Do you remember any situation where you communicated in great detail and yet did not make any impact? And do you remember those communications where you just told about the benefits of your product directly and got results? If you wondered what could have been better, read on about a fictionalized real-life story that may give you an answer
So, a long time back, there was this lovely girl in our group who had an engaging smile, pleasant, friendly manners, and good looks. Quite naturally, she was the center of attention of all people in the group though she hardly cared about it. Apparently and delightfully for us, she was not engaged to anyone. That increased her charm manifold to people like us who were veterans in one-sided affairs (us to them, mostly).
All of us silently loved her. However, two people in our group, Navneet, a boy from Jhajjar in Haryana, and Surendran, a boy from Calicut decided to risk their hearts and explicitly fell for her.
Surendran had an excellent command over English, acted in plays, wrote poems, and gave speeches… in short, he had everything that he felt made him stronger in competition against Navneet. Navneet had none of these traits. However, he, plain and simple, loved the girl. We also loved his simplicity and hung out more with him
The conquest began.
Surendran dished out poem after poem, sang songs in the group directly aimed at the girl, and praised all that she did. It was the classical format for wooing a girl. The girl also began to take notice. Navneet did nothing of these. He only let us know his true feelings that we conveyed to the girl, more with an ambition to upset Surendran than to help Navneet.
Though collectively we thought of Navneet as a competition, we backed off looking at his sincerity for the girl. Not that we had many options either. The rest of us were like the herds of hyenas attacking a buffalo, unsure of how to attack and heavily relying on the others in the group to make the first move for the kill.
So it went on that way for quite some time. Finally, it was time for several of us in the group to go our ways.
One day it happened. The girl invited us to her engagement party that evening.
Our hopes were dashed. Several of us immediately emptied full boxes of Wills cigarettes and bottles of cheap beer in frustration and vowed not to fall for girls ever in the future.
As a formality, we asked about her fiancée, and she just gave that coy smile and nothing else. Anyway, we all knew. If we had been allowed one murder that day, Surendran would have been murdered many times over.
Someone finally realized that Navneet was missing. We knew he would be more miserable than all of us combined. With no mobiles in those days, Navneet’s whereabouts was more a matter of guess than anything else. Therefore, we started from the nearest railway track, hospitals, his relatives in Jhajjar, the bottom of the nearby cliff, etc. No, he was untraceable. No one even bothered to find Surendran, who was also missing from the scene.
Anyway, pasting band-aids on our broken hearts and with the phoniest smiles, we arrived for the engagement party. Each dressed well enough to make the girl realize what she had missed.
And, then, our broken hearts cracked in many more places in less than a second.
Seated next to the girl on the dais was our Navneet looking at us with glee. He was the one who put the ring on the girl’s finger and got a ring in return from the girl. Our emotions were a slideshow of betrayal, defeat, friendship gone sour…Our smiles, however, remained in place. Surendran was still not to be seen.
We spent most of that evening celebrating Navneet’s victory and Surendran’s defeat. Finally, we took Navneet aside and asked the question that had been killing us: How did this happen?
Navneet replied, “I simply told her ‘I Love You.’”
Today when I think about this incident, I feel that it had valuable communication lessons.
Surendran had all that was needed in a killing communication; good intention, right language, variety in content, perfect delivery, persistence, and as a medium, no one could have been better. He also got customer attention. On the other hand, Navneet just had good intentions and zero content other than his presence. So what moved the girl?
It was the directness of approach. Surendran went on and on and imagined that the girl would understand his love for her through his ways. The girl loved the habits but became impatient, as Surendran’s content was too inconclusive. All the while, Navneet just watched
Enter Navneet whose intentions were never on doubt, and he directly communicated what the girl wanted to hear; “I love you.” The communication was short, direct, and with a clear objective.
The deal was sealed.
Mr Ameet Guha is a pharma marketing professional with 25 years of experience. He is a staunch Hindu with balanced views on religion and politics. He writers to connect.
Featured Image Credits: Sri Harsha Dantuluri