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be SILENT to LISTEN!

Sshhh!!! Silence please!!! Keep quiet!!! Stop talking!!!

Words which, I am sure, will take many of us back to our childhood and Kindergarten classes, right??!!! Right back to our teachers shouting and trying their best to get us to listen to their lessons and to their instructions! That we have to maintain silence in order to be able to listen is an age old formula that we have always been taught and will continue to teach for generations to come… and rightly so too!

In today’s corporate scenario, it is neither just technical competency nor just the hardworking ability that take priority whilst employing individuals. Communication is one of the vital aspects taken into consideration too, and a core aspect of communication is the ability to listen. In today’s fast moving world, maintaining personal relationships has sometimes become a challenge, especially when both partners are busy with their respective jobs and have lesser and lesser time to give each other and their family. In both the above cases, taking time out and truly listening to the other person can be an effective solution.

It cannot be just a coincidence that the words LISTEN and SILENT are anagrams i.e. are made out of the same alphabets! It is therefore, but natural that for us to learn how to LISTEN, one must learn to be SILENT first! Let us now understand what being SILENT means:

• S: Sincere – Do you remember the times when the person in front of you was smiling with a sombre look on their face, with all the right signs of listening, and yet you just know that they are not interested at that time, that they are not sincerely listening to you but just so for the heck of it??? Well remember this, so can everyone else make out too!!! Yes, so here is the first step to being SILENT to LISTEN: be sincerely interested in what you are supposedly listening to…

• I: Inquisitive – Be curious. When one is intently listening to something, one’s brain automatically keeps working on the same too. This raises questions in the listener’s mind which they would want clarified. This also helps the speaker to understand that the other individual is truly listening and attempting to understand what is being said. It is thus a good idea to ask relevant and non-threatening questions to customize the conversations.

• L: Like person – Make sure that you like who are listening to… Their communication ability, their competency in the subject, their handling of the audience and the content, etc… Many a time I have seen listening of an amazing topic go flat just because according to the listener, the speaker’s behaviour and value system did not resonate with what was being said. Not just the content of what is being said, but also the person saying it has a lot of impact on how well it is listened to. Ensure that you talk to and are hearing from the right person.

• E: Empathize – Sometimes listening is not just about hearing what is being said, but it is also about communicating feeling what the other person is feeling. Especially when the other individual is sharing information connected with emotions, be they positive and negative, that of joy or sadness, one ought to be able to relate and express empathy on the same towards the other person. After all they are talking to a human being and not a wall!

• N: Non-verbal communication – Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear your words!” The impact of the right non-verbal communication whilst listening is vital for the other person to get the feeling and acceptance that listening is happening. So, nod once a while when appropriate, smile at the other person, lean forward, show facial expressions, and let the other individual know that yes, you are listening!

• T: Talk- Listening also involves talking… to a certain extent! One needs to paraphrase (repeat the speaker’s words in their own words) once in a while. One also needs to ask the right questions to continue and steer conversations while also summarizing points once in a while. Also important to talk during listening, is to once in a while also express thoughts about self to the listener as course of self-disclosure in order to continue conversations smoothly. So, talking to the right extent n in the right manner is vital to listen effectively!

From Robert Cialdini who said that listening to the other person helps you to convey your point more effectively, to Stephen Covey who emphasized listening as very important under his 5th habit ‘Seek first to understand than to be understood’ in his popular book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effectively People’, the importance of listening to one another is highlighted in many ways. We ought to learn and practice the above constantly!

Be SILENT so you can LISTEN…
You have the power!

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Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 25th Aug 2011

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September 4, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wrong Handshakes

In today’s corporate as well as cultural scenarios, maintaining certain accepted etiquettes are important. Etiquette can be defined as the forms, manners and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social relations, in a profession or in official life. Etiquette gets formed right from the word go and the initial handshake to the sustenance of perceptions over time. Technically, a handshake is known as a short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s opposite hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.

As per a display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin and other places, right from the 5th century BC times of ancient Greece, shaking hands while meeting has been a tradition between two soldiers and represented a truce where neither side wielded a weapon. The handshake slowly moved into the western culture and into the area of corporate etiquette. It is important for one to know how to successfully wield the customary handshake in a corporate scenario. Thus it is important to also know how not to give the ‘wrong’ handshake!

A handshake can reflect and let the other person perceive a lot about your personality. There are so many wrong ways to give a handshake. Some of them are as follows:
The Dead Fish: Patricia Rossi, the author of ‘Everyday Etiquette Made Easy’, calls this “The worst handshake in the world,”. This is when the hand is floppy and flimsy and project insecurity and non-commitment.
The Politician: This is when one shakes with the right hand and cover the shaking hands with their left hand. According to author Matthew Rothenberg, this feels too personal and too early in the relationship.
The Wrestler: This is so vigorous a handshake that can almost rip the other person’s arm out. It may convey that one is too eager and pushy
The Queen or The Fingertip: This is when one extends just their fingertips to another person. It conveys the feeling that the individual does not want to touch the other person.
I’m stronger than you are: This is crushing the bones in the other person’s hand so much just like trying to wring all the juice from a lemon. It makes it look like one needs to prove themselves.
The Oww!: This depicts an overeager person who may catch the other person so much by surprise on the handshake, that it becomes awkward for the other person.
Oh ok, I’ll just pretend to care about meeting you: This handshake can be very limp and apathetic and very awkward for the other person, and gives the impression that one is disinterested
We’re now bonded together for eternity: This is when a handshake does not end and just feels like eternity. This happens when people are a little too happy to greet you or who are extremely nervous and forget to let go. You do a few hand pumps…and then some more…and some more…and finally, hopefully, your hand is let go!
Aha! Am sure you didn’t see that one coming: This happens when the individual does something different, mostly out of nervousness. For instance, this can be when one is putting the left hand out for a handshake when everyone usually uses their right hand. This can lead to fumbling and even embarrassing situations. In these scenarios, it is a good idea to follow the crowd and use the right hand.
A good proper hand shake is called a ‘winning handshake’. It consists of a firm but not bone crushing grip and lasts about 3 seconds while maintaining good eye contact. The person has to be approximately 3 feet away. The hand has to be angled towards the chest with thumb pointing upwards. The other person’s hand can be ‘pumped’ once or twice from the elbow and then released, even if the introduction of the person continues.

Learn to meet, greet, part, offer congratulations, express gratitude, or complete an agreement well. Master the ‘right’ handshake!
You have the power!

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 11 Aug 2011

August 30, 2011 Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Myths about Training and Learning

interesting article I found… do not know whether the article is possibly true or the myths are… another question for discussion here is: does a MYTH become TRUE when most people start BELIEVE in it?

Myths about Training and Learning

Myths have a way of perpetuating themselves. There are quite a few related to training and learning too. Everyone seems to believe in them. So much so that they have become sacrosanct and no one even bothers to question them.

 

When I heard some for the first time, it was in the context of a training program that I was myself going through. My first reaction was: ‘Wow! That sounds incredible.’ In the enthusiasm of the collective wows that were generated, I accepted the myths as truth.

But I soon realized I was not comfortable believing in them. Intuitively, I knew they could not be true.

 

Now all these myths seemed to be backed up by solid research though. So I wondered if I was being my usual arrogant self by questioning these supposed universal ‘truths’.

But I started my probe anyway and what I found really warmed my heart! These were myths for sure, very similar to urban legends that get popularized without any sound basis. Read on and join me in smashing them.

 

Myth 1: You remember 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 30% of what you see and 90% of what you do.

 

This is a widely repeated statement by trainers all over the world. Maybe you’ve been subjected to this statement at some time as well. I hope you have  The round figures are easily remembered but completelyJnot made it though. wrong.

 

The findings can be traced to one D.G. Treichler, an employee of Mobil Oil Company, who put forth these figures in 1967.

 

However, the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science has laid claim to the figures, saying they are based on research in the early sixties and bizarrely adding that ‘we no longer have – nor can we find – the original research that supports the numbers’.

Though, there are many arguments against these figures, one that is most obvious is that all the percentages are perfectly round. What research into human behaviour ever resulted in four different round numbers?

 

Myth 2: In communication, only 7% of the meaning is conveyed through the speaker’s words, 55% through his facial expressions and the rest 38% through tone of voice.

 

I am sure you have come across this lulu too, especially if you have attended communication or NLP programs. In one sweeping statement, words are reduced to an insignificant role in the great game of communication.

 

Yet, when we think about this deeply, the fallacies start becoming obvious. Is it really possible that if I get lost in Shanghai and ask a passer-by for directions, I’ll have to work out the correct route mostly from their facial expressions and tone of voice, and not from the words they use?

 

The findings are attributed to research done by Mehrabian but, in reality, they are just a distorted version of what Mehrabian himself has to say on his website. He expresses the results of his research in the form of an equation:

 

Total liking = 7% verbal liking + 38% vocal liking + 55% facial liking

 

He explains that “this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e. like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable.”

 

Myth 3: We use 10% of our brain (or anywhere from 1% to 15% depending upon where you have read it).

 

This one is so popular, even Albert Einstein is usually roped in as one of the endorsers! The media too has played a role in orchestrating this myth. Many of us therefore look at it as given.

 

Scientists have tried for years to change this misconception. They have clearly stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that we use only 10% of our brains. In fact it is very hard to say what using just 10% of your brain means.

It could mean that I could cut 90% of my brain and be just fine or that I just use only one out of every ten nerve cells at any one time. Let’s attack this one with common sense.

 

First of all, it is obvious that the brain, like all other organs, has been shaped by natural selection. Brain tissue is metabolically expensive both to grow and to run.

It strains credulity to think that evolution would have permitted squandering of resources on a scale necessary to build and maintain such a massively underutilized organ.

 

Secondly, losing far less than 90 percent of the brain to accident or disease has catastrophic consequences. Various medical tests reveal that there does not seem to be any area of the brain that can be destroyed without leaving the patient with some kind of functional deficit.

 

Likewise, electrical stimulation of points in the brain during neurosurgery has failed so far to uncover any dormant areas where no percept, emotion or movement is elicited by applying these tiny currents.

 

Having dug hard and deep, I find no evidence at all to support this myth.

The most powerful lure of the myth is probably the idea that we might develop psychic abilities, or at least gain a leg up on the competition by improving our memory or concentration.

 

All this is available for the asking, the ads say, if we just tapped into our most incredible of organs, the brain. It is past time to put this myth to rest, although if it has survived at least a century so far, it will surely live on into the new millennium.

 

The next time you are subjected to this one, just ask the speaker politely “Oh? What part don’t you use?”

 

Author: Shalu Wasu ;  Source: Tickled by Life

 

About Revathi Turaga

Revathi Turaga is an international Meta Mind Management trainer, inspirational speaker, and behavioral coach.

Based in Hyderabad and heading GAMMA’s business development corporate operations in South India, she holds certifications and trains in Edward de Bono ‘s Six Thinking Hats and lateral Thinking, NLP certified practitioner, Creativity, Positive Attitude and Excellence Workshops of Meta Mind Management, psychometric assessments and profiling tools such as DISC, MBTI, PAPI & 16PF, Dale Carnegie’s Presentation skills, etc. She can be reached at +91 98666 45870 or info@revathionline.com. Visit http://www.revathionline.com

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment