We communicate by our presence

Yesterday, we were discussing about recruiting few more people in to the team. The role is to do with change management and we were listing down the attributes we need to look for in the prospects. The first came communication skills. No one seems to have a question about it; everyone agreed that we need people with good communication skills. Someone said – only people with good communication skills can create change in the organization.

Communication skills here means to be able to convey something effectively, respond spontaneously, defend ones’ viewpoint, talk fluently without hesitation, talk loud and clear, convince someone, win an argument etc etc.

As I sat there, something in me said –something is wrong? A story of Lord Buddha, one of the greatest change agents the world has seen, came to my mind. Buddha was supposed to address a large gathering once. As thousands waited to hear the great sage speak, Buddha walked in with a lotus flower in his hand and sat just glancing at it. No words. He just sat there silently. People waited impatiently for him to break the silence. He simply sat there in deep silence glancing at the flower. After a while, his disciple, Maha Kashyapa burst in to laughter. Buddha called him and gave him the flower; he was the one who understood the essence of Buddha’s teaching.

So, I think this is again yet another conditioned belief we have not been questioning. If you look at the people around us who are good orators, like salesmen, marketing people, politicians, do we really believe any of them? Someone with common sense can easily see malicious intentions concealed carefully beyond those carefully crafted sentences. But yet we are sure, everyone need to have good communication skills as an essential quality! You might argue that there are great orators who changed the course of humanity, but I think there are also several people who were not great communicators, at least in the sense we understand.

We really communicate by our presence. That is the reason we feel so light and comfortable in the presence of small children. The younger the children, better is the feeling. Imagine a child giving you a lecture on love; you will run away. Look at the people who have influenced you in your life, in whose company you felt peace and comfort, they all communicate by their presence. You just need to be in their presence and it makes no further difference if they talk or not.

This is not the case of a salesman trying to convince you in to buying their product. He might be communicating well, but his presence is really conveying the hidden selfish motives, which you can feel. That’s what makes you feel uncomfortable in the presence of such people.

And when can we communicate effectively with our presence? When we are at peace, mind is centered and content. Then you don’t need to talk anything, people will have no option but to be at peace in your presence. Just a smile from you can communicate what hours of speaking cannot.

When do we start recruiting people for their ‘presence’? I think even now we do that, but just that we don’t quiet understand it or our rational minds don’t accept it.


2 thoughts on “We communicate by our presence

  1. Bala

    Excellent blog, Sajeev! 2 things come to my mind. One is the Michael Jackson child molestation case. People accused MJ of the charges, there were cases, jury, etc and finally there was an out of course settlement. Somehow, MJ did not address the fans or give a press release or any such thing. In about a year’s time, an album came out with songs “They dont really care about us” and “Scream”. That sent out the artist’s emotions. The lyrics, the rhythms, background loops, dance, actions in the video, everything pointed to the state of anger that MJ was in.

    Another instance – Sachin Tendulkar was going thru one of his rough patches and the runs just werent coming. At one stage, the Mumbai crowd (or some wings of it) actually booed their most trusted and cherished Mumbaikar. Again, SRT did not raise his voice or have anything harsh to say in the press release following the match. Next match or in the match after (memory fails me here), SRT bounced back with an incredible century in typical boyish SRT style. That silenced all his critics and the “retirement… retirement” buzz just died down.


  2. Sajeev Post author

    Nice observations Bala.
    One that come to my mind easily is Swami Vivekananda’s chicago speech.The moment he uttered the opening statement ” My dear brothers and sisters of America”, it was received by a thunderous round of applause. Someone observed that it is not because swamiji used an informal opening (in contrast to Ladies and Gentlemen) that he was received so well. But he meant what he said and it was conveyed in presence. I think the rest didn’t matter…


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