Just as a writer I and my book are nothing without our readers, so am I , the communication coach- in my earlier avatar- nothing without the youngsters I have coached. And in this I would like to thank them all for being who they have been since it shaped me in being who I am today.
Until recently, I used to coach the new joinees to the organization I work in, to develop their communication skills. This, by no means is an easy job. For, fresh from the college, they carry forward their weird mannerisms to the professional world as well.
It was quite a common sight for me to have at least one fellow with spiked hair who would enter the training room by banging the door open, just as I began to opine about the importance of the first impression that we create and on how to it can be created.
By the time I would finish dealing with the various messages such actions send out and move into the significance of body language , literally a sister concern , I would have a bunch of 40 stern faces staring at me.
‘What, now?’ I would wonder. No answer
‘Say something’ No response.
‘At least smile please’
After much cajoling, invariably the girls would break into giggles and one or two of the boys would flash a smile.
By this point, I would have finished using all of my tools in persuasions save one- ‘Is this how you would greet your boy friend/girl friend? No Smile, no Hi, Hello?’
There is a moment of awkward silence.
The giggly girls quieten down. They appear eager to hear what the boys have to say to that.
Whereas the boys side go more silent. That is, until Mr Cool with his spiked hair defiantly standing on his head would stand up to reveal a secret scare- ‘Ma’am, what if she does not smile back?’
There is another moment of silence.
In that moment, I take a quick glance at every face in the room. The scary thought of a smile’s rejection is stamped on each of them. I can even see Mr Cool’s spikes collapsing unceremoniously at the girl not returning his smile.
‘Find another girl to smile at. There are many girls who want to be smiled at. Smile at them. Why stick to only one?’ I reason. ‘After all you are not doing anything beyond that, right’ I continue. ‘Or are you?’ I ask innocently getting a little unstoppable at this point.
The entire bunch bursts out in laughs and Mr Cool seems relieved. At least, that is what his still standing spikes tell me.
I end up the session by giving them a check list of things to be followed when preparing to create a favourable first impression. And as I leave them for the day, I remind them that no one has even looked bad with a smile. So no matter what others think of you and your teeth, you just go ahead and smile. A little cheekily put, but it serves the purpose.
And yeah, please don’t bang the door. It wouldn’t make you any different from the garbage wala who shows up at my door on Saturday mornings.