Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Managing Soft Skills

This book can be purchased from
Plot No.52, O;No.2/128, N.No.2/619
First Main Road, VGN Nagar
Iyyappanthangal, Chennai 600 056
Thamizh Nadu

E-mail: scitech@airtelmail.in
website: www.scitechpublications.com

This book was published by SCITECH Publications in 2010.

We live in a world where interactions occur all the time in the family, in the neighbourhood, in town, in offices, in public places, in meetings, in conferences. Interactions happen at personal, family, social and official levels.

All of us do want all the time, every time to begin well, to move forward, to achieve success. Which of course we fervently hope will lead to happiness.

In the process we all realize, don’t we, we need to deal with people of all sorts and of all moods, we need to speak to them, to listen to them, to employ strategies, to give and take, to make readjustments, to temper our egos with patience, understanding, to think the right thoughts and produce the right expressions, to see the larger goal of living together in harmony?

But how do we do all these or at least some of these? Are our attempts at achieving goals feeble or strong? Do we accept defeat and drift along? Do we persevere? Moreover, we are all under the influence of  complexes, superior or inferior, and we are not even aware we are under their influence. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Not necessarily, especially in today’s world. In today’s world, ignorance is lack of knowledge. Of what? How to initiate, how to interact, how to respond, when to concede, when to press forward, when to be patient.

Everyone is a potential achiever, including you. But to become an achiever, you need to possess and use knowledge about yourself and others around you, that is, to apply or employ your people or life skills. These skills are also know as soft skills.

A spark is what you may need. Use Managing Soft Skills, and the fire in you will blossom!
That’s a promise!

This book then is about managing ourselves and others in the process of communication in all our thinking and actions.


Part 1
1. Managing people

Part 2
Managing people through 
2. speaking
3. listening
4. writing
5. reading

Part 3
Support for communicating
6. Technology
7. Essentials of the English language

Part 1
Life is about managing. Life is about managing people in social contexts or in workplaces. Managing others around us. Managing family members, neighbours,  colleagues, superiors, strangers. Life can be pleasant, if we can handle or tackle people helping them, encouraging them, motivating them, enabling them so that they are able to draw on their own strengths. Life can be worth living if we can offer friendship, affection or love to people so that they feel they are not all alone in this ‘cruel’ world but do ‘belong’ and evince interest in themselves and others. Life can be rewarding if we can help others achieve recognition, attain status so that they grow in self-esteem. Life can be accomplishing if we can help others develop their ‘selfs’ so that they reach their final destination of self-realization.

Managing is a global challenge that encompasses other challenges. Managing is not avoiding problems, not ignoring them and not wishing they would go away in time. Managing is facing problems and solving them. Managing is equipping us with ‘skills’. Managing is using these ‘skills’ to handle and help people so that everyone benefits.

  .1            Managing
  .2-10       People and skills
  .3               People
  .4               People skills
  .5               Empathizing
  .6               Caring and sharing
  .7               Being a mentor
  .8               Resolving conflicts
  .9               Giving and receiving feedback
  .10             Acting  [self esteem and stress management

1.11-58     Communicating
  .11          Definition
  .12          Purpose
  .13          Process
  .14-21     Constituents
  .14             Introduction
  .15             Speaker/listener
  .16             Messages
  .17             Medium
  .18-21     Context          
  .18             Introduction
  .19             Self-image   
  .20             Images of others
  .21             Health
  .22-25    Levels
  .22             Kinds
  .23             Extrapersonal
  .24             Intrapersonal
  .25             Interpersonal
  .26         Flow
  .27         Communication Networks
  .28-50   Outlets
  .28             Mediums
  .29             Language
  .30-50   Non-verbal medium
  .30             Definition
  .31             Use
  .32             Role
  .33             Characteristics
  .34             Aspects
  .35             Body language  
  .36             Physical characteristics
  .37             Facial expressions
 .38              Eye contact
 .39              Nodding
 .40              Posture
 .41              Proximity
 .42              Time 
 .43-49    Speech aspects  
 .43              Elements
 .44              Voice
 .45              Accent
 .46              Intonation
 .47              Tone
 .48              Volume
 .49              Sound symbols
 .50         Silence
 .51         Importance of communicating non-verbally
 .52-55    Barriers
 .52               Dialogues  
 .53               Kinds
 .54               Internal
 .55               External 
 .56-58    Communicating efficiently and effectively
 .56               Introduction
 .57               Efficiently
 .58               Effectively

Part Two
2 Speaking
2.1            Oral communicating process
2.2-23       Communicating in pairs
  .2                Motive
  .3                Breakdowns
  .4                Patch-ups
  .5                Contemplating
  .6                People types
  .7-17       Communicating through the telephone
  .7                A description
  .8                Sample conversations
  .9                Caller’s responsibilities
  .10              Greeting
  .11              Receiver’s responsibilities
  .12              Conversations             
  .13              Etiquette
  .14              Routing
  .15              Taking messages
  .16              Answering devices
  .17              Difficult callers  
  .18              Everyday expressions

2.19-23     Debate
  .19              A description  
  .20              Kinds
  .21              Competitive debate
  .22              Purpose
  .23              Topics

2.24-123   Communicating in groups
  .24              Samples   
  .25-30     G.D. [job selection]
  .25              Introduction            
  .26              Time limitation 
  .27              Preparing
  .28              Do’s and don’ts
  .29              Expressions 
  .30              Topics

2.31-45      Interviews
  .31              Introduction
  .32              Objectives
  .33              Types
 .34               Job
 .35               Kinds
 .36               Face to face
 .37               Telephonic interview
 .38               Interviewer’s expectations
 .39               Selection criteria
 .40               Pre-interview activities
 .41               Stage one—questions 
 .42               Suggested responses
 .43               Stage two—mock interview 
 .44               Performing in the interview
 .45               Other forms of interviewing

2.46-53      G.D. in Organizations
  .46              Introduction
  .47              Brainstorming 
  .48              Effective brainstorming 
  .49              Techniques 
  .50              Achieving group goals
  .51              Need for a leader
  .52              Qualifications for a leader           
  .53              Responsibilities of members   

2.54-59      Meetings
  .54              Purpose
  .55              Planning 
  .56              Agenda
  .57              Minutes
  .58              Conduct 
  .59              Closing

2.60-62      Conferences
  .60              Introduction        
  .61              Significance
  .62              Activities

2.63-99      Public Speech Making
  .63              Burden  
  .64              The process  
  .65              Reasons 
  .66              The challenge
  .67              Don’ts  
  .68              Do’s  
  .69-88      Preparation          
  .69-73        Step one
  .69             Topic selection 
   .70            Strategies
   .71            Analyzing yourself
   .72            Analyzing external factors
   .73            Analyzing the locale
   .74            Step two—Source choice
   .75            Step three—Ideas collection
   .76            Step four—Ideas organization
   .77-82       Step five—Content development
   .77           Organizing 
   .78             Beginning—introducing the topic  
   .79             Body [building the topic]  
   .80             Unity and coherence
   .81             Patterning
   .82             Closing [concluding the topic]
   .83-86      Visual aids
   .83             Advantages             
   .84             Kinds 
   .85             Choice
   .86             Use
   .87             Step six—editing   
   .88           Overall strategies          
   .89-97      Step seven--Practice
   .89              Importance
   .90              Devices
   .91              Delivery  
   .92              Listener’s problems
   .93              Initial activity
   .94              Making the speech
   .95              Language and body language
   .96              Delivery strategies
   .97           Mannerisms 
   .98              End activity
   .99           Modes of delivery
   .100         Reading a speech
   .101         Persuasion
   .102-107 Negotiation
   .102            Introduction
   .103            A description
   .104            Learnability
   .105            Means of learning 
   .106            Environment
   .107            Preparation
   .108            Strategies for success   
   .109-114  Presentation speech
   .109             Definition
   .110             Requirements
   .111             Speech
   .112             Preparation
   .113             Making the presentation
   .114             Sample speeches
   .115-122  Tips for the reluctant speakers
   .115             Getting ready
   .116             Psychologically 
   .117             Mentally
   .118             Preparing
   .119             Practising—Stage one
   .120             Stage two
   .121             Strategies
   .122             Topics
   .123             Evaluation of speech practice—essentials

   .124-137  Speech sounds
   .124             English sounds
   .125             Pure vowels 
   .126             Diphthongs
   .127             Letters—a, e, i, o, u and sounds   
   .128             Words commonly mispronunced
   .129             Consonants
   .130             Accent
   .131             Exercise
   .132             Intonation
   .133             Pitch movement 
   .134             Practising
   .135             Silent sounds   
   .136             Consonants mispronounced
   .137             Vowels mispronounced
   .138             Wrong syllables stressed
   .139             Oral practice
   .140             Conversation samples           

Let’s look at some breakdowns
3.a.   Husband (bitterly)                 : What do you care if I slept or not?
          Wife (puzzled)                      : What’s the matter, dear?
          Husband (angrily)                 : Don’t act!
          Wife (upset)                          : But I didn’t!
          Husband (condemningly)     : Oh, yes, you did. You know, don’t you, I can’t sleep
                                                          with the radio blaring.
          Wife (questioningly)             : Blaring? It isn’t. But do you have to shout?
          Husband (losing control)      : Me shouting? How dare you say that?
          Wife (placatingly)                : Dear, dear, now. I’ll tone it down.
          Husband(contemptuously)   : As if I needed concessions from you! (raises the volume)
          Wife(clearly unhappy)         : Oh, go to hell!

[in another situation]    

.b     Wife                                      : (is listening to music)
          Husband                              : (reduces the volume)
          Wife(displeased)                 : What on earth did you do that for?
          Husband(annoyed)              : you aren’t deaf, are you? Besides, I’m reading.
          Wife (questioningly)           : Do you have to read here?
          Husband(in a superior tone): Don’t I have the freedom to read wherever I want?
          Wife (denying)                    : I didn’t say that.
          Husband (accusingly)          : But you did!
          Wife (decisively)                 : All right. Have it your way.

Some patchups
2. John and Joe cross each other.
    Joe                        : Hi, John!
     John                      : ….(moving)
     Joe                        : touches John on the shoulder
     John                      : jerks himself away
     Joe                        : Hey, what’s wrong?
     John                      : Mind your business.
     Joe                        : What’ve I done, now?
     John(angrily)         : Don’t pretend.
     Joe (puzzled)        : Pretend?
     John (warns)         : Don’t you carry tales around anymore!
                                     And don’t make me a scapegoat!
     Joe                        : Tales? Scapegoat? Oh, you mean the Sherwood Account file?
     John(sarcastically): Now, aren’t we getting somewhere!
     Joe                        : But I stated only facts. Tell me what happened.
     John (angrily)        : Facts, my foot! Don’t curry favour at my expense, I warn you. 
     Joe                        : But I….let me….
     John(disgusted)    : Oh, shut up!

(after an hour or so)        
     John                      : Joe, I’m sorry.
     Joe(looking up)     : Sorry.
     John                      : When you met me I was seething with anger.
     Joe                        : But…..
     John                      : You know, Joe, how hard I work. (Joe: Yes, of course). The GM accused me of
                                     letting out the tender figures to our rival across the street. I was told you were
                                     responsible for the story.
    Joe(calmly)            : And you believed it.
    John                       : Yes, Joe. I did. Now I know it wasn’t you. I’m sorry.
    Joe(innocently)      : In fact, I’d forgotten it.
    John(gratefully)      : Oh, Joe, sweet Joe!