Saturday, January 28, 2012

Four Ear Dimensions of Communication…PART II

Communication and discussion tips for making the same more effective
During the discussion, focus on these four dimensions, check your body language for each dimension.

Shown in the following graphic is “what and how to focus to make the communicant /discussion more effective.”

1. How to focus on “Fact” dimension?

Remain objective
ØPlace the topic as focus of the conversation, rather than yourself or your own interests. The following behaviours could support objectivity:
ØFormulate the topic as a common problem-in-common
ØAnalyze the problem
ØCollect various solution ideas
ØAsk for information
ØDesignate opinions as personal evaluations
ØCompare estimates with current values
ØDiscuss the consequences in several dimensions (financial, personnel, technological, organisational)

Speak in such a way that next person understands your view point.
ØMessages are easier to understand when the speaker organizes his thoughts and presents them in a logical order. The following tips help:
ØUse short, simple sentences with common words; explain foreign words and jargon where necessary.
ØPresent the information in a logically-constructed form, with a recognizable path.
ØKeep the message short and concise, sticking to the important points.
ØUse additional stimuli: pictures, comparisons, illustrations (possibly also visually).

Listen carefully
ØFactual content can be discussed more clearly when the discussion partner listens analytically and not associatively. Listening analytically means:
ØDon’t lose your train of thought through stimulating words.
ØStick to the statements of your discussion partner and don‘t go on tangents.
ØCheck the validity of the arguments rationally, don‘t let emotions deflect you.

Check the arguments for unspoken assumptions and superficially plausible rationale.

2. How to focus on “Relationship” dimension?

Active listening
Listening in people-centered discussions is called active, when it is not limited to a passive reception of information, but rather involves a range of highly active processes:
ØTo put oneself in the other person’s shoes, to think and feel from his perspective
ØTo attempt to comprehend what the other person really means and wants to say (i.e. not to get stuck on certain sayings or key words)
ØTry to sense the emotional state and mood of the other person
ØKeep back one’s own evaluations, suggestions and spontaneous reactions or sometimes for a while knowingly suppress them
ØLet the other person know that you’re following his statements by use of body signals (eye contact, “hmm”, nodding)

Actively listening is recognizable, when the listener
Ø Summarizes the sender’s statements and attempts to repeat
Ø Notes the emotional state of the other person and addresses it;
ØSticks to the main message with open questions, or those that invite further reflection;
ØCan withstand pauses;
ØSends nonverbal signals (see above)
Discuss feelings directly
ØEmotions are usually recognized and decoded from non-verbal signals. Physical responses typically fall into one of three basic categories:
ØLike (joy, trust, sympathy, satisfaction, hope)
Ø Dislike (Aggression, Antipathy, defensiveness, discontent)
Ø Anxiety (fear, doubt, disappointment, pain, evasion)

At work people are generally shy about mentioning the discussion partner‘s emotions. It requires sensitivity and practice to formulate the observed emotional state accurately and appropriately.

Give feedback
ØOne should let one’s discussion partner know how you’re experiencing the situation and the other person, after certain episodes or passages. Such statements are helpful when there are misunderstandings or conflicts.
ØWith feedback, you let the other person know how you have understood his statements, what wishes you have, and how you have experienced him. It is just as important to receive such statements, as to give them, without reacting crossly, out of sorts or defensively.
Such responses are better received, when you
ØDescribe content instead of passing judgment;
ØFormulate emotions directly instead of indirectly;
ØSpeak in the first person (“I”) instead of third person (“One”, “it”);
Ø Allow reciprocity, i.e. staff can speak to their manager in the manager that he speaks to them.
ØState your own wishes (concretely what the other person should do differently)

(Another two dimensions - Next time)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is your Title?

“I have completed three years in the organization, what is the further career growth for me?”  You must have encountered with such questions, if you are a manager. When they join the company, they take six months to adjust with the team, understand the business; it takes further one year to contribute in the organization. Their question is right, but they also need to ask the question, what they contributed to the organization during these three years. There are number of employees in the organization and off course, it goes very difficult to the organization to plan everybody’s career. In fact, most of the organizations are struggling to address the issue.

There are certain employees and off course Indian psychology supports another pseudo-satisfaction of getting promoted. It is the title change. Manager is promoted to Sr. Manager, without change in role.  The visiting card, holding the higher designation gives the social status to employees. Nobody in the society bothers actually what role he handles.

One youth approached me from one of the service organizations. He gave me his visiting card. His title was Regional Manager. I thought he may be responsible for some regional territory. I was quite happy to know that today’s’ youth are progressing fast. I asked him his territory. He told that he was responsible for specific area of the city and they used to call area as region. In his organization, there were almost 50 regional managers in one city!

Is promoting merely by designation improves the engagement? I don’t know the answer, but definitely people are fascinated by the fancy designations. AVP is one of the designations in banking, service and BPO industries. I had one friend working in one of the well known BPOs in Pune. He was AVP there, but working in shift. I was envious his designation. After working there for 1 year, he joined in manufacturing company as Manager-HR!

Candidates negotiate for designations. They want higher title. Manager wants to be Sr. Manager and Sr. Manager wants to be AGM. They totally ignore the role and job description. There can be DGM without freedom in one organization and Manager with lot of empowerment in another organization. MNCs have flat organizational structure and job responsibilities play important role in career development in such organizations. Roles are based on job evaluation methods like Hay, Mercer or Hewitt or simply internal designed methodology.

When you see the job, it is better to check the role and level in the organization. The purpose of the job, span of control, impact of the job, contribution expected by that job and salary offered are the important factors than mere designation.

Career development and career planning is not only the responsibility of organizations, but also employees’ willingness to learn more, their accountabilities and commitment towards job. If you follow this, mere title change will not satisfy you.      


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Are your “Socially Intelligent”?

Social Intelligence…

“It is difficult to handle that person. He is crazy.” One of the friends was sharing his experience about the interaction with another colleague. There are different types of personalities in this world and you have to interact with most of them in your life. There are people in the society who even not aware about their own behaviour in public. They don’t know what to talk and where to talk. They hurt, disturb another people and take blame.  Can we avoid these personalities? You can’t; you have to live with them. But there is a strategy to deal with them.        

You must have heard about Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence can work, but not always. To deal with such people, we need Social Intelligence. Karl Albrecht coined this term.

Social Intelligence: Social Intelligence as the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you. It is basic understanding of people.

The question is how to develop the Social Intelligence. The best way is to understand the S.P.A.C.E. model. This is a simple model of assessing and developing Social Intelligence. This has five dimensions.

(S) Situational Awareness: This is the ability to read, understand the social context which influence the behaviour and accordingly choose the behaviour. It is your social radar which helps you to interpret the behavior of people in those situations in terms of their possible intentions emotional states, and pre deposition to interact.

If we want to be accepted and taken seriously, we all need to pay special attention to the sense of presence we communicate. Here you need to sense the expected behaviour of the person. But before that you have to understand, what are his social norms, his communication style and tone of language and culture of the person.

(P) Presence: It’s the way you affect individuals or groups of people through your physical appearance, your mood and demeanor, your body language, and how you occupy space in a room. Your personality should reflect the positive-ness and confidence.

If some senior person, imagine, President of the company come in the meeting room, his presence in reflected in the surrounding. But this is due to his official position. This is charisma due to his official position.  There are people who earned the personality, like Anna Hazare. His presence in due to his earned charisma. There are people, who project themselves as personality and carries artificial charisma.

You can check this side by becoming awareness with your style, by asking your family members and friends.

(A) Authenticity: This dimension reveals how honest and sincere you are with people and with yourself, in any given situation. It’s how you connect with others people so you become worthy of their trust.  It’s a reliance on or belief in yourself, so you can take real authorship and ownership of your space or place.  

It is possible, for example, to have well developed “people skills” and yet lack the emotional depth to be considered truly socially intelligent. Authenticity does not only require being yourself; you must genuinely connect with others, which demands a fair amount of empathy and compassion.

(C) Clarity: This measures your ability to express your thoughts, opinions, ideas, and intentions clearly. Using proper language is important here. Your language should be used skillfully. Simple test is asking the question, “Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?” Sometimes silence also works effectively.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

There are certain situations were saying less, accomplishes more

(E) Empathy: Last but not least is empathy. This dimension invites you to look at how truly aware and considerate you are of others; and the feelings of others. In simple language understanding and assessing why people behave in specific manner. Putting yourself in their situation is the best way to understand them. Try to understand the emotions, feeling of other and decide your strategy to deal with them.   

Try to follow the above dimension of Social Intelligence. This will definitely make you effective in your career and life. Just enter into the S.P.A.C.E….  

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Communication Technology Syndrome

Communication Technology syndrome is the abnormal behavior seen in human being (especially in educated human being) where s/he becomes a slave of technical instruments like mobiles, software and gazettes and social networking sites.

I have seen people checking their mobile phones for SMS, some unnecessary updates. By doing this they ignore the person seating next to them. They are unaware about their surrounding. People speaking on mobile while driving and putting their and other’s life in danger are really idiots. The height is wearing hand-free and sometimes Bluetooth instrument. The person wearing Bluetooth instruments looks funny to me. The question comes in mind, “how busy the guy is? And if he has not responded to the mobile alert will the world end?” 

“We have nothing to discuss when I go at home; we shared everything on phone, or face book.” One person was sharing. “We go home, eat, watch TV and go to sleep.”

Now a day, people communicate more through mails, mobile phones, and facebook status update. The communication has been through technology and one to one communication has been totally ignored.

I have seen the status update of one person expressing his love to his wife on the fecebook. Human being has the need to glorify himself. Every person has the desire to appear extraordinary among the crowd. Every like and comment on facebook update makes them happy.  Hence they are eager to post the happening in the life, but sometimes they ignore the privacy part of the life.   

This behaviour is a habit. Checking updates on facebook, being on mobile continuously is the obsession. This can be converted into the compulsive obsession. Is it normal? I don’t think so. This behaviour is definitely abnormal. People do the farming, grow their chicken and spend half of the day on social networking sites. They live in second life on web.  This is resulting into loss of productivity.

Blackberries show red signal when some message or email appears in the inbox.  This is distracting and there are people who even can not sleep peacefully checking and responding to those mails.   

Technology is for human being and human being is not for technology. You can not replace the technology with human interaction, interpersonal communication and relationship. Technology is the mean to improve the relationship and communication and hence we should know where and how to use these tools.      

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

With the first rays of the Sun on the Earth and with the first day of the week, 2012 is started. New beginning is ahead. There are lot many things to do in New Year; Lot of plans and resolutions. ( 1st Jan is the same as yesterday, but with new hopes.  

Yesterday on one TV show, one actor asked another one, “What does New Year mean for you?” Actor replied, “When my wife asks me to bring new calendar, I assume that the New Year is ahead.”

Earth rotates around the Sun as usual, birds go out from their nest as usual, but for human being, it is the new day for new thinking. Human being thinks what he has achieved, gain in a last year and what he would achieve in New Year. However we should not forget the spirit of enjoying the New Year. We keep back the baggage and hope for the best in New Year. Somebody may say that 2011 was more challenging and volatile, but that is the life. It gave you total new experience. There is one English movie, “Clean Slate”. In this movie one character suffers one type of amnesia, when he goes to sleep each night he forgets everything that happened to him before that time. A woman who had cheated him asked him to forgive. The character even is not aware what she did with him and he is totally clueless.

As you welcome the New Year, your past has nothing to influence your future. The great year is ahead with hopes and lot of positive energy. If you believe on the “Law of Attraction”, then this year will bring more joy and positive energy in your life. No matter what has happened in last year, you have the power to create your next year as you choose. For this you have to choose the freedom of choosing. (  You are now deeper, wiser, and stronger by one more year.

Wish you all happy and great New Year…       

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