Melbourne, Australia (PRWEB) May 07, 2013
Two recent studies show that even a stone-cold, sober person holding (or being photographed with) a glass of wine at a business function, will suffer a 10-20 point drop in their perceived IQ and receive fewer business prospects. According to Rhondalynn Korolak, small business marketing expert and author of Sales Seduction, “small business owners who network or have a strong social media presence are particularly at risk – just being pictured with a glass of wine has the potential to tarnish your reputation, decrease the number of leads you receive and reduce your intelligence – not in real terms, but in the eyes of those who see you."
The “imbibing idiot bias” is well researched and documented in a 2012 study by Scott Rick (University of Michigan) and Maurice Schweitzer (Wharton – The University of Pennsylvania). Their work demonstrates, among other things, that subjects viewed holding a glass of wine were judged to be less intelligent and less appropriate for hiring. Conversely, participants who were pictured with a soft drink were viewed as more intelligent and more hireable.
These conclusions were further explored in a March 2013 survey of 100 business owners who attended an after-work networking event. 71% reported having at least one alcoholic beverage, while 36% reported having at least two. Not surprisingly, the 36 respondents reported the least number of business cards exchanged and qualified leads gained. The 29% who did not consume an alcoholic beverage exchanged twice as many business cards and gained 41% more leads.
The “imbibing idiot bias” is an excellent example of a phenomenon called “the priming effect”. Essentially, priming occurs whenever decisions and actions are predisposed, hastened or influenced in a particular direction by the context, visuals, emotions, or symbols.
Priming works so effectively to influence and persuade because most of the drivers behind choices and decisions primarily happen below the level of thought and consciousness. This means that business owners in a networking situation are strongly influenced by intangible factors that up until now, have largely slipped under the radar and gone undetected.
Evidence of the priming effect at work is all around us.
It is the reason why presidents and prime ministers pose for photos while sitting behind a desk, surrounded by a flag, a photo of their family, and bookshelves full of leather bound books. Says Korolak “without saying a word, they have already predisposed or influenced your opinion of their values, work ethic, and intelligence. And it also explains why voters cast more politically conservative ballots if asked to attend polls in or near a church location, as opposed to those who vote near government or secular buildings."
According to Korolak, “Alcohol and business networking don’t mix – humans are conditioned to associate alcohol with cognitive impairment, and even when no such impairment is present, the association still sticks and we will automatically judge the person partaking as less intelligent and less suitable for doing business with."
In a tight economy, where perception and first impressions can make the difference between thriving and going bankrupt, it makes good sense for business owners to avoid alcoholic beverages in networking or social media environments. Understanding how strongly the human brain is influenced and primed by subtle cues (such as a glass of wine) can prevent an entrepreneur from unwittingly committing an act of reputational suicide.
To learn more about Sales Seduction, visit:
About Rhondalynn Korolak
Korolak is a Melbourne-based lawyer, chartered accountant, business coach, speaker, best-selling author and small business marketing expert. She has been featured in/on Yahoo, CNN ireport, Skynews, 3AW, Channel 9, Kochie’s Business Builders, bNet, Fast Thinking, MYOB, Dynamic Business, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. Her recent books also include Financial Foreplay and On The Shoulders of Giants. To book her for an interview or find out more, contact her at:
61 404 907 768 (in Australia)