In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!
Last night’s gig was great, Tony Law was (as expected) hilarious, but enough of that, you want to know about emotions and changing people’s behaviour.
Last time I shared how easily it is to change a person’s emotional state and behaviour with just a few words. I’m now going to share with you how our expressions can affect other people’s emotional state, in comedy we call this “showing not telling”.
Psychologists Nalini Ambadi and Robert Rosenthal conducted a study where a group of independent people viewed a 30 second video clip of college lecturers at the beginning of an academic term and evaluated them on a number of personality variables such as their level of confidence, optimism, likable, and enthusiasm.
The question was, could these independent raters predict how each lecturer’s class of students would feel about them at the end of term?
Remarkably, they could. The lecturers assessed as confident, active, optimistic, likable, and enthusiastic fared far better on student evaluation forms later in the year.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, even more remarkable was the fact that the raters gave their initial ratings with the sound turned off! The videotapes had no audio.
All participants had to go on was the evidence of their eyes. Our attitude gives off a halo – in as little as 30 seconds we and our products are being summed up!
Now what’s really interesting is the principle of emotional contagion – the idea that we spread emotions. Prof. Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues from the University of Hawaii (why didn’t I study there?) believe that emotional contagion is a primitive and unconscious behaviour. According to her studies, it takes place through a series of steps. Emotions are shown through unconscious facial expressions (see part 1). When two people meet, one of them will start to mimic the facial expressions of the other, with the person exhibiting the strongest emotion leading the other to feel the same.
So our emotions and feelings, can affect our customers’ emotions and feelings. Don’t believe me? Think of someone you’ve worked with in a previous company, who you looked forward to seeing, who always made you smile, who was always happy and cheerful.
How do you feel?
Now think about someone you used to work with who you dreaded (because you love everyone you work with now!), in fact the moment you saw them coming down the corridor you’d try to dive into another room or pretend to be answering a call on your phone.
Can you feel the difference?
But let’s not dwell on that person who could suck the life out of any party, it’s much nicer to think about the person who was the life and soul of the party, who lights up the room when they come in…
I wonder when we walk into a room do our customers light up or do they want to slink away in disgust?
In Part 3, I’ll be sharing how your attitude has a measurable effect on your business success…