Story of a lost journalist

June 4, 2008

Communication, a skill

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 21:58

Communication is a skill. And like all other skills, it has one major problem. It doesn’t come to everyone. Like many other qualities, it is not so fairly distributed. I happen to be the victim of the small share lot – but, there is a difference.

Among the bad communicating folks, there is a further division – ones who can and don’t and ones who can’t and don’t!

I will put myself in the can-and-don’t’s and then see what the trouble is.

If I can, why don’t I? And how do I know I can?

When I say good communication skills, I mean the ability to talk, and carry across your ideas to another (essentially in the most precise and interesting way: meaning minus boredom). Many of us are able to talk. Some of us just keep quiet cause

1 – We don’t have anything to talk about the subject,

2 – We have a lot but just couldn’t bring ourselves to talk, probably reserved, unable to express etc

3 – We have a lot but we just don’t bother/care to talk about it

4 – Some reason I have not figured out yet!

I put myself now in the 2nd category. I do this cause if there was no one in the room I could climb up a stage and talk for hours on any topic under the sun (there could be a wee bit of exaggeration here :D). Not that I know about everything under the sun. But I could talk regardless of how I sound like, how I am taken – cause well, there is no one present to take it! No need of any consciousness, any caution. The talker is me, the listener is me. No one is wasting their time for me. But the same little speech, if I know one person is in the premises, may turn to gasps of air and tons of gulps.

My problem is I am unable to produce sound. Maybe it has something to do with physics. Or maybe it’s biological. If it is neither, it could be chemical reactions happening inside my sound system. Maybe I will just leave science out of it.

Now lets approach it psychologically (good thing my spell-check is on! Why didn’t they make it something like ply, oh that’s already taken). Person wants to talk, but person keeps quiet with the smell and presence of another human. Person’s problem is acute, distressing, serious. Person deserves sympathy. Person needs help – yeah right! Person needs a whipping!

Back to our original point. Is it shyness? Possibly. Is it reservation? Possibly. Is it beyond curable? Definitely not. But I dwelt on a similar line before. About making conscious effort. Every single second. If you want to talk, you have to make the effort. There is going to be no magic fairy to come and give you the gift of gab. I know it is possible. Because now and then it has worked for me. But that needs the effort and thought of every second. When you see it happening, when you are facing someone and you find your voice missing, you just don’t sit there and sweat. You go in search of your voice, you find it, nip it and bring it right back – and with an effort on each word you know you want to say, you bring it all out. In the open, in the air. It doesn’t matter how late you are, how foolish you have already felt being quiet in the conversation. Let it be late, just keep trying till it is out.

Trust me, it is possible. I am a living example. So far I have no big speeches to my credit. And everyday there are a hundred occasions when I wish I said something and didn’t. But still I have had occasions when I tried making an effort, and it worked – and even if it is one line that you bring out, you feel a lot better! Finally saying what you wanted to say so much! And once you have done it, the feeling is so good. And you know you did it once. So you know you can do it again. So there, you have got yourself the next thing you need – confidence. With confidence comes courage. You still don’t have enough faith. It will take time. And it will take work. Only one person can help you and that is you.

Ok knowing all this, I am still very unhappy about my progress. That’s only because I am not putting enough effort, thereby putting my confidence at a stake. That is a hard quality to attain – so we should never lapse from any effort whatsoever. Will, want and work – the 3-w rule invented by Elmer Fudd’s biggest fan, Ms Cris 🙂

Well so that settles that.

Regarding the other problems – the other can-but-don’t talkers and cant-and-don’t talkers, I have to do more research. I have no personal experience there to analyze and give expert advice on 😉 On further thought I don’t think there is anyone who can’t. Communication is a skill, but its a grabbable skill 😀



  1. You sure must be in category 2. You have expressed yourself very clearly here, indicative of your excellent communication skills, written though. I used to be in category 2 and I followed the exact same strategy that you have mentioned here. The main reason I was not able to talk well was that I was afraid of making mistakes. But then an I-dont-care attitude helped me change that.

    Comment by Minking Than — June 4, 2008 @ 23:13 | Reply

  2. I have had several instances where i wished i hadnt talked… those instances now make me hesitate a bit before talking… complex skill this communication

    Comment by lakshmi dev — June 5, 2008 @ 11:51 | Reply

  3. @Minking Than, I have always been able to write more than I talk. Shows my inhibitions since when I write I dont have to face anyone. Is the I-dont-care attitude a good idea? Wont that end up hurting people sometimes?
    @lakhsmi dev, I know what you mean. But then it cant be helped. Everything one has to say to another neednt always be pleasant. No point not saying it, but yeah you feel bad when they feel bad. We try to say it the best way possible, or else we have got to be I-dont-carish like Minking Than suggested 🙂

    Comment by Cris — June 5, 2008 @ 16:34 | Reply

  4. Well I didn’t mean I-don’t-care-about-your-feelings kind of I-dont-care. I meant I-don’t-care-if-I-make-a-mistake and I-don’t-care-what-you-think-about-my-talk attitude. Nothing to do with feelings and emotions 🙂

    Comment by Minking Than — June 5, 2008 @ 18:16 | Reply

  5. At times we have to speak or be on a stage. To me it is like this: mange not to tell huge blunders, avoid goofy actions and do “that” for what you are there. Someone will always be there to find out mistakes. It is an offense to stitch people’s mouth (only) due to various sections of the IPC. So ignore them. Any sane person can make a satisfactory public performance, if not too nervous.

    It is also nice to remember these points,

    1 A good poet may not be good in “akshara shlokam”.

    2. A machinegun can fire bullets faster than a Tank or a Howitzer. This doesn’t mean machinegun is the superior weapon.

    The other side is, if you were among audience, then you would have happily joined them. What a beautiful experience !!! But, it is unfair to take always and give never. So sometimes give your share, do something on the stage. So what ? You can enjoy watching others performing and “pass”comments for the next 100 times ! Cheeeerss !!

    Comment by manu — June 5, 2008 @ 20:18 | Reply

  6. If you know something really well, I guess fear of speaking about it gets thrown out of the window automatically. The confidence of knowledge enables you sail through the speech/communication part.
    If you really dont know something and you need to explain, the time honoured solution of using phrases like ” value systems”, “compounded growth rate” , “global paradigm” genreously in your speech may do the trick, but I cant imagine you getting through half of “global paradigm” without breaking into a giggle

    Comment by justajester — June 5, 2008 @ 21:03 | Reply

  7. One thing i would like to add for sure …..The author has great communication skills – being a bit shy and introvert, she may not speak in public without being pushed to….but i can confidently say that she could and will do it well if it is required. (though she may not agree on this now!)

    Comment by Sajith — June 5, 2008 @ 21:16 | Reply

  8. @justajester – Yes you are absolutely correct. Confidence in one’s knowledge helps you to deliver your talk well. But some people are nervous in spite of extremely good knowledge on the subject they are talking about. What could be the reasons?

    Comment by Anoop John — June 5, 2008 @ 22:16 | Reply

  9. @Minking Than, thats nice
    @manu, true.
    @justajester, I agree. It is easier when you know what you are talking about, but that might not always be the point that hold back a person from communicating well.
    @Sajith, thanks a lot 🙂 That was motivating.
    @Anoop, sad but true. Nervousness doesnt always have a reason except maybe a huge lack of confidence. But then again thats subject to a lot more whys.

    Comment by Cris — June 18, 2008 @ 14:45 | Reply

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