On the afternoon of Friday, 7th September we attended one of the quirkiest, most interesting of sessions. We were graced by the presence of Mr. Pankaj Kothari, a life guru who has trained tonnes of people and heads a company called Impact Educare and Training. He has been a part of Toastmasters Club for six years and has achieved the highest form of certification in it.
From the moment he started speaking to the moment he left, the entire class was rolling on the floor with laughter. He said to us in the very beginning that everything he would say would be something we already knew. He said this would remind us of everything our mind forgot. And it sure did. We walked out of this session looking through a brand-new set of lenses at the world of communication.
He conducted many exciting activities which enlightened us all. In one of the activities he called two girls up and told them to not communicate at all. They both stood there and within ten seconds it was evident that one could actually never stop communicating. Most of it happens through visuals and vocals and only about 7% of it happens through our speech.
There was another one in which he called upon five individuals and told them to do certain tasks. He told them to shut their eyes and follow his instructions. Various rounds of cutting and folding paper were done. When their eyes opened after the task, it came across that even though they received the same instructions their papers came out looking completely different. We were all observing this entire process. Small bits of behaviour were shown here. We marvelled at the fact that even though they had just been told to shut their eyes, they also subconsciously took it as an instruction to not ask a question. The main reason was that all the instructions were ambiguous. No specifications were given to them and hence everyone filled in the gaps with their assumptions. This spoke to us a lot about how conversations work as well. A lot of it is based on assumption. We also realised that the fact that their eyes were shut played a big role. Human nature would have pushed them to look at each other and analyse the activity.
He, in a very interesting turn of events told one of the boys in the class, that he loves him. He then asked everyone what message reached them. He told us about how the context of what one says matters so much. He meant it in a particular way but it will definitely be perceived very differently.
He talked to us about the unsaid context of everything we say. The person listening played a very important part in every communication. Our eyes went wide when he talked about how all of us did so many tasks on autopilot. Like so many times as we are out we do not remember if we shut the lights off or locked the door or put the gas off. This is because we have been doing all those activities on autopilot. This tends to be one of the reasons we do not do our tasks to the best of their scope. He left us with an assignment to do in our daily life. He told us to do one task very consciously every day. He gave the example of going up the stairs and feeling the pressure on our calves as we move ahead. He insisted we feel every small thing and experience it to the finest.
His analogies were a pure honour to hear and one could spend hours listening to and learning from all of his experiences. It was an experience like never before.