Effective Communication

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The session started, like it did on Monday with “Instant Debate.” Two teams are given themes to debate on. On this day, it was whether Happy birthdays or Happy New Year is more important. Each person from the team gets one sentence or two to make his case and within 3 seconds a person from the opposing team has to present another view point. It went on for 7 minutes. After every point, respective team members applaud. This generates a lot of interesting ideas and a lot of energy.

Then Manoj spoke about effective communication. He elicited opinions from various participants about what effective communication is. Very often people assume that the receiver of a communication reads the mind of its transmitter. Often enough, the communication is misunderstood, leading to inappropriate actions. This happens very often between individuals and also within organisations. Ineffective communication can lead to very losses when it happens in an organisation. Manoj encouraged the participants to maintain a log of the effective and ineffective communications they make so as to learn from them.

One example of effective communication was about how the habit of chain smoking of an elderly man was handled by his son at a temple.

This was followed by a role play where four teams enacted how  ineffective communication can be disastrous in certain situations. The teams had about 12 minutes to prepare the role play and 3 minutes to 5 minutes to present them. There are some very good actors in the group and they did an excellent job.

On Monday all participants were asked to come prepared with a speech lasting a minute and a half  about a significant achievement in their lives. The first bell goes of after a minute and 10 second, and the next at 1 minute 30 seconds. Each of them had to bring a proof of the achievement.

During the practice sessions where the participants paired together first to hear each other’s presentation and then to give feedback, I saw the intensity of the members as they gave their all.

It was a revelation to hear the participants narrate their achievements. Some of them rose from poverty to become big in life. Subbu spoke about how he organized an event with A.R Rahman where about a lac and fifty thousand people participated. Param spoke about the paintings he did as a child in a competition and how he felt inspired by forces outside his comprehension to create superb paintings at that age. There are at least 2 Phd’s in the group and I understood that one’s appearance cannot determine his content.

I spoke about the farewell party given to my team of about 350 people when I was promoted as the director marketing and was shifting base to Bombay. I spoke about what they said about me in the speeches they made. I highlighted the praises they showered on me for the achievements I made in the company. The proof of achievement I took was the photo album covering the funciton, the First Flight team in Chennai gave me. I did not time my speech well enough. There were two or three sentences unsaid.

I was not among the awardees for the best presentation, the most improved performance or the achiever of the evening. I felt bad that I did not make it there. There are lessons to be learned and miles to go. I have to take this training very, very seriously.

Manoj has a knack of getting the group to be on the edge. There is excitement and enthusiasm during his sessions. He comes very thoroughly prepared and he reviews his class every day before going to sleep. He picks up points where he needs to improve further. He is a constant learner and enthusiasm on the move.

He suggested that everyone make a note of their learnings after each class making a mention of the topics covered, the examples, the learnings and the personal action plan.

My action plan is to practice till I attain the desired poise and effectiveness.

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