The advertisement was huge and attractive. It talked about a waterproofing job the company could undertake that would guarantee my terrace would not leak the next monsoon. I liked the advertisement. I rang the number. I hated the voice. “Hello!” I said, “I saw your advertisement in the housing magazine, about waterproofing work you do?”


“I saw your advertisement in the housing magazine, about waterproofing work you do?” I repeated, quite repulsed by the voice.

“Which magazine?” said the same surly voice.

“Does it matter?” I asked and then quietly put down the phone, realizing the attractiveness of the advertisement and the sound of the voice on the phone did not match.

I have seen this happening many times. Many, many times.

We just do not know how to back up  an appeal for business.

And it doesn’t just end with the voice. I have seen companies spend millions of rupees on a huge ad in a leading newspaper: The salesman comes, a shabbily dressed fellow who really can’t sell his product and is quite vague about it, and you pack him off, because you feel it’s a sham.

Well, I am not here to talk about companies or business. What about you and me? We’ve learnt to dress well. Most know how to speak well. We extend our hand and have the firmest grip, the best handshake. I believe most business schools teach their students such impressive methods.

But after we leave there is a feeling something is missing: Bad backup!

There’s no character backing your impressive personality!

There’s no truth behind the solid baritone voice you’ve projected.

There’s a void; an emptiness!

This is what I do with companies whose advertising I manage: I teach their staff how to answer the phone, “Use a friendly voice!” I tell them. “Make the caller feel you are an extension of that ad he’s just been impressed by!”

We need to do the same with ourselves. Start backing your personality with substance.

Building character isn’t easy: It’s deciding to take the difficult road; to stand by the truth, to sometimes not back the popular decision.

But in the end, there’s a difference in the person you see in the mirror.

You feel genuine. You are genuine.

Keep your best suit on. Wear the branded shoes you love, but let your backup be strong, sturdy and strapping, let it be the substance of a robust, tough character.

Then one day, even without those branded clothes and attractive clothes, people will respect the real you.

Stop relying on bad backup..!

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