Co-founder of Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl, recalls when a founder asked him, 'Can I present in Hindi?' | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Co-founder of Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl, recalls when a founder asked him, 'Can I present in Hindi?'

ByVrinda Jain
Apr 23, 2024 10:39 AM IST

A founder who was giving a presentation about their startup to Kunal Bahl, the co-founder of Snapdeal asked if they could present in Hindi.

Presentations can be nerve-wracking, and it's natural to want to give your best while feeling comfortable. The same holds true for a founder who was giving a presentation about their startup to Kunal Bahl, the co-founder of Snapdeal. The founder asked Bahl if they could present in Hindi. Later, Bahl recounted the incident on X and emphasised the importance of using one's mother tongue.

Kunal Bahl, former CEO of India's e-commerce firm Snapdeal.(REUTERS)
Kunal Bahl, former CEO of India's e-commerce firm Snapdeal.(REUTERS)

"Can I present in Hind?" I was surprised when a startup founder sheepishly asked me a few days ago whether he can walk me through his startup's presentation in Hindi because he would be more comfortable. Obviously, I replied with a resounding 'Yes, of course! It seemed strange that two people, who understand and speak the same native language fluently, are having to discuss whether they can have a business presentation in their own language, which they know best," wrote Kunal Bahl in his tweet. (Also Read: ‘What are they teaching at the IITs?’: Indian-origin startup CEO slams IIT Kharagpur candidate over false resume claims)

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He further added, "But I presume many founders may be thinking that investors expect them to be very suave and fluent in English. At least from my standpoint, it absolutely doesn't matter. Zero. Getting your point across, the complete and authentic essence of it, is much more important than having a colonial mindset that if it's an important business presentation, it must be done in English. Irrespective of whether we are fluent in English or not, we should feel absolute confidence in speaking our mother tongue in business settings just like we do in social settings."

Take a look at his tweet here:

This post was shared on April 22. Since being posted, it has gained close to 70,000 views and the numbers are only increasing. The tweet also garnered over 600 likes. Many people flocked to the comments section of the post to share their reactions. (Also Read: Founder shares 5 tips on how to bounce back after losing confidence: ‘This was mentally unhealthy’)

Here's how people reacted:

An individual wrote, "Clear and effective communication is more important than the language."

A second posted, "I used to present in Hindi way back in 2009, but I was not very comfortable expressing my thoughts in English. Most of the time, VCs were very welcoming but never felt comfortable even asking follow-up questions. Maybe the first impression was, 'Yeh kya funding lega jab English bhi nahi bol pata' (What funding will he take if he can't speak in English?) This was in Mumbai."

"I have faced this in interviews in technology. Many good candidates have good skills. But unable to explain in Eng. I always welcome them to speak in any language where they can articulate ideas and thought processes clearly," commented a third.

A fourth shared, "That's at least one good aspect of Shark Tank India. The whole program is in Hindi, and they even discourage them from speaking English."

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