புதன், 27 ஜூலை, 2011

Problem - No Problem

I have two daughters who always confirm Darwin’s theory of Evolution of Species by confirming our forefathers.  It was a Sunday and I was lying in the bed reading a book and my wife was doing some household activity. Both my daughters were missing in action. Suddenly we hear a loud noise, a big noise of a wooden stool falling down and a couple of vessels rolling. Both myself and my wife rush to the kitchen from where the sound originated with my wife shouting loudly “which monkey is that? “
My God, what I saw there? I saw my mother standing there with flour on all her body and a couple of vessels around. Suddenly my younger daughter appears there and yelled “Grandmother is that monkey”. Hopefully you all should know the very cordial relationship Indian daughter in law shares with her mother in law. All the trainings I have attended on situation handling, conflict management, and human relationship flashed on my mind. Nothing seems to work out. I did the one which I am capable of doing, just went out of the house, started my bike, ran and simply disappear into thin air.

Dear toastmasters, we all are facing many such problems in our daily life. Isn’t it?  Now I am going to tell you how to handle all this problems. But please keep it very secret, because not many common people are capable of handling these kinds of such complex issues.

Ok, now we have find out that there is a problem, what can we do? Just look around, if no one other than you have noticed it then just leave the problem. Why to get into a problem by spotting one.  Let someone else has the pleasure of handling it.

The second scenario is when one another person also noticed the problem, what can we do now? Many times he should also be confused without understanding what has happened actually.  Check whether we can push the blame on his head let him handle it. Or with his help try to push it to a third person and leave the place.

Many times in our official job, we need to handle a lot of problems, and then what can we do? Look at the problem deeply. Empower you subordinates that mean we are molding them for higher responsibility. They also need to learn how to handle complex situations. We are actually training them.

We can also make people in our same cadre to handle the problem. That means that we are delegating the jobs and help them achieving the goals. We need to be team workers, you see.

In the most unfortunate condition of we ended up having to deal with the problem, keep our boss in the loop and ask for his advice and suggestion. But we need to ensure that we keep the next level of superiors also in the loop. This is to ensure that we need to take the credit and if things go wrong our boss should be in the firing line and not us.

We need to understand that problems do not solve by themselves, only people get accustomed to it. After sometime this problem becomes a reality and there is no need for us to do anything on that. Just leave the problem, it will diffuse by itself.

But ensure that you are very active in the office. When you walk inside the office, walk very fast as if the entire office had been in fire. Or just keep looking the floor or the ceiling, with a grim face, let people think that you are very serious. 

When someone ask for your ask for some opinion or suggestion or information, it may be a very simple information like what is two added to two, do not answer immediately. Keep thinking for a long time, write something in your notebook or open up your computer and search, you may even hang on the face book, and then answer him after one hour. Let people think you are very serious when handling situations.

Always keep lot of papers and files in your desk.  The more papers in your table show that you go deep into many things. If your office is a new age hi-tech paperless office, then keep a lot of books, preferably big big books on different subjects like The Republic by Pluto, complete works of Tennyson, some book on management and something on your companies activities. Let people think that you always refer a lot of information. Then they will not trouble you with the problems.  You know, we need to like our work, it should fascinate us, we should love to sit and look at it for hours.

Look at all religious books, all say that God is most benevolent and most merciful. He is full of love and affection; He does not want us to get into troubles. Then why should face and handle problems, we are not created for that.  We have to be God fearing and should not go against His wishes.

Even all government declares as welfare state and wants to ensure that all their citizens should have a peace and comfort life. We need to be loyal to our countries and should not act against the rule of the land.
Thirdly, if we continue to handle lot of problems our health will get spoiled. What for we are working here – in the middle of a desert? Just to make money, what is the purpose in killing ourselves with high blood pressure and heart attack? No use. Remember don’t take life too seriously, you won’t get out alive.

Even doing a project in toastmasters is a big problem, a lot of preparation, coordinating with the mentor, repeated rehearsal and a tense performance. How to handle it? Then we need to do a mind tuning exercise. For seven minutes, we need to understand it is only the listener’s problem and not ours.

So friends, you have a problem, no problem – now I hope you all will follow this time tested principles, tested more than 35 years by me and believe it works.

Problem ……………………never ……………………………….. No problem

The Holy Trinity

It was just within two months of my marriage. I was visiting one of my relative’s home for a customary marriage feast along with my wife. When I pressed the calling bell, we were greeted by a Pomeranian dog, welcoming us with a high decibel barking. I was not a big fan of pets and my wife was really frightened. So I asked the lady of the house to tie up the dog. Promptly the lady replied not to me but to the dog “ Chup raho ! Yeh hai bhai aur bhabi. Hi shut up. Could you not recognize? This is brother and his wife.” Indeed a nice way of welcoming us. Coolly my wife whispered in my ears “Earlier I had a doubt, now  I got it clarified “.

Toast master of the day, madam president, and fellow toastmasters and guest a warm good evening to you all.

Remember, it was just two months of the marriage and the initial fantasy has not faded away and I decided to swallow the bitter pill of comment. How many of you come across such an ego shattering comments in your life. Most of us, I suppose. Have we ever looked into why people behave in a particular way?

This was the basis of research of the Canadian born US psychiatrist, Eric Berne, during the late 50s, which develop into what is now known as Transaction Analysis.

We do not have a single personality as we all think; in fact we have three types of different personalities within us –a kind of split personalities. We have a child, an adult and a parent within us. No, I am not referring to the age or the position; this is the ego status what I am referring to.

A parental ego is stage where a person wants to control the others as if he knows everything on the subject. This has two different types – one is a nurturing parent and the other is a critical parent. Just look at the way the seasoned toastmasters give their evaluation speeches. The first portion will be of the stage of a nurturing parent, giving positive stokes, praising the target speaker, list out all the right things the speaker has made in this speech. The second portion he assumes the role of a critical parent, where he points out the mistakes committed and the ways to improve.

An adult ego is a stage when one person is reacting to the situations without any emotional bias, just looking into the subject and gives his critical analysis in a logical and sequential order. In Our Toastmasters meetings most General Evaluators come under this category.  The basic idea of Transaction Analysis is to ensure that we all should try to strengthen adult ego stage.

Then we have the child ego stage. By nature a child is curious to know new things and many times it is also mischievous. Like a parental ego status, the child ego status is also divided in to a little professor stage and a mischievous child stage.

We do have a lot of mischievous child in this room itself. Just wait for the comments our toastmasters make after announcements and project speeches. Cracking jokes and making fun is the characteristics of the mischievous child.

Many times we do not know many things and we would be really interested to know some basis of the subject. This inquisitive behavior is the mark of the little professor.

In any communication if the sender and the receiver is in the same ego stage, there will be no problems. But in reality it is not so. If one person talks in a critical parent stage and the other responds in a mischievous child stage, the communication either breaks up or a heated argument follows which ends up in a strained relationship.   

So Dear Toastmasters the next time your wife demands a piece of jewellery ignore it because she is in a Child ego. Your boss bullies you with No work No increment statement ignore him because he is in a Parent Ego. But never ignore your Speech Evaluator’s suggestions because he is in Adult Ego as we are. Hope my evaluator is listening!!!

Over to you toastmaster. 

Toastmaster Project Speech - 3

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; so says Shakespeare. True and we all will agree on this. One of the often repeated part what we play is of the part of a sales person.

You may be in different streams of line of activities – doctors, consultants, finance people and may be amused when I say that all in the world is a sales person. No I am not here referring to the regular sales person, who carries a kit in his hand, a tie around his neck and always a lie on his lips.

If not anything, we always try to sell ourselves and that is why we are all sales people, knowingly or unknowingly. We sell ourselves as an employee, as an employer, as a spouse, as a parent, as a team member and what not. We sell ourselves because; we need the appreciation, the recognition, and the improvement in the ladder of success and material benefits. Hope you all agree with me.

Then how to sell ourselves effectively is the question we need to find the answer. For that we need to know how people buy, only then we can do an effective selling. Just think what you bought today, just look for the financial transaction you have made either by cash or by card.

First you recognize the need for the product and service. Then only we start look for the solutions. Nothing can be sold to a person who does not have a need for it. How many of us, ever looked for the price of a Jet plane? Not many, I suppose because you do not have a need for it.

When we are clear about our needs, then we start looking around for the options available. Anything that satisfies our need is available in various price points and is provided by many players. We carefully start evaluating the options

In the process of evaluation, we face many doubts and start doing the research – thro the net, asking the opinion with the people who use the products or services and try to eliminate the doubts. Once we are clear then we decide to buy the product.

This is the famous REED process, on which all buying in this world happens. For items with lesser value, we take the decision faster and for products at higher value, we take a longer time to settle. Hope trying a new cake of soap will always be faster than deciding to buy a new car.

Having understood the REED process, how to sell our self?

No one will buy us if they do not have a need for us. So we need to find out the need of the other person, and need to think from their angle, what is the value addition we can provide to them.

We need to understand the requirements of the other person and if we can ensure that we can do something more than what others can do, definitely we will be liked by others and can get what we aspire for.

We always need to give more than what we take and that is the secret of success.