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You have 3 seconds

BY Dan Mack

Researchers believe that first impressions are created in under three seconds. In the blink of an eye, people assess your competence, aggressiveness, intelligence, and trustworthiness. As you finish your first line, you’ve already been critiqued. Observers automatically and unconsciously conduct a mental shortcut, judging whether they like or dislike, trust or mistrust.

Iconic music begins with an opening that you can’t forget. The lyrics are emotional, engaging and personal. It pulls the listener in, opening them to a journey they choose to take with the artist.

  • Prince’s “Purple Rain” begins: “I never meant to cause you any sorrow / I never meant to cause you any pain.”;
  • The Rolling Stones kick off “Sympathy for the Devil” with: “Please allow me to introduce myself / I’m a man of wealth and taste.”; and
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” starts: “In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream.”

That first line matters, and it gives the artist the permission to move forward with the rest of the song. Does your opening give you permission to move forward? The first line of a presentation, like a song, paints a picture; it sets the atmosphere and allows you the confidence to continue. The first few seconds creates momentum for the rest of your story.

Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, Nobel laureate and author of “Thinking, Fast And Slow” has found that most people can predict accurately whether they will like a person, but they are also often wrong. The brain doesn’t like ambiguity — it would rather make quick, sealed decisions about its surroundings.

Kahneman’s research shows that our expectations tend to be self-fulfilling. One’s beliefs and assumptions about another person lead us to what we will see in that person. We are susceptible to confirmation bias, the tendency to search for and favor information that confirms our own preexisting beliefs.

All of us are occasionally guilty of interpreting ambiguous information in a way that supports our current positions. That is why the first few seconds of a meeting is so critical. You are being critiqued whether you like it or not.

Here are five top approaches to start a meeting:

  1. Share a brief story that conveys the intangible assets of your team and why it is relevant.
  2. Share emerging research, conveying how the category is changing and how to seize the shift.
  3. Start a presentation with a direct question that uncovers or validates “unrecognized” challenges.
  4. Convey a “what if” question, offering a vision of what could be co-created & the gap it fills.
  5. Demonstrate that you keenly understand their deepest challenges & prove you can solve it.

Tom Petty put it perfectly, once stating “You can lose someone by simply using one wrong word.”

To learn more about Mack Elevation’s coaching, consulting, training and leadership events visit www.mackelevationforum.com.

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CVS Health’s Be the First effort enters third year

BY David Salazar

CVS Health’s multi-year anti-smoking campaign Be The First is headed into its third year, with the company committing $10 million in 2018 to support smoking prevention and education efforts nationwide. The five-year, $50 million effort from the Woonsocket, R.I-based company aims to create the first tobacco-free generation.

“After just two years, we’re encouraged by our contributions to a continuing decline in youth smoking rates, however far too many young people are still using a variety of harmful tobacco and nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes and vapes, that facilitate initiation of tobacco use,” CVS Health chief medical officer Troyen Brennan said. “By reducing the number of people that are exposed to tobacco, we can reduce the prevalence of tobacco-related diseases including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, and make a significant impact on the health of our next generation.”

Since launching Be the First in 2016, the company has funded programs from such organizations as the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free kids and Truth Initiative. This year some of the beneficiaries will be the play2Prevent lab at Yale’s Center for Health & Learning Games, as well as the Stanford University School of Medicine.

At Yale, the center has developed smokeScreen, a video game app that allows players to face various challenges that teens face, including a focus on choices around smoking and tobacco use. It also provides smoking prevention and cessation resources. Stanford’s Tobacco Prevention Toolkit is an online resource for anyone who works with youth, offering eight modules whose activities are focused on lessons and initiatives focusing on e-cigarettes and vapes.

“The grant from the CVS Health Foundation on this critical initiative not only allows a platform to expand the reach of our work with serious video game interventions, but also holds the promise of significantly impacting the problem of cigarette smoking and the rapidly emerging concern of e-cigarette use in adolescents,” said Lynn Fiellin, director of the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games.

The CVS health Foundation said it would build on existing partnerships with Truth initiative and the American Cancer Society to increase the number of college campuses that are smoke-free. It said that grants will be available for more than 70 additional colleges and universities looking to create smoke-free campuses.

“In the two years since we introduced Be The First, we’ve seen very good progress, but we know there is much more to be done in schools, on college campuses and in our communities,” CVS Health Foundation president Eileen Howard Boone said. “We recognize that by collaborating with experts from academia and the public health community and aggressively investing in innovative strategies to reduce smoking and tobacco use, we can protect our youth from this preventable health risk and bring us one step closer to realizing our goal of a tobacco-free generation.”

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Store brands post strong performance across mass outlets

BY Michael Johnsen

A new report by Nielsen posted Wednesday by the Private Label Manufacturers Association found that sales of store brands jumped by nearly 10% last year in mass merchandisers, club stores and dollar stores, while the mass channel came closer to overtaking traditional supermarkets as the place where consumers buy their groceries.

Total sales in the mass channel reached $305 billion vs. $324 billion in supermarkets. Sales of store brands in the mass channel increased sharply in both dollars and units, according to nationwide sales data collected by Nielsen. Dollar sales of private label were up by 9.3% while unit sales rose by 9.1%.

Overall sales in the mass channel during 2017 grew by 1.3% for dollars and 1% for units.

The mass channel is an ongoing store brands success story, PLMA noted. Since 2015, annual store brand dollar sales in the sector have increased by $7.5 billion, a gain of +15.8%.

During 2017, store brand sales across all outlets measured by Nielsen came in at $122.3 billion, up 2.7% from $119.1 billion, while units moved up 1.6% to 44.6 billion from 43.9 billion.

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