“Faking romantic feelings can lead to you falling in love……behaving as if you find someone attractive increases your susceptibility to their charms..”
This article from the Daily Telegraph ( yes, I am old fashioned enough to still enjoy having a dirty, inconvenient and expensive document from which to glean the most important stories in our universe), describes recent research by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman (nice name, Dick).
It concludes that the “positive action technique” can be used to accelerate feelings in new relationships as well as to reinvigorate older ones. They did the research at speed dating evenings, and apparently the percentage of those saying they wanted to take the relationship further was more than double the norm when they gazed into each others’ eyes, touched hands and whispered secrets (so much so that apparently some couples had to be pulled apart).
It strikes me that apart from the fact that I am going to have to try it out for myself, there has to be a potentially huge business application here. Where to start? What about those worn out middle managers in your business who are responsible for leading change, and are hopeless at it because they lack conviction? Instead of cracking the whip, reminding them of their roles as change leaders and generally trying to breathe energy into them from outside, all we need to do is get them onto some form of “Faking It” training. I for sure am going to include something on Faking in my next Change Management programme.
What would the key skills of Faking be, I wonder? How about:
- How to do the business equivalent of touching hands and whispering to your employees (need to work out what that business equivalent is first, I guess!)
- Having a full repertoire of “sweet nothings” that you can use on your employee without sounding insincere
- Being able to tie together your body language with your words so that you come across as genuine and trustworthy.
Does this all sound a bit cynical and contrived? I think so. Why? Because the concept of faking is itself cynical and contrived. It starts with one party making a conscious choice to use a particular technique to generate a different response from the unspecting other party. Which if you think about it is what business trainers like me do for a living. Presentation Skills: 80% technique. Negotiation: 90% technique. Leadership: 30% technique (do you agree?). So, Faking is just another item for the toolbox, and can certainly be taught. If it’s OK for me to learn how to adapt my Social Style to yours to get you to say yes to something, it must be OK for me to Fake it when I need to, surely?
What do you think?
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