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Speaking what the other wants to hear!


A short True Story from our pre-historic times:

In between the grand lunch, accompanied by Kings of all neighbouring Kingdoms, where the most exquisite and the tastiest foods were being served by the angelic maids, the King suddenly got up, rude as it may seem, and demanded that all his Priests see him at the Royal Hall immediately. Some nightmarish thought, which had peeped in his mind during the lunch, especially after he saw a deep fried fish in his Thali, had a volcanic effect on the King. The deep fried, thumb-sized, reddish-orange looking fish provoked the King to discuss some issues relating to the Royal Family and the Royal Relatives even before he could finish his Lunch.

Only two of the Kings’ loyal Priest could make it to the call, although both couldn’t make it together, as the others had not yet returned from the far away Kingdoms where they had gone to distribute sweets in celebration of the newly born prince to the King. This being the first birth in the family, the King’s excitement knew no bounds and he didn’t want to leave any stone unturned in making this celebration a grand one.

The King, on seeing one of his young Priests entering the Royal Hall, tried to appear calm and tried not ask the main question immediately. Firstly, he asked if the sweets were properly delivered and the response of the King of far away Kingdom on the auspicious occasion for which the sweets were sent. Secondly, he asked if he had time to visit his family before he came to the Royal Palace.

By this time, some ministers and some Kings, post their lunch had presented themselves in the Royal Hall.

 After pretending listening to the answers, to both the questions, the King asked the Priest the question that had been piercing his heart since lunch.

“Gurubar, How long am I going to live? And how long is my family going to live? Tell me honestly.”

The young Priest, after referring to the Cheena and the Kundali of the King and his family members said, “Rajan, our Queen will have a major complication during the delivery of our second prince after 3 years from now. This will result into the death of not just the queen but the infant baby as well. Rajan, our newly born prince will die 4 years from now after being bitten by Snake.  And you Rajan, you will die of old age, all alone, lonely and deserted although having married a second time with plenty of children from the second queen.”

The King was enraged on hearing this. He went to the Priest, took his sword out and cut both the hands of the Priest, which were holding the Cheena and the kundali. He then ordered his soldiers to take the Priest away and to be stamped by his wild elephant to death.

The second Priest arrived in the Royal Hall much later in the day totally unaware about the punishment meted to his colleague. The ministers and the Kings present in the Royal Hall were terrified with the treatment given to the Priest earlier in the day and didn’t want to see the same thing happen yet again. The King was, of course, terrified with the details of the prediction about his future by the priest in the afternoon.

Once the King saw the second priest, he asked the question about his estimated age and that of his family directly without asking any of the two questions asked to the former Priest.

The second Priest, after referring to the Cheena and the Kundali said, “Rajan, there’s nothing to worry. You will live the longest in the history of our Generation.”

The King was so happy with the answer that he gifted a pearl necklace, which he was wearing, to the Priest and promoted him as his Chief Priest.

In both the above cases, the Priests told the same thing to the King. Only the way of saying it was different. Radically Different. One said it in a way which enraged the King and he had to lose his life because of that. The other said the same thing in a way that got him rewarded and promoted.

How many times in our daily lives do we feel cheated and not treated fairly? How many times after a debate do you feel that somebody took away the award that you had so much expected? How many times do you wonder as to why some executive is always so popular with the bosses and the colleagues?

The answer is very simple. It’s effective communication.

And what I have discovered is that for effective communication, “Don’t tell the other what you want to say, rather say it in a way the other wants to hear. The matter remains the same but the way of expressing it is different. This way they will never lose interest in you because human psychology easily accepts those things that they want to hear. You tell them what they want to hear and you get your point right across.”

That was exactly what the second Priest did in the story. He told exactly what the King wanted to hear and got rewarded for the same.


Ashok Paudel

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