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People skills: you can LEARN them!

Ever walked into a party, found yourself fumbling and wanted to walk straight back out of the place? Ever wanted to say some words desperately to the one you fancy but ended up gagging and gasping for breath every time you tried? Well then we have news: everyone at one point of his or her life felt the same way!

It is so astounding that confidence tricks can fool people and make others feel inferior. Imagine someone you find to be a person with raging confidence - observe them. What do you think makes him so poised? Probably it's because of his looks outfit, style of walking, body language…or, it may be because of his tone and his words. Then again it may be because of his energy and enthusiasm and his proficiency at certain fields. If you want to be confident, you can work on any of the above sectors that you think seems right for you.

You must have heard about the power of body language. Body language helps you to understand the person you want to communicate with and guides you in making great relationships. Trust me, whatever you may think, you are an expert! You just don't know how adept you are.

Rapport is an emotional bond between people based on mutual liking, and a sense of understanding each others concern. Well, these words seem very ambiguous. You can build such communication by just matching others body language. For instance, if someone has his head tilted on one side, you could do the same or if the other person has his hands folded, you fold yours. It may sound strange, but it works, especially in a conversation. Somehow our brain can recognize such postures as friendly. However, don't overdo it onlookers may just think you two are performing some intricate dance steps!

The eyes are the windows of the soul. Observe the eye co-ordination when you throw a question at someone. Studies suggest that if someone goes de-focused or looks up, they are going into a memory or into imagination. If they look down and to the right, they are going into a feeling. If their eyes move to the right or left, they are often talking to themselves or listening very carefully. It's useful to pick up eye clues, because it can help you know where another person is thinking.

Your words play a vital role in a conversation. Usually, the way people ask for something sets the tone of acceptance or rejection.

For example, you want a day off from your boss, how will you ask for it?

It could be 'Sir, I was wondering…can I perhaps have that day off'
'Sir, I have this urgent work, so I want to take this day off'

The first query was self-doubting while the latter is self-assured. The second question is more sensible. Whenever you need to negotiate, go for a REASON/PROPOSAL modus operandi.

Reason: I have this urgent work
Proposal: So I want a day off

Such approach is assertive and not unpleasant. A non-pleading candor approach is bound to work.

A friendly communication is the result of the match of voice tone. A high-pitched fast voice and a slow pacified tone will lead to a disconnection. Hence, pace your timbre and be a better communicator.

It's easy to think that life is harsh or success is not meant for you. Remember 'The really important thing in your life is to profit from your losses. That requires intelligence and makes a difference between a man of science and a fool'. Become victors not victims. For that, always be positive and watch your negative thoughts. Instead of saying 'I can't do that', try to say 'Well, let's see if I can do it'.

There are the lucky few who are born with charisma and people skills, and then there's the 99% of the world who aren't. So even if you feel you don't know how to communicate, rest assured that the meek don't always inherit the earth! Small consolation, I know, but there it is. It's you that makes you, not your words.

By Maherin Ahmed

Living in and loving Dhaka

Caught in between

“Come on mom, I'm not the only one kidnappers are after! Come to think of it, I'm not a kid at all!"
"Sorry, but this isn't the place where you can just roam the streets! It's not safe!"

A typical argument between a child and his parents. The sparkling shopping malls call out to us, but the busy roads are somewhat different. Although the air pollution has lessened due to the use of CNG vehicles, I see more and more people here becoming asthma patients like me, suffering as they grow older.

Yes, it's Dhaka. Poor old Dhaka, stuck between changing into a modern busy city and our old carefree Deshi type of city. While new shopping malls and theatres keep popping up, us people strive to stay helpful and societal instead of selfish busy machines. And the rotten apples of Dhaka(robbers, kidnappers,etc) continue to feast upon our minds when we're walking or riding in rickshaws along the road.

I take delight in watching cultural spirit flare up among the people on occasions like Pohela Baishakh when ladies-old and young-go out in red and white and men show off their new Panjabis! I can then take a break from hanging out with friends in jeans and T-shirts. Only on these occasions we show our true identity and I am reminded that Dhakaities are not insolent, hard, grave people but soft, kind, helpful people with a damn good sense of humour. Another source of inspiration for all Dhakaities is that be we intelligent or brainless, we possess bravery and unity that many foreign cities would give anything to have.

I particularly enjoy being an inhabitant of Dhaka rather than living here. My sole request to everyone-please don't blame others for harming the city, but make yourselves useful by trying to improve it. I always tell myself, "Everyone has what it takes to be the hero/heroine of his/her city, so why not me? "And consider this-if you imagine Dhaka as your house, wouldn't you want to take care of it's inhabitants and the place itself?"

By Tasmia Tabassum

Congestion of Dhaka city

People of Dhaka city are accustomed to the thing called ''congestion'' which has become the most common phenomenon of an individual's life. There are so many traffic policemen and yet the traffic congestion is unavoidable. People who have cars can sit comfortably in their air-conditioned cars but who have ever thought of the passengers of rickshaws and, worse rickshaw-pullers?

Especially when it is a very sultry day it becomes very hard for the poor rickshaw-pullers to carry the passengers. During the peak hours of Dhaka city the roads are fully blocked especially the areas of Dhanmondi, Motijheel, Shahbag, etc due to the traffic congestion. The situation has become unbearable but we are simply helpless. We cannot do anything. Not only are the main roads blocked, the lanes get clogged by people trying to avoid the jam on the main road, and we have to sit for hours together on the roads as there is nothing we can do.

It seems as if ''traffic congestion'' has become a part of an individual's life. We have to experience this irritating thing everyday. But is there anything that we can avoid this traffic congestion? If there is, why on earth aren't the authorities doing something about it?

By Sana Hossain

Visiting a Planetarium in Paris

Last month I went to Paris with four others. Visiting the famous city of Europe was not only a new experience for all of us, it was a fantasy. Magnificent, spectacular, alluring were all words we can use to define the city, standing above all with its eye-catching landscapes and impressive structures like the Eiffel Tower. Being a detractor, my friend Hashmi never found anything to blame or criticise about the city.

However, our actual motive to visit Paris was to take a trip to its Grand Planetarium. Our keen interest in astronomy and astronomical objects is what drove us over such a long distance to this place.

The exterior of the planetarium was very different from Dhaka's Bhasani Novo Theatre. It resembled a huge alien spaceship lying dead on the ground. Without any further ado, we went inside.

We sat on wonderfully comfortable seats that were tilted back so that you lay in a sort of a hammock, attention directed to the bowl of the ceiling, which soon turned blue, with a faint rim of light around the edge. There was an intro of some splendid music, which was followed by a man's voice, which began to speak slowly, out of the walls. The voice reminded me a little of the way radio announcers used to introduce a piece of classical music or describe the progress of the Royal Family to Westminster Abbey on one of their royal occasions. There was a faint echo-chamber effect.

The dark ceiling was filled with stars. They come out not all at once but one after another, the way stars really do come out at night, though more quickly. The Milky Way Galaxy appeared, and moved closer. Stars swam into brilliance and kept on going, disappearing beyond the edges of the sky-screen or behind my head. While the flow of light continued, the voice presented the stunning facts. From a few light years away it announced, the Sun appears, as a bright star, and the planets are not visible. From a few dozen light years away, the Sun is not visible either, to the naked eye. And the distance, a few dozen light-years, is only about a thousandth part of the distance from the Sun to the centre of our galaxy, which itself contains about two hundred billion stars. And is, in turn, one of million, perhaps billions, of galaxies. Innumerable repetitions, numberless variation. All this rolled past my head, too, like balls of lightning.

Now realism was abandoned for a familiar artifice. A model of the solar system was spinning away in its elegant style. A bright bug took off from the Earth, heading for Jupiter. I set my dodging and shrinking mind sternly to recording facts. The mass of Jupiter, two and a half times that of all the other planets put together. The Great Red Spot. The Thirteen moons. Past Jupiter, a glance at eccentric orbit of Pluto, the icy rings of Saturn. Back to Earth, moving in to hot, and dazzling Venus, Atmospheric pressure ninety times ours. Moonless Mercury rotating three times while circling the Sun twice; an odd arrangement, not as satisfying as what they used to tell usthat it rotated once as it circled the Sun. Finally, the picture already familiar from magazines: the read soil of mars, the blooming pink sky.

When the show was over, it was greeted by thunderous applause from the huge audience. I found myself vigorously clapping along with everyone else…and, wonder of wonders, even Hashmi the cynic was clapping. What a show it was!

By Fahd Bin Haider


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