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.

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.

 

 

 

What the Recruiters Look for in an Interview : Facts Every Candidate Should Know

Interview is a formal interaction between job recruiters and job seekers. Though formal it focuses on the personal traits, qualifications and skills of an individual. It is therefore also called a Personal Interview. Personal Interview broadly examines the suitability of an individual to play a specific role in an organisation and perform a set of given responsibilities. Most candidates fulfill the minimum eligibility criterion but only few demonstrate those outstanding qualities which place them above the average crowd.

On an average any candidate appearing for an interview is almost as equally qualified as you are, as experienced or inexperienced as you are, especially if the job description is clearly specified;  equally well versed with competencies and skills that the job/position demands. What then are those outstanding qualities that will make you stand apart from the rest of the candidates?

Here are six important tips that can make or mar your opportunities:

  • Well drafted resume: On top of the list is your resume. A resume which is neat with proper design, content and layout, free from grammatical errors and  has at a glance appeal, it will secure you the much awaited Interview call.
  • Preparation for the Interview: Whether you receive your call letter well in advance, one month before the interview, one week ahead or just a day before, you should be thoroughly prepared for the interview. Review your resume, compile your documents, arrange your folder, brush up the main content, reflect on major focus areas and formulate answers to the probable and expected questions. Preparing in advance makes your more confident and composed on the day of performance.
  • Dress up for the Interview:  Your appearance is the very first communication to your interviewer. The manner in which you dress up is one of the most powerful forms of non-verbal communication that helps the interviewer to frame an opinion about you even before you start with the real conversation. If you are dressed professionally you will immediately communicate your genuine interest and seriousness for this job opportunity. Over and above this, it will speak more about your personal hygiene, sense of self-respect and self-dignity. If you are dressed more causally, it will give away the impression that either you are disinterested or that it is essentially your basic sense of dressing. It may also be considered as a mark of disregard  or disrespect. It is important therefore to be dressed up than to be dressed casually.
  • Confidence and Body Language: Your posture, your handshake, your style of greeting and self-introduction; all this will have a significant impact on the interviewer. Straight posture (not stiff), firm handshake( not a weak dead fish one) , proper eye-contact, audible pitch, good intonation (modulation of voice), normal speed and controlled rhythm will not just create a good first impression but will help leave a lasting impression. Of course do not forget to wear a warm smile.
  •  Knowledge and Question handling: Your knowledge is more related to application rather than theoretical information. Common sense and ability to relate to context is much more appreciated rather than drawing then presenting wrong or vague information. Answer honestly and  be to the point. Keep it short and precise. Acknowledge the fact that you may not know all the answers. As a matter of fact, you are not expected to give all correct answers. How you handle the situation is what the interviewer is looking for. Can you handle pressure? Are you honest? Are you nervous? These are some of the important traits that an interviewer tries to assess by putting you through a variety of questions or situations. Your presence of mind, calmness to handle difficult situations, willingness to learn, honesty to accept your areas of improvement are the skills that play a larger role in your success.
  • Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills: Organisations are no more interested in hiring candidates with high grades or mere high intelligence quotient. Contemporary work culture demands individuals who are not just intelligent but people who also demonstrate a higher degree of emotional sensibility and intelligence. Today, as Peter Drucker observed, “teams become the work unit rather than the individual himself.” This is why the skills that help people harmonise have become more valuable for hiring officials and agencies. So high verbal fluency, empathy, sympathy, creativity, anger management, accepting criticism, spreading goodwill and promoting team work are much preferred skills as compared to technical expertise and high scores.

As a final word I would like to add that the ingredient that is indispensable for any successful communication is your level of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is that little spark which holds great promise. A happy face, fresh mind and eager heart are evidence enough of loyalty, dedication and sincerity. Do not hold back, let the energy flow. Enthusiasm is contagious, it will not go unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Build Strong Business Relationships

Trust generates trust. Trust is mutual. Believe in people, in their capacities. their potential, their efficiency.  Never try to take advantage of their vulnerability. Today they are weak, tomorrow they may not be.  Nurturing relationships whether professional or personal is based on consistency, reliability and concern. It is easy to make new contacts but it is difficult to hold and retain them. Relationships should not be taken for granted.

 

Do you find it difficult to hold on to your clients, customers, business partners, shareholders? How cordial are your relations with your colleagues, boss or manager? How do people look upon you? Do they find you trustworthy and dependable? Are you struggling to build trust? If you are seeking answers to any of these questions then you should read on.

Making commitments and keeping them is a skill which helps strengthen relationships. A customer, employee, stakeholder, boss all trust your words and count on you to bring them into action. If you have made a promise, never break it, if you cannot keep a promise, then never commit.

Not sticking to your words is as bad as breaking the trust. It is the daily business,  day to day activities that buid your trust. Every small thing matters, even if it means calling back a client, replying to a mail, keeping an appointment on time, clearing dues or making timely payments. People feel important if they get what they are looking for. They feel respected and valued if you give them what you promise. So if a manager or a team leader is presented with a timely report as per the submission deadline, he will recognise your talent and appreciate  your sincerity, if a product or service is provided to the customer as per his liking and requirements, he will not question your credibility. If a colleague  in need is offered support and help, he will not forget your generosity.

Trust generates trust. Trust is mutual. Believe in people, in their capacities. their potential, their efficiency.  Never try to take advantage of their vulnerability. Today they are weak, tomorrow they may not be.  Nurturing relationships whether professional or personal is based on consistency, reliability and concern. It is easy to make new contacts but it is difficult to hold and retain them. Relationships should not be taken for granted. You have to devote ample time and energy to keep them going. You have to keep evaluating and re-evaluating your relationships to rule out misunderstandings, doubts and differences.

You have to be careful while speaking. Think twice before making any commitments. Ponder, reflect, analyse the validity of your words and statements . Question yourself. Do you really mean them? Can you truly uphold your promise? Is your plan, suggestion, solution or advice feasible? Are you genuine in your response or simply showing off to get temporary attention? Are you aiming at short_term gains or focusing on long_term achievements? If you have the slightest element of doubt in your mind then restrict yourself from making false commitments. Not being true to your words tarnishes your image. It ruins all your future prospects and spoils your relations.

If you feel that you can accomplish a particular task but you are not sure of it, it is always good to be honest. State your concerns and present a realistic picture of the situation instead of keeping the other person in the dark. Raising false hope is almost similar to being dishonest. Hope is the foundation of all human action. If you  steal them of hope you shake the very foundation on which they stand.

Don’t let people think of you as a hopeless jerk. Win their confidence by adhering to the basic principles of fostering strong relations.

Here are 7 basic principles of building lasting relationships:

Establish trust: Trust is built through mutual respect and concern. Establish your credibility by being genuine, honest and respectful.

Keep your words: Maintain coherence in your words and action for winning the confidence of your people. Your actions speak stronger than your words.

Respond to situations: Act in  response to  the needs and requirements of people. Do not blindly pursue what you  think is correct. Step into the shoes of your people to identify their perspective. Respond to specific needs rather than applying general principles.

Show support and involvement: Your support and active involvement with the people around you assures them of your interest in  them and their activities. Lack of  involvement creates distance and scope for doubt.

Identify common interests, goals and values: Sharing and experiencing common interests,  goals and values brings you together and helps you share a common platform. This promotes togetherness and team work.

Be honest even behind the back: Speak positively of people you are associated with. Do not belittle or demean them behind their back. Learn to keep their secrets. Respect their privacy, we all are vulnerable.

Personalise your relations: Do ensure to greet them or meet them beyond work. Meet over coffee or talk over lunch. Call your people to wish them on special occasions. Meeting beyond work encourages a free and relaxed discussion.  It helps to understand the perspectives, experiences and  views of the people more closely.

Build a strong network, value your connections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battling Mental Health: Why and How

If you are hunting for a job and still jobless, overcoming a heartbreak and finding no, solace, recovering from a broken marriage or living a relationship that is loveless; if you are being frequently manipulated, bullied or humiliated ; if you are getting low grades in exams, If you are guilty or convicted; there is a huge possibility that you might suffer from anxiety. If you are irritated on small matters, enraged on petty issues, respond aggressively to arguments and conflicts, feel drained out emotionally, if you feel restless, disgusted, lonely all the time; if  you find yourself hopeless, lack in self -esteem , if you are running short of confidence and are always enveloped by negativity,  then you are experiencing depression and anxiety.

Mental health is one of the most overlooked spectrum of human life. We ignore the mental problems because we fear ridicule, rejection, desolation, distrust, manipulation and discrimination. This fear emanates from the social stigma that is attached to mental illness. Mental sickness is related to the functioning of the human mind. People consider this to be shameful. We look upon mental issues as something which is unnatural and incurable. Brain is the centre that controls and governs the human body, just like the Central Processing Unit (CPU) that controls and commands all functions  of a Computer. When we encounter a problem with the CPU we immediately call for technical support to rectify the error. Then when we face mental problems why don’t we ask for support and care? Why is it that we hide them, make desperate attempts to conceal them, remain passive and indifferent towards them? Don’t we want our mind to function properly when it encounters problems?

Mental problem can operate at two levels; one which is  at a primitive stage like ‘Anxiety disorders’ or mild forms of ‘Depression’; the other is ‘Psychosis’. While the first can be cured through self- help measures and support from family and friends, psychosis in particular requires medical treatment. Managing mental health is just as important as managing physical health. Anxiety and depression are very common. Almost every one in four person suffers from anxiety or depression in his or her lifetime.  It is just that we either fail to recognise or acknowledge the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

If you are hunting for a job and still jobless, overcoming a heartbreak and finding no, solace, recovering from a broken marriage or living a relationship that is loveless; if you are being frequently manipulated, bullied or humiliated ; if you are getting low grades in exams, If you are guilty or convicted; if you lost a loved one or are suffering from fatal disease , there is a huge possibility that you might suffer from anxiety. If you are irritated on small matters, enraged on petty issues, respond aggressively to arguments and conflicts, feel drained out emotionally, if you feel restless, disgusted, lonely all the time; if  you find yourself hopeless, lack in self -esteem , if you are running short of confidence and are always enveloped by negativity,  then you are experiencing depression and anxiety. You are fighting a battle you do not know, you are caught in a web, you do not understand. Know then , that your mind is working against you. It is pushing you further into misery, darkness and desolation. Allow it not to mislead you. Battles of the mind are the hardest to conquer. They challenge you every minute, they pose new threats every moment. They lead you towards destruction. They overpower your reasoning and question your existence. Fight back. Do not give up. Speak up , listen to your mind, anxiety is your mind’s way of telling you that all is not well.

Communication is not sharing thoughts when all is well, we need to talk and talk more when our mind is reeling under pressure. Unfortunately, when we need it most we shut all doors to communication, we shield ourselves from people by raising walls around us. We sever all cords, suspend all activities,distance ourselves from friends and family and withdraw in our shells. All this draws you  more towards isolation and alieanation. The worst condition is when a person stops communicating to oneself. This is dangerous, this passivity, this negativity, this lack of interest, loss of faith, loss of control, loss of patience, loss of energy, it breaks you from within. It shatters you completely.

So how can you heal your mind? Here are practical tips to restore your mental health:

Listen to your mind: Do not ignore the signs of mental illness. Acknowlege them, be sensitive to your mind.

Accept your condition: Half the battle is won through acceptance. Accepting yourself makes it easy to cure yourself.

Do not remain silent, speak up: Sharing your problem is the first step towards restoring your balance.

Learn to Trust: Confide in people who care for you and love you. Family and friends are your biggest strength. Discuss things with them, they will never let you down.

Find your calling: Discover what makes you happy, what gives you satisfaction, what pleases your mind; it could be anything like singing, painting, writing, cooking , gardening,traveliing or just anything that makes you happy.

Believe in yourself: Do not lower your self-esteem, believe in yourself, Recognise your strenghths, accept yourself as you are. You are your best help. “God also helps those who help themselves”

It is okay to fail, it is normal to lose: Failures are not the end of the world. People fall, people rise, people move on. You too can. Nothing is permanent. Winning is not everything but living is. You are here to live and your life is so precious. Do not waste your life. Live strong!

Keep believing in yourself! You are a winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speak With Conviction, Lead with Confidence

If you are honest in your conversation, you will reciprocate an honest feedback. If you pretend, you will not sound convincing and subsequently loose your credibility. If your non-verbal cues match with your spoken words they impart clarity and trust to your words. People read your thoughts and judge you by your behavior and attitude. What they see is more important to them than what that they hear. Great communicators never overlook the emotions and feelings of their audience. They value the power of non-verbal communication and implement it in their speech and action. This helps them to  be popular among both the elite and the masses.

I know each one of you is a leader. You are an expert in your own way. I trust you for your skills and abilities. I have complete faith in your inherent capacity to excel in what you do. Your talent and knowledge is no less than the best in the industry. Your achievements are a testimony to your smart work and efficiency. Yet, at times you experience setbacks, your actions do not yield the desired result, your words fail to draw attention. Someone steals the show while you keep sweating behind the curtain. Someone marches ahead with confidence, mesmerizes the audience with his charismatic persona and impressive demeanor. You keep wondering what really took him ahead? What is so exceptional about these people who climb up the ladder and lead the crowd. From where does one get this killer attitude? What secret is hidden behind this power -packed performance? This youthful energy and contagious enthusiasm is not a matter of chance or sheer luck; it is hard earned.

The difference between success and failure is defined by your attitude. If you choose to win, win you will. However, winning is just half the story but to stay ahead demands persistence and continual learning. Be open to learning. The moment you cease to learn, you limit your growth. Stagnation is no growth. You have to keep honing your skills to stay in the race. Learning is a continual process. “If you stop learning, you start dying” observed Albert Einstein. So success may be short-lived but a die-hard attitude will never let you down. Never rest, never sit back, never rust unburnished but shine in use.

It is important to update your knowledge and expand your skill- set to meet the changing demands of the professional environment and challenges in personal life. Expansion of knowledge and skills heavily rely on the manner in which you communicate and interact with others. Communication is a process of encoding a message and transferring it to the receiver through a suitable medium to achieve a desired action and feedback. How you encode the message will determine how the receiver would decode and respond to it.

If you treat your people with love, respect and dignity they naturally feel more connected to you. If you replace ‘ego‘ with ‘humility’; ‘bossism’ with ‘cordiality’; ‘negativity’ with ‘positivism’; ‘hostility’ with ‘friendliness’; ‘envy’ with ‘generosity’, your attitude will resonate in your conversations, dealings, negotiations and relations with others. It will reflect in your personality and become an integral part of your body language.

Body language is an aspect of communication which expresses your message without making use of the spoken or written words. As we often hear,“Your actions speak louder than the words”, It is absolutely true. What you say is important but how you say is more important. Your gestures, postures, manners, appearance, eye contact and the speed, tone and rhythm of your voice, speak volumes about your personality.

If you are honest in your conversation, you will reciprocate an honest feedback. If you pretend, you will not sound convincing and subsequently loose your credibility. If your non-verbal cues match with your spoken words they impart clarity and trust to your words. People read your thoughts and judge you by your behavior and attitude. What they see is more important to them than what they hear. Great communicators never overlook the emotions and feelings of their audience. They value the power of non-verbal communication and implement it in their speech and action. This helps them to be popular among both the elite and the masses. Their confidence reigns supreme as they are well equipped to read the mind of their audience. Leaders are not born, they are made. What makes one a leader is the ease, poise and conviction with which one communicates. In fact, leaders communicate more without words than with them.

If you go beyond the spoken words and touch the heart of your people , you will emerge victorious in all your endeavors.

“I never lose , I either win or learn”

Go win the world, be a leader!

The Importance of Written Communication

So what is holding you back to write? A pen and paper, a note pad or a desktop or laptop is just what you need to start your writing workshop. Begin now, right away , do not delay.  Well  yes, it is easier said than done.  If you want to know how then read on…

Written Communication is the most reliable source of communication as it puts on record your idea, message or information. Once a message is recorded it acquires higher credibility. The written message may be encoded in the form of letters, journals,  business reports, e-mails, research papers, books , blogs, articles or magazines. Written communication holds great significance  in educational institutions, corporate communication and government offices. No school, college, office or organisation can run without using written form of communication. Even in settling disputes, resolving conflicts or dealing with legal issues, written communication plays an important role.

Imagine how difficult it would be to connect with your pupil, colleagues, customers and clients in the absence of written channels of communication like notices, circulars, e-mails, letters, journals, books or magazines. All these channels thrive on the art of writing. Writing is an activity which will never leave you no matter how much you avoid using it.  Whether writing for school or college education or drafting a resume for career communication or later preparing project reports or business reviews for office submissions or writing briefs for press or media, advertising etc, writing is an inescapable task. You just cannot survive without executing your written skills.

So what is holding you back to write? A pen and a paper, a note pad or a desktop or laptop is just what you need to start your writing workshop. Begin now, right away , do not delay.  Well  yes, it is easier said than done.  If you want to know how then read on…

Writing is a four step process. Follow the 4P’s of writing to achieve clarity in your communication:

Step 1- Planning– This includes identification of purpose, audience and topic. Planning also involves identification of resources for collecting information, reading and researching to gather knowledge on your topic.

Step 2- Preparation- This includes techniques of ideation like brainstorming and mind-mapping.  They further help in preparing a rough draft and defining a framework and structure for your writing. This allows free flow of ideas and provides a platform to express yourself.

Step 3- Writing- This is the actual stage of writing which involves organizing and evolving ideas into a complete write-up. This stage divides the writing into three distinct parts –

a. The Introduction b. Body of the draft c. Conclusion

Step 4- Post writing-  This final stage comprises of editing and revising your document. Editing helps rectify errors and eliminate unnecessary information. Proofreading is must to ensure that your document is free of linguistic , grammatical and textual errors.

Writing  well is not restricted to knowing the process. There are certain elements that make your writing crisp and clear. If you want to master the art of writing then you must follow the Six Golden Rules of Successful Writing given here:

Rule 1: Begin by asking the WH-Questions- Who, What, When, Where, How

Rule 2: Keep in mind the interest of the reader: Adopt the ‘You Attitude’. You attitude is the approach wherein the focus is on ‘You’ the reader’ rather than ‘I’ the writer.

Rule 3: Follow the ABC of writing, where A stands for ‘Accuracy’, B for ‘Brevity’ and C for ‘Clarity’. Direct approach, simple language and correct grammar will never fail to appeal the reader.

Rule 4: Apply the KISS formula that is,’ Keep it Short and Simple’– Time is precious, value the time of your reader by creating short meaningful messages. Avoid repetitions, long winding sentences and irrelevant details.

Rule 5: Substantiate your writing with examples and illustrations: Examples impart authenticity to your words. People easily relate to stories, anecdotes , figures or statistics. Examples help to reinforce the idea.

Rule 6: Be considerate– Your writing should reflect social and cultural sensitivity. Respect your reader. Use a language that is unbiased and dignified. Refrain from Ethnocentrism and stereotyping.

Originality and freshness are always in demand.

Be original, start writing now…

“You fail only if you stop writing”

(Ray Bradbury)

 

 

Read to Learn, Learn to Read

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you.

People both young and old are frequently heard complaining, “Reading is so boring”, ” It’s such a waste of time”. We look for short cuts and quick notes to prevent ourselves from the mundane task of reading the full text.  We rely on summaries and precis just a day before an examination, interview or a presentation. Yes, in a world hard pressed for time and where everything is made available at the press of a button, who would prefer to read a book/blog/magazine or devote time to read.

Reading is the source of  abundant knowledge,  information and even aesthetic pleasure. Reading is an opportunity to explore the unexplored, to unlock the doors of novel ideas and distinct viewpoints. Reading not only widens the horizons of understanding but also triggers your imagination and creativity. Reading is the best vocabulary building exercise. There is no better way to develop your word power than to read. Reading improves comprehension and lays the foundation for strong communication skills.  It gives you ideas for public speaking. Reading makes you worldly wise.

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you. News , Literature, sports, fashion, entertainment or politics, you can identify any stream of your liking but never skip your reading session. Based on your objective of reading, reading can be classified into four main types

  1. Aesthetic reading– to read for pleasure, which may include story, drama, poetry , fiction or entertainment
  2. Reading for information– to get the gist of the content
  3. Reading for meaning-to read and comprehend the writer’s viewpoint
  4. Reading for knowledge– to comprehend the writer’s message and critically analyse the content to frame and express ones opinion

Once you are in the habit of reading you will find it easier to concentrate on details If you have a clear and well defined objective than it will be simpler to apply the right technique of reading.  On the basis of reading objective, the techniques may be classified broadly  into four types:

  1. Aesthetic reading- Extensive reading technique-It can be read at leisure and there can be a slow and relaxed pace.
  2. Reading for information- Skimming and scanning- are the two techniques which can be applied for seeking quick information. They are rapid reading techniques. Skimming is reading rapidly in order to get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts.
  3. Reading for meaning- SQ3R technique is an effective reading strategy for academic reading or reading for comprehension  SQ3R ( SQRRR- Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review) was introduced by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher in his 1946 book Effective Study.
  4. Reading for knowledge- Critical reading: It involves logical and rhetorical skills. It is slow and attentive reading which focuses on the language, structure and meaning of the text. Highlighting main points, making notes or keeping a record journal are essential to this technique. It equips the reader to differentiate between fact and opinion. Further it enables the reader to formulate his responses and critically evaluate the text. Critical reading is a process of analyzing the text, looking for evidence and then drawing inferences based on ones interpretation and understanding.

Reading will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process which requires persistence and regularity. So go slow but go steady. Take one step at a time. Begin with things that interest you, topics that fascinate you, themes that entice you, authors that captivate you. Let reading be your passion. Read, read , read whenever you have time. Once you start having fun with your reading, there will be no looking back.

Keep reading…don’t miss the fun!

 

 

 

Are You Listening?

 People speak because they trust you. People speak to share their ideas, express their opinion. They value you as a listener. It is our responsibility to value them as speakers. Do not break their trust. Do not show distrust. Listen to people with open mind and see the change you  will experience in your communication. Be a valuable listener. You will always be in demand.

Are you listening or waiting to speak?

“The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”, observed the father of modern drama Sir George Bernard Shaw. People speak to be heard and understood.  People speak because they trust you. People speak to share their ideas, express their opinion. They value you as a listener. It is our responsibility to value them as speakers. Do not break their trust. Do not show distrust. Listen to people with open mind and see the change you  will experience in your communication. Be a valuable listener. You will always be in demand.

Most people give a miss to what others say. People listen either superficially or partially. As a matter of fact the faculty of listening is often confused with the ability to hear. ‘Listening’ is completely different from ‘hearing’. While hearing is an involuntary action, listening is a voluntary process. One can control, filter and command this process. Listening is a conscious exercise which demands attention and practice.

Communication is a two way process. It is said to be complete only when the receiver receives the message and offers a feedback to the sender. The feedback ensures the completion of the process. The listener can evoke an appropriate response only if he displays effective listening skills.

What qualities enable one to be an  effective listener?

  • Sensitive and sympathetic attitude
  • Respect for the speaker
  • Listening beyond the spoken words
  • Listening to respond not to react

Indifference, lack of interest, impatience, ego and disrespect are the primary barriers to effective listening.

How listening can help you become a good communicator?

Well, God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen more and speak less.  The reality is that though we struggle hard to speak and express ourselves we rarely make an effort to lend a sympathetic ear. Listening makes you aware of the needs, interest and feelings of the people around you. Good speakers are naturally good listeners. They build their knowledge  of the universe based on their observations of what people think, how people behave and what people want. If you know your people , you will improve your relationship with them, you will win more customers , you will have more followers, Above all you will be happy and contended.

Here are few important tips to evolve your listening skills:

  • Take interest in what others have to say
  • Be sensitive, do not be critical
  • Appreciate and accept the difference in opinion
  • Do not argue, do not counter, offer constructive feedback
  • Listen to act not to react
  • Overcome your ego. Others have a point too

Hope you are listening. There is so much to be heard.

Sharpen your ears!

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