Saakshi Nagpal

Archive for the tag “toastmasters”

The Leader as Coach

In this world there are two kinds of leaders one who loves to collaborate and partner along and second who loves to direct and are control freaks in nature.
If partnering and collaboration are more gratifying to you rather than directing and controlling then I hope next few minutes would be helpful for you and if you are among the second group, please pay attention ,  you may find something interesting.

Most of us see ourselves taking leadership positions in near future and some are already in leadership role and Toastmasters gives us platform to practice and hone our leadership skills. Among team management, time management, stress management, project management, some XYZ management and lot of etc etc imaginable managements ….. . the most important responsibility is to grow and develop the team.

Henry Kissinger, a German born Noble prize winner American writer has once “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. “

As a leader, you are measured, recognized and rewarded not for what you do, but for the accomplishments and achievements of the people you lead. If you want to achieve your goals, you must do everything you can to help your team succeed. If you consider present and past great leader they are alike in 3 areas.

  1. They provide a clear direction through their mission and vision.
  2. They foster collaboration through team building, delegation and coaching.
  3. They motivate team members to achieve by providing feedback, support, recognizing and by resolving conflict.

Many of the world’s greatest leaders say that their team growth is how they measure their own success. Dhoni is considered as the most successful Indian Cricket captain of all times. Not just because he ia great player & his hair styles are trendsetters, even his bald look is still in fashion. But because under his captainship India has won world cup , Twenty 20 world cup , so many series and has set records.

Following Henry Kissinger’s advice , when you coach others to reach their potential you are helping world’s future leaders to gain strength and skills to succeed. You are writing new success stories. People have more potential in them  than they currently show in their lives. If they only knew how to surface their potentials they would have already done so. But the ground reality is that most of them don’t. If provided coaching they get to surface their greatest potential.

Looking for the most convinciable example of being leader as  a coach & writing history, I am able to pick a name close to Indian hearts – Kabir Khan ( sattar minutes ….. Chak De India) . He proved his innocence, his capability , his patriotism by coaching women hockey team and lead them to the path less travelled …. Indian Women Hockey team won 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Some leaders are fortunate enough to get formal training in coaching skills, many are not. They have to develop these for themselves.

 If you  search the techniques on internet you will find numerous tools and techniques which will help you to learn to trust your instincts to become a better coach and so enhance your team’s performance.

 Does this sound daunting? Indeed it is.

 We are talking about how to grow the capabilities of a team and help them achieve what might they have just dreamt. After searching a lot , the easiest approach  to implement and to remember , I got was the GROW Model.

 GROW is an acronym standing for Goal – Current Reality – Options – Will.

 The model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring a coaching or mentoring session.

 A useful metaphor for the GROW model is the plan you might make for an important journey. First, you start with a map: With this, you help your team member decide where they are going (their Goal) and establish where they currently are (their Current Reality). Then you explore various ways (the Options) of making the journey. In the final step, establishing the Will, you ensure your team member is committed to making the journey and is prepared for the conditions and obstacles they may meet on their way.

 How to use GROW model ?

 Grow :

First , you will help your team member define a goal that is specific, measurable and realistic.

In doing this, it is useful to ask questions like:

  • “How will you know that you have achieved that goal?”
  • “How will you know the problem is solved?”

 Examine Current Reality

As the team member tells you about his or her Current Reality, the solution may start to emerge.

Useful coaching questions include:

  • “What is happening now?”
  • “What, who, when, how often”
  • “What is the effect or result of that?”

Explore the Option

By all means, offer your own suggestions. But let your team member offer his or hers first, and let him or her do most of the talking.

Typical questions used to establish the options are:

  • “What else could you do?”
  • “What if this or that constraint were removed?
  • “What are the benefits and downsides of each option?”
  • What factors will you use to weigh up the options?

Establishing The Will

By examining Current Reality and exploring the Options, your team member will now have a good idea of how he or she can achieve their Goal. That’s great – but in itself, this may not be enough! So your final step as coach is to get you team member to commit to specific action. In so doing, you will help the team member establish his or her will and motivation.

Useful questions:

  • “So what will you do now, and when?
  • “What could stop you moving forward?”
  • “And how will you overcome it?”
  • “Will this address your goal?”
  • “How likely is this option to succeed?”
  • “What else will you do?”

So ready to go  , hold on !!

Beware of common mistakes :

  • Assuming everyone is coachable
  • Overestimating the short term results from coaching
  • Assuming every situation provides the opportunity for coaching
  • Failing to establish rapport which creates the trusting space for coaching to occur
  • Failing to get others’ permission to coach them
  • Confusing coaching with training or supervision

 Benefits of Coaching

Again , investment done in coaching results in improved performance. This investment reaps other benefits too.

a)    High Morale : When everyone is working together and achieving goals, team members feel good about their work .

b)    Empowerment . People feel confident and willingly accept more responsibility.

c)    Development. Team members learn and improve. As they grow, they become more creative and are able to contribute even more.

Does it sounds good ? Here is lot more to it…… Team productivity increases, and the team complete tasks to your expectations . As their skills increase, you can delegate more so you have more time for other leadership responsibilities.

Win Win situation.

 Lets accept the situation, world needs strong , competent leaders now more than ever before. Effective leaders not only in government and industry but even in our civic organizations and toastmasters. At the end of every year, Toastmasters international rewards titles to every club –be Distinguished, Select Distinguished or President Club . The difference between successful clubs like this and unsuccessful clubs is the quality of leadership within the club. Being a leader its your duty to ensure you do everything possible to improve the performance of your team and……………………… to take them where they have not been.

PS : This article was my speech as one of the projects required for ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Certification by Toastmasters. I hereby completed my ALB , yeah !!

Saakshi

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Resolving Conflicts

Just Imagine :

You’ve just arrived to your workstation which you share with a colleague, and it looks as if it’s going to be another frustrating day.

Your side of the office is neat as a pin and incredibly well organized. You take care not to talk loudly when you’re on the phone, so that you don’t disturb your office mate.

Your colleague, however, is the exact opposite. Empty cups and crushed biscuits wrappers litter his side of the office. He sometimes puts the music on while he’s working, which breaks your concentration. And hell breaks when he is chit chatting with others while you are on call.  Stationary items at your side of office are often misplaced, at times you dread yourself coming into the office every day, simply because you don’t like sharing your space with your colleague. He drives you crazy, and you often argue.

Can you recognize that there’s conflict between you two because the two of you have completely different working styles.

Let us try to understand this..

What’s Conflict?

It’s the difference of opinion with two or more people, real or perceived that is not resolved, worst if someone is getting aggressive.

All of us experience one or the other conflicts at work, personal life and even in Toastmasters. Members can have disagreements over programming, logistics, meeting styles and people.

Conflict is not always bad. When it is addressed and resolved, conflict often leads to positive changes, increased productivity, better decisions, innovation and bonding among people. Adversely, unresolved conflict can lead to poor productivity, low morale, distrust, and failure.

A leader must know how to handle conflict.  He/ She can choose to ignore it, complain about it, blame someone for it, or try to deal with it through hints and suggestions; or can be direct, clarify what is going on, and attempt to reach a resolution through common techniques like negotiation or compromise.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is what we do to identify and address conflict in a mature and respectful way.

Why there are conflicts?

Root cause of all conflict and complaints – unmet expectations. Unmet Expectations from others!

Lets us take a closer look when and where conflicts occur.

a)      Conflicting resources

ð  We all need access to certain resources –  office supplies, meeting rooms, scheduling conference calls via desk phones. There are n no of employees and limited resources , hence their needs can be at odds.

 b)      Conflicting Styles

ð  Everyone works differently according to  his/her individual need and personality. For instance some people love the thrill of getting things done at the last minute, while others need the structure of strict deadlines to perform. Whenever there is a difference in working style it may call a conflict.

 c)       Conflicting Perception

 All of us see the world through our own lens, and difference in perceptions of events cause conflict. For instance HR Work from Home policy. There will be employees happy with such a policy being strictly followed, whereas there may be few who are not that pleased. Their perception – why it bothers so much to HR when by any means the work is done. Office politics comes in this section.

d)      Conflicting Goals.

Sometimes we have conflicting goals in our work. We all work on projects which involve multiple stakeholders.  One of them may ensure the high quality service is top priority but another stakeholder may focus on regular project updates and statistics. It’s sometimes quite difficult to reconcile the two!

e)  Conflicting Pressures

We often have to depend on our colleagues to get our work done. However, what happens when you need a report from your colleague by noon, and he’s already preparing a different report for someone else by that same deadline?

f). Different Personal Values

ð   Imagine that your boss has just asked you to perform a task that conflicts with your ethical standards. Do you do as your boss asks, or do you refuse? If you refuse, will you lose your boss’s trust, or even your job? I hope this won’t be case with anyone here.

g)  Misunderstandings

 When rules and policies change at work and you don’t communicate that change clearly to your team, confusion and conflict can occur. Lack of or incomplete communication can lead to misunderstandings.

 Cost to individual

No points for guessing, conflicts are generally destructive in nature, with time, emotional and health costs. Conflicts with others results in stress, loss of confidence, unhappiness, hostility, withdrawal and even illness.

Cost to the organization

Research indicates that a typical manager loses 25% of the day responding to helpful conflict. This is time lost to creative, productive work.

Take a medium sized organization with 100 managers. Let’s assume average monthly salary per manager is Rs 80,000. With managers losing 25% of their time on conflict, the cost will be Rs20, 00,000

This only accounts for management time. The true cost will include higher employee time, higher staff turnover, missed opportunities, absenteeism, inefficiency, low morale and poor teamwork.

 How to resolve conflict

So how do you deal with conflict and complaints?

Do you become aggressive back when it becomes a matter of who “wins” or “loses” the argument?

Or do you use cunning and well thought through communication and interpersonal skills to get you through the other end with the outcome that you desired?

In any case if a conflict has taken place, being a leader you have to approach it.

Method 1 : Ignore it.

In some situations, the issue may not be important and it may be best to ignore it. Often, though, this method does not work. The conflict does not go away.

 It festers.

Method 2. Smooth it over.

 This method is appropriate when the issues are more important to the par­ties involved than they are to you and the team’s goals. This method preserves harmony and goodwill.

 It heals.

 Method 3  Force.

  A leader uses power to resolve differences. This method is best used when an emer­gency requires a quick decision. However, it usually results in “winners” and “losers,” and losers can be resentful.

 It wounds.

 Method 4. Compromise.

 Each party makes a major concession to arrive at a solution. Since both parties lose something, they may have less support for the compromise solution.

 It either unites or divides.

Method 5. Collaboration.

This is a good way to resolve conflict. Each side recognizes the other’s needs as legitimate and important and acknowledges their ability and expertise. They work together to arrive at an agreement that will resolve the conflict. When each party wins, they have greater commitment to the solution and no resentment or distrust

It spreads harmony.

Collaboration offers a framework that will result in a win-win situation. You can facilitate the collabo­ration process by following these seven steps:

  1. Find the root cause.

Once the issues have been determined, focus on solutions not blames.

  1. Allow all parties to speak

3. Encourage all parties to listen.

4. Identify areas of disagreement..

5. Identify areas of agreement. Once everyone has spoken, help them find and discuss areas they agree on, such as: Common goals, Interests and values

6. Search for solutions. Everyone

7. Reach a consensus, by, THE BRAINSTORMING METHOD

All ideas are written down as they are generated, without discussion or evaluation.

After the ideas are exhausted, team members return to the first item on the list and discuss it, evaluating its positive and negative aspects.

Eventually, the list is narrowed to the idea that best resolves the problem

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is what we do to identify and address conflict in a mature and respectful way.

 

When it is handled well it can lead to

  • Improved relationships between those who were in conflict
  • Increased understanding for the different parties around a situation or topic
  • The identification and hopefully, the improvement of the processes that aren’t working

If conflict is not handled well.

if it is allowed to escalate , relationships , the team’s ability to function, the workplace , and the product or service produced will all suffer. So understanding how to handle conflict is vital to ensuring that you can be as effective as possible in the workplace.

Somebody told me, leadership is not just about managing people it’s more about managing people’s ego.

 This article was actually my speech as one of the projects required for ALB (Advance Leader Bronze) Certification by Toastmasters.

Stay Calm and Blessed,

Saakshi

Customer Delight

Our organization’s Quality Policy which is displayed on our workstations right in front of our eyes says ,

We aim to be preferred global service provider for IT related services, by consistently delighting the customer and setting industry best practices.”

Yesterday was like any other day until I read our Quality Policy again. The word ‘customer delight’ caught my attention. And the immediate reaction was – when did anybody ever get up in the morning and think “Cool! A new day for upsetting customers”. Apart from the Devil himself, No body.

Hey  dreary warriors of service industry ,

 Like most of the companies our organization also uses the NPS – Net Promoter Score as the customer loyalty metric. I am working on 6 projects and yesterday for the month of March I received emails announcing that I had scored the perfect 10 in 4 of them, One customer gave me 8 (which was not too bad) but what me really mad was that I got a blank entry in one. I can understand that he was having a busy day , but so much so that he missed my NPS entry :

Customers awarding me 10 must be delighted. Customers giving me 8 must be satisfied and the blank entry, I would say they are not loyal.

Let us learn some dictionary meanings  

Satisfaction – the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation. 

 Delight is, to take great pleasure when your expectations are exceeded. 

 Loyalty is having the feelings of allegiance. 

These three simple words have a slightly different meaning, but all have a significant impact on the attitudes and behaviors of customers. Clearly, satisfaction is the minimal requirements to play – to truly develop a loyal or at least a return customer, one must go beyond satisfaction to delight.

When I was a little girl, I used to get upset whenever I had any fights with any of my friends. I would show tantrums and skip dinner. It was my dad who took me out for walks for soothing and yet wise words. Being an obedient daughter I used to listen to him carefully and absorb all that. In return he always delighted me with a candy bar. I never had expected that. Same is with our customers. Customer expectations are typically not very high. Give them 2G they are happy unless and until they know about 3G. Our job is to surprise them with what they were not even expecting. Now the question that arises is – how do we do that?

The NPS scores , the perfect 10s, respectable 8 and a blank entry  made me think about this golden rule , (on second thoughts, looking at the gold prices today) let me call it a Platinum rule.

 DAD 🙂  yes inspired from my DAD , my hero.

DAD stands for Discover Act and Delight.

Discover – Whenever you want to delight your customers you will have to first discover their expectations or needs. Only then will you be able to fulfill them or exceed them. Now how will you sense your customer’s expectations; clearly it is not an easy task. You should always strive to cultivate your dynamic sensors that will help you discover them clearly. Pay attention to your clients’, they give you various hints via mails, on phone calls.

If somehow it doesn’t work, then it is the time to change the shoes , be the customer of your own business. This will help you identify where your business is falling short on creating customer delight.

Do you serve your customers with an A* attitude? Or do you service them like YOU are doing them a favor?

Discover yourself.

Act – you got the customer’s expectations. It is time to act on it, not just to fulfill it but to exceed it. Service industry is a competitive world. You need customers to return with business. What you will do then? Give them options, that way it’s easy for customer to decide want they want and what they don’t rather than leaving them wandering.  Think what else you can provide them!

Promptness is a virtue.

Delight – Inform customers of your intent to evoke customer delight.  Asking help actually strengthens the bond, it does not weaken it. Make this message a part of your campaign from the very beginning. And when you achieve it make sure it is acknowledged. Customers may not know what exactly they want but they have a pretty good idea of what they like and dislike when confronted with it. 

 Take advantage of that.  You might learn something.

My dear warriors of the service industry, a bit of engagement, a bit of loyalty, a bit of consumer delight is all that we want.

To conclude let me quote a Poster which we see in our office everyday

It says

Customers are too good to lose, let’s make them (^ MORE THAN) happy.

 

 

PS : This is my toastmasters 7 th project , which I also delieverd in International Speech contest and won second position.

 

Regards,

Saakshi

When you are living alone …..

 My Project 4 Toastmasters Speech – Objective : How you say it ?

When you are living alone

Everyone has their own set of problems , like mother-in-law’s  bashing , metros running late , cribbing spouses /girlfriend / boyfriend , petrol prices rising , Mr  Dependable retiring from International Cricket , Clients draining your energy , Boss always asking for status , Figures on salary slips or the lack of it, post holi allergies , Lunch time and toastmasters meeting. Isn’t it?

  Well I am no exception; I narrate almost all of my problems with the starting line – When you are living alone. So with due apologies, I am cribbing again on this hot Friday afternoon.
h
Hello Everyone.

When you are living alone

 When you are living alone, you feel confident, brave, big girl, independent and cool among your peers. Were you thinking the same? OH please, it’s all rubbish. Nothing in reality is like this. If you are planning to live alone there are numbers of problems crossing your way. Don’t worry I won’t be requiring any tissues in between, as I said earlier, I am a big girl…. will manage.

 Just need your kind attention to this subject matter.

 1. Living alone means, there is no body to help you occasionally with morning tea or to wake you up in case you are running late.

2. On those epic days when you managed to get up at the crack of dawn and go for morning walk, you have to carry keys with you

3.   You have to do all the washing, cleaning, dishes and laundry by yourself. Trust me this ruthless society won’t let you breathe if they come to know about your maid, as per them I am of perfect marriageable age and I should excel in my home management training otherwise my future in-laws or my future husband will kick me out.

4. There will be no one to assure whether you are looking presentable or not before stepping out. You are forced to be dependent upon what’s app 🙂

5. Though you are organized and have a well decorated place, you may have a habit of throwing washed or to be washed clothes on the not so usable bean bag. Take my free advice; avoid this habit, just in case, friends drop by in the evening for a movie or coffee. Your neat – clean – sophisticated image will vanish at the first sight.

6. You have to keep extra cutlery and dish wares for the guests; and you have to clean them too.

7. The most irritated person in your life would be vegetable seller who  has a smirk, because you pointedly  pick quarter kg of onion – tomatoes , 2 capsicums, 4 cucumbers and request for a half cauliflower. If you happen to own a fridge, there would surely be a lemon which used to be an orange few weeks ago.

8. In case you are terrorized by lizards or rodents, God is the only one who is at your service only if you religiously remind Him this task every morning in your prayers. After all there is just one!

9. Demonstrating your responsible person, you have to be extra cautious while hanging your wet clothes out on terrace , if it rains or is there any hurricane , oh we have storms in Delhi NCR, then you have to put all the effort again.

10. If you have any sick feeling, book yourself some place either at one of your close friends or call someone to take you home at the earliest. Being alone and falling sick is the toughest trauma one needs to go through.

11. You are prone to take genuinely unplanned casual leaves due to some electrician, plumber sometimes carpenter too is visiting your place.

12. You are forced to give your office address to call all the posts , so nothing fishy can be done with your life , ah boring.

13. You are deprived of blaming and cursing your roommate for the huge electricity bill and that’s not fair.

 Now , if you  are still Home alone 1 , 2 and 3 fan you just had a sneak peak to what might come your way , one fine day , you wish to live alone.

Love,

Saakshi

Thank God it’s Friday

I was trying to open my eyes at wee hours of the beautiful Friday morning. I was at bliss!!

The sunbeams through window were brightening up the room. The moment, wow, it was so pure, sigh!!

I happily slid outside my warm blanket, put on the slippers and in next few seconds I was out at the terrace. Experiencing the divine feeling of something, which we, rather ignorantly, say – Good Morning.

Flashback: Thurs – Day and the Night

Not just as always, but slightly extra overloaded, pathetic, tiring day at work. The overlap UK and US hours or our Indian evening hours , which make me terribly think of myself as some local call center employee (with no intention to offend) rather than a busy IT professional. I am sick and tired, longing for a peaceful goodnight’s sleep.

 3 conference calls, 2 follow up calls, 1 team meeting , 3 project deliverables, 180 ingoing and outgoing e-mails , 7-8 chat windows , 6 personal calls , 5 cups coffee , no breakfast , lunch of a sparrow , one last crispy piece of spring role , few custom action failures , excel sheets with annoying macros (project reports, they say) , phone battery dying and crying for help (m gone deaf 😦), meeting invite for previous date (that was embarrassing), arrangements to rescue Holi celebrations, never going migraine and on and on …..This you call a day, which ends when you realize you are the last one on the floor. Leave; call it a day, now!!!

 There is one more element, a vital one – dinner. Veg Chinese Sizzler, with green mint dip. Loved it 🙂

Back home, hit the bed and I am dead. Needless to say, it was early A.M timings.

Back to Present: Friday Morning

 Leisure of a blissful, beautiful morning! I live on the top floor of this building with a terrace facing state highway and a park. Saw senior neighbors practicing yoga and chunk of ladies taking rounds of their morning walks, a kid washing the cars , some punctual professionals ready in their formal attire carrying their bags waiting at the bus stop, and a tree with long leaves of the shades of yellow and orange, scattered everywhere on the road, pavement, on the roof of cars and park. Strangely, I fell in love with this autumn feeling at this time of spring.

Back to my room, my bed, ohh , I am back to my laziness , zzzzzzz sleeping. The one I desired for.

 This time dawn seems to be a struggle, I woke up at P.M timings. Wondering why the alarm fails to bring me back from dead. Still in process of waking up , I made efforts to find my soul mate , that was supposed to be next to me , near my pillow. (Let me remind all, I call my mobile phone as my soul mate). He was almost dead. Oh, poor baby, more than me, he needed a life. I am a good host. I rushed to my desk, got the equipment, and put the soul mate to his ventilator. Wishing him speedy recovery, I made myself a big cup of green tea and start making my today’s To-Do list. (I am old-fashioned , paranoid, have this habit). Voila 🙂 🙂 🙂 , nothing, just one Toastmaster’s Meeting. Hurray !! 

Thank God it’s Friday.

 

Thank God it's Friday

Thank God it's Friday ; Image source - My work desktop screen shot.

 

 No deliverables, No Client Calls, No deadlines, ignoring the fact its 2nd of the month , no bills to pay , no , nothing.

 Yeah !!

Till now , it’s really been a Friday. I am enjoying , a bit sleepy , a bit tired but chirpy , bubbly playing with outlook , e-mails pouring in , e-mails shooting out. What more can I ask for, week long vacation approved , with few kind words of appreciation.

Yeah !! Fingers Crossed, I still have to travel back home , some 5 hrs road journey in a state roadways bus. I wish the rest of the day remains the same.

 As SRK would say “Din to abhi baki hai mere dost.”

 

 Love ,

 Saakshi

I See

My Toastmasters Speech – Project 2

I See

Seen people with spectacles? –

Fancy frames thick / thin lenses.

Well, there are so many like this in this room, even I am wearing my secondary eyes. You must be thinking simply how silly the question was!

Never mind, we all know an optician makes these spectacles, based on test results either done by himself or a qualified eye doctor, in medical terms an optometrist. The idea is to make the person wearing these see with clarity, taking away any lack of appropriate focussedness.

Ladies and gentlemen, greetings for the day, I hope, I wish you all, be in best of your health (coz somehow I am not) , in best of your spirits and on the top having best of your vision.

My question to you is, do we need just clarity of vision?  I consulted my doctor 6 months back and got my numbers corrected. But will these pair of glasses ensure that I will see things correctly, if my mind is filled with prejudice and close mindedness. Will I be able to keep up with the pace with so many intellectual people around, even if I choose to keep a narrow outlook?

The answer is an obvious- NO. This restrictedness of not one’s eye sight but one’s vision distorts ones perception and brings in a refractive error.  

We are all the prisoners of our own perceptions. I have a short story about the results of being locked up behind the bars of worry, doubt and fear or better to say a chained mind of its own perception.

I walked around the counter at Mc Donald’s to get a straw for my drink and found a woman frantically mopping up her spilled coffee. She was using the flimsy tissue paper that was used for wrapping burger so the mopping up process wasn’t working well. I reached for the napkins and started helping her. She looked up in surprise that I had found the napkins saying that she had looked for them but didn’t see them. Her comment was “I couldn’t see.”

She was right. She couldn’t see Why not? Because of her present state of mind, she might have panicked or been in a hurry, and this blocked her vision. She was not able to see the napkins that were kept in plain sight. It was a state of mind of “worry, rush, and fear.”
In the prison of our own perceptions, we can’t see for what we are looking, fear motivates our actions. Each of us has our own personal prison created out of all that we have been taught and accepted about the worldview. Perception does rule!

For example if someone inquires what time it is. My hands rush to my mobile phone. I don’t care that I am wearing a nice watch.

Let’s have another example how many time have you searched for your glasses and found it at place least expected, your head.

 Or what do you think is the reason behind biased political views and favoritism. Many times our upbringing, our thought patterns rule our decision making and views. We behave as if we are not able to see. As a matter of fact, we do not, if our mind is blocked with obstacles.  Many a times, the uniqueness of the system in which we are caught, forces us to see erroneously. Our unsymmetrical upbringing, different backgrounds, may prohibit us from seeing clearly. In the struggle between reality and perception, most of the times, it is the latter that emerges paramount.

Folks,  “Our Perception magnifies things that we believe in”

 Let’s all break out of prison now!

I am a Business Analyst my job is to first ask questions, get the answers and then start working on them.

I have one more question to you. Look at the below picture.

These are two horizontal lines.

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines

Which one is longer?

Many of you may find the above one longer. But, you will be surprised to know that, both are equivalent in length.

My perception says, the first denotes the open mind when you are able to see broad horizons and the second, a closed, restricted, narrow mind. So in the end, I am repeating myself, Perception Rules!

Lastly I would get a smile, when someone from the audience says, “I see”, as an acknowledgement of my speech. It’s a relief that we all share same perception J

2011 – Monthly Bulletin

Countdown has begun. We all have lived an awesome 2011 and desperately waiting for 2012.

Just thought of sharing my eventful year with you all , presented  in a bullet list. One sentence for each month.

Disclaimer: I might have missed some important ones , because I have totally relied on my twitter account for this particular blog. I am too bad with something called ‘memory’ and unfortunately not much active on twitter.

Here it is .. what I call 2011  in my life …

  • January  2011:

Back from Hyderabad (my first train journey)  and Welcome 2011 with the 2 month long cough, bad isn’t. But some how managed to enjoy Jim Corbett trip with my humpty-dumpty avatar.

  • February  2011:

Finally start writing, made account on wordpress and here goes my first blog. BA – Hidden Leaders

  • March 2011 :

India won the world cup and I lost my world.

  • April  2011:

Restless , Reckless and anxious month

  • May  2011:

I am a water baby !! Loved Rishikesh trip to the core. Discovered the kid in me :). Re discovered a friend after almost a decade.

  • June 2011 :

Tweeted nothing substantial and my memory never last forever.

  • July 2011 :

Monsoons blessed me with best friend betrays 😦 red ants 😦 , elongated power cuts 😦 and toastmasters 🙂 . Round trip to Banglore.

  • August 2011 :

New laptop , new internet connection. Dreams flying high!!

  • September  2011:

Initiated the noble cause of sending  everyone in my contact list , their daily dose of motivational and inspirational quotes as a SMS. If you are not in my SMS list , you can still get your daily dose for month of December here : Daily Inspirational Quotes – December 2011

  • October 2011 :

Fragile month ! Spend whole month in studying Agile Methodologies, preparing Cross Culture Communication training course and Diwali celebrations.

  • November  2011:

Marriage season is on, all my best friends are getting married. Me? I am now Rockstar personified.

  • December  2011:

As the year is approaching to its end, I wish 2 things to do daily – write and workout.

I believe I will work on both , some day , ahh !!

Let me know , how 2011 was for you all ? And how much you are waiting for 2012?

Wish you a happy and happening 2012 !

Toastmasters Hidden Bonus

It all started with big dreams and very high hopes, both from the program and from me. My desire to be come out of my den of fears was going to be fulfilled. I joined Toastmasters program and on top took the responsibility of Public Relation officer for our corporate club. I thought this post could be the forceful driving force to achieve my aim.
During this Diwali break, I was wondering apart from scribbled goals of Toastmasters Club, what else can I earn from it?
This is what I found, the hidden bonus, could be my short term syllable .Of course, I plan to be engaged long term with this program and there is much more to learn further.
A. Polishing and Unpolishing
I joined it to polish my soft skills as a speaker. And I believe that the most compelling thing a speaker can do is to just be themselves. Often this involves an unpolishing of patterns, habits, and performance techniques. The idea is to be comfortable, relaxed and at ease just being you in front of a group.
Be awesome, stay Confident.
Be yourself, stay Unique!
B. Planning and Executing.
Toastmasters provide multiple opportunities to plan, organize, prepare and deliver talks with specific objectives. Guidelines are provided for each and every presentation. Learning is in this way. But it also gives the platform to execute our learning. Most important is to learn the immediacy to respond to what’s happening at the moment. I will learn silence as an audience, only to further learn “to listen”.
C. Flexibility and Balance
Attain flexibility and gain the ability to think on my feet through an exercise called Table Topics – where participants are chosen randomly to deliver an impromptu speech for 1-2 minutes on a given topic. The balance comes from learning to trust ‘ yourself’ and to be comfortable being ‘ yourself’ in front of an audience.
As I usually say “All roads lead to Rome with a new maze coming at every turn”, this time also, I have started the journey to further explore myself and make a unique space for me. I will keep continuing digging out some more artifacts and share with you all, but do let me know, how well they are received at your end !!

Demand at your own risk !

I don’t have any special talent but I am just extremely demanding.

Candle light dinner, Meeting someone special and dancing on music. Yes this was my small wish list for my 22nd birthday. As the hour hand was approaching towards 12 my excitement was increasing. I finalized my wish list and prayed to god that they come true and till I got to know that I had annoyed him, so much in these 21 years that this time he planned  to teach me a lesson.

Once upon a time in that dark lovely night, ah 😦  forget that, it all started like this …………

I had cooked my favorite dish for dinner. It was 10 and I went inside the kitchen, as soon as I picked the plate. …ohhhh….. The light was gone. I came back to the shadows of my belongings which were almost – invisible, feeling suffocated and fatigue.  I felt sorry for myself. I was feeling hungry and could not eat. I waited for power to come back. But wait prolonged like a government’s 5 year plan. Finally I decided to have dinner. I made my way to kitchen and knocked my cute nose into its door. In anger I smashed the door back hard only to rebound and hit me again. I tried to calm myself down and reached kitchen, I searched for candle and match box, realizing why my parents always used to tell me to put the things on right places. Waving my hand in dark on the shelf I knocked down something  which fell with a big bang ,the very  next moment I felt some sticky thing all around my feet and the delicious smell which filled the kitchen confirmed that my favorite paneer butter tikka masala was on the  ground. I became still and sad. After a lot of search I finally found the candle and match box. I then had a last look at the scattered paneer butter tikka  masala . My mouth watered. But since child hood my mom told me not to eat anything fallen on ground.   I finally cooked a bowl of hot steamy Maggie and started eating. While I was swallowing the lumps, I thought of my first wish having a candle light dinner. God was just not listening to my prayers. I was not sure about the time (the bad time going) but I guess it was pretty close to mid night.

I suddenly realized I was not alone in the room. I remembered my second wish list ‘meeting someone special’, so holding my breath I was looking for the surprise to come up ; someone was there hiding himself and making nostalgic voices. Though candle was lighted, but I couldn’t see properly as I don’t have 6/6 vision and by the way who wears specks at night specially during  power cut, ahh L That someone looked very small, a bit rounded and damn fast.  It didn’t take much time for me to figure out that it was a mouse!!  That shameless mouse wanted to take advantage of me, by coming close to me or maybe it was paneer butter tikka masala  on my feet that was attracting him. I jumped back on bed but he followed like how  a bollywood villain follows a helpless pretty girl. Our movies are proof that in such situations help never comes in time.

To make this condition worse the hour hand of clock reached 12 and with that my cell phone started ringing the tune (dhinka chika , dhinka chika , ae ae ..ae , ae ae ..ae) .My  friends started calling me to wish happy birthday and this is how my third wish came true I was dancing on light music. I thought mouse was enjoying teasing and chasing me as I was hopping around my room like a mad girl doing step aerobics. The cause of my frustration was that I didn’t know whether it was sitting somewhere comfortably and watching me dancing or he was not even in the room !! and there I was wasting my energy.

And yes ladies and gentle man the phone continued ringing (dhinka chika , dhinka chika , ae ae ..ae , ae ae ..ae)  as my friends were competing , who will wish me first. I have never sweat that much even in my aerobic classes.

Hey ,  If you are afraid of mouse hire them as personal trainer, bet me I lost two kgs in that short interval , without  even making a dent in my pocket.

I thought neither god nor mouse was showing mercy but help do came after 15 minutes of dhinka chika dance ,  at last ,  Noida electricity board, finally returned my share of light after celebrating my birthday party at their HQ !

My beautiful , lovely  room looked like battle ground of Panipat. I first checked for that special one (who did wonders for me in such a short duration 😉 ) and I think it too left after having its share of fun.

That day I learned a secret lesson ………. And that stayed with me ……. and I am leaving a portion with you …….

Demand at your own risk.

Note : This was my speech for Area B2 Humorous Speech Contest, district 41. Sept 18,2011

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