WHAT do Joanna Bessey, Tom Cruise and John Travolta have in common? They are all students of the art of communication and “learn how to learn” techniques as taught by Applied Scholastics International (ASI).
“When I was 13, I started the learn how to learn programme and my studies in school went amazingly well,” says Bessey who still attends ASI conventions in the United States.
She is among thousands of people comprising students, businessmen and celebrities who have participated in the ASI courses, which specialise in teaching the art of learning and how to overcome difficulties in learning. Today, she is a qualified instructor of ASI courses.
At the ASI centre located in Taman Seputeh in Kuala Lumpur, even ambassadors based in Malaysia have attended the courses, which are conducted on a one-teacher one-student basis.
“Effective communication can make a difference between success and failure in today’s business world,” says the centre’s executive director S. Krishnan.
“A miscommunication can make or break a sale, a deal or a relationship and this can cost the company money that could be more wisely spent.”
Some of his corporate clients, like Citibank, Celcom and Tenaga Nasional, have benefited because they are now able to serve their customers better through effective communication and learning skills, he says.
For corporate clients, ASI trains managers, executives and front-liner staff to know the fundamentals of guiding and controlling communication in all situations.
Held over three days, the programme enables participants to develop strategies for communicating and interacting effectively to help reduce organisational and work problems resulting from poor communication and inter-personal skills.
“Most of all, it adds power to their communication style as they can win over customers,” says Krishnan who has used ASI training modules over the past 20 years.
At the invitation of the Mongolian Government’s Education Ministry, ASI instructors have coached 100 educators from schools and colleges early this year.
They have also conducted courses for Dell staff at its calling centre in India.
“The programme is highly stimulating and interactive with a combination of group and individual exercises and lectures,” says ASI’s programme director R. Punitha.
“Participants take turns coaching and being coached through each of the 18 exercises until they have achieved the abilities of all the drills.
“By receiving feedback and coaching another person, participants fully develop each skill until they achieve a high level of proficiency and confidence in their ability to communicate effectively.”
From post training evaluations, says Krishnan, the participants were found to be more committed and productive.
“They were also able to work as a team and avoid conflicts.”
“One is able to listen to anything and pleasantly handle arduous tasks through effective questioning and counselling,” says Punitha who has worked with participants ranging from pre-schoolers to executives in their 50s for the past 15 years.
The programme can also be used with slow learners, she says.