The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aria diction doctors turn on charm machine

Calcutta, Nov. 19: The customer is king—and companies are going out of their way to woo them. Right from presenting a business card to making one’s way into the client’s heart (and purse), companies are trying to impart that extra touch of sophistication and glitter to their employees’ communication skills. Communications and soft-skill training company Aria does just that—equip employees of different companies with skills to impress the customer.

Ruby Bhatia, former veejay and now television actress, will be in the city on December 14 on behalf of Aria to conduct a one-day workshop on soft skills.

Explaining the growing need and demand for communication training, Aria regional manager Ranganathan said, “With India opening its doors to multinationals, the customer is spoilt for choice. It is not just a product that will make a difference, but how that product is sold. The concept of a finishing school will help companies and students embarking on careers make a difference to the manner in which they present themselves.”

Aria is in the process of finalising deals with Godrej and consultants Ernst & Young. “We will conduct soft skill training for mid-level managers in Ernst & Young. This includes learning the nuances of etiquette, behaviour and grooming,” adds Ranganathan. Godrej, on the other hand, will employ Aria to impart English language training to its workers. The company will later train its managers in soft skills. Aria is also in talks with Standard Chartered and private insurance players like Bajaj Allianz, Max Life and Birla Sun Life.

The training institute also plans to rope in celebrities, mainly academicians, to conduct courses on various aspects of communication across the country. Aria has already tied up with Sabeera Merchant—the brains behind the beauties that adorn the Miss India pageant—to conduct communication workshops.

Aria feels that with Indians interacting with overseas clients, the need to speak and communicate properly in the English language and adopt behavioural patterns of the West will help professionals in building relationships with clients.

The company, which started operations a year back, plans to set up around 100 centres across the country to impart communication and soft skill training.

“We have also planned advertisement and promotional activities across the country. Around 30 to 40 per cent of the revenue collected from franchisees will be spent on these activities,” said Ranganathan. Franchisee fees range from Rs 2,10,000 to Rs 1,50,000 depending on location and zone.

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