Tuesday, 18 September 2018

3 important tools to manage Workplace Conflict

Meera is a dedicated employee, and as usual, she has planned her day.

9:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m.  Activity A
10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m.  Activity B

She logs into her system, and while she was in the middle of activity A, her friend comes and ask her for a coffee. Meera is in a dilemma as she has already planned her day. She tells her friend,” No, I can’t come I have a task to finish.” However, her friend insists her to come to the canteen only for ten minutes. Meera obliges and says “Ok, I will come.” They go for a coffee and meet a few other colleagues, and in a chit-chat, Meera realizes its already 20 minutes.

1. Assertiveness to handle workplace conflicts

What went wrong with Meera? Meera did communicate with her friend that she cannot come, but the message was not crisp. On the contrary, if she would have replied, “I am sorry I can’t come now. I have to finish this task and mail the report to the manager by 11 o’clock. Why don’t we go for a coffee after that? I would love to accompany you.” Her friend would have understood that she is swamped.

Giving another option would also have made her comfortable because it would have conveyed the message that Meera wants to join but she can’t, due to other priorities.

What is most important when it comes to the workplace and getting the work done at your workplace? My answer would be Communication and if I have to be more precise Effective Communication.

Whether you are an individual contributor, team member or a manager your way of communicating things play a significant role in your daily tasks and determines your efficiency.

Be Assertive in your Communications!

 2Communication Barriers triggers conflicts at workplace

Gaurav is a team member of 5 employees. He is energetic, young and disciplined. His team is working on a customer satisfaction survey. His Manager calls him and asks him to get the latest sales report from the Marketing Department, which they will use for preparing the survey questions.

He writes an email to the concerned department which is something like below-

Hello Sir,
Myself Gaurav, from Corporate Communication. We are planning to conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey. We need the latest Sales report for the same.
Request you to share the details please as soon as possible.
Thanks in advance.

After 3 Days, the manager asks Gaurav to share the report. Gaurav realizes that he has not got the details. What do you think is the mistake in Gaurav’s email?

He has communicated the requirement and the need, but he missed on some key details.

Hello Sir,
Myself Gaurav, from Corporate Communication. We are planning to conduct a customer satisfaction Survey by the end of this month. We need the latest Sales report for the same.
Request you to please share the details latest by tomorrow end of the day.
Thanks in advance.

Just by adding time to the written communication the same information becomes crisp and precise. The Receiver can understand the priority and the urgency of the data. In case, if the response is still not received Gaurav can send a reminder and ask for the reason for the delay.

3. Communication as an Art

Mr. Iyer is the manager of the 15-member team. All of his team members are outstanding and productive employees. Recently Mr. Iyer and his team have been given the responsibility to complete a significant project - Project X. This project also has high risks involved. The team started off well but off late Mr. Iyer is experiencing some discontentment and dissatisfaction within the group. He was discussing the same to his Leadership counselor, and the counselor after asking specific questions to Mr. Iyer tells him to change a few things in his way of communication.

He asked Mr. Iyer to communicate all decisions taken at management level clearly and with the reasons behind them to his team.

Secondly, he asked Mr. Iyer to make his team member accountable for the work they are doing in the project X. Such action is primarily for a simple reason - everyone cares for his baby more.

Thirdly, he asks Mr. Iyer to develop trust within the team and to assure them that if anything goes wrong, he as a team manager is there to take care. 

So first think about the answer to the below questions which will lead to a positive work environment.

1.       Are you communicating all the critical information?
2.       Is the message crisp and clear?
3.       Have you identified all the Priorities?
4.       Are you afraid of saying NO?

Remember, Saying a NO is not being rude. The way you are communicating is where the secret lies.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

6 Tips on How to Build Effective Communication Skills

A few days ago, someone shared a video of a girl who had physically barricaded the sidewalk on a busy Bangalore road to take a stand against two-wheelers riding the footpath.

“You and I have both been in schools teaching us what a red light is for, what a footpath is for,” said Manju Thomas, who has been protesting against footpath riders for a while.  “And if you still don’t know, my sir, I’m telling you. This is wrong,” she continued.

“I’m not here to listen to your lecture,” was the rude response from the offender who tried to score sympathy on regionalism accusing her of being an outsider.

“You don’t have to listen to me. And I’m not here to give a lecture. I will stand here. I will wait for you to use the road like a good citizen,” asserted Thomas.

“How many vehicles will you stop here? You have come here to create a scene. If we do not follow what you say, what will you do?” threatened the miscreant.

“We have the right to stand here until you take the right way,” chimed in a passerby who was now taking a stand with Manju.

It was brave of her to do this as a lone fighter, though it has been a nuisance for many pedestrians. What particularly stayed with me was how concise she was in her communication to the wrongdoers. She wasn’t yelling at them, she wasn’t being abusive, rather, she was calm and composed, even when she was being belittled, termed a media monger. With her stand, she got through to not only the miscreants but also received support from others who had this far just been bystanders.

The courage it took to take that stand, the clarity of the girl’s thought process and how effectively she communicated the gravity of the situation, not only to the wrongdoers but fellow pedestrians, was thought-provoking. This could have turned into a violent and hostile situation, but her effective communication strategy ensured the situation didn’t turn ugly.

Effective communication rarely comes instinctively, though it should. Communication is a big part of our existence, but how often do we get through to the people we communicate with? Do we spend time thinking about how we communicate?

Communication isn’t just verbal, but also written, through body language, through expressions. If you break it down here’s what can be construed as an effective way to communicate:

Communication Skill Training - SLN Brand Studio

Impact of Emotions in your Words: 

This is the obvious and a given, right? Choosing the right words to express yourself is very important. When we are verbose in our communication, sometimes even completely miss the point we were trying to make. 

Often, our emotions get translated as words and we do not communicate what really is bothering us. 

A few years ago, Shruti, a friend of mine was shortlisted as one of three people to represent the company at a prestigious event. Shruti was excited about being recognized and had worked really hard for the event. But a few weeks before the event, her boss told her that they had budget constraints he had to cut her travel. She was heart-broken and furious and decided to let her boss know. But rather than writing a hateful e-mail, Shruti created a list of reasons why she should be the one to travel to the event. She spent some time putting the email together, keeping it to the point

So effective was the positivity on the e-mail, that Shruti’s boss made an exception and it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for her.

Emotional Management - SLN Brand Studio

I can Understand you by Looking at Your Body Language

Words are important, but how many conversations have happened without even the use of words. Ask anyone who’s fallen in love at the first sight. This may sound farfetched, but you can tell a lot about a person from their body language. There’s even a branch of behavioral science dedicated to the study of body language and facial expressions. 

How a child avoids eye contact when they know they have broken something or how your colleague gets fidgety before a proposal review. Arms folded during an argument can suggest the person is not open to communication, whereas maintaining a good eye contact can instill faith in the person you are talking to.

Do you Know How Your Tone Impacts Others?

What gives soul to communicating is the tone of voice. The tone of voice is not about what you say, but rather the way that you say it. And the impression it makes on anyone who receives (reads or hears) you. This is 80% of what changes the conversation from combustible to open (or vice versa).  
I was at the beach with my friends and their five-year-old daughter last summer. While they happily splashed around in the water, I was at the shore waiting for them. After waiting a while, I was irate about how a few minutes had stretched to hours and decided to leave and shouted out to them over the waves that I was ready to leave. They wanted to stay in longer, so I decided to leave. 

When they got back to the hotel room, the five-year munchkin, came up to me with a very angry face and asked me demandingly as to why was I screaming at her mother at the beach. Even at her age, she had grasped the annoyance in my voice which her parents had missed. Which I had unknowingly communicated. I tried to convince her that I was not screaming at her mother, but rather was trying to communicate over a very noisy background. She accepted my justification as an apology over a big ice-cream sundae (of course!) but her keen sense of listening and astute observation left me thinking about how often do we listen.

Listen Well to Engage your Audience

Listening shouldn’t be a surprise on the list for effective communication. But we often forget that communication is not only about talking, but also about listening. We all have this inherent need to be heard, a need to be understood. We listen with an intent to respond, rather than with an intent to understand what is being said.

Listening Skill & Engaging Audience Tips - SLN Brand Studio
I was at a company event last year where the CEO was speaking. He was there in time for his keynote, but the audience was still trickling in. His time was valuable, but rather than being angry, he patiently waited for people to come and settle in. He took that time to walk the aisle and meet the employees. Not just with senior leaders in the team, but everyone he could possibly meet in that duration. He engaged the audience by listening to them, making it a personalized experience

Engaging your audience is crucial to communication. Engaged speaking is as important as engaged listening. It translates to keeping the audience’s attention. The CEO made sure the room was engaged and received a roaring response from the audience who felt heard and noticed. He had built a rapport with the people in the audience and had their trust.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you can do to communicate effectively, but it is a start. The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill. How we communicate, the words we choose, the willingness to listen and much more can help create a positive (or negative) environment around you. So, choose wisely.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Assertiveness- A 'Must Have' Quality In The Workplace


Just the other day I was talking to one of my friends. She was heading for a much-awaited vacation but seemed quite upset. When I inquired about what the matter was; she said her boss who was ‘well aware’ that she was going on leave, dumped a pile of work on her that morning…

If only she had firmly said that the work would be done, but only after she returns from vacation She would have saved herself from trouble!

"Such difficult conversations are quite common in corporate scenario....How can one escape?"

Why being ASSERTIVE in your workplace is IMPORTANT?

When you stand up for yourself, it doesn’t make you a rude or an aggressive person. Instead, you will be respected by your colleagues for your confidence and straightforwardness - YesIt’s true!  
Okay, maybe as children, we’ve been taught to be polite and not react if we don’t like something that someone said or did. However, LISTEN; don’t confuse yourself between being ‘aggressive’ and being ‘assertive.’

You are aggressive when you do something to satisfy your interests without any consideration for the rights or needs of others… Assertivenesson the other hand, is being forthright about what you want without disregarding the rights or feelings of people.

This is just one of the many scenarios that many professionals face today in their workplace. When you shy away from being transparent about what you think; when you fail to communicate what you want clearly… it can affect your work negatively.

"Do you find it arduous to convey your thoughts to someone who is in a higher power or authority in your workplace? 

Do you often say ‘yes’ when you wanted to say ‘no’ just because you feel it would seem ‘offensive’? 

When you are upset with someone, do you refrain from letting that person know and keep it to yourself?"

Assertiveness is the term here.......

Remember; this is a crucial communication skill required in your workplace. If you’re not assertive enough in certain situations, it’s easy for other co-workers to take advantage of youWhat happens after that? - You get frustrated and often that will reflect in your work! 

How to be ASSERTIVE without sounding aggressive?

Sometimes it may seem hard to ‘speak your mind… 

It is essential to value others’ thoughts, but does that mean you need to undermine yours

“Value yourself…You are as important as anyone else.”   

Everyone needs to be treated with dignity and respect, and that includes you. Believein yourself. It’s good to be kind to others, but never so generous that you end up accepting your colleague’s demands although you know it’s not the right time for you.

“Be confident ... Recognize your priorities.”

If you feel that you’re long due for a promotion, don’t wait for your boss to realize it. You may end up waiting forever! Be confident in expressing your wants and needs, but do it 'sensitively and ‘positively.'

That excellent balance may seem complicated, but with practice, you’ll be able to master the art. Try and build on your communication skills. Run your mind through what you want to say at home; it really works!  When you exhibit confidence and clarity, people around you will treat you with more respect.

“Don’t let anyone force it on you… Learn to say NO. ”

Remember, you cannot go about pleasing everyone; so learning to say ‘NO’ when necessary is essential. Explain why you’re saying so and if possible try to create a win-win situation - but be firm.

“Welcome Compliments as well as Criticism.”

In a professional environment, we’re bound to receive both positive and negative feedback. Accept both ‘humbly’ and ‘positivelyIf you believe that some criticism that came your way was unfounded, be prepared to openly say so without being ‘defensive’ or ‘aggressive.’  

“Familiarize yourself  with Assertive Statements.” 

When you want to convey something strongly and firmly, use more  "I" statements like “I have to” or “I want”. Avoid, “I  think” or “I may” as this may portray uncertainty. 

Occasionally, some incident may make you feel too emotional or angry. It is best not to react right away as you may be unsure of what you want and may mess up. Take your time, compose your thoughts and then go and speak to that person. 

Avoid ‘sugar coating’ when you talk in a professional environment. People may not take you seriously. Instead, send out a ‘clear message.’ Choose verbs like want’ instead of ‘need’ and ‘will’ instead of ‘could’. 

Learning to be assertive will not happen overnightHowever, believe me, with practice it will become a part of you. Be consistent and over time, you will see that you’ll be able to take proactive stances effortlessly.

Voila! You’ll find yourself becoming more productive and being able to face workplace challenges much more efficiently!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

“Your Blog………Your Brand”

Many times we come across information about how someone has made it big by blogging. People have quit their high-profile jobs and gone into writing blogs. Amit Agarwal, an IIT graduate from India, started his blogging site Labnol.org in 2004. Amit left his career to become the first professional blogger from India, and his Labnol is where you can find technology simplified for you.

People log off from their systems at home or office, get into their cars or as a matter any mode of transport that they use and log in again via their phones. What is happening all the time online?


These are few terms that we come across every minute. What is a Viral Content? 

Blog & Brand - SLN Brand Studio
Viral content is something that can spread overnight as a matter of fact, within minutes. Here, creating such a compelling content is significant if you are working towards building a brand through your personal or professional blogs.

How does blogging help you?

  • You create a trusted online platform that is worth reading and at the same time making it a perfect and efficiently market you/your product/services.      
  • No direct selling here but you grow an audience base and establish the value you bring them 
  • Give you that exposure as an expert in your respective field and thus the readers take you more seriously

However, creating a blog that becomes a brand is not something easy to do. Do you want to check if your content is elevating your brand value?

Answer these few questions. You will ultimately find the answers that you are looking. 

1.      Is your blog short and relevant?    Yes/ No

If your answer is Yes, then you are in the right direction because a concise and appropriate blog is essential to gain the attention of the reader. The online readers usually have a very short attention span.

If No then the content has to be worked upon with much of the irrelevant material being cut down upon and content specific article be written. For example, if it is a blog for recipes, it is always better to stick to a few facts rather than writing unwanted things for pages. The visitors tend to scroll down to the actual content or leaving the page.

2.      Is your content genuine & supported by Facts? 

The content has to be 100% genuine and truthful, or else it would lose out on the loyalty of the audience and not gain sustainability. Achieving user loyalty is extremely tough whereas losing it very easy and happens in a jiffy.

For example, if writing about travel and adventure, it would always do to present facts about the place, how to get there, and the pros and cons truthfully rather than glorify it with false data. 

3.      Is it unique and exciting to read?

The Online reading material has to be well presented with a unique writing style that is distinctive to the blogger.

Why do you think Amitabh Bachchan write blogs?

The ‘Big B,’ Mr. Amitabh Bachchan does not need any introduction. Just because he is a well-known personality and a good actor, he cannot build and retain a readership to his blogs. Through unique content, he has created insight into a character of his that is not known to many.

Not only the topic, but the way one writes must also be unique enough to intrigue interest in the reader’s mind. Check out if the content is your blog interests the readers. 

4.      Does your blog define you?

“Many people are doing what you are doing….do not know how to make it unique.”
Blogging Guide - SLN Brand Studio

Is this what is bothering you? Remember, the experiences are unique for different people. A habit or your ability which you think as 'common' or a 'normal' could be a great one for someone else. They may even struggle writing the way as you do with an ease.

You focus on creating a content that will provide value in your way. Write about your own experiences and lessons learned thus making the posts more powerful, personal, and relevant.

For example, you would have come across many ‘how to series?’. However, keenly notice the ones that are most visited or popular. Do you see a similarity? 

Yes, the series with more ‘tried and tested’ methods, real-time examples and simple to understand methodologies help to acquire more visitors. Without a compelling content, even with attractive images, retaining the readership and followers would be highly challenging. 


5.      Are you covering too much too fast?

This caution is, especially for the starters. Always create a content targeting a targetted audience. Writing too many things on a single blog to cover more extensive audience will not help in building brand equity. 

Remember, create only a relevant and genuine content. Do not just fill the page with unwanted keywords.

Unwanted Keyword Spamming will kill the Brand Image.

6.      Are you creative and consistent?

Content architecture is an art. Become an artist. 

With loads of gadgets, information scattered all around us, the readers, users, audience quickly get bored, with repeated content. Use your creativity, design attractive images, share podcasts, videos and other tools to make your content better read.

How to start a blog is not the hard part but being stable and growing a considerable, devoted audience can be quite challenging. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

3 Important Things to do before Building a Website - 3 P Model: Plan, Price and Product

More than a billion (and counting) websites available today, everyone is talking about being Unique.
How can it be done?

Are businesses unique today? Nope, No business is unique today.

You talk about a business idea thinking that it is Unique. Do a market research. There are already players existed in the market and trending in different levels…..

You talk about a Unique website, end up having one that is very similar to the Billions available online…..

Sounds Familiar, hua?

What is UNIQUE then? Let us define the solution as well here……….

There are three most important things to do before you decide on your website.

Implement 3 P model in your web design architecture.

Best Web Content Writing, Bangalore

Content Architecture in your website

You would have seen this in our SLN Brand Studio website. We follow ‘three circle of information architecture’ model while building content architecture for our client’s website. 

How does it work? 

Create your content architecture based on the business you do and the value you add to your customer. Do not build content for the sake of having all the keywords related to your business.

Infact, we suggest you develop a content architecture as a first thing, even before talking to a web designer. This practice will give more clarity on how your website should look like.

Make sure the content creates a brand for you which will automatically bring in leads. Need help in website design layout creation, talk to us.

We can help you:

-          How to develop your web design layout?
-          How to build content that brings in leads and business without impacting the business context?

Understand various costs related to building your website

Domain Name

Such terms and associated cost could be scary especially if you are building a website for the first time. Been there, Done that….

Before investing on any of these services, wait. There are designers who will do all these within a single packaged price. Leave it to them and work on building your business. Webbazaar helped building our website.

Talk to a designer and understand how all these services work. To understand more and negotiate better, you can read about costs pertaining to owning a website.

That BIG & BEAUTIFUL Image that sits on your website

A cup with Green Tea, Antique looking Table, A person with a computer or iPAD, some greenery, Library like structure, a computer, office room, conference hall……

Randomly check few websites now….. One in 5 or 10 websites, you will see atleast one Image from the above list?

Now, check whether these images make any sense or connect anything with the business you want to talk about. Nope, right?

This is what happens when people have a ‘Following Herd’ mentality. Ask your designer to work on the images that speaks volume about YOUR business.

We can help you to make informed decision on branding and images as well…….

Building a website is not a big deal if you do it well from the beginning. Do the basics right!!!