Online meetings present the challenge – how do I introduce myself?

Zoom, Teams and other online meetings are now part of our lives. In many of these meetings, you are called upon to introduce yourself. Maybe everyone is introducing themselves.

It can get the pulse raising and the mind in overdrive. What will I say? Where should I focus? Will they like me? Meanwhile, we are missing out on all the other interesting introductions happening.

The stress can be negative – or positive. Through practice, we can come to recognise stress when it arises and use it for good – ah, now, better concentration, sharper reflexes, and so on. In contrast, if we have a negative reaction to stress it can mess up our introduction – nervous, shaky voice, tongue-tied, rambling on….

So, what is the easiest way to introduce yourself?

Like all public communication, the secret is to keep it simple.

The simplest way to introduce yourself is in three parts (and this might mean just three sentences) – present, past and future. People love this approach – they recognise the structure, simplicity and like a note about the future.

A present-tense statement to introduce yourself: “Hi, I’m Stephen, and I’m a communication consultant and author. My current focus is mentoring and writing.”

Past tense might be just two or three points about your background and gives you credentials and credibility. An example: “My background is in corporate communication, and I have previously advised top 100 corporates and big four professional services firms.”

Future tense is all about projecting optimism and enthusiasm – two very likeable characteristics. In a meeting this should relate to the topic. “In the next 12 months I plan to do more writing towards a new book and meetings like this give me not only content, but the motivation to keep exploring”.

Simple? Present, past and future. Each can be as long or short as the occasion requires – but always err on the side of shorter. Trust me – you will gradually enjoy (and smile) while introducing yourself.

13 things Indians can’t believe about Australia

There is a lot to love about Australia, and given the number of Indian migrants, students and tourism who do come to Australia, it is clear Indians love it too. But Indians are also in for a few surprises.

1 Australia has a winter

Yes, one surprise for Indian visitors that it is not always sunny in Australia. Apart from the tropical north, most Aussie cities have four seasons. And people go snow skiing during the winter (resorts in NSW and Victoria).

2 Aussies will wear shorts plus a scarf and beanie on cold days

Bit strange to see, but such is the Aussie male love of wearing shorts that many do it during winter too.

3 A beer is not a beer

Indians who build up a thirst and drop into a pub might just order “a beer please” only to be asked if they would like a schooner, middy, pony, pot or a pint.

4 Kangaroos are not in the main city streets

Shocking to know that the sight of a kangaroo in any Australian major city would be more astounding to Aussies than to you – take short drive our of the city and you will see this very strange and highly dignified animal.

5 A short drive is always long

Speaking of short drives, Aussies will take off for a weekend getaway and drive for 5 or 6 hours. Nothing is close and every trip is a long trip in Australia, so they are used to long drives.

6 Yes, there are spiders the size of your hand

Spiders scare most Aussies as much as you – and some of these spiders are big. A huntsman can pop up when you least expect it. I won’t tell you about redbacks…just don’t put your hand into strange pipes or under rocks or rubbish.

7 Everything is “game on”

Rivalry is big in Australia, so everything is a competition – city vs city, state vs state, not to mention actual sport which is like a religion for Aussies – it pays to show even a mild interest in any sport to gain the respect of locals. Not to mention India vs Australia in cricket.

8 Thongs go with anything

The footwear known in Australia as “thongs” can be worn on a surprising number of occasions, including those hosting a social function in their home. It’s part of the national dress code, which values informality.

9 Sorry, but your name will not be your name

Australians love to play with names and, while this might be disrespectful in most countries, in Australia it is a sign of affection and acceptance if they abbreviate or adapt your name. Adding “o” is common – so I am often known as “Steve-o”. Again, friendly. So, Vijeth could become “Vij-mate”, or Abhishek become “Ab”, Sucheta becomes “Suchi” and so on – nicknames are everywhere.

10 Joking at funerals

Australians use humour to reduce the negative emotion of tough situations – so jokes might be shared, and laughter occur around the boardroom table, in class, during interviews and even at funerals. It’s a way of making everyone comfortable.

11 Tall poppies get cut down

Australia has the “tall poppy syndrome” which means anyone who takes themselves too seriously, or is too proud, or too vocal about their success, will probably be taken down. Sometimes it is a test to see if “you can take it”, because being able to laugh at what appears to be a criticism is seen as a good thing. They do it too themselves too – it is not uncommon for business teams representing their company to say to a potential client “we’ll find a way to mess it up” – but done with a grin.

12 Red lights are mandatory

Australian drivers stop at red lights. I know this is shocking to many Indians, but the level of compliance with small rules such as red lights is incredibly high. Even if they want to turn right and there is no oncoming traffic in sight, they will still stop if the light is red.

13 Informality is a sign of friendship

People are informal. At my golf club, a 12 year old junior member will see me and say “G’day Steve, how you going?” If Prime Minister Anthony Albanese walks by (which sometimes happens in this laid back country) many Aussies would greet him as “Albo” – yes, that is his nickname.

India changing at a great rate – opportunities abound

DLF Mall of India – one of the symbols of rapid change in India

Two stories this week provide some insight into how fast India is changing.

India buys Japanese eyewear firm

The first was in eye wear – with an Indian firm taking over a leading Japanese retailer. See more here:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2022/jun/30/electric-two-wheeler-penetration-can-reach-to-100-per-centby-fy27-forecasts-niti-aayog-2471320.html

Two-wheelers to be 100% electric

The second was a prediction by the national planning body that the two-wheeler market in India (which is enormous) could reach 100% electric by 2026-27.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2022/jun/30/electric-two-wheeler-penetration-can-reach-to-100-per-centby-fy27-forecasts-niti-aayog-2471320.html

Time to become part of India’s change?

Talk to Austrade.

https://www.austrade.gov.au/australian/export

Talk to Australia India Chamber of Commerce.

Talk to me.

Good news story of Indian entrepreneurship and creativity in Australia

Jaspreet Singh (left) and Surinder Singh started their own processing operation in 2016 in Australia.

This ABC story is such GOOD NEWS!

Two migrants from the Punjab, Jaspreet Singh and Surinder Singh, formed Kisaan – which means ‘farmer’ in Punjabi – started making Indian-style cheese before moving on to unhomogenised milk.

It has taken off!

Expecting more great things from these two!

Read on…

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-07/shepparton-kisaan-dairy-company-thrives/100806084?fbclid=IwAR0PBDGM0nN8wHdFi7f7iOpoZJrPhLq45Mra7Lvu9L23jYo4a6vWGLGsrLA

India and the USA have very different world views – the 10 differences

Indian PM Modi meets with US President Biden in the White House recently

There has been a lot of talk recently about India becoming part of some formal military alliance with the US – in response to the rise and actions of China.

But is this likely?

Here are 10 key differences in the world view of India and the USA

New Delhi is wary that any formal alliance with the US could draw it into almost constant military activity such as the Iraq war

India prefers to do its own strategic deals on a country by country basis – rather than manage these through a dominant US strategic alliance. For example, India and Australia have a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement allowing each to uses each other’s bases

Historically India has never agreed to open-ended commitments that might lead to future military involvement

Of the four countries speculated to be invited to join the Five Eyes security arrangement (the four are Germany, India, South Korea and Japan) – India is the only one of these four to NOT have a treaty alliance with the US

An example of differences between India and the US is Iran and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) – the US attacks Iran on the nuclear issue, sees the NPT as something to be enforced – but India has not signed the NPT itself and sees it as discriminatory

There are differences on the “threat” from China – the US is most assertive on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea while India has been quite reserved on this issue

India is more concerned about its Himalayan border conflicts with China than the South China Sea

India generally has little or nothing to say about human rights issues in other countries. Whereas the US and its allies such as the UK and Australia are constantly calling out human rights abuses around the world

The US wants “all in” commitment from allies but India has always been non-aligned and refuses to get drawn into “us versus them” views of the world. One current example is India is finalising a logistics deal with the UK while also negotiating a similar deal with Russia

India is content to be “the world’s biggest democracy” but is not evangelical about it, accepting that all countries are different – a sharp contrast to the US wanting to remake countries in its own image and championing democracy for all

Breathing program making Yale students happy coming to Australia in September

Art of Living – quick, simple program for happiness in tough times

A program from India that is being used at Yale University and many other American universities to improve wellbeing of students – is coming to Australia online.

Starting on 30 September, this short Pan Australia Happiness Program will be held in the Presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who creating the breathing technique that changes lives. INTO INDIA has been doing this program for many years and loves the energy and simplicity of it.

This is a super simple, quick and unbelievably powerful way to have a good day!

If you are feeling alone.

If covid is dominating your mind.

If your breathing is shallow.

If you feel anxiety and stress.

Step in and join a big and strong group of like-minded people who believe in contributing and creating waves of happiness, sharing, and caring that are so much required right now.   

Registration link: www.artofliving.org/au-en/program/6401

Videos: The videos below showcase how Breathing and Meditation can help us become stress-free

James Nestor, author of Breath, on his research & the power of SKY (Sudarshan Kriya)

Take a breath: What a new study from Yale reveals about stress and mental health

Art of Living Australia Foundation is looking forward to sharing this beautiful program with you and your friends and colleagues.

Contact for further information – Rohit 

Art of Living Happiness Program and Sri Sri Yoga Facilitator

0423 531 787

“Make others comfortable and you will see that Nature will take care of your comfort” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Winning in India – less about sales and more about culture and relationships  

Most Indians continue to live in joint families – your business host might be the same so be curious about their life and culture

When a company sends a salesperson into the Indian market, the goal is to fill the order book as quickly as possible – there is no time for that person to build ongoing relationships.

The result at best is a quick transaction based on price.

It rarely lasts.

India is a country where relationships drive and impact all aspects of business. That is “how they do things there” and expect us to be the same.

Some tips for relationship building in these tough times:    

You can build good relationships during Covid by hosting a zoom or similar catchup to see how things are going – no big agenda, share experiences and listen.     

You can join groups and chambers and be seen as a player.  
     
You can accept the intangibility of relationships and give your key executives time and resources to build them.      

You can look up Indian culture, architecture and history so you can have informal conversations about things close to their heart.

You will need strong curiosity and listening skills.

Really, decisions about future business with India need to be C-Suite and Boardroom driven, based around a minimum three-year strategy. And giving your people the right to spend time on the intangible of relationships is the best first step.  

India’s biggest employer to adopt “hybrid plus” model for work after Covid

Tata Sons Pvt Chairman, Mr. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, recently stated that the pandemic has transformed the nature of how employees and organisations work and boosted the adoption of digital technologies.

It is also driving a hybrid model where work broadens beyond offices and employs more women.

This signals a future where workplaces offer staff greater flexibility, while leveraging technology.

Last year the groups IT consultancy, Tata Consultancy Services, announced the aim to have only a fourth of its employees working from office on any given day by 2025.

Mr. Chandrasekaran said, “Let us not limit ourselves to only home and office when it is the hybrid model that has work. There might be a ‘satellite office’, a concept of third place, that could emerge in future.”

Mr. Chandrasekaran stated, in India’s situation, it could also witness advanced workplace diversity (employment of women), another positive result of a hybrid model.

He added, “Only 23% of women who could be possibly working are employed due to challenges such as the lack of social infrastructure, commuting, etc. We should leverage this potential opportunity to grow and expand.”

India to lead growth in post pandemic global economies

Austrade’s Ashley Brosnan has the stats and facts at his fingertips and he is certainly bullish on the future of India:

No longer just ‘rising’, India is now a significant and influential global player. India has recorded strong economic growth over the past 4 decades to become world’s third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).

Following the pandemic, rapid growth is set to resume. The Indian economy is projected to expand by an average annual real rate of 5.8% from 2021–2040, which is faster than the global average and the average for the Asia-Pacific region.

Take a look at this chart!

Swami Vivekananda can teach us about cultural differences between India and the west

My Swami Vivekananda blog continues to gain reactions – he shows us how rich, diverse and deep is Indian culture and thought. He was the multitalented, multifaceted teacher, Hindu monk and spiritual guru, born in 1863. With his extremely popular and respected speeches of all times starting with “Brothers and sisters of America”, he introduced Hinduism at the parliament of world religions in Chicago way back in 1893.

Through study of his quotes, we can gain special insight into the cultural (thinking) differences between India and the west.

This learning comes with no judgement, no sense of one culture being better than another – it is offered in the spirit of understanding.

SV – “Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.” 

This goes to the heart of cultural difference – the west treats truth as an “absolute”, meaning there is no room for difference or “relative” truth as stated in India.

This can show up in business activity, where the westerner sees the plan as fixed and set in concret(absolute), while the Indian sees it as just a plan, capable of change (relative).

SV – “All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in our own mind.”

Here the west takes a materialist and scientific view of knowledge, seeing the role of the mind to gain knowledge from the external world.

SV – “Bless people when they revile you. Think how much good they are doing by helping to stamp out the false ego.” 

In the individualistic culture of the west, from a young age we are trained to “stand up for ourselves” so the likely response from a westerner when reviled is to defend or even to attack. “The best form of defence is attack” is a common western phrase.

SV – “Things do not grow better; they remain as they are. It is we who grow better, by the changes we make in ourselves.” 

This internal view is very different from the west, where growing better is generally reflected in possessions, honours and achievements – in external things.

SV – “The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.” 

The big picture view of the world from the west is that it was put here for our benefit – so use it. At its worst, this has led to pollution and climate change. At its best, it is the basis of many innovations that benefit us all.

SV – “Do one thing at a Time, and while doing it put your whole soul into it to the exclusion of all else.” 

Multi-tasking has been highly fashionable in the west for decades and technology is the great enabler of it. But when you see a person totally focused on one task, you see how effective we humans can be.

SV – “All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.”

The concept of “oneness” is very foreign and strange to many westerners. They see differences as being of kind, and view the world through the lens of the individual, which is the opposite of “oneness”.

SV – “We are what our thoughts have made us. So, take care about what you think. Words are secondary, thoughts live and travel far.”

Thoughts are seen in the west as a totally private thing and secondary to what we do and say. Without words, a westerner could view thoughts as a waste of time.

SV –“Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes.”

This is a remarkably different view of life from how the west sees it. A westerner will strongly seek to either possess the attractive that comes or repel the negative that comes. In other words, far from “acceptance”, westerners take an activist approach to whatever life presents. It’s like a constant struggle.

SV – “In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart.”

“Think it through” is a much repeated piece of western advice, where the brain is given vast superiority over the heart.

SV – “The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”

For many westerners this is a strange concept. Happiness is seen as something the individual must find and keep for themselves. Many would see virtue in sharing and being unselfish, but they would see it as folly to be “perfectly unselfish”.

The above are just my interpretations – offered in the hope that they give useful understanding of cultural differences. We can learn from each other. What do you think?