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Business is good, thanks: Is sentiment really contagious?

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Filed on December 10, 2019 | Last updated on December 10, 2019 at 10.20 pm
Business is good, thanks: Is sentiment really contagious?

(Alamy Image)

With less than three weeks to go before the decade ends, let's get ready to welcome 2020 with a genuine handshake or even a hug.

So, this gentleman walked into my office yesterday with a rather infectious smile and what you may call a genuine handshake. You know, neither the dead-fish shake that would have you believe the other person has no bones in their hands, nor the intimidating hand-crusher that mandates you take a few minutes off to recover from the vice-like grip of your opponent (not really an opponent, but you know what I mean). Firm, formal, yet friendly - it was just the right shake. Enough about the handshake, though.

This gentleman is the communications head of one of the UAE's largest chains of supermarkets and hypermarkets and was in town to attend the launch of a co-branded credit card of his firm. I'd been threatening to drop by his office forever now, but there was always something or the other that cropped up and the agenda remained unfinished. So, we started chatting and the conversation naturally veered toward business. I asked him how was it that his chain has been on an expansion spree while some others have been heard to be in distress.

His answer surprised me. "What do you want me to say," he asked. "We can also be part of the chorus talking about it being a bad time for business and (looking at our head of Sales who happened to be in my office at the time) ask you for a discount in ad rates, but that won't be the truth," he said. "We've increased our ad spends with you this year, haven't we?" he asked. He went on to explain that this was perhaps the best time for them to go an expansion spree thanks to favourable commercial rental rates and incentives for the asking.

And what he said made perfect sense. "When four people get together and three say that business is bad, you'll probably find the fourth person nodding in agreement even if that isn't true for his business. Sentiment is infectious," he said. Indeed, it is. Hours after he left, I found myself full of positivity and optimism. With less than three weeks to go before the decade ends, let's get ready to welcome 2020 with a genuine handshake or even a hug, full of anticipation and self-belief.


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