When E.L.I.T.E. Met Pinnacle – Capgemini

I have almost always managed to just make it seem like I am fairly comfortable when put on a stage. I go through whatever I have to say at a decent pace, I remain concise and am good at expressing ideas. I might stumble in my speech somewhere down the line, but I’ll regain the “flow”. So when Minita complimented me for all the above-mentioned features after my short 2-minute introductory speech, I didn’t find it surprising. As it turned out, she was saving the surprise for the latter part of the feedback. I look more like a mannequin than a living and breathing human being when I’m on stage; I barely move. I don’t know what to do with my hands; when I am on stage, they become stiff. I could crack the best joke ever (not that I can!) and yet barely smile myself. Now that was some surprise! And so, the Pinnacle Intent-based Communication Training, which was supposed to boost our confidence in public speaking, kicked-off by dragging it down. This probably was one great thing about the training. Why was it great? Because I believe acknowledgement of your flaws is a pre-requisite for any attempt to improve yourself.

Capgemini E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program had kicked-off in the best possible manner. Within two weeks of joining we had had sessions with almost half the Executive Committee. There were domain specific sessions as well avenues to work in teams and apply whatever we had learnt. This meant that by the third week of training, the expectations from the E.L.I.T.E. trainees were quite high. When we were told we would be attending a 2-day communication training, I wasn’t amused. None, not a single one, of the communication trainings I had attended in school/college had proven to be useful.

Minita Gandhi walked into the training room with a huge smile on her face. There was an air of confidence about her. She took twenty minutes to set up the camera and all other paraphernalia associated with the training and another twenty minutes to totally convince every single one of us in the room why it is a good idea to attend the Pinnacle Training sessions. What did she do in twenty minutes? Well, not much, she introduced herself and asked us to do the same. But that was enough to convince us why we needed to be there!

There are three reasons why the Pinnacle Training stands out for me. Firstly, the personalised approach – 19 E.L.I.T.E. Trainees were split up into 2 batches. That implies that an instructor worked with only 9/10 trainees over the course of two days. This gave them the time to assess and improve each trainee individually. Every one of us had at least a dozen opportunities to be in the limelight and we received feedbacks on each and every one of those occasions; not just from the instructor but also from the peer group. Secondly, the relevance of the content – this is a make-or-break parameter as far as trainings are concerned. Grammar lessons are not what we need. Thankfully, Pinnacle understands the concept. Over the course of two days, we worked on executive presence, public speaking, storytelling, impromptu speaking, one-on-one conversations and so on, all of which are relevant for any consultant. Lastly, the follow-up – Pinnacle did not intend this to be a one-time training. They had arranged for multiple tools for us to continuously improve our communication skills. We have been given access to videos of our speeches/presentations, a workbook to look back at the 2-day training and most importantly, access to our wonderful and talented instructors. You couldn’t have asked for more!

The Pinnacle Training had to live up to the expectations of 19 E.L.I.T.E. Trainees, a tough ask, but they did it. Personally, I cannot thank the E.L.I.T.E. Core Team enough for arranging the training. They had ensured that the first ever batch of Capgemini E.L.I.T.E. Trainees had all the right tools become effective communicators.

Abhijith Remanan

Abhijith Remanan is a management trainee in the Capgemini E.L.I.T.E. General Management Program. He graduated from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 2017.