Fun Read: 9 tricks to appear smarter in a meeting

Did you ever wonder how people sound so awesome in meetings (and behave like it is their den)? Now I am sharing with you the secret sauce of their curry.

Just be a good ape and you are all set to bamboozle others!

Smarter Meeting

  1. Draw a Venn diagram. Whatever be the size of the circles, it always works.
  2. Step out for a phone call, saying “Sorry, I have to, have to take this.” You will be an instant hero.
  3. Take notes like there is no tomorrow, and nod your head vigorously, to every argument presented. Pro-Tip: Don’t know what to write? Just write the first word of every sentence you hear. It always fills the pages.
  4. Repeat the last thing which that super-achiever just said, but repeat it slowly. Say, “Let me just repeat that” and then repeat it slowly, One-word-at-a-time. Bingo! His excellence has been transferred to you now.
  5. Pace around the room, go to a corner, sigh deeply, and then think something. People will wonder, woo.. what the hell is happening in his mind.
  6. Disconnected from the presentation? No matter which slides the presenter is on, just ask him/her to go back a slide. Suddenly, you are inside the presentation.
  7. A special one for Startups: If its a startup, then no matter what is the idea or the theory, ask, “Will this scale?” This simple question will force everyone to notice you. And make you a super-knowledge provider of anything and everything.
  8. Smartly translate percentage into fractions. Like the presenter just said 25% of all visitors buy this product. You say, “You mean one out of four?”, and then quickly take a note. People will start respecting you more.
  9. Really not sure where the meeting is going as you were taking a power nap? No issues dear. Just say, “guys, guys, guys. Can we take a step back?” and then stop. After 3 seconds, say loudly, “Exactly what problem are we going to solve here?” And boom..! You are back into the picture and in a more respected manner.

Disclaimer: I got this as a forward and it not my creation. See I am not that smart after all!

What should I read next?

  1. This Monday, decide what you want in life!
  2. Meetings! Do we really waste time?
  3. May be. Live with it.


Are We Human?

Disclaimer: I am Khalid Raza and I love India.

Last night, I saw the news and I hung my head, in disbelief and shame. Where are we heading? Nigerians are being beaten up, Airline staff is being slapped, shops of minorities are being targeted in the guise of religion, young people are rounded for being out there, Sub-judice religion structures driving people to kill one another….

Where is it going to stop? The bigger question is who will stop all this? Why have we become the way we are? Is it so difficult to stay together, in harmony?

While you think, let me leave you with this article by Jug Suraiya I read in the newspaper today.


This Monday, decide what you want in life!

I believe in setting the pace – for my career and my life. However it is not as easy as writing this blog (or reading it).

We all complain of not having enough time for ourselves, to spend with our families, to pursue our passions and to do things which we love. We have become habituated to blame it on the corporate life we live, the way we live it. But guess what – it is you who needs to be blamed.

Did the penny drop?

Read the real story as told to me by Jane Doe, last week in Singapore, over some carefully chosen potions. Jane Doe Jr, her cute little angel, was feeling under the weather, however, our ever committed and dedicated protagonist decided to manage the situation by asking her spouse and family to pitch in, so that she can attend the late evening/night conference call. As she joined the bridge, she realized that the other party hasn’t joined. She had a note in her inbox, which read, “I can’t make it as my dog is not well.”

I don’t need to write further on this.

Mails or Memories

That’s my son Zayaan Raza

Action: Take 2 minutes now…now as in right now… and decide what you want in life. Your job will always be there, but people you love may not. You may earn 10-20% less salary but you will be happier and content. Do let me know by replying to this blog what change you will make. I’d love to know.

Eventually, You must have more memories than mails.

May be. Live with it.

I am a huge fan of mentoring – no doubt. However, I disagree that learning only happens when planned. Most of the super-sticky and impactful learning experiences I have had have happened unplanned. [Tweet This]

I was in a meeting with DP Singh, Vice President & HR Head, India South Asia, IBM, to discuss the crazy-fun work we do under India HR Hub effort where we focus on accelerating the adoption of social and technology by HR Professionals. The conversation drifted to team-work and DP shared with us 2 tips to ensure teams stay together and continue to improve.

DP posits that we should observe 2 behaviors when working in a team:

  • may-be-live-with-it-socialglamorMay be: Most of the time, teams become war zones when team members start to shoot down ideas and people. This takes an ugly spiral turn and then becomes a norm. This behaviour inhibits team members to be open and share ideas or suggestions. DP believes each team member should listen to the idea or suggestion and consider – ‘may be’ this is possible. This approach allows you to be inclusive, encourages new ideas and also opens up a new perspective. So next time you hear a new suggestion, think.
  • Live with it: When your idea or suggestion is not considered by the team, ask yourself if you can ‘live with it’ before getting into a frenzy to dismantle the fabric around you. It is very easy to get worked up (also read: 3 tips to avoid Rash Decisions) and take decisions which do not serve any fruitful purpose. Do not attach your ego with the outcome and always keep the team agenda in your perspective.

When I heard these points, I kept thinking – how easy it is to follow these 2 steps and what an impactful learning this is for all of us. So many times we see great teams doing average work because team members start to cannibalize as they tend to solution other team members than the problem.

Do you have any idea to make amazing teams? DO share with me by commenting.

More to read

3 tips to avoid Rash Decisions

Did your decision make the situation better? If not, then it wasn’t a good decision. [Tweet this]

We all have been there, done that. What? Rash and Crazy decisions. And most of the time, these decisions, although seemingly justified, come and haunt us. Every time we take a rash decision, we make ourselves vulnerable and put risks at play.

  • Your boss is difficult to work with – you quit your job.
  • Your spouse doesn’t appreciate your passion – you start to ignore them.
  • Your friends forgot to invite you – you unfriend them.
  • The parking lot guy could not guide you – you start yelling.

What is happening? In all of these instances (and I know there are many more – why don’t you share some by commenting to this blog) the reaction to the situation has done nothing to address the issue. Almost all the times, the issue continues to stay and your reaction becomes another issue to be addressed.


So what should you do?

I don’t know. I will tell you what I do and you might wish to try that. There is no set answer but I will give you three tips:

  1. Have an honest discussion to know the reason. Ask ‘why’? There is always a story and be ready to accept the story and change your perspective.
  2. Take out protagonists from the story – See how one would deal with the situation if you take off names and just keep the story. Sometimes our bias/love towards people influences us – don’t let that happen.
  3. Talk to a more mature person – this person could be a friend, spouse, mentor, colleague… ask them what should you do after sharing the honest story you know. Third party view always helps.

It’s always understood that each situation will be unique and would require that much in depth introspection however next time, blood rushes to your head, sit down and chose one of the options. The idea is to give yourself time, perspective and options. The approach should be to avoid rash decisions and impact of those decisions.

Is Indigo turning Purple? @IndiGo6E

Purple or bluish discoloration could be caused by lack of oxygen in the red blood cells.

Is this what Indigo suffering from – brimming with staff which lacks compassion and logic and is struggling to be humane?

I flew with Indigo, on 25th Nov 2016, to celebrate my son’s birthday with his grandparents however, I was surprised to see no special counters for infants at the Bangalore Airport. Since we were early, it was not an issue – we took our boarding passes and spent the time in the lounge. Then came the big one – no seat belts for infants! I implored Roja, air hostess, and she demonstrated the first sign of lack of life by saying, “Yes we do not provide seat belts to infants. If you have issues, please send a message to this number”, pointing to the seat in front of me. Before I could say anything, she left, assuming me to be a tyro flyer.

I reached out to Indigo’s team on social and met a dead end. My network was aghast with  the way handled the issue but it seems they are flying high. See this:

While they did reply about the seat belt, on which I am still surprised as we have flown with many other airlines and they all provide it, but no one cared about touching the topic of how their staff spoke with me. Is it too much expect that their staff should be polite and caring?

#1: Roja, the flight attendant should have been given feedback on how to speak with customers.

On 12th Dec 2016, after my initial flight was cancelled, I landed at the airport to see a long serpentine queue (because of cancelled flights due to fog etc.). Again, I couldn’t figure out any special assistance queue for Sr. Citizens or infants or pregnant ladies. I asked the lady sitting at the counter and he shrugged off and directed me to a ‘manager’ who happened to be another lady. Pooja, the manager, had no qualms in sending me and my wife back this long queue (imagine how much their staff cared for women support), although I repeatedly told her that we are with my 12 months old son. She was adamant and curt. My son Zayaan has traveled 7 times in last 12 months, including international flights and everywhere we have been given preference, however Indigo staff has its own purple rules. Even Big Bazaar has special queues for pregnant ladies, infants and people with special needs.

I had no choice but to stand in that queue for around 40 odd minutes with 2 bags and a kid on us. I reached out to Indigo teams on social and see what thrashing their brand is getting

Also see the embarrassment they are facing on Facebook:

#2: Why no one cared and/or cares for Women and Infants in Indigo? How do you plan to change this?
#3: Why was my family and I were made to suffer?
#4: What feedback has been given to Pooja, the manager?

And this is not where it ends, after boarding we realize that we have been double booked and another couple had been given same seat numbers. All passengers were seated and flight was delayed till the ground staff came and sorted it and gave us new seats.

And my struggle did not end. I sent out an email (customer.relations@GOINDIGO.IN) to them, as told by a lady who called me and did not know the issue at all, which they refused to acknowledge/read. I sent out many tweets and finally they read my email and see their response after 8 days


Their response is ‘all English’ and no action. Indigo has not clarified why there are no special queue? Who is responsible for not having special queues? What action/feedback has been articulated for the rude staff? Why no one ever bothered to call me and explain?

I replied to their email on the same day but they never responded to me.

I want someone to see this blog (and apathy) and find a solution. I am not happy the way things have unfolded and more so by the people who have communicated with me. The team on social is lost as lambs and no one has cared to reach out to me. Anyways – let me not solution your pale customer service.


You heard (read) me and I will wait to hear from you, before I decide my next step which also includes not using your services and convincing my network of friends, colleagues, relatives and all women force to not use your services. I will also recommend to IBM to discontinue the tie-up with your company for corporate bookings.

I hope this blog breathes some oxygen in Indigo and someone wakes up to take care of this.

Thank you!

Hampi – Hallowed land and delight

The sheer abundance of delicately placed, intricate ruins on the barren lands takes you back to an era we all wish to see but can never live in – remember androids and wifis!

There are some places where you always want to go but never find the perfect mix to begin. For me that was Hampi trip – I have been planning this trip for more than 2 years but somehow every-time we planned, we skipped. One of the key reason for that was lack of information and hence I am penning this blog for others to know what to do, what to avoid and some tips. And you know I will tell stories too and will not instill logophobia!

Hampi is a mix of a set from Jurassic Park and the Flintstones – it feels like  you are on Mars or as if you’ve teleported back in time. Huge boulders can be seen scattered around  – sometimes you wonder how kings and soldiers must have lived here or may be some dinosaurs jumped around on them while the river slowly flowed with palm trees swayed overhead.

Bangalore to Hampi Road Condition

Hampi is a UNESCO world heritage site in Karnataka, India, about 7 hours from Bangalore. Since I always drive, I did an extensive research on this as for me driving is a key experience. Finally the route I took was perfect with beautiful roads and hardly any traffic – I touched 180 at certain points, with 140 being consistent. See the route below: Start from Bangalore to reach Hiriyur and then take right to go to Ballari and then Hampi.


#roadtrip #hampi #statehighway #beautiful #roads #music #zayaanraza #travel #weekend

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I would have to tell you that there are hardly any good eating joints on this route, so if you do get one, then eat, unless you are fine with local spots.

Where to stay in Hampi

Since I am a Hyatt fan, I decided to stay there. However, Hyatt Place Hampi, lacked the zest and could not make it awesome for me. This property is in Vidyanagar Township, which is beautiful, and around 1 hr away from Hampi. There are couple of places near Hyatt to eat in Vidyanagar Township and I would totally recommend ‘Convertor’ restaurant in Hampi House. The food was simply amazing and super inexpensive. You can hardly find this on net but take my word!

I would recommend you to stay in Hampi and not anywhere else.

What to see in Hampi

Well, Hampi is a town with ruins scattered all over the place, hence you are required to visit each place. If you have a car then you can take it to all the places, else you can hire an auto or cab. Also see the park and museum in Vidyanagar Township.

#hampi #ruins #temple #heritage #travel #historical #India

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What to wear and more

Sunscreen and sport shoes. I made a mistake and did not take both – no one told me! You will thank me for this. The heat accentuates once it reflects from the stones and hence you need to dress accordingly. Sport shoes are needed as you are required to walk in and out of ruins, walk up and down, so be ready. Carry water, although you can find soda bottles, juice counters everywhere. Buy a guide book as it will tell you some details of the place you are seeing. The boards outside each monument left a lot to be desired.

Yes, this is #hampi #gorgeous #historical and #fun #vacation #travel #roadtrip #India

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After driving for around 800 kms and spending 3 days in Hampi, I am left with more thirst to see the place. I plan to go again and stay on the other side of the town (see the image above) – will I remember to blog about that? I guess not. But if you have been there, do share your thoughts and tips.

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