How Communication Networks Determine the Work Environment?

Communication Networks in offices or organisations govern and define the Work environment. The work culture stems out of the manner in which the information is shared and exchanged.

What purpose does communication serve in an organisation? We frequently observe the following functions of communication:

1. Efficient planning

2. Sharing information

3. Training and development

4. Leadership and coordination

5. Building relationships

6. Facilitating decision making

Absence of good and transparent communication may lead to false assumptions and wrong inferences. On the other hand information overload, hierarchical rigidity and fear of superiors can also obstruct the communication process in an organisation.

If we explore vigilently we can identify the following four types of communication networks that operate in various organisations:

Wheel: It is less liberal and does not offer scope for free interaction.The power is centrally located. The communication is one_way and restricted. This does not give space to the subordinates to express their opinion or concerns. In this network communication is confined to one central point of authority hence it is rigid and autocratic.

Chain: It allows one – way communication. The people at every senior level communicate to their subordinates but their is no upward communication. This is based on passing information downward but does not give opportunity to junior employees to participate in the communication process. This is again restrictive and less interactive.

Circle: It allows interaction at same level and with people having similar interests. This helps in creating a liberal platform of communication for people sharing common goals and objectives. This network fuels competition and improves productivity.

Allchannel Network: It is the most democratic form of communication network. It facilitates communication across all levels. It is an open type of communication network that lets employees share their thoughts, concerns and grievances and focuses on managing employee communication through a well defined system of communication. The communication is both upward and downward.

An organisation can choose any communication network as per its requirement but it should be best suited in the interest of the organisation and its employees. If the office communication is clear, simple, transparent and liberal with equal opportunity for expression and open discussion it will not only empower the employees but also help attain professional goals.

A democratic communication network helps build trust among team members. Trust is essential for optimising the potential of the employees and improving their efficacy. Contented and happy team is the key to a positive work environment. Keeping in view the interest and demand of the employees is the mark of a successful employer. The communication network defined by an organisation can either promote or restrict the collective growth of the organisation based on whether it allows for open and flexible channels of communication or sticks to the rigid and orthodox system of communication hierarchy.

Employee satisfaction and employee growth are the biggest contributors to the success of an organisation. If the employees are provided a healthy and congenial environment it will help reduce undue work pressure and free them from unnecessary challenges in day to day work.

Let us thus aim to simplify the communication processes in work places by promoting flexibility, transparency, justice and equality. Remember, a brand is build not just through promotion and publicity; it is the human resource that is the most important asset of an organisation. If the employees are nurtured and their interests protected then undoubtedly there will be unparalleled rise in their performance.

External success is a reflection of the internal harmony, coordination and collective efforts of the employees. Establishing an effective communication network can show magical results in fostering a healthy and dynamic business environment.

How Language Affects Organisational Behaviour

Language is a cultural construct. It stems out of the necessity to express oneself and share thoughts among people. Language is an abstract and creative representation of human ideas. It is the means to connect to people around you and to your surroundings.

Language when used positively leaves a positive impression on the listener. Language is perceived by the listener in two ways; one is at the semantic level, second at phonetic level. Another method through which messages are received is the non-verbal level.

Phonetic level is the manner in which sounds are articulated and the semantic is the meaning that is intended for the listener. Non-verbal is that which further helps to decipher the hidden meaning of the spoken words.

The role of the sender is immense in the process of communication. How a message is encoded and expressed majorly affects the organisational dynamics.

Positive language is courteous, supportive, encouraging, understanding and sympathetic. It is based on audience analysis and words and contents are suited to the needs of the listener. The cultural contexts and subjective factors are taken into consideration before delivering the message.

Positive language as opposed to negative language consciously avoids slangs, reference to personal failings, ferocious or aggressive tone, meaness and prejudice of any kind. The aim of using positive language is to arrive at a compromise and to resolve problems through amicable solution.

Positive language has the following advantages over the negative language:-

1. Creates harmony

2. Generates goodwill

3. Fosters good relations with fellow employees, clients and stakeholders.

4. Helps remove misunderstandings

5. Resolves conflicts

6. Improves efficiency

7. Removes stress

8. Enhances brand building and promotes reputation management.

So , use a positive language to create positive impressions and establish a healthy work environment.

How Silence Becomes a Powerful Non-Verbal Tool of Communication?

Silence speaks when words fall short. Silence uses neither words, nor sounds or syllables. Yet it acts as a subtle means of communication. It is both strength and weakness. This article is about the mysterious power of silence. It attempts to explore how silence empowers one to communicate at a deeper level of communication where even words fail. Let us unravel the hidden force of silence.

Silence is golden‘, is what we have always known but do we also know that silence is a type of Non-verbal Communication?

Keep silence‘ can be seen on signages in hospitals or reading rooms.

Finger on your lips‘ or ‘Pin drop silence‘ are commonly used idioms in kindergarten or primary schools.

In public speaking platforms the anchor always announces ” Ladies and gentlemen, please put your mobiles on silent mode”and while travelling by air we are requested “to put our mobiles on silent mode.”

So whoever said that silence doesn’t speak?

Silence on the bank of a river is tranquility, silence on the hill top is meditation, silence in the lap of mother nature is divine.

Silence in a prayer service is repect, silence in condolence is homage, silence in classrooms is discipline, silence in hospitals is consideration, silence in argument is wisdom, silence in anger is pain, silence in pain is patience, silence in peace is an agreement, silence in solitude is contemplation.

Silence is powerful but silence in injustice is cowardice. Silence is strength, silence is hope but staying silent against wrong is weakness.

Silence is cold, chilling and frightening in fear, misery and death.

In love, silence is beautiful. When the eyes speak and the heart listens silence is bliss. Silence then becomes faith, silence in love becomes trust.

The language of silence is not words , not sounds, not metre nor syllables, it is deeper language of heart and mind. It is an expression of emotions which are strong and profound.

Silence speaks if you have ears to listen and heart to feel. Keep listening!

Some Annoying Non-Verbal Actions that You Should Always Avoid

People do frame opinions about you based on your non-verbal communication. It is upto you that how you want your public image to be framed. Do you wish to be recognised as a sensible, sensitive, responsible and intelligent individual or you wish to appear as an irresponsible, unpleasant, insensitive and foolish person?

The choice is yours. Remember image and reputation management is a necessary marketing strategy in todays competitive environment.

In the previous post I discussed about how Non-Verbal communication plays a pivotal role in the process of communication. Through this post I wish to throw light on some basic and quite commonplace human behaviour which knowingly or unknowingly turns out to be annoying to the onlooker or a keen observer. Most people are blind or ignorant to these gestures as they lack the ability to recognise the implications of these gestures. Here we will devote considerable attention to such common yet annoying behaviour.

  • Bangbang: No, I Have no intention to coin any new theory of evolution rhyming with the one named Big bang. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that many people while making presence in public gatherings like meetings, seminar halls, convocations, examination halls or auditoriums are highly insensitive to opening and closing doors while stepping in and out of the room. They just unintentionally bang the doors behind them , leaving behind a disturbed and annoyed audience. We can show more sensitivity to people by handling the doors more gently.
  • Drumming and whistling in public places : Yes drumming and whistling might be a great idea while enjoying leisure time with your friends but not in a formal setting. In a classroom, formal meeting, Interview or a conference hall, it is best to refrain from such actions. Such actions draw more negative attention than positive appreciation. Drumming could be interpreted as a symptom of anxiety or casual behaviour. Whistling again, may be interpreted as a mocking gesture or lack of self-control.
  • Pushing aside people, while trying to make way for oneself: Very annoying and offensive behaviour is one when people walk/ brush past against you pushing you or hurting you and then act so indifferent as if they did nothing. They do not feel the need to apologise and walk away from the scene. It only shows poor civic sense and people label you as rude and uncultured.
  • Acting funny in response to serious discussion or situations: Some people are so fascinated by the idea of cracking jokes that they try to bring in their characteristic humour in every situation. Irrespective of the fact where they are or in whose company they are sitting, some people are  always absorbed in their own thoughts.  Little do they realise that using humour every now and then in response to serious questions or grave discussions can become a serious offence if used without context and lack of judgement. It shows absence of consideration (One of the 7 C’s of communication) and comes across as an irresponsible behaviour.
  • Diverging from the central theme of discussion to avoid confrontationThere is another special category of people who always try to streamline the communication as per their liking. They override your arguments with illogical explanations simply to divert the flow of communication. They use this strategy as a weapon for self-defense. Such a communication where one tries to mask ones mistakes by using illogical and irrational arguments to divert the attention and escape from the uncomfortable situation is often judged as escapist or arrogant behaviour. It is important to confront the fears instead of trying to hide them under the carpet.
  • Staying glued to ones mobile while someone is talking: Highest form of discourteousness observed in todays mobile generation is staying glued to ones mobile when someone is speaking. This is nothing less than showing disrespect to the speaker. Eye contact is a significant way to send feedback to the speaker. Avoiding eye-contact may send the wrong signal and strain the relations with the speaker and create misunderstandings.

People do frame opinions about you based on your non-verbal communication. It is upto you that how you want your public image to be framed. Do you wish to be recognised as a sensible, sensitive, responsible and intelligent individual or you wish to appear as an irresponsible, unpleasant, insensitive and foolish person?

The choice is yours. Remember image and reputation management is a necessary marketing strategy in todays competitive environment. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal is an indespensible tool in reputation management.

Non-Verbal Communication 

If words are the basic unit of a dialogue, the aspects of non -verbal communication are the supporting pillars that impart value to the process of communication. 

There are twofold benefits of Non-verbal communication.First, it helps the sender to communicate effectively,second it offers significant information to the observant receiver about the sender’s intent and potential. Non-verbal communication performs five important functions in the process of communication:
1. Helps to reinforce the spoken or written words
2. Helps to regulate the flow of communication
3. Helps the receiver to retain information

Communication is a process of creating meaningful conversations and Speak With Conviction, Lead with Confidence
connections through the medium of language. Language is the basic tool of communication. Language encapsulates the meaning, purpose, tone and emotions of the communicator.

Language may be classified as definite language or indefinite language. A definite language is one which is structured , which has a distinct sound system, a fixed vocabulary, a syntax to govern the rules of sentence and structure and an evolved system of semantics and pragmatics. Hindi,English, Sanskrit, German, French etc. are examples of definite language. Indefinite language relies on clues, signs, symbols, gestures, postures , abstract images, and para-linguistic features to develop a system of meaning. The sign language hieroglyphics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieroglyph) used by ancient Egyptians in their writing system can be considered as an example of such type of language. Meaning in non-verbal communication is interpreted on the basis of sharp judgement and rehearsed reading of body, mind and images as it goes beyond the spoken or written  words to define an idea.
If words are the basic unit of a dialogue, the aspects of non -verbal communication are the supporting pillars that impart value to the process of communication.

There are twofold benefits of Non-verbal communication.First, it helps the sender to communicate effectively,second it offers significant information to the observant receiver about the sender’s intent and potential. Non-verbal communication performs five important functions in the process of communication:
1. Helps to reinforce the spoken or written words
2. Helps to regulate the flow of communication
3. Helps the receiver to retain information
4. Offers significant insights about the personality, emotional state, intention and competence level of the participants
5. It can be a valuable source of feedback for the sender

Have you ever wondered why we use punctuation marks in written communication? Why do we not write in a plain style without using Periods (.), commas (,),Question marks(?) or Apostrophe (‘)? Punctuation marks are a way to make the reader aware of the opening and closing of ideas. A comma is an indicator of a pause, a semi-colon. Punctuation marks give intended meaning to the language. Wrong placement of punctuation marks can completely mislead the reader and result in a disaster for example;

Let us eat, daddy. 
Let us eat daddy.

In the first sentence daddy is being called for dinner. However, in the second sentence, daddy himself has become an item to be eaten.

Similarly, in spoken communication we use Para-linguistic features such as voice, pitch, tone, speed and rhythm to make our message more clear and impressive. These features reveal unspoken facets of the speakers personality like understanding of subject-matter,   confidence, sincerity, leadership, social intelligence, persuasive skills and consideration for the audience. If your voice is too soft, it is suggestive of low level of confidence; if it is too harsh it suggests over-confidence or lack of civic sense. If the tone is flat with no rise or fall, it reflects poor or average communication skills and lack of emotional dynamics in the message. Tone variation (Intonation) https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/speaking/intonationis essential to stress or emphasize a particular point or idea. Moreover, it makes the message engaging and entertaining to the listener. The speed of your message delivery should be moderate, that is neither too fast nor too slow to connect to your audience. You want the audience to listen and respond to your message rather than to be put off by your fast speeding speech or slow, mundane expression.

Non-verbal communication is not restricted to just these para-linguistic features or Vocalics.

The other types of Non- Verbal ways of communicating include:

  • Kinesics:  This is one of the most crucial factor in the study of non-verbal communication. It is the study of body language. It is further classified into postures and gestures. Posture is related to the position of your back-bone and gesture is related to your limb movements. The  study of various eye movements and facial expressions is also included under this branch of Non-verbal communication.
  • Proxemics: It is the study which explains how space is used by people to communicate at different levels. The distance that we maintain while communicating with others defines our level of comfort, intimacy and  also our cultural identity. This study was conducted by anthropologist Edward T. Hall in the year 1960. On the basis of this study the concept of space is broadly classified into four zones namely,
  1.           Public zone
  2.            Social zone
  3.            Personal zone
  4.            Intimate zone
  • Haptics: It is the science of touch. Touch is a sensitive tool of communication and should be used judiciously and by keeping in mind its cultural connotations. A pat on the back may communicate sympathy, support or encouragement. Various types of hand shakes may be studied under this branch of communication. Touch can be healing and therapeutic. It can be harmful or offensive too.
  •  Chronemics:  is the study of the role of time in communication. It reflects the way in which person perceives and values time. Time perception communicates an individuals punctuality and willingness to wait. It plays a huge role in non-verbal communication.

Non-verbal communication is a broad area and covers a wide range of major and minor elements which have not been discussed here. To gain a detailed insight into the fascinating world of gestures, postures, symbols and images keep reading.  There is more to what meets the eye. Your appearance, choice of clothes you make, the colours you wear and the accessories that you carry, they all leave a unique impression and give away valuable information about you  and your character to the observer. So be careful of what you wear and how you look.

It is worth mentioning that only 35% of our communication is through words. This means that 65% of our communication is constituted of Non-verbal means of communication! This factAAEAAQAAAAAAAA2fAAAAJDZkOGRlZDAwLWUzZGMtNDUxNS05MmRhLTA5YTQ3NGU0ODIxOA itself speaks of its role in our lives.

प्लेटफार्म पर इंतज़ार 

माथे पर नहीं थी कोइ शिकंज, ना मुख पर उलझन, कदम तेज़ थे, जोश अनोखा, आँखों में चमक नई थी, चहक रही वो जैसे मन ही मन, कुछ सपने बुनती डोल रही थी।

आई सवारी, तब उठा समान बिन बोले ही बोल रही थी । झटपट द्वार किए बन्द,  स्काईबैग को तब रोशन ने उठाया, गाड़ी को फिर स्टेशन की राह पर दौड़ाया। प्लेटफॉर्म पहुंच कर सामान 💼 उतारा,  लो अब बजने वाले थे बस बारा।

हुआ इन्तज़ार कुछ यूं लम्बा जब पढ़ा प्लेटफार्म पर रेल्वे का एलान जिसने जारी कर दिया ट्रेन लेट का फरमान । लम्हे फिर घंटों में बदले,  तन्हा कैसे कटे सफर?

हुई शुरू शिरकत प्लेटफार्म पर, लगने लगी उठक बैठक,  चार कदम आगे बढ़ते, दो कदम पीछे,  बैचेनी जब और बढ़ी, चाय 🍵 की प्याली हाथ चढ़ी, आँखें थीं  कि राह पर गड़ी,  घड़ी -घड़ी निगाहें घड़ी पर अटक जातीं स्टेशन की घड़ी से बारम्बार मिलाती।

फिर भी सहज सरल भाव लिए, थकावट को छुपाए हुए  बैठी रही चेहरे पर हल्की सी मुस्कान लिए , धड़कन कुछ तेज़ हुई जब इंजन की सीटी नें 🔉 आवाज़ दी। इंजन फिर दहाड़ा, हरी झंडी ने जब किया इशारा ।

ओझल फिर नज़रों से हो गई । थी कौन वो जो घंटो करके इन्तज़ार, थी न व्याकुल न लाचार। ममतामयी सूरत, वात्सल्य की मूरत।और कौन होगी वह? वह तो एक माँ ही होगी जो मन में मिलन की आस लिए, स्वयं ही चल दी बच्चों के पास न जाने कितने स्वप्न लिए ?

सच बड़ा ही खूबसूरत सफर होगा , मिलन का अहसास गज़ब होगा ।

On Christmas Night

Nights are like long stretches of darkness, like shades of grey scattered against the white, like silent caves hidden in the wilderness. “What are nights for?”, I asked? Do they mean something? Do they say something?

When the whole world is sleeping and you are alone in your kitchen baking and the aroma of cake fills the night air, the twinkling stars from their heavenly heights take a deep breathe and stop to stare, that moment is beyond words. You sitting at your window catch a glimpse of the stars and even before you could react, they smile and wink and disappear. Disappear where?

“Stars to what places you go?”; “Who are the people you meet?” As I wondered I heard a little jingle outside my door. Oh! is that Santa greeting me, is that him who stole my dream to shower me with gifts?

I opened the door and saw the green grass in the lawn covered with snow. Surely, the leaves rustled, the logs burnt bright and the candles glowed. Yes! it was …it was him. Sometimes you feel like kids. You wait with hope, with desperation for something or someone to wrap you around with a blanket of warmth. The cozy feeling enlivens your spirit. The quiet of the night sounds like a gentle drizzle.

Nights are like long stretches of darkness, like shades of grey scattered against the white, like silent caves hidden in the wilderness. “What are nights for?”, I asked? Do they mean something? Do they say something? Why do we say ‘Dark night’, ‘Lonely night’, ‘Scary night’, ‘Long night’? Nights are also bright, lighted, starry, cool, breezy, warm, gentle, comforting? Aren’t they? Nights are for rest, for peace, for rejuvenation, for celebration.

When a star twinkles, a lamp glows or a candle burns it is the darkness of the night that conspires to make them illumine the world. When standing at the edge of a dark tunnel rest assured that daylight is spreading its wings somewhere.

Darkness is not ugly or evil. It is a moment that leads to another moment. It is the stillness that ushers you to action. It is the oblivion that awakens your deeper conscience.

Knowing thyself is truth, truth is true knowledge. Happiness is not dependent on people, events, situations and circumstances. It is within you. Ignorance is a veil that shields your vision. It creates the confusion between hope and despair, joy and sorrow, love and hatred.

On Christmas and this festive season, pledge yourself a world of happiness.With peace and wisdom that Santa brings for everyone, gift the world more happiness; happiness which is independent, unadulterated, which springs from within the fountains of inner calm and quietness.

Lift the veil, happiness is just round the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Draft a Perfect Professional Resume?

How and what words you use to write your resume´is consequential. Based on a career builder survey hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on reviewing resumes. This means each word you use would be indicative of something and the hiring manager would interpret it according to its verbal strength and purposefulness. So how to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader?

A resume´is a document that represents you when you are not physically present. Resume´speaks for you in your absence. It is a professional statement of your education, qualification and skills to help the recruiter determine your eligibility for an interview.

How to draft a resume to make an impression on the reader? Here I would like to share a few important guidelines:

Before you write your resume ask yourself a few questions like:

a) Who am I?

b) What is my objective in life?

c)What is my professional calling?

d)Why did I choose a particular stream/ career?

e)What skills do I possess to support my professional goals?

f) How will my education and my skills help me to contribute to the job/job profile that I am applying for?

If you are able to answer these questions satisfactorily then you will be able to carve a true first impression for yourself.  Having stated this, we would now focus on how to draft a great killer resume´?

Here we discuss the secret of drafting a perfect professional resume:

  • Choose an easy and attractive layout– keep it simple and easy to read. Do not use multiple colours and font types. The best idea is to keep your document in black and white and use professionally accepted fonts like Ariel, Garamond, Georgia, Calibri  or Helvetica which are preferred by most professionals. What really matters is that the font should be easy to read at a glance. Keep your font size at between 10 and 12 point depending on the type of font you choose.
  • Margins and Spaces: Keep margins to 1/2 or 1 inch on all sides of the page. Leave reasonable white spaces between your content to make the document legible. Use bullet points to classify information or list points. Check for alignment and justify the document. Leave single spacing between lines. Avoid double spacing to compress your content in one or two pages. Remember resume´is a short crisp formal document.
  • Arrange the information under clearly defined headings and subheadings: Before discussing the heading and subheading it is necessary to understand that resumes´are of three types:
  1. Chronological resume´- Based on chronological order. It is good for entry-level        job seekers
  2.  Functional resume´-Based on skills and experience rather than education Suitable for mid-level or senior job seekers
  3. Combination resume´- Combination of both but it focuses more on specific skills that the applicant wants to showcase along with the chronological details and is a great way to cover gaps in your work history.

So, once you choose the right resume that is suited to your requirement , then you can start with the crucial task of arranging your details in the right sequence.

The essential elements of a resume´: Essential elements consist of the following:

  • Heading: It tells the reader about your name and contact information. It should include your address for correspondence, e-mail address and your mobile/phone number. Use slightly larger font size to differentiate this information from the rest of the document. You know this is where your hiring manager will find you.
  • Resume Summary/Objective: Brief description of why you are applying for the job and how you make a suitable candidate
  • Education/ Experience: It informs the reader of your education/experience, specialisation/nature of responsibilities/ expertise etc. This information should be presented in reverse chronological order.
  • Skills: Skills play a key role in your resume´ being selected by recruiters. The universally recognised skills are Communication, Technical/ computer literacy, team spirit, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Place only those skills on your resume which rightly project your personality and potential. Strictly avoid false, fake or incorrect information to maximise your chances of  success in your interview. Your skills should match the skills defined in the job description. Most companies today use Applicant Tracking System which enables them to match the key words i.e. your listed skills with the skills required for a particular job profile. If the skills match the key words then you stand a better chance of receiving an interview call.
  • Activities/ Interests: This category adds credibility to your words by giving the recruiter a fair idea of your proven skills. Here you should cite activities/ relevant examples of the work/experience/ interest that demonstrate your active participation and engagement in activities that highlight your skill or accomplishments. You may include participation in workshops/ conferences/ conclaves/ internship/training or any other work-related experience which you feel might add value to your credentials. If you are a fresher do include your sports/ cultural excellence and participation details.
  • Style of Writing: How and what words you use to write your resume´is consequential. Based on a career builder survey hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less on reviewing resumes. This means each word you use would be indicative of something and the hiring manager would interpret it according to its verbal strength and purposefulness. How then to use words to create a difference?

Use action words to demonstrate your skills or present your achievements. Be brief and use specific words instead of long sentences. Here is a list of some powerful words and expressions that can give you a lead in this power-play:

  1. Developed a software instead of ‘I was responsible for making a software.’
  2. Led a team of five members instead of ‘I was the team leader of a team consisting of 5 members.’
  3. Negotiated a deal instead of ‘I was successful in making negotiation with the other party.’
  4. Achieved my targets instead of ‘I was able to meet my targets.’
  5. Resolved a problem instead of ‘Applied my problem-solving skills.’
  6. Increased sales by 20% instead of ‘Succeeded in increasing the sales by 20%.’ 
  7. Motivated the team to perform better instead of ‘Was the key person in motivating the team.’
  8. Generated income instead of ‘I brought more revenue through my hard work.’

Action words are clear and specific indicators of your proven skills and accomplishments. Moreover, they speak more and occupy less space.

Avoid empty words to describe your skills, for example Hard-working, self-motivated, Go-getter etc. which fail to communicate the real essence of you potential.

Lastly, include information that is useful for the job applied for.

  • What you should not do: Do not include personal information until asked for. Double-check your resume´for word spellings and grammatical errors. Keep it short and to the point. Stay focused on your purpose. Do not commit the mistake of sending the same document for different roles/companies. Customise the resume´for specific jobs.

If you find this useful, you may follow the following links What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know  andPerfect Elevator Pitch to Introduce Yourself in an Interview to further increase your knowledge on interview preparation and top interview questions. Go ahead, your call letter is waiting to be delivered to your inbox. Do not forget to mail your resume’ on time.

 

 

 

Why We Need to Look Beyond the Virtual to Appreciate the Real World

A generation solely reliant on technology is trained to work with machines and live with technology. The experience of knowing, learning and feeling the real world is somewhere compromised with the virtual world created by this digital age. We chat with our own parents or siblings through social media platforms or networking sites while living under the same roof. We are quick to respond to Facebook posts and Twitters more promptly than to real people around us. We travel, dine or socialise to click more ‘Selfies’ than to spent quality time with our family or friends. Name it any place, private or public , the intruder is always present and it is none other than the technology.

My childhood was so full of adventure, I never had the slightest thought for boredom or stagnation. The world revealed itself to me in so many fascinating ways that I felt fortunate to be able to feel and experience the world around me in all its totality.

The natural surroundings in the vicinity engaged my senses and gave me opportunity to observe and recognise the phenomenon of creation. Nature taught me to appreciate the expanse and diversity of life. The changing seasons, the trees shedding leaves, the leaves regrowing on barren trees, the trees in full blossom and finally the trees being loaded with ripened sweetness, all this helped me shape my understanding of the changing patterns of life. From green to brown and brown to green, the changing colours led me to contemplate how the passage of  life is an intricately woven circle of fall and rise and rise and fall; how the old order gives space to the new and how only destruction can lead to re-creation. I was able to connect to the deeper mysteries of creation and it gave me strength to overcome the personal and professional losses.

A Christmas break or a summer vacation was a good time to bond with cousins and friends. We could choose our own toys and even engineer them too. I  vividly remember playing in  mud with the other kids in my neighbourhood and building mud houses, roads,secret tunnels and miniature models of valleys and dams. Sitting near the narrow culvert on the path near the house making small boats of paper and floating them in the open ditch or flying paper planes used to be a favourite timepass, which, I  believe most kids of that era can recollect. I am nostalgically reminded of having stayed in small tent houses in the garden inside our house premises. My father was an archaeologist and he would spent several days camping at and excavating ancient sites. So when we had vacations , he would sometimes build us small tents and we would spent summer afternoons playing inside them. I think more than the excitement that we derived from such experiences,  it was the feel of the real adventure that added value to our shaping years.

Living in an age of no internet and mobile phones, it was common practice and almost customary for kids to engage in indoor activities like card games, board games, carom etc. during the day time. So the kids either journeyed through the game of Snakes and Ladders, played chess or refined their language skills by playing word builder or scrabble. There were fewer sports academies but more open spaces that would offer free access to children for outdoor sports. Team games like cricket, hockey , football and badminton were not only a source of  entertainment and good physical  exercise but they also served as great platform for building team spirit and coordination skills.

Sometimes we would spent hours rummaging through the old bookshelf and search for some interesting read. There was a huge collection of books on a variety of subjects like art, science, poetry, drama, history, culture, Indian mythology, current affairs, wild life and other subjects. However, we were naturally drawn towards a small corner which lodged popular fiction, short stories and comic books. One of the advantages of living in an internet free world was that reading came to you as a natural option. With less distractions and fewer choices the probability of turning to books is higher as compared to present day world which is overloaded with multiple options. Though nothing against technology, but definitely in days preceding the internet revolution, life was simple, choices were restricted but there was more focus. Things were real, not virtual. There was more opportunity for developing skills and advancing intellect through routine activities. In sharp contrast to today’s  digital games  which promote more screen exposure, isolation, physical and psychological risks, the kids of the yesteryear found more solace in each other’s company. The time spent playing together nurtured bonding with family and friends, helped evolve skills like cooperation and team spirit. Activities like reading, drawing, painting, singing, music, sculpting, etc. helped polish the creative instincts and instill confidence in the children. Creative intelligence is nurtured through the interaction with the outer world and with one’s own inner universe. Social intelligence is acquired through the time spent together with friends. It equips one to understand human behaviour.

Today, when we come across the youth we know they belong to a new generation. This generation is smarter and indeed brighter than the previous one. We find more number of young leaders shouldering responsible positions, young people working as CEO’s, as corporate tycoons. Yet, we know, there is pressure mounting each day with more targets to be achieved, more clients to cater to, more business to be done to be successful. We are now more dependent on teams than on individuals. Modern work culture is inconceivable without team work. The irony is that team work is hard to find and harder to sustain. It is therefore not surprising to find more and more employers struggling hard to train their employees in team building despite conducting rigorous workshops and training programmes. Training people in team building is difficult especially when the members of a team are born out of a  highly individualistic culture. In a time when we speak of ‘Cross-cultural communication’ and ‘Globalisation‘ it is shockingto observe that self-driven, dynamic individuals fail to become reliable members of a team. The problem is not with the potential , problem lies in the lack of exposure.

A generation solely reliant on technology is trained to work with machines and live with technology. The experience of knowing, learning and feeling the real world is somewhere compromised with the virtual world created by this digital age. We chat with our own parents or siblings through social media platforms or networking sites while living under the same roof. We are quick to respond to Facebook posts and Twitters more promptly than to real people around us. We travel, dine or socialise to click more ‘Selfies‘ than to spent quality time with our family or friends. Name it any place, private or public , the intruder is always present and it is none other than the technology.  So when we meet real people don’t we need real emotions, real situations and real conversations to strike a chord.

Personal glorification, race to be supreme, desire to appear superior than the others leads to false ego which eventually creates conflict. Conflict is born out of either ego or jealousy. Ego or jelalousy both are a threat to the team and hence cause the team to be ineffective.

How to counter these threatening elements to construct the road for stronger, lasting teams? I think the trainings can be successful only if we promote a culture of seeing, feeling and experiencing the world around us. When you fight against a real human, you will receive in return real blows and injuries, real hurts and pain. This will teach either to fight better or to never fight again. This will give you a lesson which will be realistic and truthful. This battle will not have levels that are set from lowest level of difficulty to highest which you could adjust to your convenience and then claim your chosen victory.

We need honest competitions, sincere feedbacks, real conversations and genuine relations. How far and how long can we fake it?

You can be better than me or I can be better than you but if I know what makes me the person I am I will make the better of me. My limits will be pushed when I meet stricter challenges and fierce competition. My greed to stay ahead will only be further fuelled by false parameters dictating my false identity. My identity is not tied or restricted to my facebook profile or virtual reality. I have a life beyond that. We all have a life beyond that.

Experience the rustle of the leaves, smell the fragrance of the flowers, listen to the buzz of the bees , the humming of the birds, the song of the cricket, watch the gentle drops of rain drop hour by hour on the window pane,  If you can observe the astonishing variety of life and the amazing diversity of creation, you will learn to accept and appreciate the differences. Dissimilarities make us distinct, debates make us wise, but despise, contempt, hatred and jealousy steal us of our wisdom and seldom make us wise. Let us promote a culture of mutual respect and harmony. Look at the nature around you, there is so much to learn from it. Redefining the culture is the answer to building better teams.

 

 

 

 

Perfect Elevator Pitch to Introduce Yourself in an Interview

Merit in an Interview is essentially your ability to convince the interview board about your potential and skills based on your education/experience and facts quoted on your resume’. It is the art of persuading the recruiters to believe in you and your abilities.  It is interesting to review a few points in this context.

How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview?

The opening question in almost all interviews is “Introduce Yourself ” or “Tell us Something about Yourself.” While this appears to be the simplest question to answer, it is in fact the trickiest to handle. The question is taken lightly by most candidates. The Pre-interview preparation involves huge preparation on technical questions, situational/ behavioural questions or other skill based questions. However less attention is paid to the candidates personal introduction.

If a candidate can satisfactorily answer the question ‘Tell me about Yourself ?”, half the battle is already won. So what does the Introduction do? We can say it serves 4 major purposes:

1) It reflects your level of Self-awareness

2) It reveals your Self-confidence

3) It is a good opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills

4) It can help steer the interview discussion towards your side

How do  these things affect the selection process or enhance your chances of being recruited?

Well an interview is not a selection process. It is an elimination process. Only the best candidates make it to the merit list. What is merit and how merit is defined in an Interview?

Merit in an Interview is essentially your ability to convince the interview board about your potential and skills based on your education/experience and facts quoted on your resume’. It is the art of persuading the recruiters to believe in you and your abilities.  It is interesting to review a few points in this context. We come across resumes’ where candidates mention their skills as:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to take initiatives and Leadership skills
  • Creative and innovative
  • Team player
  • Confident
  • Good decision making

Such a brilliant combination of skills set should  automatically draw immediate attention.  Unfortunately it does not. Why?

The reason is there being a mismatch between what is quoted in the resume’ and what is delivered before the Interview panel. What does that mean? Simply that words like ‘Leadership’, ‘Creative’, ‘Innovative’ etc are not expressive of what you are as an individual until you resonate those qualities when you actually meet people in person. So when you say “You possess good communication skills” it will be interpreted as, “The candidate is a good, fluent confident speaker with clear pronunciation,expression and clarity of thought.” So when such a candidate enters the interview room and shows inability to speak clearly and appears very nervous and often takes long pauses to frame his responses or uses multiple fillers, the gap between expectation and reality increases and the board is disappointed. The board/ the interviewer has difficulty in believing the facts mentioned by the candidate in the resume’. The merit is thus defined. Persuade the board to believe in your potential. Merit is determined by facts. You have to show how unique and efficient you are by winning the trust of your interviewers.

A thoroughly prepared self-introduction which encompasses the real skills you have, can help make an honest impression of who you are. If you carefully answer the question about yourself and present a sincere account of yourself in an organised and captivating style you will succeed to draw attention of your listener. The confidence, grit, poise, creativity, leadership and personal skills all are evaluated through your Self-introductory speech which is also known as the Elevator speech.

Elevator speech is the the shortest, smartest and brightest way to summarise and present your skills and achievements to the interviewer. It is no longer than 60 seconds and hence it demands absolute clarity, conciseness and brevity. Your ability to introduce and market yourself while highlighting your strong points, exhibiting your positive attitude and demonstrating your strength of purpose will be a true testimony to your previously quoted skills on your resume’.

If you succeed in describing yourself in a way where:-

  • You do not include too many fillers like ‘aaaa‘, ‘ummm’, ‘hmmmm’, ‘errrr‘ and the likes
  • Overcome stammering, long pauses and frequent coughing which are all signs of nervousness and lack of confidence
  • Appear calm, composed and yet energetic and cheerful. Be yourself. Avoid heavily accented speech, affectation in style and over- confident body language.
  • Maintain relaxed but straight posture and proper eye contact; give equal attention to all members
  • Include information that is accurate, precise and well balanced like – background, education, merits, achievements, projects and extra-curricular activities
  • Narrate in the style of a story-teller rather than a rehearsed dragging robotic monologue to stand your chance of reaching the top.

Elevator pitch or Elevator speech should be brief, persuasive, interesting and should communicate your Unique Selling Proposition(USP).

Lastly, always remember a person who is aware of his abilities and is able to present himself in best light will be a more welcome candidate than the one who appears hesitant and ill-informed about his own -self. So know thyself. Self-awareness is the first step to victory.