Words & touchpoints


Liked a blog on HBR, on choosing your words wisely, sharing excerpts and link here..

Even a brief interaction can change the way people think about themselves, their leaders, and the future. Each of those many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone’s day. Each is a chance to transform an ordinary moment into a touchpoint.

What is a touchpoint? A touchpoint is an interaction with one other person, a couple of people, or a group that can last a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, or a couple of days. Those Touchpoints can be planned or spontaneous, casual or carefully choreographed.

Every touchpoint is spring-loaded with possibilities. Each one can build — or break — a relationship.

For instance, when I was a first year graduate student at the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University taking a Management Policy class. My professor, Ram Charan, noticed that my schoolwork was starting to slip. I was not only taking a full load of classes but I was also working two jobs. I was stretched pretty thin. One day, Ram called me aside and said, “You can do better.” Those four words inspired me to hold myself to a higher standard. I remember those words as if they were spoken yesterday and that was over 35 years ago.

Other examples by the author can be read at


Well reading the blog resulting in me exploring the past.

One instance that came to mind first was the statement of my wife before we got married 18 years back. We were in the same office and started liking each other, and then one thing led to another, and we were trying to convince our parents to arrange our marriage. My parents consulted an astrologist and told me, I am a Manglik (one born in specific planetary condition), and if a non-Manglik marries me, she will die within one year of marriage. Both of us did not believe in this astrology but I was still shaken. When I told her and asked her to decide, she said- One year with you is better than no marriage. Well, it’s been 18 years now, and we are living happily together. But I never forget those few words.

Another instance was when I was attending evening classes for Medical Entrance exams as my parents wanted me to be a doctor. I was good at maths and english though, and was performing well in those classes. But when it came to other subjects, I was not top of the class. In one such class, the teacher was very strict. One day he asked us to appear for a test, I submitted my answer sheet and one of its corners was torn off, while I took it from my copy. The teacher said- With this low level of  sincerity, you will never be a doctor. I ignored him then, but now I realize he was right because even after attempting for three years, I could not succeed.

Then there was this ex-boss, who is voracious and keeps on sharing his life experiences. He also helped us when we were in need, going way beyond the duties of a boss. Even his wife took keen interest in helping us. I always admired his temperament, as he was always cheerful in spite of office tensions or his physical problems. One day I was quite upset due to some office problem, and then he counselled me for a long time and then said, always remember in life- Never lose your enthusiasm, because then you are a gone case. I still remember those words and try to teach this to others too.

There are many such touchpoints and words, which I have shared in my earlier posts.



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