7.15 K Views

Decoding Communication

Self-Help | 14 Chapters

Author: Girish Jain, Manzoor Moideen

7.15 K Views

Have your talks ever been passed over without any attention? Have you ever wished to possess the gift of the gab? Have you not desired to mesmerize your audience with your powerful words??  Here is the book that that you have been searching for, detailing eleven skills that will help you stand out as an effective and entrancing communicator. From day-to-day conversations to professional meetings, from candid talks to consequential discussions, t....

GIRISH JAIN

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Finance professional | Philanthropist | Motivational speaker | Trainer

Girish Jain is a Chartered Accountant from India and holds prestigious CPA certification from the University of Illinois, USA. He is also a law graduate from Law Campus, University of Delhi, India.

He carries a wealth of experience in the finance field of over 25 years and is currently working as Chief Financial Officer with a multinational corporation in Qatar. Among his contributions as honorary service to the finance profession, most notable is holding the chairmanship of the local chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India twice and various recognitions as International Conference Committee head/member. He is a regular invitee as guest speaker and panellist at various national and international conferences on the Indian economy, finance, internal controls, and audit. He has also presented many workshops on leadership and communication in Qatar and India, including many motivational talks to school and college students.

He is a distinguished toastmaster since 2003 and has held many honorary leadership positions, most notably as Division Director in 2018-19. He has won many speech awards including ‘Best Speaker’ in the Humorous Speech Championship at the division level in 2007 when he represented Qatar in District speech Championship held in Dubai.

He has equally contributed to the Indian Community and other forums in Qatar for the last many years. He is a lifetime member of Indian Cultural Centre and Indian Community Benevolent Forum, both affiliated to the Indian Embassy, and has served these associations as honorary Head of Finance. He has financially supported many social organizations and schools whenever any noble cause arises. He is currently on the board of the local chapter of Institute of Internal Auditors as Seminar Committee Chair.

Girish has regularly contributed various articles to numerous professional and social publications. His most recent article appeared in the monthly magazine ‘Society’ of Qatar’s leading newspaper Gulf Times in early 2020, titled ‘Care in Communication’, which was well received. This book is his maiden attempt to define and decode communication for young professionals, managers, and all those who need to understand different aspects of communication to help them improve their communication skills. Careful thoughts and efforts have been put in while writing every chapter of this book so that the core message is conveyed in simple words for everyone’s clear understanding.

He hails from Delhi, India, and has been living in Doha, Qatar, for the last 22 years with his wife, Nisha Jain, also a finance professional, and two talented kids—daughter Anushka, a Grade 12 student, and son Aditya, a Grade 8 student of Delhi Public School, Doha.

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MANZOOR MOIDEEN

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Entrepreneur | Event Manager | Entertainer | Quiz Master | Trainer

Manzoor Moideen, an entrepreneur, based in Doha, Qatar, hails from God’s Own Country, Kerala in India. He has been in the Middle East for the past 23 years, serving various organizations in middle and senior management roles, and for the last 10 years has been a successful entrepreneur, currently managing a fire protection company employing 30 people.

As a child, Manzoor used to always take the lead in organizing events, calling his friends and cousins to meet up and ask questions on general subjects, like a quiz master. During his high school days, there were popular TV shows on the Indian national TV Channel, Doordarshan, Quiz Time and later Mastermind India that attracted him and since then, he dreamt of hosting quiz events. It took a while for Manzoor to conduct his first quiz program for an association while working in Bahrain, but since then he has been chosen as quiz master for many quiz programs involving schools, students, associations, teachers, professionals etc.

As of today, Manzoor Moideen has conducted over 30 major quiz events in both Bahrain and Qatar.

Apart from this, Manzoor enjoys training children and has conducted many sessions for students, especially teens and youth on communication, leadership, time management and topics alike.

While he is busy with his leadership role in Toastmasters International, serving the members of Qatar as the Program Quality Director (2020-2021), he also finds time to conduct corporate training and has done several similar events in Qatar including motivational talks.

On the professional front, Manzoor Moideen is a member of Business Network International and has been the founder President of BNI Falcon Chapter, Qatar.

A socially committed person, he also serves the community by being a member of Indian Community Services and Indian Community Benevolent Forum in Qatar, apart from associating with other socio-cultural organizations.

He lives with his wife, Beena Manzoor who is a teacher by profession; daughter Zainab Noor, who has got into her college life this year; and an eight-year-old son, Mohamed Zidane, who is a Grade 4 student in Birla Public School, Doha.

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TWO-WAY STREET

Image The art of good conversation largely depends on connectivity.

Image Effective conversation is to acknowledge another person and respond.

Image Successful communication should never be a monologue.

Image Talk face-to-face, have clarity and manage speed in your communication.

Image Strike a balance between listening and speaking.

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Imagine you go out to play a game, but no one is around. You throw the ball with no one to receive on the other end. Does that serve your purpose of playing? The art of a good conversation should be very much like playing a game of table tennis. After you share a comment, you are tossing the “ball” of conversation to the other person, meaning it’s his or her turn to say something… in other words, connect. If you continue holding on to the ball—continue giving a long description of your day, your recent holiday, or your child’s recent stage performance—then you are gripping the ball of conversation for too long and not allowing other people to connect, a chance to join and “play.” If you continue to do this very often, others will find you a full-of-yourself individual—rude and difficult to connect.

The Art of Good Conversation Needs Connection

Communication is successful when the sender is effective in conveying the message he or she wants to transfer to the receiver, and the receiver/listener can perceive and understand the message clearly and concisely. Once this cycle is complete, only then can you call it two-way communication.

We often say that in classrooms, from teacher to students, and in board rooms from the boss to his employees, it is always a one-way talk, where the listeners usually do not have an opportunity to respond every time. So, the purpose of connecting with each other is lost.

You will find it amazing that, as leaders move into increasingly more senior positions in an organization, they become more talkative. Perhaps senior leaders love to hear the sound of their own voice, but the truth is that the best leaders in the world are great at creating dialogue by listening and inviting others to express themselves through questioning. When you reach the point in your communication ability to deliver an idea by asking questions and getting the listener to come up with the same idea, you have reached the ‘master level’! That is successful two-way communication. Let us explore it further.

Talking with You and Not at You

How often do you find yourself in a conversation where you feel the other person is just talking at you rather than with you? As explained earlier, like in the game of table tennis, pay special attention to how long you need to hold on to the ball, and you need to toss the ball back in your opponent’s direction, which signals that it is your opponent’s turn to hit back. Now the ball is tossed right back to you. This is exactly what the art of good conversation is all about—equal opportunity for both parties to share the space and interact without any condition.

Complete the Cycle

Unlike a speech or a lecture, that you may have to deliver at a symposium or office meetings, communication should always be a two-way street where the response of both the parties is as important as having two parties or two individuals. If there is no response from another person, the communication cannot be considered complete.

A few years back, one evening, when I came back from the office, my wife complained that she had requested me to take her out shopping, but I ignored her. As a matter of fact, I did not listen to what she said, as the kids were watching loud TV. I denied ever listening to her request, but then she became upset. I asked her politely, “Honey, after you told me about your shopping request, did I reply and say, ‘Yes, sure…,’ or was it something else? If not, then you should have never assumed that I heard what you say.”

She immediately realized that reaffirmation is critical to complete the communication cycle.

I have seen many people giving references to their relatives or friends for getting them jobs. All they want is a good life for them. There are people who get the job or contracts through these referrals but never acknowledge the help—rather, they complain that they were better off in their previous job.

Andrey helped his nephew Carlos get a decent job in Dubai. Carlos lived in Dubai for 15 years with his family and earned a fair amount of money. Though he lived a comfortable life, he always complained that his uncle trapped him in Dubai, as he was happy with his job back home in the Philippines—whereas the reality was completely opposite. Carlos, in fact, was jobless at the time when Andrey helped him.

Reciprocating with Gratitude

Reciprocating with gratitude after taking a service or favour is highly desirable to complete the loop. I know of many cases where the other person did not acknowledge the favour, and this shows selfishness and carelessness in a relationship, which should be avoided at any cost. If you have taken a favour, however small it is, courtesy calls for saying ‘Thanks’.

I have always noticed people in Western countries following it religiously. Whenever I have visited the US (east or west coast), I always noticed locals greeting others even for small gestures. For example, if you open a door and hold it for someone to pass, the other person will always greet you with a big and loud ‘Thanks’. Even while getting down from public buses, they will always thank the driver though he/she is just doing his service. The simple reason is that when people see others doing a certain gesture, they also tend to follow them and slowly become part of their culture or behaviour.

Mani gifted his sister Aparna a free travel and stay holiday package for her honeymoon. Aparna and her husband enjoyed their complimentary travel package and came back, but never had the courtesy to call or send a ‘thank you’ note to Mani. Now, this ungratefulness of Aparna prompted Mani to introspect and hold back his desires of assisting his relatives and friends. The free travel package was not an obligation on his part, but still, he did it. On top of that, he heard one of his relatives commenting on this deal that Mani is a rich man, so what’s the big deal if he has given the free package. This was heart-breaking for Mani—he then decided to avoid any such favours in the future, as he could not get the desired appreciation for doing favours. Mani had in mind earlier to offer Aparna’s husband a good job in his company in the Middle East but called off the thought. A simple 30-second phone call or a WhatsApp message or SMS could have done wonders for Aparna. Think, if you were Mani and the above happened to you, would you ever help any of your relatives? Probably not. You never know that simple gestures of communicating your acknowledgement of gratitude could come back as a life-changing opportunity.

Let us look into some suggestions for having productive conversations with friends, family, and colleagues:

1. Think of a good conversation like a game of catch

2. Make sure you are passing the conversation back to the other person

3. Refrain from being long-winded or holding the ball of conversation too long

4. A successful communication should never be a monologue

Two-way communication creates more of a democratic environment. Both the parties involved can share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions regardless of hierarchy and improve the interpersonal relationships right across the structure. Bear in mind, effective two-way communication, in fact, does help to resolve problems.

We often get to hear lectures through radio/webinars/podcasts that may be useful, but as we listen, many questions pop up in our minds. We would want to address those, but how? The ideas shared are priceless, but did they clarify your doubts? If it was a two-way communication, where you had an opportunity to clear up your thoughts, then the result would have been different. This not only applies to such radio/webinars and podcasts, but often when one person dominates the communication, keeps talking, and pours his or her ideas to the listeners, not giving space to anyone to ask. This is sharing of information and not two-way communication.

EXPERT VIEWPOINTS

We asked Ms. Kami Nuttall, culture guru, founder, and CEO of Culture Lab Consultancy Ltd based in the UK, about her views on whether two-way communication sometimes dilutes the message.

As per her opinion, communication involves a sender and a receiver of information. The relationship is relational—for it to be effective the receiver has to be ready to listen to the information shared by the sender. Equally, the sender needs to be mindful of how the information might be received. We go through a process when we are communicating. Imagine that the sender has a clear idea in their mind of what they want to say, but when they communicate that message, somehow their message is not received as intended. In this case, communication is not effective, and the sender is confused as to why. This happens when the sender does not pause and pay attention to how he communicated his words. Also, the sender may not have considered the person for whom the information is intended and how they might have received it. This situation can get more complicated when we bring emotions into the picture!

A message can be diluted during two-way communication. This is because we don’t realize that each person processes information differently. We assume that people think the same way, see the world in the same way, and we judge other people by our own standards and behaviours—but this is not an effective premise for effective communication.

In fact, we know that modalities vary from person to person, so the way we communicate should also vary to make the most effective impact.

The above viewpoint highlighted that the sender might have a clear idea in their mind of what they want to say, but it may not have been communicated as intended. This is simply since the sender did not pause and pay attention to how words are communicated. This shows that a message can be easily diluted during a two-way communication process, and to avoid it we should not assume that people think the same way as everyone else does.

Two-way communication usually occurs when the receiver sends a response or feedback to the sender’s message. In this process, the sender first transmits the message to the receiver. After receiving the message, the receiver decodes it and then sends back his or her reaction to the sender.

Two-way communication hence is not one-sided but involves feedback from the receiver to the sender. This allows the sender to know whether the message was received accurately by the receiver. Communication is also negotiated in this process, where the sender and receiver listen to each other. The messages then gather information to respond. One person here is the sender, who send a message to another person via different mediums—face-to-face, email, telephone, etc. The other person is the receiver, getting the sender’s message. Once the receiver has received the message, a response is sent back.

Two-way communication also can happen in two directions—horizontally or vertically in an organization. When information is exchanged between the superior and his/her subordinate, it is known as vertical two-way communication. On the opposite hand, if the communication takes place between two or more persons holding an equivalent rank or position, it’s called horizontal two-way communication.

Why is two-way communication involving two persons important?

In-Person Communication

When it comes to the business and the corporate world, 75% of people believe that in-person communication is critical. In-person interaction helps resolve problems more efficiently and effectively, generate long-term relationships, and resolve a problem or create an opportunity quickly. Studies say, four out of six of the most important attributes of building a relationship cannot be achieved without the power of in-person communication, which requires a rich communication environment. Business executives believe that in-person collaboration is extremely critical for nearly 50% of key business, strategic, and tactical business processes when engaging with colleagues, customers, or partners.

Communication means the exchange or give and take of knowledge, ideas, information, or news among the individuals.

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EXPERT VIEWPOINTS

We asked Ms. Asna Nafees, Principal of DPS-MIS School, Qatar, about her views on whether effective communication should always be two-way.

As per her views, the ability to speak and communicate our thoughts and feelings with each other is what makes human beings an intellectually advanced species. Effective communication is the most important tool for growth and development that must be mastered by all. In a speech, good communication is always two-way. Two-way means after I communicate my initial message, I must receive a response from the receiver. But what we must understand here is that this response need not always be verbal. Non-verbal gestures like nods or facial expressions can also effectively communicate a response. If the verbal and non-verbal mechanisms are established between the two parties, a combination of the mechanisms in any manner can lead to good, healthy two-way communication.

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Self-Help | 14 Chapters

Author: Girish Jain, Manzoor Moideen

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Decoding Communication

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