Communication Is Theatre

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Would you buy French wine in a supermarket just because a French accordion is playing in the background? In this Vlog, Grant explains that that’s exactly what you might do… and why.

Professor Adrian North did an experiment.

In a supermarket wine aisle, they played French accordion music and that week 77% of all the wine bought was French. The following week in the same location, they changed the music to German ‘oompah’ music and 73% of all the wine that was bought that week was German wine.

And yet when people were interviewed on their way out the supermarket, they were convinced that nothing had influenced their purchase.

Because 90 to 95% of everything we do is subconscious or emotional – rather than rational – we are influenced by all sorts of things because, ultimately, we make decisions on feelings and that means communication is theatre.

So what does this mean in business? What you wear will affect how people feel about you and, therefore, it will affect the outcome of a meeting. The way that you seat people when you are meeting a customer, the music that you play, the food that you serve, the images that you use and even the colours, will affect the way that people feel and, therefore, the outcomes. And, therefore, it’s very, very important to understand that when you are communicating, you stage meetings and you have to think about it.

Let me give you one example. I was speaking at an event in Rudding Park in Harrogate, and I was staying in the hotel, which is a beautiful hotel opening onto the wonderful Yorkshire countryside. That afternoon. I had a meeting with a very important prospect in California on Zoom. And while I was sitting there and my background was the double bed, I suddenly thought if I turn it round, I’m going to be looking at the rolling Yorkshire countryside. And so I deliberately turned the desk ground, which was quite heavy in my room, so when I started the Zoom call, my prospect would be looking at the rolling countryside of Yorkshire. And of course, we started the call and he immediately said, where are you? To which I replied, my back garden!

Of course, he laughed, because he didn’t quite believe me and I explained, actually, I was in a hotel looking at beautiful Yorkshire countryside, which was his cliché of England’s green and pleasant land – and it broke the ice and I got the order.

The point is; that was a piece of theatre, because I’d thought about how he was going to feel when we first looked at the Zoom and it was much better looking at the countryside than the double bed in my hotel room.

So think about how you stage interactions with people. Whether it’s on your website, whether it’s on your social platforms or whether you meet them face to face. What you wear, the images you use and the words that you say, will all affect the outcome and the feelings people have.

There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order to facilitate the readability of the written English

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  1. Every week you seem to do it…little stories, in this case the supermarket trials, that “resharpen the saw”

    Keep it up Grant

    1. Author

      Thank you so much Chris, I try! I really appreciate your kind words and positive feedback.

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