There are some things we feel are far too big for us to care about. They seem irresolvable – distant – not our problem.
But they could very well be!
Today was a tiring day, we went snorkelling and kayaking (and the best part was the open bar on the boat!). We finally headed back to our hostel to relax for a while, perhaps just lounge in the balcony.
I think I dozed off for a while because I didn’t even realise when Roger came and sat down next to me. He smirked in my direction, I must have fallen asleep with my mouth hanging open again. He offered me a can of beer and a cigarette (which I obviously refused, lol).
Roger had served in the US Military for 30 years before he took voluntary retirement. He had no one. No mom, no dad, no cousins, no wife, no kids. No friends either.
He had always lived a life of loneliness. He discovered his sexuality very late in life, at a time when people did not know that gay people existed. He was sent to a mental correction facility for treatment. He was never married. He never had the right to marry anyone (Thanks, Obama). Now at 61, he longs for company, a partner who he can talk to. Someone who can just sit with him and watch the sunset. He is lonely.
I beg you to look in his eyes. Does this look like a face of a lonely man? It looks to me like a face of a happy man, someone who has had many laughs, his face wrinkled with signs of happiness. He does not deserve to be alone. Any one would be lucky to have him as his partner. He looks like popoye goddammit! He is so young at heart, I sometimes don’t remember he is thrice as old as me. I want to be his friend.
Roger has been receiving his monthly pension and living in Mexico for the past month. He spends his days drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. Sometimes drugs come to the rescue.
He says, everyone in America hates every other person. There is so much hatred and sadness in the society, that an individualistic culture just burns a man up. There is no one to share an emotion with. People are too engrossed within themselves and everyone carries a fucking gun. Why do you need a gun?!
He told me to be careful when in Mexico and just call him in case I need anything. He’s a good man.
What are the chances of running into a man like this, on your foreign exchange stint? The same as BEING that man.
Now that we all have met Roger, this problem is not so distant anymore.
Learn all about Mexico from the eyes of Niloy Jain, 5th year IPM Student currently on his student exchange program. He is enthusiastic about travelling and photography and he writes amazing diaries! Hiral Arora, reporting live from a facebook chatbox.
Forsooth, even these labels fall short
For these mercenaries of art
Are complicit to a different crime every day
Switching tastes sporadically
For fear of over-familiarity with one
Switching choices, opinions, stances
Whenever their conscience bids them to
For in their heads, to make an uninformed choice
Would be worse than not making one at all
And that is what pits them at the opposite end
Of the war with the rest of the world
A war which they haven’t waged but are forced to partake in
A war waged by a society that regards
Stability of thought and consistency in devotion as virtues
And all else? Seditious. Reprehensible.
“Artistic”, they say with contempt
Spitting out the word as though it be a wretched disease
It does not belong here
The makers do not belong
These artists. They do not belong, they say
In our kingdom, our land, our territory
In the kingdom that they have created inside their heads
And that is their greatest folly
For do they not realize that laws do not apply
To those who do not know how to live inside walls?
Lines have no meaning for them
For these creators of art can make their own
And those are far, far more beautiful
These mercenaries of art
Are warriors of a different ilk
Ostracized for their beliefs, their ways
Their little oddities that made them so different from the others
Only result in bringing them closer to each other
For they paint the world in a myriad of colors
Writers, Painters, Sculptors, Singers, Dancers, Scientists
All artists in their own right
For it is their creations
Their words, their canvases that shall adorn the walls
Their symphonies that shall echo through them
Their art that shall live on in the kingdom
Long after they have been turned away from it
Ms.Lalitha Vaidyanath (Senior Creative Director at J.Walter Thompson Hyderabad) recently visited IIM Indore as a speaker at Colloquium – the annual business conclave organized by the Industry Interaction Cell of the institute. The theme this year was ‘Marketing – Strategy, science or sorcery?’. Ms. Lalitha delivered an engaging talk about how targeting the right people the right way through advertising can change lives and even impact communities for the better. She added that advertising as a process has changed from being a one-sided monologue to an enriching conversation or an experience that has become pervasive. We caught up with her after the talk, and here is what she had to say about the field of advertising–
Jasmine: So one very interesting thing that I found out while reading up about advertising was that the first female copywriter was from JWT. In fact JWT even has a scholarship for young creative women in her name – the Helen Landsterne scholarship. It definitely appears then that JWT has particular interest in encouraging women to join this field. How strong is that spirit in the Indian advertising industry? How are female copywriters treated here? How far do they go?
Lalitha: Women actually do bring a lot to the table in the field of advertising. In fact, not just as copywriters but across the board, you have a lot of women making significant contributions in JWT and every other agency. But then advertising itself as an industry has quite a few women. There aren’t a lot of hierarchical issues, as the organisational structure is relatively semi-flat and flexible, so the concept of glass ceiling is perhaps not as reinforced in advertising because of that.
Hence it draws women to these jobs. Personally, I also feel that on an average, women have good aptitude for writing and graphic art. So there is a lot of scope for them in art and copy, and now a lot of women are playing a huge role in planning as well. Advertising is all about striking a chord with the consumers. By nature women are empathetic, so perhaps that’s why they fit in so well here. Honestly, it’s a very fascinating and interesting industry to work in, whether you’re a man or a woman.
Nike’s Da Da Ding song ad
Jasmine: That’s right. Even as outsiders, we see advertising as a very dynamic industry. In popular culture, like say movies, if one of the characters is from the advertising industry, they’re shown to be staying up nights, doing a lot of creative brainstorming, and also being quite a bit of a social butterfly. How true to reality is this image?
Lalitha: There’s actually a lot of hard work involved. What you see there is the glamorous part. For example, when I showed you guys the Da da ding ad for Nike featuring Deepika Padukone during the presentation, I could see all of you collectively thinking ‘wow this looks really amazing’. I myself have shot ad films with different celebrities. And I can vouch for the hard work which goes on behind the scenes. You can’t be over-awed by these elements while working. What you see as the consumer is a very snazzy TVC; what we see as the creators is the grit that it takes to make it.
Jasmine: So on an average how long would a good TVC like that take to make?
Lalitha: It depends. If you’re talking about going right from the ideating process, then it could range from anything between a week or two. Sometimes you just get a good idea in a flash; sometimes it takes a lot of time. It depends on the product, on the briefing, on the approval etc. Some clients just lap up the first idea because they liked it instantly. Some clients keep coming back to you asking for more improvements, giving suggestions, till they get the wow factor. But usually for a TVC to be produced , right from the ideation, going through the pre-production, going to the shoot, then the post-production, and then finally the final edit and bringing out the film, it could take 30-45 days.
Jasmine: At the beginning of your talk you spoke about how being right brained or left brained can change your approach to things. As management students a lot of us aren’t very sure which side we come from because we more or less learn just about everything between hard core analytical skills to interpersonal skills. How likely is it for management students to enter a creative field like advertising and make it big there?
Lalitha: I’d say most management students are left-brainers. I’ve seen them to be more verbal and analytical. Right now there are so many management grads in advertising. Recruiters from advertising agencies are loving the mix of skills that they get from these graduates. So I’d say the chances of management student making it big in advertising are pretty high.
The Life Saving Dot campaign
Jasmine: Another thing that we regularly get to hear in management school is the whole spiel about how we need to brand ourselves as individuals. ‘Self branding’ as a concept is becoming so important now because everyone is becoming increasingly competent and in order to make yourself stand out in the madness of the job world, you need to work smart. As someone who deals with the concept of branding on a daily basis, could you tell us how to get it right as individuals?
Lalitha: It’s true that ‘self-branding’ is becoming really important these days. Even recruiters today don’t look at students as just black and white. They recognise that there are many parts of you and they actively seek out more well-rounded individuals. They don’t just look for pure academics anymore. There is so much more beyond that, especially in a field like advertising.
Jasmine: One last question that I’d like to pose to you is this – since creative industries like advertising are so much about real time reactions, could you give me one example of a crisis handling situation that you’ve had to go through which really taught you a lot.
Lalitha: Every campaign is a crisis, Jasmine *laughs*. I say that because every client believes that they need to have what they want right NOW otherwise their world will end. They want their campaigns out within unrealistic deadlines, which is why it gets pretty crazy in there sometimes, but we signed up for the challenge!
About Lalitha Vaidyanath: As the senior creative director at J.Walter Thompson India and an advertising doyenne, Lalitha has worked on a hard range of sectors and clients like Hyundai Santro, Royal Enfield, Mitsubishi Motors, TTK Healthcare, Sun Direct DTH, ColorPlus, Sify, Eenadu, Murugappa group, Cholamandalam Finance, Muthoot Fincorp, UNICEF, World Vision among others. She has been at places like Saatchi & Saatchi, Everest, Maa Bozell, Mudra, McCann, and a clutch of creative boutiques across Hyderabad, Bangalore and at Chennai. She brings over 2 decades of experience to the table besides enthusiasm and passion for the written word. Her interests include yoga, voluntary service and armchair psychology.
Hiral Arora reports from Colloquium, the annual business conclave of IIM Indore organised by Industry Interaction Cell, talking about how to be an all round marketeer with a one to one interaction with Mr Avinash Janjire who has been associated with Future Generali and Thomas Cook travels.
In an awe-inspiring talk and lessons from his personal life, Mr Janjire took us through some interesting marketing campaigns from his work experience. As a context of his work in the Insurance sector, you might like to check this video explaining the Insurance Week Campaign, that resulted in breaking of the Guinness World Record for the Longest Balloon Chain.
Additionally, as a context for his work in the Tourism sector, you might want to check out the following explanatory video for Thomas Cook’s innovative Holiday Savings account scheme.
Hiral: As a marketer, how did you manage to work in two completely different product segments – Tourism (an extremely glam industry!) and Insurance (hard to sell, boring industry)?
Mr Avinash Janjire: I believe the experience doesn’t really change. As long as you understand the consumer and their needs, the industry doesn’t matter. You need to have the knack of understanding the consumer, the industry you can learn. Tomorrow I might join some other industry, except engineering perhaps, like an FMCG, and it won’t really make a difference. That’s the key.
H: When you portray Thomas Cook holidays as an affordable brand, does it not dilute the premium image it has right now?
A: That’s really a misconception. We have been here for about 150 years and people think that we are very expensive, but we’re not really that expensive. That’s because the product is such. We have holidays starting at ₹20000 also. But its just that the premium image comes because we sell a lot of these long haul holidays to Europe, US – which are expensive. This makes people believe that ‘this brand is not for me’.
If you compare us with any other competitive brand in the market like makemytrip or SOTC, we are at par in terms of price, we are very competitive. So while we have this premium image, we don’t complain about it, but it is not necessarily true. We are trying to change this idea because otherwise we limit ourselves to a very small segment of holiday goers. We want to go to middle India which has increasing aspiration for travel, beyond the 6 million people who already travel with us, and increase the size of the travel market base. 40% of our business comes from small towns. People want to go for holidays but price is a barrier. We want people to think that we are good but competitive. Not cheap, but competitive.
Right now people don’t even walk into our stores, thinking English naam lag raha hai (this is a fancy sounding english name, not for us!), otherwise they would probably go to some Kesari travels, something more localised. We want to appear approachable.
H: Is tourism a margin play or volume play industry?
A: Earlier it was margin play, decent money, but now it has become very very competitive. Now the margins have decreased to some 5-7% which is very less compared to the transaction value that we do, so it has actually become largely volume play.
H: In the insurance sector, how do you manage to make people buy (life) insurance and get past the mental block that they don’t need insurance (because noone wants to believe they are going to die!)
A: People right now buy insurance but not for the right reasons, they buy it for tax saving reasons and just look at the short term benefits so they end up buying the wrong instruments.
Most people don’t understand finance and can’t understand how much they have to pay and what benefits they can get. So the end up buying from agents who they know – such as family friends.
We have installed this mechanism of calling back customers who have bought insurance from us from the center. This is because we don’t know how the agent sitting in say, Indore, has sold the insurance. Once the deal is locked we call the customer from our head office, and there is a central unit which does this, to rectify what the customer has been told, like a welcome call. Questions like “Do you know what policy you have bought?” “Do you know what you have bought it for?” are asked so we know if it has been missold or not. This is because misselling is very rampant in the industry, leading to lack of trust.
Misselling happens because everyone has to complete targets. You need something, but I might not actually sell you something that you need. I might sell you something that gives me more money. There are some policies that make more money, some have a higher commission as compared to others, so I might want to force sell those. This problem exists because of these freelance sellers, most of whom are not our employees, they work for multiple agents. Most companies are trying to solve this through such back checks. However it is still not optimal.
When we are recruiting we train them in a way that they do the financial probing correctly. In our forms we have questions asking if they have done proper probing or not. What does the customer need money for – retirement, children’s educations, children’s marriage? Once we have that financial information and the customer profile, we can have an idea whether what they have sold is correct or not. This isn’t foolproof but it gives us some assessment, some idea as a brand. It is important to sell the correct policy because if I sell the wrong one, the customer won’t renew it for a second year, which is when I will actually start making money. The company makes money only in the 3rd and 4th years, for the first 3 years we actually lose money.
H: Thank you for the insights! To conclude, would you like to give a message to marketing and advertising aspirants?
A: Just focus on understanding your consumer and the results will follow!
This article is part of our Colloquium’16 series (Marketing – Strategy, Science or Sorcery)
Mr. Rajeev Arora (Business Development Manager, Rural Marketing, Agri-Business Division, ITC Ltd.) recently visited IIM Indore as a speaker at the Colloquium organized by the Industry Interaction Cell of the institute. He spoke about ITC’s innovative e-choupal system, which is a unique combination of CSR and a rural penetration model. He sat down for a detailed interview with us, and here is what he had to say –
Darsheeka: Since the introduction of e-choupal 15 years ago, what do you think has been the shift in marketing approach when it comes to rural customers? Because, like you said, they are also shifting towards branded products.
Mr. Rajeev Arora: There are various kinds of shifts that have happened. Now, the consumer or maybe the end customer is more educated; they have various means of reaching out to their requirements; and people have started thinking about health, hygiene, education, and a better future for their kids. This has definitely led to a change, which is improving the quality of their life. They have also become technologically driven, as far as agriculture is concerned and ultimately, they are not the same kind of rural. The change has happened in every sphere of their life, and made them more educated and demanding.
D: As we know, the rural markets have not been doing well for FMCG companies due to drought situations and inflationary pressure. How has that affected the adoption of systems like e-choupal?
R: As far as adversity in any part of the country is concerned, the companies are not there to make profits, rather to support the system over there. There are a few product categories that are needed during emergency, and our approach has been to reach out to consumers so that scarcity is not there. As far as the ITC’s own Sanchalak infrastructure in the 4 states (UP, MP, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra) is concerned, it has always been a kind of support function. So, if anything positive happens over there, it is to be shared with the colleagues; and if something negative happens, there are ways to find out the solutions to overcome those issues.
D: Therefore, can we say that there is a predominant element of CSR in this initiative and it’s not just about rural penetration? If so, how does ITC balance between the two?
R: Yes, there is a heavy CSR element. The approach is not to go into a rural market and get business done; the approach has been empowering the rural people. This empowerment has come through various means – getting the right value for their agricultural produce, and providing them with facilities required for producing those commodities. So, whether it involves getting KCC (Kisan Credit Card) availed to them, securing them through life insurance policies, or educating them about how to avail weather-based crop insurance, these activities have always been done so that farmers are aware of what is good for their agricultural-related requirements. Beyond this, there are things not directly related to agriculture, but directly related to CSR. For e.g., health and hygiene of the females in the villages, employment generation, education of kids. Through these activities, ITC carries out a support function. Sanchalak is not working like a broker over there; he is a point of contact from the same geography as the people, present for support in agricultural as well as non-agricultural needs. This has definitely given us an advantage of deep rural penetration, and generating the confidence of the people in rural areas. So, this can be called a symbiotic approach.
D: Talking about the bottom line, do you think the investment in e-choupal is justified when we measure it against the increase in rural affordability?
R: Investment has been made over 15 years ago and it has given a different image to the company. Our Agri Business division has got strengthened in the rural areas. Perhaps, ITC is a company of its own size delivering results in India, and globally. Whenever our Food Business team comes across any new idea or are in the process of launching a new product category, they get back to us in terms of sourcing capabilities; this has only been possible because of e-choupal. Entering the rural market is not easy, and getting things done over there is also very challenging. The only advantage we have is our team member and channel partner, the Sanchalak; we support each other mutually in various day-to-day activities so that he can convince the villagers about what is good for them. The choice always lies in their hand.
D: If I am not wrong, ITC has partnered with a competitor like Coca-Cola for this initiative. How do the dynamics of this unusual collaboration work out?
R: While talking about the platform of rural marketing, Chaupal Haat originated 7 years ago and we had a pool of partners who joined us. These included TVS, Maruti Suzuki, State Bank of India, and the rural-centric brands from ITC (Superia, Sunfeast) as well. The agenda was to have a network to support the brands with good quality and social value that want to enter the rural market, and get connected with the consumer. In this case, the cost of reaching out to the consumer would be justified since it would be a mutual effort. Your point is very valid. We have never been into tie-ups with direct competitors like HUL or P&G. In fact, as far as Coca-Cola is concerned, we have been supporting them since the past 3-4 years in getting their rural distribution more aligned and intensive. As of now, both this companies do not have the product category where there is a mismatch, or a common functionality. So, this collaboration is able to work. The rest of our partners include TVS, Mahindra Finance, and others. For rest of the product categories, the product is one that is needed in the rural areas but it is not possible to make that available from the house of ITC. So, it is a demand in the rural market that is currently not possible to be met through us, so why not help out other companies if it addresses the need.
D: You mentioned the words ‘Rozgaar Duniya’ in your session. Can you tell us about that in a little more detail?
R: It was an initiative wherein the Agri Business Division (ABD) got into a partnership with Monster.com in order to support rural youngsters through availing various employment options to them, related to their educational qualifications. Through Sanchalak, we supported a set of youngsters in villages to obtain job profiles such as security guards, mechanics, masons, carpenters, and others based on vocational skills. It worked well. Normally, in any of our support functions, the Sanchalak is a catalyst and does not need to go beyond a certain threshold. This is because he is also, ultimately, a progressive farmer. He has his own liability, family, and various business responsibilities. So, he should be in a support function wherein things happen on their own and he does not need to worry much. There has to be some kind of passion, such that not much of a push is required. Support is definitely there, but it should not be from a 0 to 100 kind of a thing; it should be lining around 75-80% from his end and the rest of the support will come from our team members.
D: As one last question, the impending challenge of rural digitization and digital literacy in rural areas combined with issues of electricity can be a test to the effectiveness and efficiency of e-choupal. How does ITC tackle this?
R: When e-choupal originated, there were certain characteristics that were attached to it. The most important one was reaching out to farmers in the villages, and letting them know prices prevailing in various markets to enable them to make better and informed decisions. We were giving them an opportunity wherein, if they were interested, they could come to our buying locations where we provided certain set of product features above and beyond the traditional mandis. That was the basic agenda. But, there was also other content they needed in their daily lives like information related to better agricultural practices, and health. Therein, limited content is telecast at the kiosk fortnightly or monthly. The villagers can come and watch that content there. In order to address the power issue, we provided solar panels when this system originated. So, power is not that big an issue. Anyway, over the years, technology has changed – people are using smartphones with freely available content in villages as well. They have better connectivity with the nearby cities, or tehsil areas. It is no longer the case that they can only visit these areas only once a month, rather someone or the other from the villages visits these locations weekly to obtain information. So, access to information is not that tough now. Having said all this, there are various companies, organizations, and bodies that have a very fair way of trading. For example, the MP government is definitely doing a good job. So, there is a set of people trying to replicate our model after seeing our initial success, and doing a good job. In fact, more of such people are needed also. It is a win-win arrangement for everyone. We are not thinking just from our perspective and saying we have to be the only ones and the best ones. We are one of the good ones, but other players are also there. As a nation, we need more of such people.
This article is part of our Colloquium’16 series (Marketing – Strategy, Science or Sorcery)
I arrived in India on the September 6th 2015. I chose India for my exchange semester because I was looking for a real culture shock. I was truly interested in East Asian cultures and was motivated to experiment culture really different from all European one. Therefore I could improve my cross-cultural competence. In comparison with other Asian cultures, the Indian one is internally diverse and that fact made my choice easier.
I got registered at IIM Indore, one of the best institutes of Management in India. Indore, which is the largest city in Madhya Pradesh, is centrally located in India. It is a good basis for travelling.
My first couple of hours in India were strong in sensations. The heat, the very high humidity, the smells and the noise in the streets, but also, the way of driving and the sacred free cows put me directly into another world.
I first arrived in Delhi from France and then took a flight until Indore where I met some IIM students, part of StepCom, the association which is in charge of the exchange students. They have been, and still are, very welcoming and helpful. I am really very happy to have fallen with them.
The IIM campus is pleasurable and its sports complex is very pleasant. The way of life is very different here than in Europe. On the campus, people almost never sleep. There are no week-ends, classes could be and are frequently scheduled on Saturday and Sunday. This was a little bit difficult on the beginning. Also, coming from France, one needs to adjust to a bit less organized and pre-planned environment. Receiving emails late in the night with readings or assignments for the next day session is something that is usual to happen. All the students live in hostel buildings on IIM Indore campus which is located at 45 min drive outside of the city of Indore. Therefore, staying late at night to work on a presentation for the next day is nothing surprising. It is a very different way of working than in Europe. One of the most important things I understood is to be able to enjoy my time here is that I had to stop trying to have everything the way I have it in Europe and to accept very soon that I am in a totally different culture. From that moment I just tried to adjust myself.
On my first travelling trip, I went to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal and then to Rajasthan (Jaipur and Udaipur). I really enjoyed it. This first experience out of Indore was intense and represented my first true initiation to India. We were two foreign girls travelling and had to accept that, as tourists, being overcharged (even on the water bottles!) was totally normal. That was a little bit difficult at the beginning because we always had the impression to be considered as stupid. My second trip was in Kajuraho and Orccha, which were beautiful. And today, the 30th of October, I am preparing myself for my third one. I am going to Nainital, one of the HOP destinations. This trip in the Himalayas, organized by IIM Indore, will last one week and, I am sure, will also be a very great time.
The best possible advice I can give to the other students coming from abroad is to come informed but without having any expectation on what they will experience in India as everything is possible in Incredible, magical India. Above all, stay open-minded! 🙂
This article is written by Lina El Quasri, an Exchange student from France at the IIM Indore campus.
NGO’s are a capitalist phenomenon. A very humanitarian approach to the issue would have ensured that there’s never an imbalance- and it is definitely more than an imbalance that we are talking- 90% of the world’s wealth is held by 10% of the world’s population or so we are made to believe.
Such an outlook prompts a few of us (perhaps the 90%) to wake up and wish to ‘give back’ to society, for we perhaps wrongly feel that we have gained a lot, influenced or more importantly been helped by world that surrounds us. But, in fact, we are merely humanistic individuals caught up in an increasingly capitalist world. It is hard to keep a straight face, to keep from breaking down, when you meet (though not often) people who want & want and seem to keep wanting endlessly. It does not seem right. Humans (note how I can finally say ‘humans’ instead of humanistic individuals) are inherently good; we are then raised to believe in a layered society and the concept of money & status.
Money (or wealth) is definitely not the only way to achieve a social standing- it becomes the preferred means though, because of its ease. Yes, making money is easy- all it needs is a lot of very selfish motivation and self-centered growth. But then, since humans are not inherently wired to meet these needs or fulfill these profiles, it is but a handful of people.
You have to prove that you do not need a loan to get one; you have to prove that you know how to work Excel, to get a job that will train you how to use it. It’s a world of ironies- that is but the world built by capitalism.
We call upon capitalist institutions to change the world- but the world is but shaped by these.
I return to what we began with, NGO’s are indeed a capitalist phenomenon. The money rising from capitalist activities is doled out to the ‘poor’ who again stem from the advent of a capitalist system- for our own ‘capitalized’ souls to feel better. We yearn to break through, to break away from it all- and that inexplicable happiness that stems from a young boy’s face lighting up- we sleep over that happiness for that’s all our little conceited, hurt selves will allow.
Perhaps, we need to move beyond; perhaps we realize that & all we can manage in this world is a little we give; we want to move beyond, we’re bounded and forever.
Break, give, stop. Give a little to someone who needs it more than you, today, this hour.
This article has been written by Revant Sindhu, an IPM-4 participant of IIM Indore
Finding yourself yet again hunched over your laptop at an ungodly hour? In the fast paced modern Earth that does not come as a surprise, and especially when you talk about B-schools. We all have our platters full of work and sometimes it overflows into our lives taking over every other thing. But what at times might surprise you is the reason behind the late night show this time. This time you catch yourself scooping the bits off that had been ladled on to your plate just because you could not say “no”.
A friend asked you to review a project he has been working on? A classmate asked you a favor to get a report done by morning that was supposed to be done by him? A teammate asked you to cover for her? Yes, we all go through that, and the next thing you know there is a random stranger coming up to you and asking you for a favor just because he heard on the block that you don’t say “no”! Time to get a better grip of your time and direct the reins as you wish, isn’t it? The magical two letter word that can make your world better is simply “No”.
People have a hard time saying no because they feel that it might hurt the sentiments of people asking for help. That saying no might create rifts and in future you will still have to work with these people. Or simply because they like being the nice person who wants to help everyone. But what they do not know is that saying “no” is actually a better thing at times.
Here are 5 reasons why we should learn the art of saying “No”.
Know your priorities– You have to submit a crucial presentation in the morning that will propel your project forward and your roommate wants to go out with you. You know that the project means a lot to you and if you do not say no, you will end up messing it. So prioritize; tell your roommate that you have a report to complete and be assertive leaving no room for negotiations, promising to go the next time you get a chance.
Know your limitations– You are already handling three deadlines and your teammates come up to you ask you to work on an entirely new live project. If you take on the project, you will be stretching too far and eventually end up damaging all the projects you had as well as the new one. So if you were hoping your “yes” would impress your teammates, now they will be furious because you could not properly do even one. All the work for nothing. So if you know that you can’t do it, say no. Instead of making you look incapable, it shows that you know what you are doing.
Heed your needs– After 21 hours of slogging which is a common thing in a B-school, you wrap up your work and head hostel. While unlocking the door to your room, the neighbor invites you to hangout. If you say yes and go along forgoing your sleep because you could not hurt his/her feelings, it might affect your health and in turn make it hard for you to work properly. So you have to learn to turn down people politely in order to make sure your needs are fulfilled first.
Increases the value of “Yes”- If you go around agreeing to do anything for anyone, people start taking you for granted and won’t even give you due gratitude for helping them out. But if you say no to the things that you can’t do, when you do say yes, people know you are doing it for them as a favor and will hold your efforts in a better light.
Time for yourself– Every once in a while one needs time to do their own thing, be it read a book or watch a movie or just lounge on a sofa and watch the game. Going overboard with saying yes and not giving yourself time will make you feel miserable and you will constantly feel overworked. So learning to say “no” to the right things can help you enjoy life a lot more. People will not judge you for this but respect you because of your assertiveness
This article has been written by Ankita Jena, PGP-1 student at IIM Indore.