Being in the right circumstances can make a big difference when asking your boss for a salary increase or presenting a case to a client. In “You’re Judged by the Company You Keep” we briefly discussed research that showed how a person’s positive or negative experience with one thing can rub off on anything associated with it. Thus, weathermen get blamed for storms that ruin vacations and customers condemn companies for mistakes made by their vendors. A New England insurer’s fulfillment partner averaged two client communications errors per week. One can only imagine how that made the company* look to their insureds.
Research used by colleges from Oxford University to the University of Utah shows that tasty food stimulates the brain’s pleasure center. We truly enjoy a good meal. Those good feelings can radiate to anyone or anything in close proximity. Since beauty produces a similar effect on the brain, we can easily understand why in one study outlined in the last post, men rated a new car more favorably when its advertising included a beautiful model. But most of us don’t have such a creature available to accompany us when meeting with a client or our boss. But we all have restaurants nearby. These can prove to be important allies in presenting our case.
Distinguished Columbia University psychologist Dr. Gregory Razran showed just how powerful good food can be in swaying opinions. In 1940, according to influence expert Robert Cialdini, PhD, Razran published research in which he asked people to indicate whether they approved or disapproved of certain political slogans. Then all were invited to a luncheon. At the luncheon the same statements were presented and then rated by the experiment’s subjects. Razran found that some slogans had increased their approval rating – those presented when people were eating.
This explains why, in the political arena, everyone from lobbyists to Presidents likes to present their case to legislators over a meal. Their arguments sound more logical and reasonable to congressman when the pleasure centers of their brains are stimulated by good food. So, if you have something to present to your boss or a client, why not gain the same advantage? And if the waitstaff is good-looking, your case will look even better.