Thursday, 17 March 2016

ABC of Interpersonal Communication

In the modern world, there is nothing more talked about than communication. Dynamic organizations send their managers to attend seminars on communications. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, it is one of the most neglected areas. One, who can speak, thinks that he is a good communicator. Well, that is not exactly what we call communication. A person may be speaking, but is not communicating if the message is not getting through. The cost of distorted message is lost time and productivity. The rules of communication run from A to Z and may be a good start to build or refine communication skills.

A is for Assertiveness. A good communicator is always assertive i.e. He expresses himself honestly without denying the right of others. This communication technique involves respect for oneself and respect for others.

B is for Body Language. Verbal language is not the only communication medium. Body language, too, communicates. It is an expression of the way one feels and relates non-verbally to their inner and outer world. Research shows that 55 % of the communication is done through body language. One's body must match with the words, to make the communication process effective.

C is for Concise. We need to be understood without over or under-whelming the people we are talking with. We can only remember a certain amount of information. After the saturation point has been reached, nothing more is taken in. The message should be clear and concise.

D is for Direct. Nothing is better that face-to-face communication. We must accept the ownership of what we say, to avoid distortions. It is only possible when we send our messages ourselves. Communication is too important to be left to others to handle it for you.

E is for Eye-Contact. How do you feel when a person who is talking to you does not look in your eye? We can learn a lot about the feelings of another person if we have a proper eye-contact with him. Research suggests that people do not listen effectively to a person with bad eye-contact.

F is for Feedback. The only factor which distinguishes two-way communication from one-way is feedback. After you have sent your message, always ask for the feedback to check the accuracy. Every sender also needs to be a good receiver. Allowing for the honest expression of thoughts and feelings is scary, but beneficial, and is only possible through proper feedback.

G is for Guessing. The exchange of information must be completely correct and concrete. It is only possible when we never guess or assume anything. We must never confuse assumptions with the facts.

H is for Heart. We must communicate from head as well as from heart. Honest people always take other's feelings into account before determining how to say or present sensitive items.

I is for Interruptions. Everyone has a need to be heard. Research shows that interruption is the single most annoying factor to more than 90 percent of the chief executives. So remember this golden rule that if you do not want to be interrupted, do not interrupt others while they are talking.

J is for Judgment. If anything kills real communication, it is a judgment. You can use the factual data on the words and feelings to make better decisions, but do not pass any judgment. The best way to be sure is to check and clarify.

K is for Kindness. Kindness and gentleness are prerequisite for a healthy communication process. If you have left it home, go and get it before you begin. People will not listen effectively if you are not polite. Kindness helps in building up a better rapport.

L is for Listening. A good listener never loses any discussion. There is a great old saying that "Listening starts the caring, from caring comes the rapport, in rapport there is magic, and in magic there is power", which well states the importance of listening.

M is for Mood. The way we feel affects the way we present ourselves. It is a good idea to laugh to enjoy both the communication and the people. "Laughter is not a sign of disrespect; rather it is a sign of comfort and productivity".

N is for Normal. Some people have a tendency to get excited or confused in a discussion. This behavior affects their body gestures and destroys self-confidence. Do not under or over-react in discussion. Just staying normal gives you control over the situation.

O is for Open. It is okay to tell people what they do well, why you like what they have done and how you feel about it. As truth is a rare commodity, it is often used sparingly. It may seem naive to believe that "Honesty is the best policy," but it still is, and it can establish its user as trustworthy. Wounds opened to the air generally heal quicker.

P is for Perception. People are different, their perception is different and therefore they must be approached differently. We may disagree with others, but must not make them right or wrong. We have different points of view because we have different perceptions. Understanding that people have different perception is the first step in developing trusting relationships.

Q is for Quit. A communication breakdown usually occurs "when both parties carry on dual monologues without ever stopping to listen". People require time to respond. Pausing after you are through will encourage others to clarify any queries.

R is for Rapport. It only takes a second to establish rapport before tackling some issue. Rapport-building is on-going and cannot be stocked up. It is a prerequisite for a good start and helps in breaking ice and developing trusting relations.

S is for Summarizing. One golden rule to avoid any distortions or misunderstandings in communication is to summarize the outcome of the discussion. Spending little time on summarizing will clear any misunderstandings and save a lot of time afterwards.

T is for Timing. Everything has a season and a time. In communication also, "there is a time for sharing and a time for withholding, a time for confronting and a time for caring, a time for praising and a time for criticizing".

U is for Urge. Clean your urge for forcing your point of view on others, before you start communicating. Never give your pre-determined solutions up-front until you have clearly listened and understood the other's point of view. Be flexible in reaching at a conclusion.

V is for Vocal. The pitch of your voice, your tone must match with your body language and verbal. An aggressive voice or a loud tone does not convey much, but may backfire on you. Your vocal controls 38 percent of the total communication process.

W is for Win-Win. Try to create win-win situation in the discussion. We could create it only if both parties were the winners at the end of the discussion without putting anyone down or hurting other's feelings.

X is for X-rated. Use of filthy or x-rated language is a sign of aggression. It does no good for you. You might feel powerful for the time being but ultimately become powerless, when you lose.

Y is for Yap. Words are important enough to loose in noisy foolish talk with no outcome. One may also lose the real message in Yapping. Do not yap.

Z is for Zigzag. Avoid zig-zag communication. People get bored and the real message is lost in a zigzag communication. Try to talk straight and remember this formula:
Feeling Message = Ownership + Feeling Word + Description of Behavior

Courtesy; Faiz H. Seyal (a motivational speaker)

Peace in Relations

A saint found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples, smiled and asked. “Why do people shout in anger at each other?” One of them said, “Because we lose our calm, we shout.” Disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the other disciples. Finally, the saint explained.
“When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance. What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either non-existent or very small.”
The saint continued, “When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, but only whisper. Finally, they even need not to whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.” He looked at his disciples and said. “So when you argue does not let your hearts get distant. Do not say words that distance each other more. Or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.
At the moment, the human ingenuity, science, info-tech gadgets, and a huge treasury of knowledge, which are the byproducts of globalization has altered the course of history in the past few decades. Hence one has to admit that they had facilitated our lives, but on the other hand they had fashioned our lives that we set up no time for those who call for our love, care and time. Since we are too busy in making a living in this highly developed period of history but we put out of our mind to make a life, by not being able to notice what is happening in the lives of our parents, siblings and children. We just desire to see our goals to be accomplished, our wants and needs to be satisfied and our dreams to come true. No one wishes to care about any one’s dreams, goals, needs and commitments. Every one of us is living a life of selfishness, greed and exploitation. This age can be rightly regarded as “tissue paper age.”
We are getting masters in professional ethics, but we forget to learn the art of making our society civilized. Our educational institutions offer a wide array of subjects that can be found vividly supportive in making a prosperous living, but they have no courses designed to learn about the humanity, emotions, love, care and why we needed it. So question is how we can live a life where there is no anger, conflict and pettiness, but there is plenty of happiness, peace, prosperity and harmony. 
The bone of contention is our ego, the bigger the ego, the bigger the suffering we may face. We must smash the ego and let the water of joy, shower on us. The anger we carry is a sign of insecurity, inferiority and complexes that we have, and symbolizes the loss of control on ourselves and takeover by the external elements or the external persons. So work on your insecurities and your anger will be gone and replaced by peace.
There must be win-win communication to be adopted to avoid the disharmony, disrespect, conflict and loss of relations. Even a simple “thank you” and “please” has “nuclear power” to turn the situations as we have wanted. We must nourish ourselves with attitude of “gratitude”, as it gives satisfaction and a notion of fulfillment.
One of the basic needs of every human being is the need to be loved, to have our wishes and feelings taken seriously, to be validated as people who matter. We are not certain to stay for another day to laugh, love, work or play, these have to be done right away. These are the genuine nuts and bolts of a dreamed life, which in fact is easy to live, if we are able to find the true way. As the great Persian poet Hafez Shiraz once said, “every base you see is faulty, except that of love, which is flawless.”
Every one of us wants to be valued and appreciated by others who matter for us, even though the greatest intellects of the time felt this need to be appreciated by someone close to them. We need to appreciate our siblings, children, friends and relatives, even though their accomplishment is small enough, but they must get the nuts of appreciation. Sometimes it takes only few words to do so, but it makes the relations alive, motivated and even stronger. It is a necessary formality.
We all are beggars of happiness. We depend on our parents, siblings and friends to bring happiness for us. But what happens, we just augment the beggary for happiness, and doesn’t let ourselves to bestow happiness to others. In order to endorse happiness around us, we don’t have to be the beggars of happiness but we have to be the givers of happiness. Then only we can sustain happy and healthy relations. 

So give up the clouds of discord and war and spread the good will, peace and harmony among the people. Just forget about the past, and make a commitment to live your new life, right here and right now. This is the right time to know that you can’t control your life but it is really up to you to control the consequences. Remember you have the talent to do this, because it is not a rocket science, it is just simple as in implementation but results are tremendous.