“Rajat ji, who is your favourite anchor”? is one question that many people keep asking me. While most professionals compare themselves to their own earlier versions and improve over them but honestly everyone has someone else in their profession that they admire and so do I. Having been a journalist and an anchor for many decades, i would say that when someone outside your profession shines in a role such as anchoring, that one sits up and takes notice. And on that note I have a non-journalist entry and that would be our very own Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajat Sharma, Editor-in-chief and chairman, India TV wrote.
He said a good anchor should not only be a good orator but should also have knowledge about different topics to hold the conversation with people from different domains. This this very ability to be a constant learner has not only helped Modi converse better with people, but has also helped him in a different way.
“Modi knows quite a lot about many topics. He has said many times that he has spent some time in most districts of India, especially before he began to hold national positions in his party. Being among the people has helped him gain great knowledge about India’s vastly diverse people and cultures, which one cannot get from books or newspapers; it’s practical knowledge. This is the sort of knowledge that, if one wants a media parallel, separates an anchor who has reporting experience from a studio-bred anchor who does not have experience of the heat and dust outside,” Hindustand Times reported quoting Rajat Sharma.
He said that PM Modi’s excellent skill of holding and moderating a meaningful conversation was seen during during the Fit India Dialogue 2020. “He spoke spoke to everyone, From a young female Kashmiri footballer to a cricket superstar, from a nutritionist to a yoga guru, effortlessly and held forth on their respective topics with elan. The ease with which he connects to people from many walks of life, something that I had observed long ago, was there for everyone to see. As a yogi who had become the global brand ambassador of yoga, he was fittingly the moderator of this dialogue. And as a karmayogi who has never taken a day off, he is also the epitome of fitness,” he added.
According to Rajat Sharma, that is not what stood out in the conversation; it was something else. It was the warmth Modi exudes which helps people to connect easily with him. “This breaks the ice and puts people at ease and makes them open up, forgetting the fact that they are speaking to a larger-than-life leader. For example, in the same “Fit India” interaction, he cracked a joke with Milind Soman about his age, created a phrase “Ace It Like Afshan” for the footballer, and asked Virat Kohli about the Yo-Yo test.”
“When it began, some people thought that Mann Ki Baat would be a monthly speech on the radio. But Modi has made it a conversation where he, as the anchor, brings together the successes and stories of common people. Even there, he is a calm and knowledgeable anchor whenever he is speaking to people. The conversations are always engaging. An engaging conversation is possible only when people are looking to learn from one another with an open mind. This ability to think that they may have something to learn from the other person is what makes people good listeners. An important reason behind Modi’s excellent conversation skills is that he sees himself as a constant learner. He may be the prime minister, but he still thinks he can look to learn something from everyone, young or old,” he said.
Another such instance was a recent interaction organised by Niti Aayog, where Modi was speaking to a few bureaucrats and technology experts on skill mapping and employment-related issues. Rajat Sharma said he was really impressed by the precise question Modi had asked. “He elevated the level of conversation with his specific questions and inputs that even the panellists could not help saying that it inspired them to think deeper. He did connect with them on the basis of skills, employability, social infrastructure in worker clusters, rating of companies based on how they take care of employees and forecasting of manpower requirements in upcoming industrial clusters.”
A similar trend was seen across the multiple interactions he had during the coronavirus pandemic with media, doctors, and various other sections of society. He spoke with specifics at hand, calmed everyone and made everyone remember why they were doing what they were doing.
He further said that we Indians are generally passionate about conversations and this is the reason why Modi’s conversations, be it “Fit India Dialogue” or Mann Ki Baat or a host of other such conversations are avidly followed by people. However, the “X factor” in all of them is Modi. “The most articulate orators are good at mass communication which is often unidirectional. However, Modi is a rare phenomenon who is both a mass communicator as well as an excellent moderator in multi-directional communication. “
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