#53 My Business Communication Coach Arjun Buxi

Some of you might know I have transitioned to multiple roles at Adobe. First two years I started as an AB Test Manager. This gave me great foundational knowledge on analytics and predictive algorithms available at Adobe. For the following one year, I was a Product Manager of Adobe.com. It was a broader role with more emphasis on strategy of the webpages and operational models on how to develop a product: Design Sprint, Agile, Lean Start-up. And then I moved to Go to Market team. All of a sudden, my role went through a seismic shift. Go to Market role demands much deeper understanding on business, customers, strategy, operating models, organizational structure, finance, regional markets, analytics, and requires a superb communication across the organization.

As you can tell, the expectation on better communication exploded through the role change. Now how do I manage all these changes? Thankfully I have my communication coach. Arjun Buxi. Culture of speak. (https://www.cultureofspeak.com/)

Around four years ago, I learned about ’communication coach.’ The main feedback I got up until that point from work is always two things - I lack business acumen and communication. So determined to address that feedback, I decided to try out hiring a communication coach.

How did I find Arjun? In 2016 summer, I simply yelped, and there was only one person in San Jose with a great review. And that was him.

What is so unique about Arjun? He is the king of listening and encouraging. If he wanted, he could have been a therapist. ;-)
Plus, he is reliable, professional, and well prepared.

How often do I meet him? I meet him once every week, if possible. I try to meet him even if I don’t have any upcoming formal presentation because surprisingly there are always more contents I can practice.

What do I do when I meet Arjun? At the beginning, Arjun had curriculum like executive presence, communication framework. And then I had an interview with Adobe, so I practiced my interview script. Once I started Adobe, I practiced any upcoming presentations. At one point, as I read books a lot, I practiced how to introduce books to people. Now I practice whatever benefits my current role. Additionally, he helped me with decisions around my career direction as he is such a good listener.

How do I afford his service? I use Adobe $1K professional training fund first. Anything additional, I pay him out of my own pocket. It is well deserved investment for me.

Any last word? I am often asked how to improve communication (and English). At the beginning of my career, I thought I should read Wall Street Journal and lots of books. I do believe it is definitely helpful.

However, in the context of my career growth, my best approach was

  1. Put myself into a job that requires me to speak more

  2. Understand the contents really well; understand audience, too

  3. Memorize good phrases my boss or colleagues used in the email or in presentation

  4. Do my speaking on the job at my best every time (Practicing with coach accelerated the growth - please read a book called ‘Grit’ ;-))

  5. Most importantly, have a belief that I will get better even after a bad presentation.