I was 8 months pregnant with Meera and was approaching different General Manager’s across Microsoft about one of my ideas that I thought had a lot of potential to be part of the product. I was in awe to be meeting Randy Granovetter who was one of the initial founders of Jabra and also headed the innovations team at Microsoft. After the initial meet and greet, I fumbled a little but explained to her in great technical depth including the database design and schema. She jumped from her seat and with high vibrant energy told me that she had read my paper and thought it had real potential. She asked me to take a step back and expand the idea imagining I had unlimited resources and time for the customer. She asked me to imagine that I was telling the idea to my grandmother. At that point, I realized that I could not explain the idea to my grandma.

Soon after Meera was born, I approached her to be my mentor. Thanks to her mentorship and friendship, I learnt many important lessons in life and most importantly learning to respect myself and communicating clearly. The most important tip of communication is Can you break down your thought process for both your grandma and the technical architect in the room?


What is communication?

I love Wikipedia. So simple, yet so clear – Communication is the activity of sharing information through the exchange of thoughts, messages or information by speech, visuals, signals, writing or behavior.

Why is it important?

Effective communication is extremely important for building relationships with other people and making sure that your thoughts have been shared correctly with others. Have you realized that miscommunication is one of the biggest reasons for a relationship to go astray?

Principles of communication

  • Right attitude: The frame of mind that you are when communicating with others. It can include different emotions like happiness, high energy, arrogance, sadness, self-critical, etc. How would you like people to perceive you when you communicate. Can you be deliberate in your attitude while communicating?

  • Reciprocity: How do you respond when people communicate good and bad with you? If the information is good, are you swift to say “Thank you” or something appropriate to them. If the information is not good, do you allow negativity to be part of the reciprocate communication or can you take critical information with positivity?

  • Respect: We all like to get respect. Do we give the same amount of respect to all the people around us? Are we respectful to people who are not higher than us in status, age, financial stability or power? Do we respect people and their time?

  • Procrastination: Are we imagining that the other person is telling or feeling a particular way? Do we imagine that another person is behaving a certain way because of us?


Different types of communications

  • Oral: Verbal communication including talking, presenting, discussing, etc. It includes communication in the same location and also video conferencing. Oral communication includes both the voice, tone and the body language of the talker.

  • Phone: Communication of people over the phone. It includes the voice and tone of the talker.

  • Written communication: Communication through email, text, blogging, etc.

In closing, I say that communicating clearly is one of the big assets that you can possess to be a successful program manager. We might not be able to master all of our communication skills together but if we break it down to smaller steps, you can definitely be an effective communicator.

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