Are you listening?

While talking on the telephone often you ask the listener – “Are you Listening?” If there is no sound of response such as ‘hmm’, ‘yes’, ‘please go ahead’, ‘I understand’, etc. you tend to feel that your words are falling on deaf ears. More so when you are negotiating on the telephone.

But what happens when you talk face to face?

The significance of your words is reduced to just 10 to 15%. ‘How you say it?’ – becomes more important than what you say. Even when you are articulate the efficacy of your words will not go down unless you compliment your words with voice modulation. Modulation is your ability to bring variance in Pace, Pause, Pitch, Emphasis on the keywords and the Tone.

Further, you body language* too is extremely important for making the communication convincing and effective.

Attentive listening to others is the key to build good relations. Listen to others and they will listen to you!

*(facial expression, posture, gestures, eye contact)

Ethos, Pathos, Logos : Part II

Yesterday I talked about ‘Ethos’ i.e. your credentials. Today, I’ll explain ‘Pathos’ & ‘Logos’.

‘Pathos’ represents the needs or the expectations of your audience. What does your audience need from you? If your communications satisfies this need, you are a good communicator/speaker.

You must know the audience profile in order to establish their requirements. Age group, Gender, qualification, profession, general likes and dislikes. These all comprise the profile. Having understood the audience, it is easy to frame a suitable talk. When you are communicating to an individual, you have to put yourself in his/her shoes in order to define the needs.

Lastly, it is ‘logos’. ‘Logos’ refers to your ability to be convincing. Your ability to influence people. You can do this with the following in mind.

You must choose your words with discretion.
Use simple language.
Modulate your speech to hold attention of listener/listeners.
Speak to express and not impress.
Develop your own natural style. Don’t copy anyone.
Maintain cordiality.

‘Ethos, Pathos, Logos’

Three simple but rather uncommon words. Three great words not only for the public speakers but for everyone, according to me.

Today, I’ll talk about ‘Ethos’

What is Ethos? It reflects your credentials. I explain to my students like this. “Imagine that you are appointed Ambassador of your country to another state. The first job that you have to do is to present your authorization documents to the head of the state in which you are appointed Ambassador. Likewise, a speaker must present his/her credentials to the audience. The audience must know that you are the right person to speak on the subject. That you not only have the required qualification and knowledge to speak on the subject but also desire and enthusiasm to benefit the audience. This is about public speaking. But everyone is not a public speakers, you might argue.

Just to explain further, I’ll ask you a question. Suppose, you have to make an important phone call. Is it not necessary for the person to know that you are the right person, that you know what you are talking about and you have done your ‘home work’ before lifting the telephone. It’s only about forming a habit. Depending on what you are speaking about and to whom, it may take only a few seconds to reflect and then only you should make the call.

And please don’t forget to remember Aristotle for he was the first to describ these three words ‘Ethos, Pathos, and Logos’ which can bring about a great change in our lives!

C.P.U.

Computers must have their own CPUs. The ability to process commands faster depends on the power of the C.P.U. Or the central processing unit windows remain as of now the most used system by ‘Commoners’ geeks, I am told, have better options. As the capacity/ power C.P.U. is increasing in a rapid pace, so is the desire for the makers of ‘programming systems’ to add addition features. These make the system heavy, and may cause the CPU fatigue.

Every individual too, is equipped with a C.P.U. We can add more features to this unique C.P.U. by adding knowledge, and using it. What I call ‘application of mind’. The more you use the more powerful this C.P.U. becomes Instead of becoming heavier, the additional features or the abilities make the system lighter and decisions are made faster.

Equilibrium

as a child I had learned while studying science the importance of ‘equilibrium’. I do not clearly remember its definition. It meant to me the natural ability for a thing to stand up on its own – to maintain its stability. It was taught that if the center of gravity is closer to the ground, it increases the stability of anything in adverse circumstances. Like extreme push or pull, a jump or a fall etc.

Today, I find that equilibrium is equally important for human beings. What is means to me is the ability to retain our feet on the ground. Extreme emotions may tend to shake the feet but adequate control of the mind helps us develop the ability to remain on the ground.

Habits Die Hard

Habits die hard is commonly known. But forming new habits is equally hard. In the fast changing world that we are in today, we need ‘change’ more than anything else. Change in attitude and change in habits need to be priorities. Someone told me that if you do something at the same time daily, it becomes your habit. I have motivated some of my students, but the results are far from satisfactory. To form a new habit or to ward of the old one needs the following:

                                i.            Develop a strong desire to bring in the change.

                              ii.            Set a valid reminder system.

                            iii.            Define the milestones and the timeline.

Appraisals

On 8th of this month I had to conduct a training programme for a small organization of less than 100 people.

Appraisals are difficult to conduct, by are necessary for the organisation. This is when you sit in judgment on people you have to deal on day-to-day basis. This is when you, as a manager have to perform this arduous task. You naturally become extra careful. You don’t want to annoy a person who is an integral member of your small team.

The biggest problem is whatever you do on that day of judgment sits as a permanent mark in the file of the person appraised.

In 50s & 60s there used to be large families in our country. It was not uncommon to find 6 and 7 and 8 children in a house. Parents were expected to treat them alike but could they ever do. Here, children were also expected to contribute to the growth and development of the family. But were they treated alike?  Same love and affection of father and of mother? Not really! Some would become favorite of their mother, others of their father. Often the father would hardly have the time to make any favorites.

In an organization, too, personal bias is bound to creep in. An Appraisal is expected to bring in differentiation. But in order that the objective of the appraisal is achieved, the Manager needs to rise above the personal likes and dislikes. The more arduous problem is the hesitation of the Manager. Hesitation to articulate what he/she objectively considers the correct comments on the person being appraised.

Magnifying Glass

Except for the watch maker, palmist or others who use it professionally, a magnifying glass reminds you of your childhood. I was particularly fond off burning paper or creating heat on a summer day.We friends would compete on the duration of time one could tolerate the focused energy produced by sun rays on hand.

But today, the name magnifying glass symbolizes far greater importance in an individual’s life. It signifies ‘focus’. Focus that we often miss. Focus that can kindle a fire of desire in our minds. Desire when converted into a passion can bring about a total change in one’s life and its purpose. Success is bound to follow in anything that you do!

Well & You Know

I did my masters in English Literature long ago from Government College, Ludhiana. My friend Ajit Prasad Jain and I shared the same bench in the class – in the last row. One of our lecturers who taught us kept us engaged in a rather unusual manner. He had a habit of repeating two words – ‘well’ and ‘you know’, almost in every sentence.

We did not have a counter at that time. Nor did we have a stop watch. But we gave ourselves a task of keeping track of how many times the lecturer would repeat the word ‘well’ and ‘you know’ during the period of 45 minutes. The wager was simple. If the professor repeated ‘well’ more than ‘you know’ Ajit would pay for our tea and samosa in the tuck-shop (college canteen) and in case ‘well’ left ‘you know’ behind, I would have to foot the bill.

It appeared to be a never ending game; and it kept our interest high in the prose lecture of our dear Professor. None of us or any other student in the class had the guts to point out and say to him, “Sir, 15-20 % of what you speak in class comprises just of two words – ‘well’ and ‘you know’.

These days too I find that a lot of professionals who come to me for improving their communication skills have similar habits. Filler words, are intruders who reduce the efficacy of speech. I still encounter, ‘You know’, though ‘well’ is not commonly used these days. But the most repetitively used words these days are – ‘like’, ‘basically’, ‘actually’ etc. Besides, other common intruders are – and, eh, uh, etc. In the first session itself I ask my students to remove these intruders (filler words and sounds) from their speech.

Confidence

As a child, I always felt that I lacked confidence. Even now, in some situations I find that I do not measure up to my expectations. Yet, I have always admired ‘confident people’ and I continue to do.

Considering that Confidence is a very importance part of our lives, I often contemplate about it.

This happened at the Delhi Airport. I had checked-in well in advance, as per my habit. I was waiting to board the flight to Mumbai. As usual I was looking around to find ‘confident people’. There were many men and women – well dressed, upright and looking satisfied with their lives. But there was one gentleman who appeared exceptional. He was immaculately dressed in a dark grey suit. His broad shoulders and with his ‘chin-up’ added to his confident look. As I was brooding the flight was announced and we all boarded the plane.

It was a comfortable smooth flight. All the usual things – the in flight safety demonstrations, service of snacks, tea and coffee went off very well. Soon it was the time to reach Mumbai. The air-hostess announced that the plane would land at Mumbai airport in a few minutes. Then something happened. Instead of descending the plane went up and started going round in circles. After about ten minutes everyone got restless. People were looking around and trying to understand what was happening. I closed my eyes and started praying. Still, the plane continued to hover in mid-air.

Suddenly, I thought of this very confident tall man I saw at the Delhi airport. Looking around I found that he was perhaps the most restless soul on the flight at that moment. He was holding his handkerchief in one hand furiously wiping the perspiration, sometimes from the forehead and sometimes from his cheeks. With closed eyes he was looking up and down. At times he would put his hand in the pocket, as if he were trying to search for something. I could see all this because he occupied an aisle seat on the opposite side just two rows behind. In my futile endeavor of observing him, I had somehow forgotten my fears.

And then the Pilot came out of his cabin, walked to the middle of gangway, and stopped there. He did something and then went back. Shortly thereafter another landing announcement was made. The plane landed safely and all of us got down.

I realized that the ‘confidence’ of a person is not only about posture, looks, and dress.  dressed, and the way he behavior, it is something more. In fact, a lot more. Real confidence is tested when there is a crisis how you remain cools at the time.

I realized that the confidence of a person is not only about posture, looks, dress and behavior, but it is something more. In fact, a lot more! Real confidence is tested when there is a crisis. How you remain cool at the time of crisis shows how confident you are.