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Prime your attendees?

Our subconscious brain is an amazing thing. We may think we're in charge, but subtle things in our environment can have a big impact. This New York Times article tells us how&8212;and, I think, provides some pretty good hints on how meeting planners can use psychology to set the scene for learning at their meetings. From the Times:

    New studies have found that people tidy up more thoroughly when there’s a faint tang of cleaning liquid in the air; they become more competitive if there’s a briefcase in sight, or more cooperative if they glimpse words like “dependable” and “support” — all without being aware of the change, or what prompted it.

    Psychologists say that “priming” people in this way is not some form of hypnotism, or even subliminal seduction; rather, it’s a demonstration of how everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have.

Retail has taken advantage of all this for eons, whether through piped music or how they arrange the products. Hotels are now starting to add environmental factors like (love it or hate it) scents that are supposed to evoke a mood or feeling. Probably some meetings are using this somehow, but I haven't experienced it yet. At least, not that I know of...

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