Roshan Abbas and Siddharth Banerjee's Speechless Mantra for Public Speaking in the Industry

Sneha Yadav
Dec 19, 2018 13:38 IST
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siddharth banerjee and roshan abbas

Roshan Abbas, Managing Director, Geometry Encompass and Siddharth Banerjee, EVP- Marketing, Vodafone India discuss the art of Public Speaking, building your personal profile and all about their book Speechless in a live session for #SamosaTalks. 

“We are all selling everyday. We are selling ideas, proposals, business pitches, sometimes even selling ourselves in terms of being attractive to others. And therefore the ability to sell effectively or to communicate effectively is what speechless is all about,” asserts Siddharth Banerjee, Chief Marketing Officer at Vodafone.

When Abbas and Banerjee teamed up about 18 months ago, the duo discussed on how can they create a mantra for making sure that they are able to use their combined 50 years of experience and distill some of the stories into a mantra called SPEECHLESS so that others can also benefit from it. “The journey has been fascinating,” exclaimed the duo.  

The Journey of Speechless

Abbas shares that his parents are teachers and he used to do workshops ever since he was in radio and theatre because he feels that you can always impart what you have learnt. He adds, “Along the way I started doing workshop on public speaking- I needed to find a great name for it because when you go for these conferences, for the attention of various people you need that attractive name. So Speechless was something that drew me and Siddharth was also present at that very workshop. When the workshop got over we two met outside and we were also in the same school along with being good debaters and very fond of English language”.

Abbas thinks a lot what we they have achieved is because of the way they communicate with people. “Siddharth told me because for you this is a profession you sound it little too easy. It can't just be couple of practical tips, it also requires us to understand is there a mantra? Is there something that people can go back and connect with. In the first meeting or two, we were just discussing ideas. But when we tried to combine it we wanted to have a common voice and a point of agreement. And that's when we realised Speechless- the word can spell out the mantra. For eg: S stands for set-up- so most people when they speak they don't look at the set up they  are speaking in, what is the lowest common denominator the audience is going to share, etc. Sp there are multiple ways in which you will understand what a good set up is. Once that was in place I think it was very easy to sit one on one weeks and discuss the topics. I love telling stories.”

During the planning process, both Banerjee and Abbas kept noting things down and that's how the journey began. Abbas quipped, “It took us 18 months which is almost two pregnancies, so we have given birth to our lovely pair of twins.”  

Speechless’ X Factor

Banerjee shared that the interesting thing about Speechless is that you can think about it at two levels- good and great. First is logic in which how do you make sure that when you are communicating your ideas effectively or public speaking how do you make sure that you are never speechless or underprepared. The second and great level is magic which is about the fact that can we help you with our mantra to live the audience speechless in awe and respect with the fact that you given them a gift.

Favourite phrase or practice exercise from the book

For Abbas it is “You have got to write, read, reduce and repeat”. He goes onto explain that for any form of communication - dont put out the first thing that come to your mind.  Write the tweet, read it, reduce and then repeat the process. You will find gold- suddenly it will give you insights and things that you haven't got. Many people don't do it. They use this opportunity to vomit out whatever they have thought. But they haven't processed it. If you do not read what you have written- firstly it’s a great memory tool, also you make a lot more things precise.

Also Read: Siddharth Banerjee quits Vodafone India as Marketing Head

Preparation is the key to Public Speaking

“All the great speakers that at least we know about prepare, prepare and prepare and that's the reason why they own the stage and charm us. I think preparations for all the audience who have tuned in - is the cornerstone of excellence in communicating ideas effectively,” opines Banerjee.

Abbas added here, “Just like preparation is important, finding the engine is also. First time when got on stage professionally when i was four years old in a school play. I learnt everyone’s lines. When the other actors froze, my presence of mind helped which is equally important.”

Application of Speechless

According to Banerjee, Public speaking is a superpower which goes beyond business and corporate life. You can use it in so many different ways.  

“You can use this when you are proposing to your girlfriend and when you are proposing the business to your girlfriend,  when on a train journey and you have nobody to talk to,” quipped Abbas. All these situations require us to possibly break the ice, to communicate an idea in a very short span of time and that’s what Speechless allows you to do.

To know more about the formula to be a good public speaker and it’s application in the marketing world, watch the live session below:


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