When it comes to harnessing positive outcomes, dotted all over the Internet, you’ll find information and articles that expose the power of creating trigger or “priming” words in advertising, to direct consumer decisions.
Generally speaking, it is all about exposing the brain to one particular stimulus to influence its response to another. For example, if asked to name a famous sports brand, you might take a couple of seconds to come up with “Adidas”.
But if first asked to think about the letter “N” before being asked the same question, you’d probably say “Nike” in half the time. “N” and “Nike” are closely associated in your brain, so your brain processes its answer to the question more quickly once it’s been exposed to (or primed by) the stimulus “N”.
But did you know that priming can have unexpected effects in the business arena, as well as with sports retailers?
What is priming at its core?
Priming is all about programming our decisions, actions, thoughts, and emotions to be directed by the messages we receive. It’s happening all the time without us noticing and without us being able to do anything about it.
You see, unlike many aspects of positive thinking, multiple studies have demonstrated that even when we are aware of priming taking place, we still usually give into its effect without realising.
That being said, while you might think that your staff will respond fairly predictably to certain situations, there are some 50/50 events that could go either way, according to the way you prime them.
What does priming mean for business?
The crucial thing to appreciate is that during those 50/50 events, you have a choice of how to speak and so to prime your behaviour. And if you condition yourself to respond positively, and rehearse doing so as often as possible, you will be able to prime yourself for a certain outcome.
For example, rather than saying “I’m so gutted I have to do this” before conducting a termination meeting, you should say, “No-one loves this situation but I trust myself to handle it well.” By saying the words out loud, you are more likely to go into the termination feeling confident and empathetic, and get through it without thinking you could have done better.
You can do the same thing when you address your staff.
By warning everyone not to be late before a team meeting, you are conversely priming them to be late. While your choice of words might not have an impact on most, it will probably make anyone who’s teetering on the edge arrive after the meeting has started.
The more we use positive words to prime ourselves and our staff for positive outcomes, the more often we will see those outcomes achieved. If you would like to find out more about how to manifest positive priming and helpful self-talk in your workplace, you will do well to read our founder’s newly released guidebook for business leaders who want to reach new levels of success through positive thinking.