Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Common sense

Common sense is instinct, and enough of it is genius.
                                        Josh Billings

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conquering hesitation : Talking to strangers

Why men don't ask for directions? Of the many reasons, hesitation is one. Many of us are too hesitent to walk up to stranger and talk to them. Even when we are looking for help. When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?


Have you been to an village or small town. People so easily talk to strangers. Have a chit chat - over whatever be the topic - politics, economy, sports, doesn't matter. Everyone has his two cents to throw in. But what a stark contrast you see in big cities. You won't even pass a smile to your neighbour, forget the greeting. Why?


I don't think lifestyle is a reason. In a smaller town, you will somehow secured and easy. A big city gives a very intimidating feeling. Like you are nobody and no one bothers about you. More or less true, but why let that feeling hang on to us so tight? I know, even if you gather courage to tell something to a stranger, first look you will get will be of suspicion. That's a hazard of times we are living in. Anyway, let get back to the point. We are hesitant to talk to strangers and how we get rid of it.


You surely would have met a salesman and a beggar on the road. Next time notice how they approach to strangers. There's a lot to learn from them. Both have a very different approach. A salesman will start with introduction, but a beggar cuts all the crap and throws a one liner at you. We all know who is more successful.


Again, lets take it in a vice versa situation. How you would like a stranger to approach you. To be point. Specific and precise. Isn't it. So lets do the same. When you approach a stranger get to the point right after a a polite greeting.


Easier said then done. We know what to say but approaching take guts. Remember we spoke of Baby Steps process. Lets use the same.


Start small. One day just walk on the road, without your wrist watch. Ask for what time it is. And move on. Try it after every 50 yards or so. This will give you some confidence. Do not forget to smile when you are asking for time.


What next. Perhaps you guessed it right. Ask for directions. Pick up a landmark and ask for the directions towards it. When you are asking for direction, the length of conversation is longer and give you little more confidence.


Now the some more practice. While waiting for elevator or bus or tickets, try to hit a conversation. Now do not use a one liner like "Oh! Such a sunny day", "The elevator is taking forever" or "Is the queue even moving". As soon you let something out like this, any scope of decent conversation is over. Because now if say anything more after this, it will look like you are "trying hard" to get that person's attention. And this puts people on back-foot.


How to hit a conversation then? Its getting longer than I expected to lets split here and take that topic out as Conversation Starters.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Conquering hesitation: communicating with (professionally) seniors

Only few managers are very approachable. You are lucky if you've got one. But then not all are lucky. and not always too. So how to deal with situations where Open Door policy is just a rhetoric.


Before we discuss how to approach, lets first try to find what really intimidates us? I do not believe its the power they have (by virtue of their position) to affect your career. I feel the intimidation, the fear, is generated from our own desires. We want to impress them, want to be in their good books and a sense that we might not be able to achieve it; is what intimidates us.


Now obviously we can't do away with desires. But then we need to realize our self-worth. If you know you are doing your job well (knowing ain't enough. you have to do your job well too). Then you approach your senior with that confidence and self-pride. Both will show in your attitude, and in your conversation. Think of it in a vice versa situation. If you are a senior and a junior approaches you. Who you would be more impressed with - the one who is lost or the one who knows what he wants.


So this will be a helpful approach. When ever you have to appraoch a senior, think of it if you are a senior and a sub-ordinate wants to reach you - how would you like him to behave and that will be your answer.


Now its not necessary that things will definitely go well with this approach. You still might get an unwarranted negative treatment. What can you do if that person had a fight and you were the scapegoat for this anger unleashed upon. I would say do not dishearten. I would look even such thing is a positive way (if we are sure you were not wrong). Because then when that person's anger cools down, he realises his mistake and guilt takes over. That is the right moment to go back. High chances that you will get what you were looking for, the remorse of being rude at you will give you a bias in your favour if not an advantage.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Conquering hesitation

Now hesitation is a vicious circle. It will block you. And it keeps blocking you. The more you let it block yourself, more hesitant you keep getting. Slowly, it becomes a problem to the extent that you are no longer able to communicate with others properly. Of course, the degree varies. You may feel hesitant only when approaching strangers or opposite sex or seniors. It differs person to person. But the traits are same. You want to say something. Want to do something. But you can not. Your mind holds you back. It will project all sorts of negative consequences.


Baby Steps


Hesitation can not be killed in a single day. You have to make conscious efforts. conscious small small efforts. Slowly curing it. You can start with identifying things that you are hesitant in doing. Now sort them. Where you feels least hesitant on the top and so on. Now if may so happen that that even the first item in you list is proving too much to handle, them think of smaller things, which you would be less hesitant in doing. So start with it. Collect you guts and go ahead. Do it. Now proceed to next item only if you feel confident. If not, repeat the first item few times, till you feel ready for next. Keep taking baby steps. Do not try to measure, how much you are out of it. To think about hesitation is to get into it even more.


The most commonly seen hesitation is to communicate with strangers, opposite sex or seniors. There is one more - expressing yourself in public. I feel we need discuss all four in detail. So instead of clubbing them together, I will break them into different posts.