Saturday, 31 January 2015

Communication: An aspect of it demystified

When we think of good communication, the picture that comes to mind could be that of a great orator.Yet communication is a lot more than oratory or if  you prefer communication is a lot simpler than excellent oratory skills.

It pertains to the connect with the audience. If what you have to say is in sync with what the audience is expecting, then the communication  exercise can be as smooth as butter. if not disillusionment & dissatisfaction could be the result.

Having a sense of the mood of the audience could be vital. To a hungry audience if you insist on imparting what you believe to be 'pearls of wisdom' much beyond the lunch time, you are likely to find your words falling on deaf ears.The problem is that many speakers are in love with their own voices and proud of their own knowledge or expertise and this prevents them from looking at the faces in the audience for nonverbal cues (excitement, interest, boredom or indifference).

Recently, I had organized a short training session on Kaya kalpa yoga, a technique developed by the Siddhas of Tamilnadu, simplified & propogated in recent times by Vethathiri Maharishi.The attractive aspect of this yoga is that it requires only 7 minutes of your time in a day to practice( 3 in the morning, 3 in the evening & 1 at night).For busy employees in the manufacturing sector, this is very good news and there was a big response from the employees to attend this open program of voluntary participation.

The time allotted to the speaker facilitating the session, including the practical training was around two hours, Based on our experience of organizing the same program earier through another faculty, I requested the speaker to talk about the history & theory behind the yoga for about 45 minutes and spend the remaining 1 hour and 15 minutes for the practical part of learning the yoga and allowing participants to seek clarification. Although I had repeated the request 2 to 3 times before the commencement of the session, the speaker got so carried away explaining the details that he ended up having less than half an hour for providing practical training to 100 odd participants.The exercise had to be hurried through and no time was available for clarification.The basic purpose of learning to do the yoga correctly was defeated.

On another occasion in a previos company, we were celebrating Republic day. I was compeering the program at our factory location in Mysore.Normally employees look forward to a quick & brief program that starts at 8 AM and gets over by around 10 AM.The CMD and a director had come down from Bangalore.As soon as they arrived it was hinted that CMD would like to leave as early as possible as he had another  appointment,  back in bangalore.

The program agenda included the inspection of parade, flag hoisting, minimum number of speeches, couple of   patriotic songs and distribution of a few awards to employees for long service/ contribution to quality.With an aim to be inclusive, I suggested that a lady executive of quality department announce the names of the quality award winners.It was conveyed to her and to all others concerned, the desire of CEO to leave early.

when the time came to announce the names of the awardees however, the lady chose to give a long discourse on the defenition of quality, its background, importance and so on. Her brief was simply to announce the names. As the onus was on me as the compeer, to fulfill the requirements of CMD, I tried in vain to give her hints to get on with the announcements and internally cursed myself for coming up with the idea of including her instead of just announcing the names myself. The speaker saw it as  an opportunity to get noticed and 'shine' before top management. she could'nt care less of my plight!

If we are not reponsive to the demands of a situation, communication is bound to fail.Coming across many such experiences have prompted me to keep my own talks short and sweet  while constantly looking to the faces in the audience. This lets me know whether they are with me and as to whether I need to change tack to ensure that they are...


  1. As usual, an excellent write Rajeev, on the importance of communication and measured communication in keeping with the demands of a situation! I simply love your articles, as they touch upon practical aspects of our life, of which communication forms a very important activity! Thanks for sharing this great write.

  2. Thank you so much Padmaja.your feedback is ever so motivating!