I was recently on a conference call with my co-workers and while we were waiting for the client to join, I was cheerfully being Rick Rolled by the hold music. Upon further investigation, I learned my co-worker had set up his own custom hold music. That got me thinking, with this level of control, can we use that to change the way someone thinks?
My mind flashed to a segment of a show called “Brain Games.” While watching an episode focusing on risk, I saw an interesting social experiment that went like this:
They gathered 10 people, and each person got a balloon and a turn at an air pump station. For the first five pumps, participants would receive 10 dollars, for the next five pumps, 25 dollars per pump, after that each pump was equal to 50 dollars. At any time, the player could stop and walk away with the money, or risk it all with another pump of air. Before the participants got started, they were split up into two teams, the red team and the green team. Each team member was shown different video clips right before their turn to pump air into the balloon.
The result was this: the green team played it safe and earned $400 while the red team walked away with nothing, having pushed the balloon too far each time and making it pop. So, what was the difference?
The green team was shown tranquil, slow, calming videos. The red team was shown high intensity, fast, stressful video clips, speeding up their thoughts. According to this Brain Games episode, “a recent study found that the faster your brain thinks, the riskier you behave.”
So, where am I going with this? If your client has called in early, he or she will be listening to your hold music. What if we can use that to change someone’s thought process? Maybe we need to break some delicate news and set the hold music to some soothing Enya to calm their minds. Or, maybe we’re kicking off a new project and need to get the client hyped with some “Eye of the Tiger“!
Tell us what you think. Would you use a brain game to set the tone of a meeting?