Saturday, March 31, 2012


A PICNIC is a much looked forward to event in families, amongst friends and certainly amongst office mates. The excitement is in the mere thought there is going to be a lot of fun and that there would be Pleasure In Companionship Nurtured In Change. It may sound strange that people who otherwise spent so much time together, occasionally disagreeing, at times annoying one another and certainly interacting most times find a commonality of purpose and expectation in a picnic.

Part of the charm of the picnic arises from the sheer opportunity to escape from the daily grind and drudgery of mundane chores, the realization that there is an opportunity to laze around and the unlimited opportunity to have a variety of games, fun and food. There is also the anticipation of the unknown, the unplanned and a utopian idea of having a blissful time thrown in between too. Ironically, a successful picnic is always well planned and involves excellent coordination too.

While ‘spontaneity’ is key ingredient that adds luster to the fun of a picnic, it must be viewed only as the topping that flavors the entire picnic. Through spontaneity, individuals display their creative side, their hidden talents, open up more freely and allow others to experience a side of an individuality personality that perhaps was never evident. Another important element that is often overlooked is ensuring ‘inclusivity; of all participants. This is tricky as some people are introverts, others are too boisterous and quite a few could be indifferent. Finally there must someone in charge and a certain amount of discipline to ensure that the picnic goes as per plan.

Getting maximum participation, ensuring many ideas are sought and incorporated, providing for diversity of participants wants and needs are paramount to ensure that a picnic is an exhilarating experience where everyone finds Pleasure In Companionship Nurtured In Change.

Action Points:
  1. Make your circular for a picnic more lively by being more creative both in its presentation as well as style. Perhaps you have a theme based picnic e.g. A color code for the dress or a style code for the outfits or you can put some conditions that participants must fulfill e.g. getting one round fruit or vegetable.
  2. Group people innovatively for various activities e.g. Group them by height or by date of birth (all born in Jan- Mar, April –Jun etc) or by using a mixer game to help warm up as well as make the groups.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012


Communication is perceived as the life line of the human society. Communications encompasses a wide canvass in terms of styles, languages, variety etc.  Yet uniformly, the backbone of all communication remains one’s ability to LISTEN for it is then that we Let Interest Sustain To Enlighten Now. If we learn to appreciate the value and importance of listening, we would have become better communicators, more socially acceptable, have a wide social and friends circle and above all learn to value and respect all those whom we come in contact with.

Why is it that many of us are poor Listeners? The answer lies partly in our ignorance but mainly in our impatience and biases. Here are a few pointers to understand why we fail to LISTEN and we can then work on improving our listening skills by ironing out our personal limitations that we become aware about.

The misconception that talking holds the key to communication. Nothing is as ill conceived as the notion that the whole business of being an effective communicator lies in being able to talk incessantly. Alas, the notion is taken to ridiculous lengths especially when people meet in social circles, at meetings and definitely when one is in the company of friends and relatives.

Our craving to react rather than respond. The ego often tempts us to rebut, refute, allege, deflect, dissect and digress when we are at the receiving end of a communication. As a result, our mind is focused on immediately reacting to what we perceive to have heard or understood and the victim in the human folly is the power we could have held over the communication if we cared to listen.

Distractions that do not let us focus on listening. Apart from the physical conditions like extreme climatic conditions or poor sound quality or other noises that distract, we can be distracted by our limitations of understanding the contents e.g. Our disinterest in science and math’s. When we are distracted, we are focused on letting the communication directed at us come to an end so that we can escape from the suffocation, pain and monotony that we endured. Obviously listening has no chance to rear its head when we are simply shutting ourselves from the proceedings.

Comprehension of the communication becomes challenging. When the communication is liberally peppered with jargon, technical terms and a lot of philosophy the receiver of the communication is often left perplexed and bemused.

Personal limitations e.g. Prejudices, impatience, quick temper etc. When we participate in a communication process with a prejudiced idea or view point or when we are forced to participate in a process which does not hold our interest or if one is an agitated state of mind, listening would be a near impossible task. Our mind is already preoccupied and absorbing anything would be well nigh impossible.

So how does one try and improve one’s listening skills?

Be aware. A quick look at the points listed above and its relevance to us as an individual would quickly make us aware as to where we need to focus on in order to improve our listening skills. For starters talking less and learning to respond rather than react would dramatically enhance our listening skills.

Be motivated to listen. This is tougher than it seems because every communication situation would be different and finding the right motivation would test our creativity and our will power. To be motivated to listen one needs to find a reason to listen. One good way to be motivated is to visualize yourself as an important participant in the communication process. Another way is, to engage in the communication process with the hope of finding a suitable benefit in the communication e.g. the speaker / writer gives very good examples or shares very good anecdotes.

Prepare to listen. Students in particular or those going for a seminar would greatly benefit if they read up on the topic that will be the focus of the communication. Even a casual participant in the communication process can make an attempt to be prepared by proactively thinking, researching, collating information on the topic of the communication that they would be part of.

Paraphrase, clarify, jot down. Not every bit of the communication is relevant or important. The context, the individual motivation and the perceived benefit of the communication would vary from individual to individual. However every individual can actively listen and gainfully participate in any communication process by summarizing or paraphrasing and clarifying the messages. It works best when one takes the effort of jotting it down and subsequently revising it.

In conclusion it is clear that developing the ability to LISTEN is a key human learning that would be extremely useful to every individual because it allows one to Let Interest Sustain To Enlighten Now.

Action Points:
  1. Take a sea shell and press it to your ears and concentrate and try and perceive the sound emitting which mimics the sound of the ocean.
  2. If you reorganize the alphabets in the word LISTEN you will get another word that would give you the best hint on how to be a better listener. Can you identify that word?
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