Expert Speak: Communication For Grassroots

Thursday, 1 November 2018

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this feature are purely personal of the respective writers.
The editor of PRapport is not at all responsible for any legal issue arising out of the articles)

In a unique initiative, The World Communicators’ Council (WCC), floated by Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) observes October 28 as the World Communicators’ Day.

It was on October 28, 1906 that Ivy Lee shot out the world’s first press release and to commemorate the event, WCC has begun celebrating the World Communicators Day last year.
This year too WCC has planned celebrations with the theme Communication for the Grassroots.
With the metro cities getting saturated, corporates and services have been focusing on semi-urban and rural areas. In India, too, there is a renewed emphasis on villages. As Gandhiji said: India lives in its villages.
Thus, as communicators, out community has to think of novel ways to communicate with the grassroots. India is young with a majority of the people belonging to the 18-45 years of age bracket. Their aspirations, dreams and goals are much more different than what the previous generations had.
It is just not the aspect communicating with them, even communicating among themselves is a challenge. And there is an opportunity in every challenge.
Sample this: Rural is India booming. There is a new infra development sweeping across the remotest of remote areas. Mobile phones have broken all geographical barriers. Swachh Bharat message has reached the villages with the governments falling head over heels to build toilets.
Is this enough? WCC thinks there is much more to be done to communicate with the grassroots to ensure a better society than what we are in today. Health, education, employment, socio-economic development are some of the critical areas.
Come. Let’s deliberate on Communication for the Grassroots!

Press Release is dead; Long Live Press Release

By S Narendra
(Former Govt of India Spokesperson & Ex-adviser to PMs)

The author
The Press Information Bureau of the Union government was sued in court in 1967 by a business house. That was because PIB had issued what was then called ‘an unofficial’ note about a government decision having a bearing on a line of business; but the proposed decision was never formalised.  The business firm had taken a decision based on the government’s unofficial announcement. Since the government had not followed up, the concerned firm  had suffered a loss, and had sued.
A Press Release is a serious action, especially if it is from the government. Formal decisions of government are released as Press Notes, with proper authentication, that means it must carry the name of the government department. Even when a press release originates from a firm listed on the stock exchange, it has a legal standing as anything stated in the release could have market  or rule compliance implications. Recently, Elon Musk of Tesla electric car is being investigated by US Stock Exchange Commission because he publicly mused that he may convert his  public company into private, meaning delisting his company shares.
A routine, lazy press release was dead even in the pre-Internet era. In the Internet age of social media and circular flow of information in an instant, a press release is dead, unless it is strategically crafted and placed . The digital technology ecosystem has a very long tail, offering innumerable openings for a  newsworthy press release. It can be made to trading up this long chain if one is not merely familiar with the nodes of this long chain but  also an active agent.
Ryan Holiday, an American media strategist and author of  ‘Trust me, I’mlying’ ( a book about  PR, spin, and news manipulation) writes that by merely typing : ‘said in a press release’ in Google search returned over 300,000 results. Words ‘announced today’ gave back 4 million results. A quote from Pew Research Center’s project for excellence in Journalism says : “as news is posted faster, often with little enterprise reporting added, the official version of events is becoming more important. We found official press releases often appear word for word in several media,  though not noted as such”.
When I went to Mashable site in search of agencies that distribute press releases, it threw up 20 top  agencies like newswire, PRWeb, each claiming thousands of prominent media outlets on their mailing list. Each such agency also claims specialization in SEO- search engine optimization so that the press release shows up well on Google, Yahoo! News and other aggregators. There is intense competition on the Internet where conventional media like TV news, newspapers compete with online news outlets, bloggers, each engaged in SEO. An important suggestion from Ryan Holiday for trading up the chain one’s  press release is to target it at bloggers, podcasters who are required to churn out fresh news angles, comments several times a day.  A website HARO- Help A Reporter Out- connects  ‘news and comments sources’ .One does not know whether a similar site exists in India. In my own time  I had a  big list of  such ‘sources’  who were not media staffers but  were  commentators/freelance writers in media. I used to  send them briefs on  their subjects of interest. More  often than not the backgrounder, or story pitch was  bought by them. It is useful to  send not just press releases but  background  briefs to such  people, who have now migrated to blogs. The time pressure on them is such that they are desperate for ‘news’, not routine product  launches, announcements about what one’s  firm is proposing to do. Blogs by  a media person is read by competition, including the main line media staffers. The scope for finding  user audience for a news worthy press release is vast in the new  age chrunalism.

Of Digital Communication & the grassroots

By Ms. Sherina Kapany, 
(Founder, sunSTRATEGIC)  

While marketing campaigns are a means of daily bread and butter piled on with loads of excitement
The Author
for any agency, there comes a time when we get to do something really amazing. There are times when brands approach us to spread the word towards a greater good, what is commonly known as a CSR activity. This is when the mettle of an agency is tested to the limits. A lot goes into making a successful CSR campaign as most of them involve grass root communication. While it is true that grassroots communication is pretty much guerilla marketing, a lot of heart goes into building it up.
Grassroots communication is the perfect catalyst to build brand loyalty. Sure, you can appeal to the masses and show them a good time. They will remember you for a while and then move on to the next brand that comes around with the same promise. But when you successfully manage to rally people behind your banner under one cause, you go down in history like none other.
So how do we make it happen? How do we come up with a message that resonates with people such that it compels an action towards the mission? We start from the ground up. Study the cause and the people around it. Sure it helps if clients come to us maybe 3-5 months in advance for a campaign such as this. Why? Simple, grassroots communication requires us to get into microscopic levels of research, think deeply about the cause, and burn the midnight oil to figure out how exactly we can trigger an action to help the cause. And then it hits, completely out of the blue so we know exactly what to do.
A grassroots communication strategy is usually targeted towards a very specific collection of like-minded people. It has more to do with creating awareness rather than marketing the cause. This means making conversations with concerned people and getting their viewpoints over the cause. We figure out what drives them towards the cause and the action that they are willing to partake in towards positively impacting the cause.
With the advent of Social Media platforms, the grassland just got bigger and greener. Data is now easily available, shareable and can be created with much more targeted precision. Still, the rules don’t change despite an increase in the size of the target group. Personalized communication is key to creating a worthwhile strategy. With easier access to the target group, research comes to us easily.
Most marketers believe in using a machine gun approach towards the target group online in the hopes of attracting a larger scale of ROI. But one cannot expect to relate to the audience with ROI as the primary objective. People at the grassroots are more concerned with obtaining positive results on the cause rather than generating profits from it. Instead, aiming towards a cause-driven response generates the high potential for activation from small groups across the nation. This leaves a long-lasting impact, as compared to simply garnering eyeballs towards the cause.
Now that you know where to reach them, we can move on to how – the usual suspects are community building, sending group/page/profile invites based on common preferences on social media platforms, hosting online contests, sending e-mailer, questionnaires and such. The key is to ensure that the core message is well received by the target group, such that it initiates a favorable, pre-determined response from them. This can be achieved by individually addressing each person about their pain point and answering their questions based on the message you want to convey. A conversation once initiated, can be directed towards the action they must take to pledge their support towards your campaign.
The approach itself holds high importance. Traditionally, it involves reaching out to the target group within their comfort zone, incite curiosity and inform upon response. While nothing beats live interaction, social media ranks second best since no one bothers to pick up calls from unknown numbers without caller ID, and even if they do pick up, they’re not inclined to stay.
Wrapping up, it isn’t enough to execute the campaign and keep the results to yourself. While an official Press Release does the job of displaying results, it is important to end the communication on a personal note as well. Individual responses through personalized messages accounting the individual’s contributions and its results, increase brand to consumer interaction. From the individual’s perspective – this final interaction creates a sense of accomplishment on their end and a favorable outlook towards the brand is established. Planned correctly, a grassroots communication strategy is a game-changer for any brand.


 From Confrontation to Cooperation 
- HR/PR Joint Role

By C K Sardana

"While a drill press never sulks and a drop hammer never gets jealous of other drop hammers, the same cannot be said for people." -- John L. McCaffrey in  Fortune, September 1953. 

The Author
There was a time when Corporates had Personnel Departments. Then came the time when these were  re-named as Human Resources Departments.

 'Human Resource' approach regards people as a valuable resource. Their talents have to be developed and utilised for achievement of organisational goals. The intention  is not their exploitation but to give them their appropriate place as is essential for the organisation's proper functioning, growth and survival. 

For achieving the above, there has to be cooperation and not confrontation between the Management and the Work-force. in a major Public Sector enterprise, there was a phase which was marked by Confrontation  and not Cooperation. Every policy and every program put forth by the Management was opposed tooth and nail by the work-force led. Similarly, every suggestion put forth by the unions was turned down by the Management. This led to growing mistrust and distrust. Then came a new Management.

The Management got into action. It invited a 3-4 member team from a top Management Institute to talk to the workers, also to the unions without anyone from the Unit Management or Personnel Department. The team then met representatives of the Management.

All these were listening sessions -- no interruptions and no questioning in between. There was no telling one group what the other group had said. This  was strictly followed in letter and in spirit. The team gave its report and suggestions.

Then came the role of Personnel Department and the PR Department who worked in close unison with each other to help overcome the phase of confrontation with its disastrous consequences.

PR Role

Besides other initiatives, PR took following notable initiatives. The Department sought nomination of a senior executive from each one of the then 12 main departments. His agenda was to send a monthly report of 1. Individual's achievements 2. Department's achievements. PR Department used that information for image building as also for helping develop healthy competition among colleagues and departments. A pep up for the employees leading to their trust in good intentions of the Management. 

An unskilled worker developed a burner which was being imported in quite a good number. Even though totally illiterate, yet he had the initiative and through constant asking his seniors, he was successful. PR Department publicised this achievement of that worker through mass media. Even AIR interviewed him and broadcast the interview in its national network as also in regional languages. The PSU got national coverage – thanks to the PR personnel.

A new initiative of the Personnel Department was Management Employees Communication Meetings. These meetings were held once a month and attended by nearly 1000 persons of all ranks. Plant's Executive Director sat through the 2-hr long meeting with just 2 persons from HRDC -- no GMs, no HoDs and no senior officers. All this just to let the participants feel free to open out without any fear. ED just listened and took notes. At the end, he announced there and then that so and so suggestions or grievances shall be implemented/resolved in a given time frame of 1-2 weeks. He personally ensured that his commitments were honoured theredy leading to greater trust between the Management and the work-force.

Bridging the gap…….

PR personnel went out and started meeting workers at random,  also unions. All this to know the pulse of the people and report back to the Management not as an FIR but as an honest feedback for corrective action. This was a confidence and mutual trust building exercise and its results were noteworthy. 

Image audit……..

 PR Department developed a mechanism for image audit to find out the loopholes and  strategy to make up the gaps. In this, views of media persons were  ascertained as to how they felt about the Plant and their suggestions for improving that. All this exercise was based on honesty and straight talk and action. Media persons were also brought in for meeting with top executives so as to get first hand information about various functions from the horses' mouth. Media persons appreciated this initiative and gave all-out support.

Mutual trust and confidence -- Right or wrong there is generally a feeling among senior officers and even the top management that PR people are also pressmen. In fact, they are NOT pressmen but PR people entrusted with the task of protecting, sustaining and enhancing image of the Organisation. In the instant case, top management of that PSU reposed full faith and trust in the PR persons and took all feedback in a positive way. Result was work-force looked upon the PR people as friends who could take their suggestions to the Management in letter and spirit. The Management too responded.

So, from a situation of confrontation, the PSU ushered into a new era of cooperation -- a sine qua non for the Organisation's success all along.

Developing Media Skills in a Digital World

By Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury
(Dean, School of Media, Pearl Academy, Delhi and Mumbai.

The Author
The small handheld screen is taking the bigger tele-screen by the horns. From news to entertainment, short video to music video, the any-time consumption of video online is increasing fast, more so in times of low internet costs on handsets. Digital is being reborn almost every day with 1200 million cell phone users in South Asia, almost half of them being active on internet and social media with smart-phones, and 6 on 10 internet users being a regular daily user. Transition to the digital world ahead will be more through Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality ad Virtual Reality, which will add visual and conceptual diversity on one hand, and may also create stories and visuals which do not actually exist and pass them off as news.
Skills of Tomorrow:
Hence, in this context, developing journalism skills or news media skills for tomorrow is a major challenge for the learners of today, and even academics are falling short in creating syllabi, content, pedagogy and methods which can help the learners ride the next digital news media wave.
There is no alternative to knowing the society holistically, with basics of economics, politics, geography, law and sociology known as they constitute the foundation on which a journalist builds his content.
There is also no alternative to knowing the language well, written, spoken and read, the language in which a journalist is expected to write, but also reasonably well the three languages which are in her environment, Hindi, English and another language depending upon the territory.  And, finally, there is no alternative for a journalist to be interested in people, events, news and challenges of people around.
Having traversed this much, which itself is a big call, to be successful journalists of tomorrow, the news story-teller must know to tell the same story seamlessly through written words in a limited print space, in less than 200 characters in twitter, in a few minutes of audio or video story, or, if needed, through a few pictures shared with minimum words. With every passing day, each news media is becoming multi-media converging one bringing print, TV, social media, digital and audio closer to tell the same stories differently. Producing audio, video and web stories hence are a necessity for journalists. Recording stories on the fly, documenting in social media, breaking stories into a series, presenting stories followed by views and debates, multi-media story-telling etc hence are the skills of journalists of tomorrow. Empathy, connectivity, stories from field, stories well researched, stories told by people rather than the messenger, etc will be hallmarks of good journalism of tomorrow.
News consumption is changing fast from print to television, from TV to the handset. A major movement forward in the domain of television news is its increasing integration with web or digital news. has emerged  to be the 20th largest news portal of the world and by far the largest of any TV news organization in India, with its Web First slogan and series of initiatives. India Today takes it to Mobile First perspective where the content (pics, language and video) are even tailored to mobile medium sensitivity. Alongside, the editors today find video for online very different from the video on TV for the same news since online video is consumed more on a smaller handheld device. New skills sets should take these into consideration to be relevant in the market place.
Entertainment Skills of Tomorrow:
Entertainment of tomorrow is transcending the medium: from radio to television (both fiction and non-fiction) to cinema to web entertainment, even including live performance based entertainment, this communication function is going through a revolutionary overhaul. And hence, those who aspire to be entertainers of tomorrow, must know to use these multiple media, from creative and technological aspects, and must also know how to amplify any piece of entertainment by converging multiple media, using social media, and thereby creating a stronger impact and possible higher revenues.
Monetization skills of entertainment is a major need of professionals of tomorrow. Providing entertainment from the hand-held device to the silver screen, and creating content suitable for each medium, then releasing and monetizing the same together make the entire product life-cycle of entertainment. In the digital age, these assets can be preserved for multiple use and higher revenues, and that needs newer skills-sets of digital assets or property management.
Earlier it was all about writing a good script, shooting, directing and editing. Today, along with these (which also vary in style and format from handheld device to cinema), amplifying these and monetizing the same are another set of skills that entertainment professionals must know of.
The situation for general entertainment channels (GEC) is a tad better than news and the consumption of serials and reality shows is far more on TV than on the handset. But there is a perceptible change herein too. Snacking of small parts of reality shows on the digital medium is rampant now and often such short videos go viral.
Also, appointment viewing of television programs is on decline as urban consumers specially need anytime viewing due to a hectic short-on-time lifestyle and working status of many. Digital with its anytime viewing option is hence a major way forward, being aided with large and cheap data-packs on phones and home wifi getting cheaper by the day. Future entertainment skills need to be hence digital and handset savvy.
Brand Communication Skills of Tomorrow:
It is not enough to produce great content today, news or entertainment, it is equally or more important to manage the media operations that produce the content and then market and sell the content to earn revenue which can further run the business.
This blend of creativity and business is a specialized skill in media of today in the digital world. And this business is enhanced by leaps and bounds through integrated brand communication, engaging advertising, public relations, event management, digital branding, social media marketing, et al. Hence, skills to produce branded content, skills to create campaigns of advertising and PR, skills to launch road-shows and experiential marketing initiatives: are the third set of skills that a professional needs to know beyond news and entertainment.
Glass Half Full, Half Empty
"Indian media and entertainment industry story, the big ambassador of Indian soft power, is that of a glass half full and half empty", Siddharth Roy Kapur. Rightly so, indeed. The sector, according to the industry status report released by Ernst & Young and FICCI during the event, touched Rs.1.5 trillion ($22.7 billion) in 2017, a growth of 13% over the last year, while the economy overall grew at half of that rate. It is all poised to cross Rs.2 trillion or $31 billion by 2020, which is a healthy growth. On the other hand, a few large areas of the industry, i.e. print, radio, music, out of home and television: all grew at less than 10% over the previous year, print being at a lowly 3%. Animation, films and digital media grew from 25 to 30% over the earlier year.  The direct employment in M&E sector has crossed 1 million people, and the total including indirect and induced employment is above 5 million, which is a substantial number, but is miniscule in front of 1.3 billion people strong nation, and a huge majority of this number is under-trained and digitally semi or sparsely skilled whereas the growth of the digital media last year was the highest, at 30% over 2016. Media jobs being non-repetitive and imagination driven, though technology facilitated heavily today, remain an area which will not be largely replaced by machines and hence are a long-term job prospect. It is a wise investment today to put energies and resources in media skills and jobs of tomorrow.
Re-imaging the Future
The next move of this sector has to be re-imagine itself, and in digital language and space more particularly, to create global capacity going beyond domestic market and the NRI-PIO circles (just as seen in the case of Dangal or Bahubali). Media can be the true-blue Make In India success-story with stories, people, technologies, places and force multiplier synergies with other sectors of the economy: all being here and now in India.

Back to Basics

By T Vinay Kumar
(President-Elect, PRCI National Executive)

Quite often we have heard people who have gone through a crisis saying that they have come out of the experience a lot wiser. The biggest floods in the last 100 years that displaced nearly 2 million peoplefrom their homes inKerala have evoked a similar response. In many ways it was an eye opener to the policy makers and the people.
For one, it exploded the myth that the region is a relatively safe zone as far as natural disasters are concerned. Secondly, the way people from all walks of life came together for relief and rescue operations challenged the popular perception that the state’s society remained divided along religious, caste and political lines.
But there is also a third important lessonthat people like us who work in the field of communications should take into account. The real test of a communication channel, traditional or modern, is in its effectiveness in a crisis like a natural calamity.Many lives were saved when the people stranded in the floods shared the location maps on their GPS- enabled phones with the rescue teams. The rescuers were able to locate them with pinpoint accuracy and airlift them or send boats to save them. Ironically, this feature could not be widely used by all because the networks of many operators were down during the floods.
In other words, we saw technology broadening the horizons of communications, turning outto be a life saver and at the same time setting a limit to its growth. Communication as we all know is an area that has seen 360 degree changes due to the advent of modern technology.  The science and art of communication stand fundamentally altered in the last two to three decades due to the technological changes that have swept the sector.
The channels of communication, reach and style of communication, and its final impact have changed so muchthat communications strategists like us have to start all over again. We have to reinvent the wheel, so to say, as traditional strategies will no longer work in the modern world where the rules of the game are different.
Communication strategist has the unenviable task of combating the challenge posed by millions of faceless,independent users located in different parts of the world who communicate between themselves and to the world. A global campaign which would otherwise cost a fortune can now be accomplished through a software application on the mobile handset at practically zero cost. Yes, the world has definitely shrunk and the speed at which voice, data and video travelfrom device to device and from network to network has increased manifold.
Therefore, communication specialists have to go back to the basics and revisit their strategies.  They have to wade through a new communication order where unknown dangers can drive a wedge between a communication plan and its execution.  It is true that technology has revolutionised the world by making it possible for millions of users to makeposts, publish, advertise, chat and share content.
The specialist can still find a role in these un-orchestrated voices or the cacophony of new age media platforms. While traditional players are reworking their plans, a crop of digital media specialists havealready made their mark in the industry.  It would help both these groups to remember that at its heart the essence of communications remains the same. It might be offered on a new technological platform or used to address a new age problem, but itsessential role is the exchange of information, news or ideas. In this scheme of things, technology is only a facilitator, a means and not an end in itself. In other words, we should see to it that the unseen hands of technology do not disfigure the human face of the communication order.
The theory of communications has evolved through the ages.  Everything that man has done to spread his ideas will come under the “catch all” term called communications.  In this, even “silence”, when used effectively, is a great tool of communication.
Amidst the hue and cry made by the opposition on the alleged mismanagement of dams by the state government, Kerala Chief Minister PinarayiVijayanchose not to respond.  Even during the press conferences during the days of the flood he let the questions on the opposition charges pass and focussed exclusively on the rescue and relief operations. By doing so he sent out the strong message that a disaster is not the time to settle political points but to minimise the impact of nature’s fury on the people of the state.
The idea has been expressed with more clarity by Peter Drucker in his famous statement, “the most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”. At a time when communications technology is poised to take a major leap forward, it is important to keep in mind that understanding what has not been said is a quality that only a human brain can achieve.

 The Artiste whose Creation printed in Crores, Literally!

By Alok Jatratkar,
(Chairman, Kolhapur Chapter, PRCI)

He is simple… He is humble… He is noble… And so are his creations…
When you meet Anant Khasbardar or visit his office, only one thing gets on your mind and that is pure simplicity. Even being in the profession of advertising, PR and event management for so many years, Khasbardar is not driven away with attitude, but has got connected more and more with the society. And that is the inspiration behind the ideas for his campaigns and creations.
So far, Anant Khasbardar has created many logos, designs and campaigns for many agencies and firms. But, he is in limelight for his worthy design of ‘Swachha Bharat’ i.e. Clean India mission. Yes, the transparent spectacles of Mahatma Gandhi and the devnagari letters स्वच्छ भारत on each of the glass and the pair connected by the Indian Tricolor flag, is the creation of Anant Khasbardar, the artiste from Kolhapur (Maharashtra). And, after demonetisation, every new currency printed by Reserve Bank of India is depicted with this logo on each note, may it would have been of Rs. 2000, Rs. 500, Rs. 200 or Rs. 50.
Anant Khasbardar designed this logo within 15 minutes time, but the thought process behind the design is much more prolonged and suggestive. Mahatma Gandhi’s chashma (spectacles) is a symbol of his philosophy of cleanliness, not only physical but also of mind and soul. So it is crystal clear that it carries the flavour of Indian philosophy. That is the simplicity of idea which clicked the judges and he won the prize for logo designing. And, now its printing on the Indian currency is an honour of an artiste and his art. It’s of damn sure that no any other creation might have been printed as that of Khasbardar’s creation of Swachha Bharat logo, that means literally in the volume of crores. Yes, he is happy for that but not allowed his feet to leave soil. He’s continued his work with passion and commitment forward.
 Anant Khasbardar runs advertising, PR and event firm named “Nirmiti Graphics” from Kolhapur with a branch in Mumbai. Nirmiti is a Marathi word, itself means Creation and “Creation has no bounds” is a motto of this firm. And, its every creation is an example of creativity and simplicity at the same time, may it be the logo of National Digital Literacy Mission, may it be of 12th South Asian Games-2016 or may the variety of campaigns designed for many political parties or prominent political leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being one of the beneficiaries.
Khasbardar has a very vast range of creations and campaigns to his credit. Along with the regular advertisements for print media, he has created many calendar designs, brochures for many firms, designed construction expos and many events. Nirmiti’s website is itself a very nice example of simply creativity.
About his journey in this field of creativity, Anant Khasbardar, in his unique style, tells, thanks to our unique and versatile Indian culture and tradition full of festivals, colours, various forms of symbols and rituals, from which my every art, design and creation is inspired. He feels that creativity is God gifted and is unending process of self searching within and out, which takes you to the world of amazing ideas. Tiny pictures, symbols have huge power of communication, rhythmic lyrics are empowered to make you dance, and aesthetics within architect is capable to change one’s mood or entire lifestyle. That is the power of creativity which nature and culture altogether bless us.
Khasbardar doesn’t keep the credit with himself only. He emphasizes that his partner Shirish Khandekar and entire team of Nirmiti are the partners of his efforts to change the taste of people with designs, forms and simple words along with effective graphical presentation. He’s hopeful that his blending of verbal and non-verbal communication into the creative art will upheld the society’s trust and liking in Indian culture and environment. After all, it is a long distant journey towards holy peace of mind which I wish to travel through my creations, he solemnly declares.

Breaking barriers

By S K Kaul
(Veteran communication practitioner, Consultant - Management , e commerce , Public Relations and Director National Executive PRCI )
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding , intimacy and mutual valuing -  Rollo May
The Author
The exchange of information or passing of information, ideas or thought from one person to the other or from one end to the other is communication. According to McFarland communication is, “a process of meaningful interaction among human beings. More specifically, it is the process by which meanings are perceived and understandings are reached among human beings.” Newman and summer defined communication as “an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.”
Communication is the process of passing information from one person to another. Whatever one wants to say to someone should be clearly understood by him else the very purpose of the communication would be defeated.
Communication thus helps understand people better removing misunderstanding , creating clarity of thoughts and expression. It can  be written , oral, formal, informal, and upward, downward, horizontal, diagonal, interpersonal, intrapersonal, interdepartmental, intra-organisational.
Communication brings people together, closer to each other. The communication is an important management function closely associated with all other managerial functions. It bridges the gap between individuals and groups through flow of information and understanding between them. Information is the most vital aspect for communication. It is the information which is transmitted, studied, analyzed and interpreted and stored. The manager therefore has to spare time to collect, analyze and store the information for decision-making and routine day to day business.The Role of Communication. Communication plays a key role in the success of any workplace program or policy and serves as the foundation for all.
When we try to communicate to a group of people, you may notice that some get it right away while others need more explaining. Different people have different needs and expectations. Consider the range of learning styles of those you're communicating with and plan a communication strategy that addresses them all. Communication is about getting things done under any circumstance.  Some communicators use straight talk, eye contact, with brief and punchy sentences. Communication is a vital ingredient in the recipe for success , It establishes a transparent, open, non political, non hierarchical culture in the organisation.
Communication appeals to members of the public through mass media or by direct communication that seek to persuade to members of the public to communicate directly . President Obama and his team built largest community outreach effort in history powerful combination of the old and   new .   Jim Messina who headed Obama 2012 Compaign insisted it was Presidents message that engaged people and draw them into the Compaign . Feet on the ground and face to face communication in trusted grass roots , which is highly targeted and provides individual touch points for people who already care or should care about a specific issue, where as mass media Campaigns use paid print , TV , billboards and digital vehicles for advertising or sponsorships to reach a wide audience . Mobile apps for example pair very well with grass roots programmes .
If we look at Healthcare today , it  demands more personal communication the information you learn on treatments , latest Heath care programmes here can change the way you think about patients or patient journey.  It can vary from state to state / village to village / town to town on demographic levels.  Community outreach can take many forms in regard to health care benefits  . Trust has to be established with an audience when an effort is made to demonstrate you have done your home work. We need to understand the community requirements and how to reach through social media, mobiles, Internet , Facebook , Twitter , apps on mobiles, media, TV programmes or Radio stations. Tv advertisements, educational talk at schools or theatre or street theatre / community halls. Even communication outreach can be more individual, groups, towards desired action .
Looking at our father of Nation  Mahatma Gandhi Je made best use of the  communication through nationalist press, his own journals like Young India, and other periodicals to reach the masses in every nook and corner of country. He made use of communication to the hearts of people living in rural areas through age old oral traditions , public lectures, prayer meetings. Gandhi ji, through his effective communication, reached out to millions of people, convinced them of his cause and mobilized the public opinion for attainment of freedom. He made optimal use of channels of communication very efficiently and effectively as he had a rare knack of “inventing apt news events” to get the best coverage by the media. Gandhi Je was a born communicator, he utilised symbol like The Spinning Wheel (Charkha) , which he adopted became the logo of national movement symbolizing self-reliance and people participation in the cause of freedom struggle. Strategies  adopted by Gandhiji  to communicate with the masses are now part of the standard practice of Public Relations  being followed all over the world. 
In 21st century Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India to ensure the Government's services are made available to citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. It has reached grass roots of country through Aadhar or net banking systems , mobile apps with broadband connectivity mostly in every corner of the country towards reaching communication  to grass roots .


All you wanted to know about 
Micro Expressions

By Dr. T V Gopal
(Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
College of Engineering, Anna University, Chennai)

The Imitation Game is a 2014 American historical drama film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Graham Moore, based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. Andrew Hodges notes that Turing did not consider his homosexuality a disease, a crime, or a shameful condition. He suggests that Turing opted for psychiatric treatment rather than a brief period of imprisonment because he feared that a criminal conviction would be fatal for his career. This observation is very intriguing because the original function of psychiatry around 300 years back was penological wherein the psychiatrist stigmatized persons as “mad” deprived them of liberty, and assaulted them with chemical and physical interventions. It is only around 100 years now that individuals began seeking psychiatric interventions. However, the identification of psychiatry with medical healing and humane helpfulness is factually false and morally deceptive. It is more of a trap than treatment.
Alan Mathison Turing [1912–1954] is a genuinely fascinating and tragic figure in the history of 20th-century science and culture. He was a mathematician, cryptographer, and pioneering computer scientist. The breaking of the enigma code effectively ended World War 2.
Was Alan M Turing working with Psychiatrists to explore the concept of truth in his way of building the Electronic Brain? Was everything else a story from the war times?
The Turing Legacy has made Computing an Art, Science, Discipline and Psychology simultaneously.
“Programming a computer does require intelligence. Indeed, it requires so much intelligence that nobody really does it very well. Sure, some programmers are better than others, but we all bump and crash around like overgrown infants. Why? Because programming is by far the hardest intellectual task that human beings have ever tried to do. Ever.”
- Gerald M. Weinberg, Understanding the Professional Programmer
The primary motivation for this article is the cover page of the book titled “The Psychology of Computer Programming: Silver Anniversary Edition” by Gerald Weinberg. It features sixteen typical facial expressions of a lady. However, for the purpose of this article, I prefer the different facial expressions included in figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Different Facial Expressions
[Credit: AutismSpot @]

Facial expressions play a pivotal role in all social interactions. They are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA], developed the 7%-38%-55% rule. This “Golden Rule” of human communication states the following ground reality.
Total Liking =  7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking.
This composition of cognizance influences all the Human and Public relations spheres. The facial expressions of others engage a number of different cognitive processes. Some of them elicit instantaneous and rapid responses at times even sub-consciously.
In 1966, two researchers by the name of Haggard and Isaacs, discovered what they described as “micromomentary expressions” while looking at the motion picture films of psychotherapeutic interviews between therapists and patients. They implied that fleeting expressions could flash by too quickly to be noticed or recognized unless they were replayed in slow motion. Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen coined the term “Micro – Expressions”.
A micro-expression is a brief, involuntary facial expression shown on the face of humans when one is trying to conceal an emotion. Unlike regular facial expressions, no one can fake a micro-expression. Because when you try and hide your emotions, they just leak out at fifth of a second. There are seven universal facial expressions of emotion, namely Happy, Surprise, Contempt, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. These facial expressions can further be classified into four types namely, Macro [0.5 to 4 seconds], Micro [0.04 to 0.07 seconds], False and Masked [to cover a Macro Expression]. Micro – Expressions are challenging due to the difficulty in determining whether it is Suppression [deliberate concealment] or Repression [unconscious concealment]. There are definable micro-expressions for the universal facial expressions and their types.
The micro-expressions hold the key to:
          Improve your emotional intelligence
          Develop your capacity for empathy
          Spot Concealed Emotions
          Improve your relationships
          Understand others
          Recognize and better manage your own emotions
          Develop Social Skills
The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and the Future of the Human Mind is a 2006 book by cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky. Minsky argues that emotions are "ways to think" for different "problem types" that exist in the world, and that the brain has rule-based mechanisms [selectors] that turn on emotions to deal with various problems. There have been attempts at building such machines in Silica with very limited success. The compact implants, cyborgs, humanoid robots and rapidly advancing sensor technologies have opened up new avenues for programming the emotions. Al that is needed is the biology of a living being. There is plenty of this at the grassroots. A “micro-expression” that is truth can trigger a major chain reaction in a so-called smart or connected world that happens on “as we link” methods. It is the psychology of programming differently applied along with the Art, Science and Discipline of programming. It is a moot point whether the well rehearsed expressions of an artist can be classified as programmed.
As the mankind evolved over thousands of years, how we connect and communicate with each other has changed beyond recognition. Man’s first fleeting gestures to each other gradually led to the crude etching of symbols on cave walls and then into the most rudimentary of languages, characters and thought processes, and then the digital tools such as advanced sensors including eye-trackers and gesture-based computing. The reason we communicate remains the same i.e.  to care for each other and to share ideas no matter how the way we communicate has changed.
“Mobile communications and pervasive computing technologies, together with social contracts that were never possible before, are already beginning to change the way people meet, mate, work, war, buy, sell, govern and create.” -  Howard Rheingold
In future, all the pertinent technologies will be as ubiquitous as air which is now separating the human faces from another to produce the impact based on “liking’ and induce “learning”. People and machines will communicate with each other anytime to serve our needs. We will take connections for granted and will enjoy the services without even noticing. Advanced technologies to generate automated conversations, voice coders and decoders and body nets make the interplay between the man and the machine very intriguing.
“The sense of tragedy is that the world is not a pleasant little nest made for our protection, but a vast and largely hostile environment, in which we can achieve great things only by defying the gods; and that this defiance inevitably brings its own punishment.”  - Norbert Wiener, The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society


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