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How communicable are you?

January 2, 2010


                                            sonia Add Glitter to Picture

It was in August, 2006 when my dream of getting into a Management Institute was fulfilled. With my Career in Sales now taking a plunge downward, asking me to take a fresh look , I was in a desperate mood. Like any other Young & Ambitious Salesman , a Degree or a Diploma in Sales & Marketing  was a dream aspired. It would be an added advantage and Pave way for my growth in my Sales Career. The market & industry too demanded that. It has been more than a year for me in Sales and new management tools were to be acquired .

Centre of Image Management & Studies was the name of the Institute situated in city Noida , in state of Uttar Pradesh , bordering Delhi , the capital of India ,the place I stayed. It was an autonomous institution , a Research & Development Institute run by a leading Public Relations company, Perfect Relations as they claimed .The Board of Directors included few of the most distinguished persons in the Industry at that time as per the Institute’s Prospectus.. It was there first batch in which I was selected. We had a written exam and an Interview after which I was selected with 10 other batch mates. The seats were 20 , but only 11 of us accepted the offer. It being a new Institute , very few candidates were interested in this Institute. I myself was not keen to join this institute but had no choice. I had tried in many management institutes but somehow was not selected in any of them. The course they were offering in this Institute was an accelerated one year course Specialization in  Image Management , something unheard of at that time nor was it popular.Further more the Institute was not even recognized by A.I.C.T.E. , the  regulatory body for Management Institutes. I would have loved to join a course in Sales & Marketing . Finally, I joined this Institute . I was informed 15 days later about it , after the course was started. I rushed to the Institute to join it. Further I have to wear formal dress along with the tie.The class would start from Sharp 9 A.M. till 6 P.M .with lunch and breakfast in between.

I was very confident and took up this course with a positive attitude. I said that in the interview that even this course in communication would help me in my sales career as most of the course content was same except in the last semester. I had to pay  about Rs 40,000 for this course. The subjects were like Economic Environment, Oral Communication, Basic finance, Computers, Creative writing, Effective writing, International trade , Financial Management, Production management, Marketing Management, HRD, Organizational behavior,  Interpersonal Communication, Image management, Brand Management, PR & Media, Agency Management, Strategic Management , Social Communications etc .This was the course ideally suited for an Advertising or PR firms .The course was spread in three Semesters with two Internships in different companies. I joined this course taking a decision to change my line to advertising and PR. In fact , the Parent company , Perfect Relations assure that it was ready to absorb all the candidates if they perform well.

I am not going to discuss about my academic record. It is just that this subject in which they were offering Specialization intrigued me as well as my other class mates. “ Image-Management " . It had  become a debating point amongst all of us. It main arm was communication skills. However it has a much broader term . It comprises almost all the tools of Management , Advertising & Marketing as the subjects reveal. It even included subjects like Production, Systems, & Personal. It even had an well defined formula ,

                                                  Price = K  * (perception / performance) ,

where  K is the constant term.This formula was heatedly debated by all the candidates & staff as it validity & utility was going to have a far reaching implications for years to come for any kind of the industry.

To put it in a simpler term , let us take the example of Coke. Its current market price is Rs 5 for an 200 ml . It is regarded as a Thirst Quencher or a Freshener by most of us. However for an Image Management Graduate , it is nothing more than a sweetened water. You just add sugar to water with some soda and drink it. That’s its value is almost negligible. Then why , would most of us argue does it cost Rs 5 , a huge amount. Its market price should be only be the fraction of Rs 5. “Well”, says the  Image Management Graduate with a smile “ that is its market BRAND VALUE i.e. That is the price that you or any other customer in the market is willing to pay  to possess it. The same coke will cost say Rs 50 or even Rs100 in a Five star hotel or Restaurant. It means that its BRAND VALUE increases in such places.The customer is ready to pay this amount in these places “.

That makes some sense , Doesn’t it.

At that time the Communication Industry was undergoing a major shakedown , be it in Telecommunication Industry like Television, Radio, Mobile & Internet or in Advertising & PR. Dramatic changes were taking place in the Industry. Advertising & P..R.  agencies like Ambience, Nimbus, Lintas , Oglivy & Mather , Perfect Relations were making waves. Media was growing at a very right rate. Private Companies like NDTV, Times FM, Reliance communications ,CNN , STAR T.V. , ESPN , Dish & Satellite TV etc were entering or had entered  the media market in a big way. Publishing industry like newspapers & magazines were also growing. I.T. industry was growing at an unparallel rate. This was due to the fact that Indian Industry was about to grow at a very high rate in all sectors. Job Opportunities for  skilled graduates in this field were many . Many institutes had come up offering courses in this field.

In August, 1997 , I graduated in Image management. It is a different story that I never joined that Industry.

It looked as if Sales & Marketing was never going to leave me. I was trying to get away from the reality . The reality was that I was not living in the real world. The reality was that every thing was wrong with my Self Image , my perception , my way of looking at things . It is very common for most Salesman like us. It is intrinsic in our personalities. Sometimes , we have to pay dearly for that. Things were getting out of hand for me now. Suddenly I was losing control of myself and my career. Nothing was going right for me. It was very unfortunate because of the timing when the Industry & People were striking it rich. Slowly but surely I was drifting away like a log of wood in the river. I never realized that. I tried to fight in vain to stand up to reality.

Here I did something I should never have done. In desperation , I thought of going abroad. It was just in 1997, that I saw an advertisement of an agency recruiting people in sales & marketing to Canada. I applied for that and was selected. There started another saga  which continued for 3 years in my quest to go abroad .It was never fulfilled. I wasted about Rs 80,000 in this quest  a heavy amount. I was selected to the second level and it would have taken me another 1-2 years for the final interview at Canadian high commission.  I was also that I was getting selected in different levels which was boosting my confidence.  Of course I was paying in each level . I also got an Visa immigration clearance  from Canadian embassy. I joined French classes for two months in reputed “Alliance De Francois ” in New Delhi as asked by the institute. I joined the computer classes in C.M.C in New Delhi  for that which later I left in between. Misfortunes happens to those who themselves create it . It was happening to me one after the other. I had to quit in the last stage and leave for Jabalpur . I never faced the Interview which was the last stage. It was all me alone fighting for survival.

I had developed an habit of talking to myself now. The stress was very high . Many times my friends used to notice and talked to me about it. I also knew it , but never took it seriously. The reason was that I myself saw many people  doing that daily , even the ones who were talking about it to me. It is easy to see other people’s fault, but it seemed pretty normal to me. The dream of my going to Canada came to an end slowly and slowly stretching to 3 years . It was my last  and final fruitless effort, to break myself from reality.

I was 29 years then and still a bachelor. No girl or women has ever come to my life in Delhi. I was never close to anyone in my life. I  never had any relationship of any sort with anyone throughout my career or my student life . I never Dated any girl.  It will surely be amazing for the young generation. Knowing my nature , I don’t think I could have developed any kind of relationship with any women or a girlfriend then even if I was given a chance. This could be attributed to my personality background. I was 6 feet 3 inches . Had a average face . I was underweight considering my height. My communication skills were O.K. I was regarded as a person who kept most thing to myself, except for some outbursts occasionally. In India Tall guys are considered to have their brains in their Knees (It is a Popular joke here.). I was never in trouble with the opposite sex . In fact I kept away from them for most of the time in my life. I found it very normal since I was in India. Indian males are not considered romantic, forget the Indian females , although some people have the habit to portray that kind of Image . Yet that romantic thing was missing in my life . Romance was not my strong point. Even when I finally got married in year 2003 it was an failure in all respects and finally was divorced in just 10 months. I was 34 years of age then and a Divorcee.

What I have written above would be considered as Bullshit by most of you readers. The very reason being that it is besides the Topic which I was supposed to Discuss. I am getting away  from the point ,most of you would accuse me of. What I was supposed to do was to define communication and explain the DO’S AND DONT’S for being a good communicator. I would have written down the essential qualities of a good communicator , named few great communicators of past and present , how this quality will help you in achieving your aim your life and career, blah… blah… blah…. and so on.

The reason why I did not do so was that nothing is perfect . Nobody’s is perfect. Neither can anybody make you perfect  nor  create conditions for you to be perfect. My apologies to the Perfectionists , but then that is the essence of life. Life has never been perfect. This world has been created in an Un – perfect manner. Nothing is certain here. We and all the animals ,plants and environment around us communicate with us , but not in a perfect manner. We make mistakes in our communication as we make mistakes in real life. Man since prehistory has tried to communicate to each other by drawing Pictures on stones , by actions , then by speaking out words & then by talking , he continued to share his Joy, happiness and sorrow . Of course he leant a lot from his surroundings & fellow animals .You used to be wide eyed crying baby when you were born. You started to speak words at the age of 2 or 3 years. You started writing at age of 5 years. Your communication skills continued to develop along with your emotions as you grew up to become a normal human being i.e. you were able to communicate your emotions, your feelings to your fellow beings in a proper and effective manner. That will guide you to become a social animal.

What basic quality that shows the progress of human  over other animals is his ability to learn and master the essentials of communication in a rapid and effective manner. We able able to think  and control our thought process, draw  pictures, develop language , speak it , write it , Empathize , Telepathies , abuse, step by step to take us to the present level. Our ability to develop our communication skills in all respects was the basis our growth and development in science & technology , arts , etc.

Communication is a two-way and continuous process. Communication is also regarded  as a a subject of SCIENCE as well as that of ARTS. It is subject of science because its development took place in a logical and systematical manner. It is subject of arts because it includes Non -verbal communication, emotions, expressions also. Above all Communication is a developing Subject as our experience shows. It is still in its developing stage as new improvements are being  made and more and more tools are being discovered to make it more effective. It also means that there still lies certain distortions in our ability to communicate. It is hard to say whether we will ever have a perfect communicator in the future or whether this word exists in the terminology of a communicator experts.


                     Happy New Year,


                SFI  Marketing Group.





















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