Are you big enough to communicate small?

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Some of the best communicators I have met have taught me that you are truly big when you communicate small. That is, you get up from your plush designation, push aside the corporate façade, slide down the hierarchy balustrade and “stoop” to talk and connect with a simple, solitary individual.

Enduring connection

There was this owner of a group of companies, a true monarch of the market. He would look everyone in the eye, greet by name and enquire about the immediate family.

Last I ran into him, some four years after our last meeting, cruel circumstances had reduced the monarch to a pauper. But, he still greeted me by name, asked about my wife by name, named both my sons and correctly guessed their grade. He remains a communication king in my heart.

Of course, not everyone is blessed with that kind of memory. However, if you think it is important to communicate small, you will find a way.

Tech help

The CEO of one of the country’s largest companies used his secretary and his laptop to communicate small, big time. I helped him with a few templates. Just by adding a name and changing a few words, he would convert those into very personal letters to suit every occasion—from congratulations to condolences. Before he started a telephone conversation or his secretary ushered in a visitor, his database would bring up the gist of their last exchange—personal and professional.

Goes to show you can’t blame technology for the all-pervading disconnect. Use it right and it can help you connect—if it matters to you.

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He inspired me to balance my books

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Some books inspire you, so do some people. Some people walk with you and give you just the push to find and use your own wings.

They are often inconspicuous and unaware of how they influence you. Yet, you realize their worth and contribution when you pause to take stock at some juncture. Or, like it happened this morning, an obituary catches your eye and pulls you back in time.

A gruff introduction

Chandrakant Khandelwal. I met him at a time when I had just stepped into the unknown domain of business, leaving the comfort of a job. Life was fun. I was earning money doing what I enjoyed. That I could not escape some mundane stuff like keeping books and filing returns had not yet sunk in.

It was my accountant who introduced me to Khandelwalji. He was a chartered accountant and his firm was to handle my tax matters.

Maybe I expected a warm welcome and exclamations of how happy he was to get my business. Instead, the hello was intimidating, to say the least. “This is what we charge and we don’t help you cook books,” was the gist of his introductory proclamation.

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