I have vivid memories of my early childhood. My visits to the holy city of Amritsar were incomplete without a visit to the old part of the city for savoring the delicacies and specialties that are unique to the city of Amritsar.
I recently visited the city again after a gap of more than 30 years. On the first morning of my trip I paid respects at the Golden Temple and remembered our martyrs and freedom fighters at Jallianwala Bagh. Thereafter, the thought of having “Pippe de cholay (pronounced at ‘peepay day cholay’) suddenly came to mind. A ‘Pippa’ is an aluminium container that contains cooked Cholay (Channa/Gram) and is served hot along with special Amritsar Kulchas. It brought back memories of the distinct taste of this fine recipe which I had last savored several years back.
My wife’s Aunt (from Amritsar) took us to the city’s main shopping market. There I was introduced to Kartar’s Singh’s grandson. A jovial and rather amiable person in his fifties, he was quite happy to narrate tales for his trade. He is a third generation cholay vendor (his grandfather started the business) and has been selling the famous Kartaar de Cholay at the same spot since his teens. He talked about changing times – the city, his clientele, prices of his cholay. But the one thing that stayed the same was the taste of his patented recipe. This according to him was the main thing that brought customers back to his stall. Here he is in action, doing the one thing he really loves… and the people love him for what he offers.
Posture is a very important part of your personality. It’s necessary to develop an elegant posture- while standing, walking or even sitting. If the posture is not correct the breathing is also affected. It becomes shallow. Shallow breathing is not good for speech. The voice is impaired and becomes feeble. So even from the point of view of effective communication, good posture is a must. Recommended standing position of an elegant posture is described below:
- The feet may be slightly apart.
- The general disposition of the weight should be slightly forwards.
- The pelvis should be above the instep.
- The torso should be directly above the pelvis; neither in front of nor behind it.
- The abdominal muscles should feel braced without tension.
- The torso should feel raised, but not stretched, away from the pelvis.
- The shoulders should be directly above the pelvis and should be in line with the breastbone at the front.
- The head should feel well balanced immediately above the shoulders. It should be neither in advance of them nor behind them.
- The chain should be in a medical position, neither showing the underside of the jaw, nor pulled back allowing a ‘double-chin’ to form.
Developing ability to say ‘No’
Often times, we are scared to say ‘no’ even if we want to, even if we need to.
Suppose a friend asks you for ‘help’ to complete a project. You know that you are extremely busy and you don’t have the time for the ‘help’ requested. Being scared of offending a friend you just accept the request without proper thinking. This is lack of ‘assertiveness’. It will lead to a greater problem when the relevant time comes. If you help, you will consider in your mind that your friend is inconsiderate because your own work is suffering. If you don’t, your friend will be upset because you have gone back from your commitment and let him/her down.
So, what should you do?
Develop assertiveness. It’s developing your ability to say ‘no’ when you need to say ‘no’. But you have to say it in a manner that it does not offend your friend. You must use your language and articulate your inability in such words and such tone that your friend appreciates your position rather than feeling upset. The same holds good for your colleagues in office and others.
3 Magical Words that can change you life. What do these words mean? Simply stated these mean that your words must simply stated these mean that you must always remain composed – Never exceedingly happy, and never heavily sad.
Never react to a person, nor to any situation. It may so happen that someone has told you something which he or she should not have said. You may become angry and give it back in the same coin. But that will not solve the problem. It will aggravate it. Then what should you do? Should you take things lying down? No! Yet, you must practice to remain composed and ask your mind what you should do? You will mind will surely respond. You will be able to say such words ‘cooly’ to your opponent that will work out to be a befitting response. The person will never dare to insult you again. Is it easy to acquire such strength in character? No it is not. But, it is quite possible by consistently reminding yourself that you must never ever react. You should ‘act’ instead. Asking your mind is in fact your ‘action’.
We must all remember that when we ‘act’, we use our mind. But when we ‘react’, we lose our mind. Using the mind is surely a better alternative. Your mind provides you with ample opportunities to overcome difficult, indeed very difficult situations. It is worth becoming adept in using your mind gainfully, always
We hear a lot about voice modulation in the age of public presentations.
What is modulation? And why is it so important?
Voice Modulation is your ability, rather, talent to bring in variance in pace, pause, pitch, emphasis on the key word and the tone. Unless you modulate your voice while speaking to a group or even a lone listener, the chances are that you speech will not be effective at all. We have often seen some members of the audience dozing away while the speaker continues his/her speech. Now, I will explain- pace, pause, pitch, emphasis on the key word and the tone.
Pace: if you speak very fast you will not be understood but, if you speak very slowly you tend to become dull and listeners will not like to listen to you. However, when you speak with a medium speech, though audience can understand you but the same pace of your words will render your speech monotonous.
Pause: Just as in written text you have coma, full stop, paragraph and other punctuation marks, your speech too must reflect the same by means of pauses of different durations. This will make the speech effective.
Pitch: It is the note on which you speak. While attending a solemn meeting you cannot speak on higher pitch. But at the same time if the commentator of a football match speaks at a low pitch, nobody will like to listen to him.
Emphasis on the key word: Just as you get unwanted results if you Google a wrong key word, different meaning will be conveyed by the same sentence when you emphasis a wrong word.
Tone: Tone is most dicey. It is easy to control the words and the sentences. But it is very difficult to control the tone. Tone represents the emotions with which you speak. Often times, due to inappropriate tone the speaker lands into trouble.
I had a friend who was always looking for people whom he could help. He could never see anyone suffering. He would get so involved in the problems of others that he would forget his own.
I had read in our scriptures that persons with ‘Devi Prakarti’ are the ones who are always concerned about the welfare of others. They would even find how the enemies after death could go to heaven and not the hell. Indeed it was the concept of ‘Ma Durga’ who would want to destroy the demons with her swords and/or other arms instead of destroying them with a just a fierce gaze. It had been further explained that the very touch of the arms of Mata Durga is enough for the salvation of these demons. Devi thus bestows salvation and not damnation even of demons
But, Badri was not an angel. He was a human being like all of us.
Due to his extreme concern for others, his own business invariably suffered. Most of time he was in financial difficulties. His wife remained upset and the family life disturbed. Poor benevolent Badri!
At a recent training program, we wanted to conduct a debate. There were about twenty participants- all executives of a medium size organization. There were nine ladies and eleven male executives. Most of them had been using Mumbai’s Lifeline- Local Trains.
The topic was defined as,
Commuters themselves are responsible for poor services of Mumbai’s Local Trains.
Two groups were formed. By consensus, it was decided that ladies would speak for the motion and men would oppose the motion and hold Government responsible for the malady.
Ladies group made out a strong case that commuters are either misusing the facilities provided by the railways or were not coming forward to notify their genuine complaints.
Male participants enumerated various issues like delays, shoddy announcements, hawkers & beggars infesting the stations and the compartments, thefts, accidents etc, But, somehow they did not speak with conviction. So it seemed that the ladies had carried the day.
Then, the motion
“Commuters themselves are responsible for the poor service of railways”
was put to vote.
Contrary to the expectation motion failed. All male and female participants voted against the motion and held railway authorities squarely responsible for their mismanagement and all pervading corruption.
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)
A few years ago I had joined ‘A poetry club’. I fail to remember the club’s name.
A number of persons trying to call themselves Poets! The chief undoubtedly is a poet. His poems constitute a part of the English literature curriculum for students of master of arts degree in English literature. Frankly, I did not read his poems. He recited some of theses from time to time in our poetry meetings
And we had a lady member whose name I would not like to reveal. Let me call her Ms. Manners.
We were at the get-together hosted by a Business Chamber. The Chief Guest was Counsel General from an African country. After the speech of the Chief Guest and a Vote of Thanks, the chamber had arranged cocktails. Guests were enjoying conversations in small groups. I was a part of one such group. Our Ms. Manners was enthusiastically speaking about something to the Deputy Counsel General. He too, was deeply engaged and added a comment here and there. I was a mute spectator because I didn’t understand what they were talking about. The conversation swung from trade to tradition and from African Jungles to Railway Networks. Meanwhile, the Diplomat was approached by another guest. Ms. Manners took me aside and started advising me discretely and confidently. “You must find space and enter the conversion. One should be able to contribute to any topic to make his or her presence felt. Otherwise, you are left alone, you know”, she said. And did I not know!
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.