Button, button, what button do you press?

I want to begin this 250th post of mine (thanks WordPress for reminding me of this milestone during every post) with a note of gratitude to the Almighty for giving me the ability to convey my thoughts through words, to WordPress for offering a platform to share these strands of thoughts and to all friends and well-wishers who have read these posts and actively (or silently) encouraged me to continue writing.

Like many of my earlier posts, this too is inspired by a personal event that happened a few minutes ago.  My younger son Ananthajith was still asleep (holidays, late tv viewing, chill weather coupled with the comfort of the quilt and the bed can be a very alluring proposition to ignore) when I returned from the Thirupavai upanyasam.  I tried several ways of getting him up such as telling him its 8:30 already (as if it would make any difference), rubbing my slightly chill hand on his cheek which only caused him to snuggle deeper into the quilt, say endearing words like “chella kutti, darling” and so on but nothing seem to make any difference.

And then I pressed a button that caused the desired result.  I just told him “Your friends Aman, Tejas and others are waiting for you downstairs” and within seconds he was up and running.  He then peeped out of the window to confirm the veracity of my statement and when he did so he got ready for the day.

You might wonder, what’s so special about this to warrant a blog post?  It is very significant because very often in our various relationships and initiatives we keep pressing the wrong button(s) and wonder why nothing is happening.

Take for example, the interaction of a sales person with a customer or prospect.

Most salesmen keep pressing buttons like “Our company is ISO Certified or CMM Level 5 or we have offices in 298 countries (btw, there aren’t as many even in UN!!),” as if they really care.  Or we talk about the inherent client-server or cloud architecture in our product and fail to notice that our prospects are yawning or even gone to sleep like in the picture above.  Or the dynamic FOSP (coined by me now so don’t google for it) technology that all our washing machines are equipped with.  You can just go on and on and see the validity of what I’m coming to.

Alternatively, he can press the button “You can safely buy online with 100% confidence because we are certified with the highest safety possible” and get their attention.  Or tell them “Nothing, not even standing on it will cause any damage to our cell phone because it is made of polylithouysm (again my imagination is running wild)” and you have a rapt audience like the ones below.

The key to a successful relationship (professional or personal) lies in pressing the right buttons and by that I do not mean ‘manipulation’.  Talk to them or tell them what they are interested in and suddenly you will find that you are branded as a brilliant conversationalist and better regarded as a ‘well-wisher’.

And how to find what they are interested in?  Very simple, keep asking them small non-intrusive questions about them and open up both ears fully.  There is perhaps one in a thousand who is uninterested in sharing his/her thoughts, ideas with others, even strangers.  With this gold mine of information, all you need to do is find things that would be of interest to them and press those buttons.

It requires a paradigm shift from ‘me’ to ‘you’ to cause this and it isn’t easy but it is really simple.

Merry Christmas!!



  1. Govind said,

    December 25, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Do you follow Seth Godin – somewhere i see his flavour here.

    • badrirag said,

      December 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

      I take it as a compliment and thank you for the same.

      I do not follow Seth but have read a few blog posts of his and perhaps unintentionally something has rubbed off me.

  2. Ramkumar said,

    December 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Another gem, thanks Badri

    • badrirag said,

      December 27, 2011 at 9:39 am


      I thank you for your two compliments viz gem (referring to this post) and another (which refers to one or more of my other posts).


  3. December 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    […] was astonished to know about how a demoness many thousands of years ago knew what button to press to get her things […]

  4. January 23, 2012 at 4:57 am

    […] short, make a compelling case for that person to click on ‘Accept’.  In other words, press the buttons that would make your invite appear appealing to the […]

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