The Power Of Communication

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.

The delights of being old are that even if you are not wise, you still get a chance to act wise.

Yesterday one young software engineer approached me. He has just passed out and is looking for a job. He came with his resume and wanted my help in getting placed.

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.

He insisted that he wanted to go only in testing. When I looked into his resume, I found him woefully short in experience. He had just a few months training in manual testing.

When I gently enquired if he had any experience in automated testing, he had none. Automated testing saves time, money and improves accuracy. It is impossible to imagine a large company relying on manual testing. He may be rejected on the ground of inadequate experience. But he was making another blunder.

What this young man was doing was killing his chances. Instead of bluntly saying that he wants to work only in testing, what he should be telling the interviewing panel is that he is willing to work wherever the company desires but since he has some exposure in Testing, it would be easy for him to hit the ground running. I am sure the company will take a very sympathetic view. No company would like to hire someone for the wrong fit. But at the same time, they would like their employees to be flexible in their approach.

This is the power of communication. The young man has not changed his stance. He has simply packaged it properly. I do not know if he will get a job or not. But he has increased his chances at the same time not compromising on his choice.

This is not to say that he doesn’t have to brush up his skills. Software Industry is a very fluidish industry. One has to keep updating his/ her knowledge. (I kept calling Load runner as Road runner and Rational Rose as Roland rose. Luckily he didn’t know about both.)

But it helps if one understands how to communicate.

Communication is very much important in our day to day life too. My boss in the UK was a delightful man. Even if you asked him directly if he wanted me to call someone. He wouldn’t say yes or no. he would simply say, “Well. I would certainly do that.” It was always a pleasure working for him.

I had seen him firing one employee. He did it in a very benign way. He told the employee that he was a talented young man with a lot of skills. What was necessary was to find the matching industry. Unfortunately his skills were a misfit in our organization. So sadly he would let him go.

I may have repeated this story elsewhere, but its one of my favorite stories. While leaving UK, I wrote to one of my clients that I was leaving his beautiful country. He responded by saying that his beautiful country became that much beautiful by me being in it. UK still remains my favorite country. Maybe the client played not a very small part in it.

Power of communication should not be confused with politeness. If you are in Australia and someone calls you bastard, it only means that he feels you are his close friend and maybe he would like to share his last beer with you. You should feel proud for being called just that! Harbhajan Singh would have avoided a lot of heartburn if he knew that.

Or take the example of America. They cannot complete a sentence without brining their Le derriere in it. So don’t be surprised to hear “ OK guys time to move butt” in the middle of an important meeting.

But before I become a pain in you know where, it’s time for me to move you know what.


  1.  Even though I don’t always have the words to say what I want to in
    class, I am always elevated when someone speaks aloud the thought that I
    was trying to formulate. If you feel so inspired, open your mouth!
    People really appreciate what you have to share.

    • Being articulate helps even outside the profession and class room. Sadly in India, still we do not have enough emphasis on Soft skills. 

      •  And the few coaching schools that teach us these soft skills are often derided and looked down upon. Agreed, some of them are just “run of the mill” schools opened to make some money, but then again, there are those which are rather genuine in their goals!

  2. In today’s word, communication becomesall that more important what with the increasing misunderstandings and intolerance

    • So true! Today the world is a global village. It isn’t what it was when we were kids. Majority of the problems faced today by the Government is on account of failing to communicate. 

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