gaps between the expectations and realities and the efforts should be initiated to bridge the same. This democratic style of discussion and interaction between the teachers and students will bring healthy relations. And finally the objectives of teaching can be met effectively and efficiently.
· Teachers should be packed with adequate material in order to engage the students effectively. There should be material like practical activities, role-plays, short stories, case studies etc., which can be utilized as per the situation to fill the gaps in the class. These things will help especially when the topic is totally covered and teacher gets dry with the topic material.
· In extreme cases, when the student does not fall in line with the established discipline despite repeated reminders for correction of behavior then the last resort would be to bring the issue to the parents for their immediate action and correction. This weapon would be used as a last resort when all the options failed to pay off. Such an action will send strong signal to other students in the class as well, and they would be set right automatically.


Give feedback to the students is a very challenging and tough job. It has to be given without hurting any student personally. However if it is praise it is necessary to praise in public and it is criticism then it is advisable to call to cabin and criticize privately. While giving feedback it is necessary to attack the behavior of the student not the student as it brings out behavioral improvement.

While praising it should be objective and specific. That means pinpoint the specific act that resulted in positive outcome result and praise. Or otherwise it results into flattery and the other person does not take seriously. Any pat has to be timely. At the time of good behavior it has to be noticed, addressed and applauded, as praise will have more immediate impact. Such a pat must be in the presence of all students as other students would learn the positive behavior and would try to imitate to get recognized and noticed for pat. In this way, the teacher not only praises the behavior of a particular student but also encourages others indirectly to emulate best practices.

Sandwich feedback is another tool that can be employed effectively in correcting the students as it helps in effective classroom management. In this feedback initially the teachers offer the positive compliment and highlights about the negative behavior for correction and finally concluding with positive remarks. In this way, the students do not get hurt and take the feedback constructively for effective improvement. For instance, let us take the below sentence which is an example of sandwich feedback.

“Dear Robert, you always get good marks in the examinations. But in the recent examinination you did not score well what went wrong with your preparation. Put more efforts and energies in your preparation. And I am sure you will definitely improve your score.”


“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image”, Anon .

Honesty is the best policy. When any student poses questions related to the subject the teacher should be in a position to reply the same up to the satisfaction of the student. It is possible only when the teacher is very strong in the subject. If the answer to the question is not known, then it is better to say that the answer would be addressed in the next session. It is not possible to know everything under the sun in the earth. And it is mandatory to prepare fully the answer from various dimensions so as to respond to the student. It not only enhances the credibility of the teacher but also it helps in enhancing the knowledge base and the same can be utilized in the next class. Another way of responding the answer is to ask any of the students to reply the question and the due credit has to be passed on to the student. Even if the answer is known to the teacher then also the same question to be passed on to other students to respond and if any student replies partially correct than the teacher can summarize the answer totally to the satisfaction of the student. It enhances interaction level among the students and it also helps in effective classroom management.


William Arthur Ward quoted, “A mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates and a great teacher inspires.”

A student spends an average of 25000 hours in the campus. It means considerable amount of time is spent in the campus only. It makes obvious that we need to make the conducive learning environment for the students. When best practices and procedures are adopted it is very easy to manage classrooms effectively thereby making learning process easier. There has to be openness, right coordination and synchronization among the teachers, students, parents and administration to make it happen.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


'A student spends 25,000 hours in the campus. The school must have the best of teachers who have the ability to teach, love teaching and build moral qualities' - A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM

On 5th of September every year we celebrate Teachers Day to mark the birth anniversary of Dr.S.Radhakrishnan former President and teacher at heart. It indicates the kind of respect we accord to teaching profession. According to Hindu philosophy, next to mother and father it is the teacher who enjoys the respect. Across the world the teachers are respected because of the role they play in building the nation.

Like any other Teachers Day even this day passes off like any other day. But there has to be certain takeaways in this context. India will have 50 per cent of the population with in the age of 25 years and it is a positive and healthy sign keeping the productivity and the progress of our country. When we look at the population of China it is ageing. Here, in this context, India has an edge against China. With the excellent base of young population, India can progress rapidly despite having some challenges in other areas economically.

There are certain areas where youth need to improve such as ability to dreaming big thinking big and acting big. We have challenges like unemployability where we have ample of opportunities in employment and unfortunately we do not have employable youth to meet the skill sets of the employers. A few freshly recruited employees are served with pink slips because they do not have soft skills. Soft skills are nothing but communication skills consisting both written and oral skills besides other skills like right attitude, presentation skills, team building skills, leadership skills etc.,

Another challenge apart from soft skills is lack of proper encouragement in entrepreneur skills. Indian youth have entrepreneur skills but the parents do not usually encourage their children to opt for this, as there are risks involved in this. Due to lack of social security measures in our country the parents would like their old age to be secured and protected and also advice their children to play safe by going for employment so that they can have regular incomes from employment for their sustenance. It also happens because of fear of failure and fear of criticism. Even if the youth try to experiment in the entrepreneurial perspective they are more worried about the fear of failure and criticism. And probably there would be none to support them in case of failure. Lack of leadership skills is another area to be touched upon. We have good managers not good leaders.

India with a population of a billion plus needs to have adequate representation of leaders across the world. But unfortunately we do not have, as there is no right ambience to learn and experiment. Leadership is the ability to inspire others and it is like having a fire in the belly to achieve something unimaginable. It is like having self-motivation to push ahead despite stiff opposition. It is like having an extra spark.

There is need to focus on the present educational system which needs to be evolved and reinvented as per the rapid changing global scenario. More of interaction, more of role plays, more of practical activities and more of practical education can bring out the best students who can make India proud. We have youth icons like Abhinav Bindra who bagged gold medal in the individual shooting event in the recent Beijing Olympics despite constraints and without the support of the government.

There is no doubt that the youth of this country is playing a crucial role for the growth of our nation. We usually claim the future of our country lies in the hands of youth. In fact, it is the teachers who play a crucial role shaping the students by becoming their role models and by imparting right teaching and training methodologies. Therefore, on the eve of Teachers Day, let students learn good lessons and take the support of their teachers for bringing out their best by getting equipped with right tools and techniques.

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Anon