KE SARA, SARA, what ever will be, will be …











{March 17, 2008}   Effective Communication

Ten Commandments Of Effective Communication

Communication can be defined as the two-way meaningful exchange of ideas, emotions, information, attitudes and, most importantly, experiences.


In this world, everyone needs to communicate. Communication is central to human existence. One starts to communicate right after birth and a child’s first cry is, perhaps, the most sought after communication. It is now well known that verbal as well as written forms of communication are but just a small percentage of the overall process and hence non-verbal communication (gestures, postures, looks, deportment, etc.) assumes greater importance. However, both are inter-related and often performed simultaneously. Also, both can be taught as well as learnt.


To make this complex yet critically important subject easy to comprehend and to make the process of communication, particularly verbal communication, more effective, ten easy to recall (user-friendly) words of day-to-day English, all starting with the letter ‘C’, have been adopted by the authors and called the Ten Commandments of Effective Communication. The readers will also come across several other commonly used words in English language, again starting with the letter ‘C’, during the course of reading this piece and elsewhere and many of you may also recall several such words which complement/supplement our Ten Commandments. Thus, the ten commandments propounded here are not the last word. Readers are advised to change, exchange, interchange these with those which suit the occasion and/or their style. The only being advocated cardinal rule here is to use only those words that begin with the letter ‘C’ for convenience and comfort.

YOU SHALL COMMUNICATE

1. CLEARLY: Whatever may be the content, unless it is delivered in a clear voice, will be an exercise in futility. The golden rule is to avoid grunts, huffs, etc. Rehearsals as well as role play helps. Use of natural accent of the speaker further adds to the clarity. (It is advisable not to assume a foreign one as then the focus is more on accent than on content). Vary tone/tenor, pitch and volume, as required by situation, to add more punch to the message you wish to convey. Avoid mumble and jumbles.

2. COHERENTLY: Besides clarity, coherent delivery of the message is perhaps as important. The cardinal rule here is to express yourself rationally & logically and, if possible, fluently. Command over the language to be used is an asset and hence in the beginning itself clarify the mode of communication to be employed . Coherence helps in making the process of communication smooth.


3. CORRECTLY: This is most important, particularly if your message includes data, figures, coordinates, etc. It is always better if you carry consult prepared notes. Thus, homework is vital. Of course, for the rest of the text/content, use appropriate words, phrases, etc. Again, as stated above, communication could be perhaps in vernacular, if not well versed with foreign language; even English.


4. CONCISELY: In most of the communication, it is always advisable to cut the bull and come straight to the point. Avoid beating about the bush. Even a humorous piece loses its punch if it is too long or has too many interruptions. To start with, define the subject clearly, albeit in brief. If possible, give a summary of what you wish to convey so that everyone remains focused on the main theme.


5. CRISPLY: If first four ‘Cs’ are followed in tandem, it becomes apparent to communicate crisply thus saving on time, effort and perhaps, money. Command over vocabulary and judicious use of phrases, helps. Crisp communiqués carry more punch and are more effective. You do not have to be curt to be crisp. Be cordial instead.

6. CREDIBLY: Credibility of the communication should be beyond doubt and it is almost synonymous to correct & coherent communication. Wherever factual information is to be conveyed and use of statistics & data is unavoidable, quote reference(s). If necessary, back-up material should be available to help you carry the day in case the credibility is in question.


7. CONVINCINGLY: Any communication can become convincing if it is delivered with a smattering of examples, case studies, experiences, role plays, etc. These should be backed up with references to establish credibility. Clarity of purpose and sincerity of the one delivering the communication apparently add to making the communication more acceptable. Hence practice it before-hand, whenever you can.


8. CONCLUSIVELY: Conclusive here also means all-inclusive. It is better to re-cap the entire communication towards the end, of course in brief. This helps in zeroing on to the vital, critical issues in the communication. As mentioned above, clear definition of the subject or the purpose of the entire process aids in concluding properly.


9. COMPLETELY: An effective communication must have a well defined ending, linked to subject. You can gauge the level of all the ‘C’s mentioned above by asking for a feedback. There are several ways to check completion and the easiest is to ask if the message had reached the audience. Structured questionnaires are sometimes used for this purpose, particularly if the communication is to be used further.

10. COST-EFFECTIVELY: This dimension has not even been touched upon in most of the material available on effective communication. In today’s world, however, it has assumed critical importance. It is not easy to make instant cost-benefit analysis of most communications but it is possible to have a fairly good idea. Of course, for any communication to be fruitful, benefits accrued should be more than cost involved. This is particularly true for lectures, training, interactions, etc. for which one has to pay to attend. In addition, your Communication should preferably be either Contemporary or Classic depending on the receiver’s background and also on the ambience. For example, to a young generation next audience, a Contemporary (chic) style and delivery will perhaps be more in order while a group of freedom fighters who took part in India’s struggle for independence would appreciate the Classic approach. Here, Creativity could play a crucial role. One need to be imaginative and a judicious mix of both these modes may help the sender to carry the day, particularly if the audience consists of a mixed bag. However, try and avoid use of clichés and too much jargon.


Obviously, for communication to be effective, it must lead to a mutually acceptable and/or logical conclusion. This also bring about another critical aspect, and that is of Continuity. Thus even though one feels that the communication is complete, it is perhaps only the current phase that is concluded and that too for the time being. The process of Communication is very much on all the time if connectivity of the sender and receiver is ON.

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{October 26, 2007}   The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

This is the statue of the god in whose honor the Ancient Olympic games were held. It was located on the land that gave its very name to the Olympics. At the time of the games, wars stopped, and athletes came from Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Sicily to celebrate the Olympics and to worship their king of gods: Zeus.

Location
At the ancient town of Olympia, on the west coast of modern Greece, about 150 km west of Athens.

History
The ancient Greek calendar starts in 776 BC, for the Olympic games are believed to have started that year. The magnificent temple of Zeus was designed by the architect Libon and was built around 450 BC. Under the growing power of ancient Greece, the simple Doric-style temple seemed too mundane, and modifications were needed. The solution: A majestic statue. The Athenian sculptor Pheidias was assigned for the “sacred” task, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s paintings at the Sistine Chapel.

For the years that followed, the temple attracted visitors and worshippers from all over the world. In the second century BC repairs were skillfully made to the aging statue. In the first century AD, the Roman emperor Caligula attempted to transport the statue to Rome. However, his attempt failed when the scaffolding built by Caligula’s workmen collapsed. After the Olympic games were banned in AD 391 by the emperor Theodosius I as Pagan practices, the temple of Zeus was ordered closed.

Olympia was further struck by earthquakes, landslides and floods, and the temple was damaged by fire in the fifth century AD. Earlier, the statue had been transported by wealthy Greeks to a palace in Constantinople. There, it survived until it was destroyed by a severe fire in AD 462. Today nothing remains at the site of the old temple except rocks and debris, the foundation of the buildings, and fallen columns.

Description
Pheidias began working on the statue around 440 BC. Years earlier, he had developed a technique to build enormous gold and ivory statues. This was done by erecting a wooden frame on which sheets of metal and ivory were placed to provide the outer covering. Pheidias’ workshop in Olympia still exists, and is coincidentally — or may be not — identical in size and orientation to the temple of Zeus. There, he sculpted and carved the different pieces of the statue before they were assembled in the temple.

When the statue was completed, it barely fitted in the temple. Strabo wrote:

“.. although the temple itself is very large, the sculptor is criticized for not having appreciated the correct proportions. He has shown Zeus seated, but with the head almost touching the ceiling, so that we have the impression that if Zeus moved to stand up he would unroof the temple.”

Strabo was right, except that the sculptor is to be commended, not criticized. It is this size impression that made the statue so wonderful. It is the idea that the king of gods is capable of unroofing the temple if he stood up that fascinated poets and historians alike. The base of the statue was about 6.5 m (20 ft) wide and 1.0 meter (3 ft) high. The height of the statue itself was 13 m (40 ft), equivalent to a modern 4-story building.

The statue was so high that visitors described the throne more than Zeus body and features. The legs of the throne were decorated with sphinxes and winged figures of Victory. Greek gods and mythical figures also adorned the scene: Apollo, Artemis, and Niobe’s children. The Greek Pausanias wrote:

On his head is a sculpted wreath of olive sprays. In his right hand he holds a figure of Victory made from ivory and gold… In his left hand, he holds a sceptre inlaid with every kind of metal, with an eagle perched on the sceptre. His sandals are made of gold, as is his robe. His garments are carved with animals and with lilies. The throne is decorated with gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory.

The statue was occasionally decorated with gifts from kings and rulers. the most notable of these gifts was a woollen curtain “adorned with Assyrian woven patterns and Pheonician dye” which was dedicated by the Syrian king Antiochus IV.

Copies of the statue were made, including a large prototype at Cyrene (Libya). None of them, however, survived to the present day. Early reconstructions such as the one by von Erlach are now believed to be rather inaccurate. For us, we can only wonder about the true appearance of the statue — the greatest work in Greek sculpture.



{October 26, 2007}   BEST JOKE COMPETITION

BEST JOKE COMPETITION

 

A Chinese walks into a bar in America late one night

and

he saw Steven Spielberg.

As he was a great fan of his movies,

he rushes over to him, and asks for his autograph.

 

Instead, Spielberg gives him a slap and says,

“You Chinese people bombed our Pearl Habour, get outta here.”

 

The astonished Chinese man replied,

“It was not the Chinese who bombed your Pearl Harbour,

it was the Japanese”.

 

“Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, you’re all the same,” replied Spielberg.

 

In return, the Chinese gives Spielberg a slap and says,

“You sank the Titanic, my forefathers were on that ship.”

Shocked, Spielberg replies, “It was the iceberg that sank the ship, not me.”

 

The Chinese replies,

“Iceberg, Spielberg, Carlsberg, you’re all the same.”

 

This particular joke won an award for the best joke

in a competition organized in Britain

and

this joke was sent by an INDIAN … !!!



{October 26, 2007}   The Temple of Artemis at Epheseus

The Temple of Artemis at Epheseus

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Is it simply a temple? How could it take its place among other unique structures such as the Pyramid, the Hanging Gardens, and the Colossus of Rhodes? For the people who actually visited it, the answer was simple. It was not just a temple… It was the most beautiful structure on earth… It was built in honor of the Greek goddess of hunting and wild nature. That was the Temple of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus.

Location
The ancient city of Ephesus near the modern town of Selcuk, about 50 km south of Izmir (Smyrna) in Turkey.

History
Although the foundation of the temple dates back to the seventh century BC, the structure that earned a spot in the list of Wonders was built around 550 BC. Referred to as the great marble temple, or temple D, it was sponsored by the Lydian king Croesus and was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. It was decorated with bronze statues sculpted by the most skilled artists of their time: Pheidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas, and Phradmon.

The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution. For years, the sanctuary was visited by merchants, tourists, artisans, and kings who paid homage to the goddess by sharing their profits with her. Recent archeological excavations at the site revealed gifts from pilgrims including statuettes of Artemis made of gold and ivory… earrings, bracelets, and necklaces… artifacts from as far as Persia and India.

On the night of 21 July 356 BC, a man named Herostratus burned the temple to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name. He did indeed. Strangely enough, Alexander the Great was born the same night. The Roman historian Plutarch later wrote that the goddess was “too busy taking care of the birth of Alexander to send help to her threatened temple”. Over the next two decades, the temple was restored and is labeled “temple E” by archeologists. And when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor, he helped rebuild the destroyed temple.

When St Paul visited Ephesus to preach Christianity in the first century AD, he was confronted by the Artemis’ cult who had no plans to abandon their goddess. And when the temple was again destroyed by the Goths in AD 262, the Ephesians vowed to rebuild. By the fourth century AD, most Ephesians had converted to Christianity and the temple lost its religious glamor. The final chapter came when in AD 401 the Temple of Artemis was torn down by St John Chrysostom. Ephesus was later deserted, and only in the late nineteenth century has the site been excavated. The digging revealed the temple’s foundation and the road to the now swampy site. Attempts were recently made to rebuilt the temple, but only a few columns have been re-erected.

Description
The foundation of the temple was rectangular in form, similar to most temples at the time. Unlike other sanctuaries, however, the building was made of marble, with a decorated façade overlooking a spacious courtyard. Marble steps surrounding the building platform led to the high terrace which was approximately 80 m (260 ft) by 130 m (430 ft) in plan. The columns were 20 m (60 ft) high with Ionic capitals and carved circular sides. There were 127 columns in total, aligned orthogonally over the whole platform area, except for the central cella or house of the goddess.

The temple housed many works of art, including four ancient bronze statues of Amazons sculpted by the finest artists at the time. When St Paul visited the city, the temple was adorned with golden pillars and silver statuettes, and was decorated with paintings. There is no evidence that a statue of the goddess herself was placed at the center of the sanctuary, but there is no reason not to believe so.

The early detailed descriptions of the temple helped archeologists reconstruct the building. Many reconstructions such as that by H.F. von Erlach depicted the façade with a four-column porch which never existed. More accurate reconstructions may give us an idea about the general layout of the temple. However, its true beauty lies in the architectural and artistic details which will forever remain unknown.



1.”We will do it” means “You will do it”

2.”You have done a great job” means “More work to be given to you”

3.”We are working on it” means “We have not yet started working on the same”

4.”Tomorrow first thing in the morning” means “Its not getting done “At least not tomorrow!”

5.”After discussion we will decide-I am very open to views” means “I have already decided, I will tell you what to do”

6.”There was a slight miscommunication” means “We had actually lied”

7.”Lets call a meeting and discuss” means “I have no time now, will talk later”

8.”We can always do it” means “We actually cannot do the same on time”

9.”We are on the right track but there needs to be a slight extension of the deadline” means “The project is screwed up, we cannot deliver on time.”

10.”We had slight differences of opinion “means “We had actually fought”

11.”Make a list of the work that you do and let’s see how I can help you” means “Anyway you have to find a way out no help from me”

12.”You should have told me earlier” means “Well even if you told me earlier that would have made hardly any difference!”

13.”We need to find out the real reason” means “Well I will tell you where your fault is”

14.”Well Family is important; your leave is always granted. Just ensure that the work is not affected,” means, “Well you know…”

15.”We are a team,” means, “I am not the only one to be blamed”

16.”That’s actually a good question” means “I do not know anything about it”

17.”All the Best” means “You are in trouble”



et cetera