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 ।

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.

How Not to Write Business Messages

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

 

Business messages are a link between the team members to facilitate smooth and speedy conduct of routine and specific tasks within and outside the organisation.

Business messages play a significant role in stimulating the work environment. They are that underlying pillar of communication which can help develop a strong bond between the team members, clients, business partners and stake holders. Unfortunately written communication is not taken seriously by most employees. Consequently, everyday we come across shabbily written emails, hurriedly composed messages, grammatically incorrect sentences, unformatted documents and business letters without greetings or proper salutations. Such poorly written business messages are both costly and disasterous to the business. They might lead to grave misunderstanding among the involved parties or delay or damage the intended outcome.

Writing effective messages can increase your productivity and foster strong work relations. Let us see how?

Business writing is serious business: Business messages are meant for business. Do not assume you can get away with your message without giving it a serious thought. An idea is appreciated and accepted if it is well communicated. So think before you write, revise before your type. Every business message has a definite purpose. Identify the purpose, line of thought and the desired outcome before drafting a message. Once your objective is clear to you it will be simpler to pen down your ideas.

You are not the busiest person on earth: Everyone is busy in his own way.  Yes, you have to meet your deadlines, achieve targets, get over routine business and time is limited. This doesn’t make for an excuse to write hurried, unedited, clumsy messages. If you care for your time, remember even the reader cares for his. He may not like to invest extra time in reading messages that are not well written and easy to understand.

Your message is not intended for you: Certainly you want your messages to be read and not to be thrown into the waste paper basket or deleted from the inbox. So write your message  to address the demand of the reader. Customise the message to answer the query of the reader not to satisfy your requirements.  Write exactly what you want the reader to do with your message. Show consideration for the reader by using simple and positive language. Your aim is not to bedazzle the reader by flaunting your jargons and cliches but rather to draw attention of the reader towards your message. Respect your reader and make him feel important by adopting the ‘You Attitude’.

Your language does make an impression: Do not assume that people pay less attention to your language and style of written communication. At a glance, an interested reader will be able to discern the good from the bad.  Incorrect sentences, half written messages and careless mistakes in spelling and grammar are a common sight in the modern day written communication. Our messages today, are more inspired by whatspp and sms lingo, abbreviations and shortcuts. We undermine the professional tone and language to replace it with fanciful and contemporary terms and phrases. This makes the writing appear casual and unimportant. You are what you portray. If your writing reflects gravity of thought and language, people will read your message more seriously. So always make the right impression.

There is always a better way to communicate: You may know the best in your subject and your language may be at par with the best of communicators. However, writing should be followed by re-writing, revising and editing your draft. To avoid any errors and to include exactly what is needed to make your draft clean, crisp and clear you should not overlook the 7 C’s of effective communication, they are:

  •  Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Concreteness
  • Completeness
  • Correctness
  • Consideration
  • Courtesy

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for Rampal: A Leaf from the Past

Sitting in a coffee house, waiting for a business client, I was finding it difficult to stay calm. I was forced to meditate on the nature of ‘wait’ and how ‘waiting’ impacts the human mind. As I kept ruminating, my thoughts unconsciously led me to the time when I was still a young child. I traversed back in time, dived into my past and became completely oblivious of my present ‘wait’.

Waiting could be exasperating. It could be taxing, tiring, humiliating. It can leave you fuming, fretting, annoyed. Sometimes, however, waiting can be fun, especially if one is waiting for ones D-Day, expecting a promotion, a salary hike or meeting a long lost friend or a loved one.

Sitting in a coffee house, waiting for a business client, I was finding it difficult to stay calm. I was forced to meditate on the nature of ‘wait’ and how ‘waiting’ impacts the human mind. As I kept ruminating, my thoughts unconsciously led me to the time when I was still a young child. I traversed back in time, dived into my past and became completely oblivious of my present ‘wait‘.

On a hot Friday afternoon, in a small sleepy town in the remote corner of the country somewhere in central India, the kids waited anxiously, straining their ears for a distinct sound. It was almost 3.00 p.m. The sound was expected anytime between 3.00 p.m to 4.00 p.m. The long and dreary summer afternoon had prolonged the wait. It seemed like ages before the familiar ‘toot-toot’ of the bicycle horn could be heard at a distance. The kids rushed to the window and there at the curve of the road emerged a hazy outline of a man riding an old black bicycle. As the figure came closer, the sound now became loud and clear. The kids grew excited; the curls of their lips widened into broad grins. The kids jumped and leaped towards the main iron gate entrance at the far end of the garden road with finely trimmed hedge on either side and small white and purple petunias flowering in the artistically designed flowerbeds that were encircled by small pebbles and painted white with lime powder (chuna). Stop! stop! they shouted in chorus. The hooting sound and the cycle came to a standstill.

The mysterious rider alighted from the bicycle, there were two large white bags hanging down from the two handles at either side of the bicycle. The bags were overstuffed with soft, spongy, sweet smelling, mouth-watering delicacies, whose aroma filled the air. “Why did you come after so many days, this time” ?, asked one of the kids. The lean and thin man with dark brown complexion and small brown eyes responded with a feeble smile. He unloaded the bags  with mild difficulty as his left arm was amputated or he was a victim of natural disability. Mother signaled them to come near the shaded verandah. She asked him if he needed some water, as he looked pale and worn out. Mother went inside and brought him a glass of water and some jaggery, which he accepted gladly. After that, he asked the kids in a more enthusiastic voice “What would you like to have children” ? The bag when opened, appeared like a Pandora’s box which revealed packs of freshly baked cakes, candies, pastries, cream rolls, muffins and assorted cookies. There was a whole range of  delightful delicacies to satiate the sweet tooth. The children picked their favorites and their hearts were filled with boundless joy. Mom payed the bills, the kids waved happy hands and in unison shouted, “Come soon again Rampal bhaiya!

Rampal, the thin man with one arm and a bag full of goodies used to visit the Campus once in every 15 days. He was a welcome guest and indeed the most awaited one. He was a harbinger of priceless happiness to these kids. Living in a campus residential area, situated on the top of a hill, surrounded by nature, cut off from mainstream, where marketplace was miles away, the small vendors like Rampal were a blessing in disguise.

Today, there are a thousand places just round the corner where you will find the most exquisite of bakers and confectioners. The market is flooded with shops which offer the finest and most scrumptious treats of delicious cakes and cookies. Pineapple cake, Truffle cake, Fruit cake, Black Forest, Marble cake, there is an array of cakes available. I relish them all, but nothing tastes as pleasing, as luscious, as gratifying, as heavenly as the cakes and cream rolls that rolled out of the magical bag of  Rampal. None of these can match up to the aroma and the sweetness that was delivered to our doorsteps by Rampal.

The sound of the cycle bell is still ringing in my ears,  I can see you riding towards our house with your bags filled with tempting yummy delights. I am standing at the same  old gate hoping to find you there…

Waiting for Rampal was like an endless wait but the ‘sweetest’ one that one could have ever craved for. It is amazing how different people from different walks of life, touch our lives and leave such lasting impressions on our mind and heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murder, Rape, Violence,Child Abuse: Who will Take the Responsibility?

What kind of a hell are we living in? The temples of learning have been transformed into dark caves of horror and bloodbath. What is this environment of violence, abuse, humiliation and shame that our children are wrestling with? Even as investigations take place, inquiries are set up, media cries foul and activists spring into action, can justice be ever done to the innocent lives? Who can bring back to life the 7 year old to his parents?Who can heal the injured hearts and the battered souls of young ones? Can there be a release from these intensely painful and tormenting experiences?

 

Seven year old boy brutally murdered in school toilet, rape of 5 year old in campus premises, 4 year old child made hostage for non-payment of fees, 11 year old girl child punished to stand in boys toilet for not wearing the school uniform? If a child is not safe in his own school, where is the child safe today? It is beyond words to describe the plight of  the parents who admitted their child to school to provide him better education; they woke up every morning with a hope in their hearts,  a prayer in their mind,  prepared the breakfast, fed their kid, dressed him up , escorted him to the safety of the school gate and left him to the secure environment of the school, only to discover one day, that their little boy, their beloved son is brutally killed inside the school. Oh Mourn! mourn the loss of humanity; pity, pity the death of society; Condemn; condemn the culprits of heinous crime. Is that all we can do? Sit back in silence and watch with fear the game of evil-doers?

What kind of a hell are we living in? The temples of learning have been transformed into dark caves of horror and bloodbath. What is this environment of violence, abuse, humiliation and shame that our children are wrestling with? Even as investigations take place, inquiries are set up, media cries foul and activists spring into action, can justice be ever done to the innocent lives? Who can bring back to life the 7 year old to his parents?Who can heal the injured hearts and the battered souls of young ones? Can there be a release from these intensely painful and tormenting experiences? Above all who is to be blamed and who should be held accountable for such shameless occurrences?

What is more disturbing is that the investigations have revealed severe security lapses. There are no adequate provisions in schools to monitor the security of children. While most public schools do not shy away from charging hefty fees from parents, they have shown little sensitivity in adopting safety measures and evolving preventive strategies to counter such horrific deeds. When there are such demons lurking in every dark corner, shifting the blame and avoiding accountability is a crime. Hiding a crime is a bigger crime. Is the prestige, name, fame, ego of a person or institution larger than our morality? The children are the collective accountability of the parents, teachers, schools and nation as a whole. To provide them a happy, healthy and safe childhood is our primary responsibility. Instead of working in isolated spheres, it is time to join hands and come together to combat the evil forces. The guilty should be punished. Juvenile laws should be strengthened. There should be no mercy for such inhuman behaviour.

At this moment of deep crisis and loss of faith, safeguarding our children should be our  immediate priority. What steps can be taken by the school authorities and parents to help create a secure environment?

  • Focus on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery
  • Tighten security by guarding entry points, corridors, galleries, restrooms and other private corners
  • Restrict entries to kids zone, keep high vigilance by maximizing the use of security cameras, communication networks, lightening and fences
  • Strictly conduct police verification of all staff and employees before hiring
  • School visitors management system should be consolidated by keeping single entry point and installing smart entry system and scanning machines at entry point to prevent unwanted visitors
  • School and Parent Community coalition should be established to develop transparent measures and ensure collective efforts. Participation of parents will enforce deeper trust and heightened sense of responsibility
  • Educate the children to spread awareness and empower them
  • Never think “It cannot happen to me”, create an emergency plan and a strong backup

What could be deeper tragedy of the human race to see its children suffer and live under constant fear of survival? Childhood is the most precious gift of lifetime, it is full of careless laughter, innocent talks, fairy tales, magic world charms and funny games. Happy childhood lays a foundation for a happy life. Engulfed by fear and surrounded by pain, children today are forced to live under pressure and swallow the pain. If we allow this to happen it will happen, if we do not act, nothing will change.

Let every child have the right to stay alive, let every corner become a secure palace, let not there be sleepless nights, no horror, no fear, no more abuses , no more tears.

Only we can bring back hope and joy, we can help the little ones to overcome fear. So raise your voice against injustice, let not the evil win. You can bring a change in the world. Join hands to let humanity win.

Be an agent of change…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!