Just think of the modes in which our distant forebearers communicated long ago-the evolution of the written word, speech, smoke signals, semaphores and the Morse code-one can go on and on. Here, of course, we need to concern ourselves with communication skills and the time management in work place and home in the present times. Popular work culture does not perceive separate rules for men and women. We are all global managers in the local set up. Consider home, for a moment, as an extension of work place, particularly in the context of Indian women. While life at home may be laid back, care free but is not without responsibility. And there the difference ends. The modern employee needs oral, written and technological skills to excel. Even the most naïve housewife is expected to operate the washing machine, handle the microwave oven, run the mixie, to draw money from ATM and even to drive a car—that is if she wants to contribute meaningfully to the chores of routine but modern domestic life.
Nearly all work involves interaction and communication with others. Clear and effective communication between individuals between teams and among departments is a vital part of any successful organization. Without effective communication in workplace, business results and team relationships suffer. Poor performers continue to perform poorly and productivity drops. Good people are overburdened with more responsibility. In our personal lives we blame each other for lack of communication and agree to live in companionable silence.
We can see that employees still need written communication skills. Yet interpersonal oral skills are the ones most prized by employers in the new informal workplace atmosphere. At home the oral word has to be more precise as well as concise to avoid attrition. The ability to follow oral instructions is an important parameter in the overall persona of an employee. Considering the important nature of the faculty even CBSE has incorporated it in the form of “Listening and Writing Skills.” In their curricula employees who work with the public or closely with teams need skills in empathy and feedback techniques, especially in fields such as customer service, medical, and legal. Critical thinking and the ability to function as part of a problem—solving group are also skills that employees look for. Today’s worker must remain cool under pressure, adaptable to new technology and to fast pace with benefit of hindsight. I’ve shortlisted a few points which may be of some help to you while interacting with people.
- Clarity: Ensure the information you need to convey is, firstly, intelligible to you. Communicate it clearly and directly. Use language that is specific and unambigious. Check that the receiver understands the message as you intended. Avoid acronyms lest they be confused.
- Be Attentive: Without becoming an active listener means you cannot make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying—‘don’t interrupt or respond until the other person has quite finished. It should come as no surprise that the best communicators are also the best listeners.
- Deportment: This means using the other person’s name, looking them in the eye, and nodding to aid in demonstrating you understand what they are saying. If you are communicating in writing, reread before sending your message to ensure that it could not be misinterpreted or taken as disrespectful.
- Message & Medium: Some of us are better communicating in writing and some are better at speaking. Consider the preference of your receiver.
- Who is the end—user: You may have to style your communication with your boss, co-worker, customer or supplier.
- Mode: More and more of our workplace communication is done via e-mail, voice mail and text messaging. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these, depending on the message and the audience. Texting can be especially effective when a quick question or answer is required without further explanation or repeated follow up e.g. “What time is the school council meeting.”
The important thing is to stay focussed on behaviour or performance and not character. You are not a judge of character. Avoid being biased or opinionated. When you are on the receiving end, avoid getting triggered by difficult messages. Keep in mind the bigger picture and the long term implications.
Don’t be yourself all the time. Be someone a little nicer and never confuse motion with action. After all “A man diligent at his work shall stand before kings.”
By Ajit K Tripathi
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
RHYTHM … in poems
(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)
(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)