In today’s episode, we are joined by Nathalie Nahai, an international speaker, author, and consultant whose work explores the intersection between persuasive technology, ethics, and the psychology behind evolving consumer behaviors. Nathalie talks about the concept in the book Business Unusual, the importance of trust for consumers today, the meaning of eudaemonic culture, and examples of companies with eudaemonic culture. She also shares some insights on similarity and social identity, virtual work, what we can do to be better at virtual meetings and, building trust virtually. Tune in to learn more about building better customer relationships and a successful, sustainable organization.
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[05:37] The dissonance between the experience for the customers and the internal marginations of the company
Welcome to Brainfluence, where author and international keynote speaker Roger Dooley shares powerful but practical ideas from world-class experts, and sometimes a few of his own. To learn more about Roger’s books, Brainfluence and Friction, and to find links to his latest articles and videos, the best place to start is rogerdooley.com. Roger’s keynotes will keep your audience entertained and engaged. At the same time, he will change the way they think about customer and employee experience. To check availability for an in-person or virtual keynote or workshop, visit rogerdooley.com
Roger Dooley: 00:37
Welcome to Brainfluence, I’m Roger Dooley. I’ve known today’s guest for years. We’ve spoken at the same conferences; we’ve done the South by Southwest panel together. Nathalie Nahai is an international speaker, author, and consultant. Her first book, Webs of Influence, was a fantastic primer on using psychology to create better websites. These days, she teaches businesses how to ethically apply behavioral science principles to enhance their online presence, content marketing, product design, and customer experience. She’s also an accomplished musician, and singer, and recently has been exploring the visual arts and producing some amazing drawings. Natalie’s new book is Business Unusual: Values, Uncertainty and the Psychology of Brand Resilience. Welcome to the show, Natalie.
Nathalie Nahai: 01:15
Thank you. It’s such a pleasure to be in conversation with you again.
Roger Dooley: 01:18
Well, I really love your new book, Natalie. It’s really a departure from your previous work. This is a big picture book. It’s all about really what a business might look like, or should look like in the future; the short-term future not decades down the road, but how to survive what some people are calling the great reset. So, explain the concept of the book overall, Natalie? What has changed in the last year and a half, and what are you trying to tell people?
Nathalie Nahai: 01:48
So, so we know from our own lives and experiences that this last period of time has caused many of us to rethink what we care about, what our priorities are, how we spend our time, with whom we spend our time, how we live. And that’s translating, of course, not just in our private lives, but also increasingly blurringly with our public lives, our professional lives, our lives in terms of how we consume. And so, the book really seeks to look at the research from the psychological literature and Behavioral Sciences, to help us understand how to navigate some of these changes and priorities; whether that’s changing consumer expectations around wanting companies that are supporting social justice movements, or that are ethical or that are more sustainable and regenerative. It looks at how we can understand, unpack and then meet the needs of a changing consumer demographic.
Roger Dooley: 02:42
One of the early comments in the book was about trust versus competence. In fact, trust is a theme that kind of runs throughout the book. But you cite some work that says that for consumers today, trust is three times as important as competence when they’re talking about a brand. Explain that and why that is. Because to me, that struck me as counterintuitive. I value Amazon, I trust them. I value them because they’re competent. If they say that my product is going to be there Tuesday, it will be there Tuesday, and it’ll be the product that I ordered. But explain and unpack that a little bit.
Nathalie Nahai: 03:14
Good question. So, I think there are various things that we look for a good experience as consumers. So, competence is one, a sense of ethical conduct is another, trust in terms of how our data and personal information is respected. There’s all of these different things that inform how we experience the service that a brand offers us. And I think Amazon is such an interesting example because they use so many of these behavioral science cues to create, as you’ve written about in your book, frictionless, convenient, easeful experiences. And yet now, I’ve found myself in more conversations with people saying, “Well, that’s not enough anymore, we’re looking for something else. We want a brand that we can trust that has certain values at its core, that pays its work as well, that doesn’t just throw away all of the things that you return into landfill,” which is some of the accusations that we’ve heard levied against Amazon in various media outlets. And so, I think when it comes to finding a good mix, there is now a greater emphasis on not just being able to fulfill the order, but also how you fulfill the order, and what’s involved in the business organization as a whole in the whole process.
Roger Dooley: 04:18
Yeah, I think that if Amazon has an Achilles heel, that might be it, and particularly the way they have created an employee experience, that unlike their customer experience, which is basically very focused on making things super easy for the customer, their employee experience seems to be a little bit robotic. In other words, they think of their people as sort of interchangeable pieces. And this would be their hourly workers, not necessarily their executives, but their hourly workers in their warehouses and drivers as sort of interchangeable pieces that can be managed by systems. And it seems to me to be a very impersonal type of arrangement. I don’t get the impression that the typical hourly worker at Amazon feels like they’re a valued part of the team. Now, this is an outsider’s perspective, but this is the sort of thing that I’m seeing reported on anyway, in the media, and that is bleeding over I think into customer perception of the brand. It’s one thing to say, “Okay, well, we’ve got our customer-facing piece, and what happens in the sausage factory, nobody sees,” but now, there is no closed sausage factory anymore, everybody knows what’s going on everywhere it seems like.
Nathalie Nahai: 05:29
It is exactly about that. It’s the dissonance between one experience, like the external experience for the customers, and the internal machinations of a company. And I think when people are sort of appraising companies and wanting to understand better what they stand for and how they work, younger people, in particular, have a lot more skepticism and put these companies under greater scrutiny than maybe their predecessors. And so, when you’re thinking about which companies to buy from, or work for, integrity is coming up again and again as one of these really key themes where people are saying, “Well, alright, you create X and Y example of experience, which sounds good, how does that translate in house?” Exactly, as you say. So, the machines and the workers have to be compensated in an ethical way and valued in the same way that for instance customers might be valued. So, reducing the dissonance and conducting oneself with integrity and standing for something is really important.
Roger Dooley: 06:23
Well, as humans, we’re all trying to resolve cognitive dissonance, and a lot of times that means we change our beliefs about something in a certain way, in order to make our brains comfortable with whatever situation we’re in. I buy distressingly often from Amazon, their truck is a regular visitor, to say the least. But part of my brain is saying, “Well, are these the same people that their workers don’t get bathroom breaks, and things like that?” And that is an issue but I’ve been able to resolve with so far, in that Jeff Bezos as he was leaving said, “Okay, now, our next focus has to be the best employer on the planet, not just the most customer-oriented company on the planet.” So, I think there’s hope, and I think there’s a good chance they will address that. But for people who may be drawing the line a little bit differently than I may, they may not be able to resolve that cognitive dissonance and may err on the side of, “Well, I’m just not going to do business with them.” And of course, Amazon doesn’t want to see that.
Nathalie Nahai: 07:22
Roger Dooley: 07:24
You talk about Eudaimonic Culture, that’s a term that most of our audience may not be familiar with. Can you explain what that is, and why companies should be striving for that?
Nathalie Nahai: 07:35
Yeah. So, Eudaimonia is a really interesting term that comes from Aristotle and his time. And if you compare different forms of happiness that we might seek in life, you’ve got the more hedonistic kind, which is pleasure-seeking pain avoidance. It’s short-lived, it’s kind of the thrill of escapism, or delicious dinner, whatever. It’s like a fleeting pleasure and avoidance of pain. On the flip side, you have more Eudaimonic pleasures, which are more about meaning and integrity and finding ways to fulfill who we are and who we want to become, so it’s also connected with self-actualization. And so, when we talk about Eudaimonic Cultures, I’m really trying to talk about cultures whether in the workplace or beyond that facilitate us in fulfilling our potential. So, when we show up to work, are you incentivized by… I don’t know, let’s say you get beanbags, and free food and those kinds of short hits, whatever? Or do you for instance go somewhere like Unilever, where they have a course where they help you to unlock your personal potential, and you end up creating a greater sense of deep fulfillment in your workforce, and therefore deep loyalty, greater attachment, and commitment? So, I was kind of thinking about that… where do we find our deeper purpose, meaning, fulfillment, satisfaction, self-actualization, and how can we bring that into the cultures within which we work and live?
Roger Dooley: 08:54
That’s pretty hard. You mentioned Unilever, are there some other examples that you can think of, the companies that do that effectively? Because I think if you are relying on perks like the fancy offices and free food and such, there’s always going to be a company that can offer better free food or nicer offices… but it might be more difficult to replace those sorts of higher levels of fulfillment. Can you think of anybody also that embodies that and what are they doing?
Nathalie Nahai: 09:22
So, to use a brand that everyone knows very, very well… Patagonia is one of these organizations that helps to create more of a Eudaimonic connection, both with their customers and with people who work for them because they have a mission around connectedness, competence, getting people up, enabling people to experience personal growth, whether that’s within the company, or as liaisons and investors in companies and startups that they’re helping to support, or indeed, as a customer. So, for instance, on Twitter, it was maybe four months ago now, I saw that they were promoting a regenerative agriculture course in the South of Spain, and I obviously live in Barcelona in the north, and I say that it was Patagonia that was kind of funding them. Wow, this is really exciting because a lot of my conversations on the hive podcast touched into our relationship with nature. And so, I thought I’m going to do this. And I thought, isn’t that an interesting thing that even though I don’t buy a lot of Patagonia merchandise or products, I really like them as a brand. I like their identity, I like their ethos, they have a good track record, and now they’re enabling me to develop myself by putting me in touch with other organizations that can help me unlock some of the skills that I would like to be able to have in order to achieve more potential, if I’m thinking about things like being benevolent, or helping to look after the planet. So, ways like that, when it goes beyond the scope of what’s strictly necessary, and companies put in more effort that’s not directly linked to financial gains, that kind of for me, Patagonia, in particular, is a good example of creating more of a Eudaimonic context and culture.
Roger Dooley: 10:50
I guess too the company’s mission has to be clear. I’m thinking about Facebook, where I think that there was a point in time when people were really proud to work for Facebook. They were bringing the world together, and establishing links where no links had existed before, and keeping people in touch with long-lost relatives and friends, all the good things that you get from Facebook. But lately, it seems like it’s been an unending stream of bad news, that they’re a massive source of disinformation, they create a negative self-image for people… all these issues. And I would imagine, as not just their consumers, their customers… because customers just keep using it because they get some value out of it and there’s not an alternative to do those same things. But from their employee’s standpoint, it’s going to be hard to make them feel like they’re part of the company’s mission when the company’s mission seems to be diluted by all the negative effects they’re having on real humans.
Nathalie Nahai: 11:47
Yeah, it’s tricky. I think we’re seeing this in big tech, we’re also seeing it in the fossil fuel industry as well, where some of the largest organizations that are known to create the most damage are also paradoxically in the positions to be able to make the most positive change. So, if you’re thinking about an entity like Facebook, if they wanted, they could make the world a kinder place. But that’s not what they’ve optimized for, they’ve optimized for other things. And people will rightly say just because they’re a business, they don’t need to be pandering to making the world a better place, that’s not their role, it’s not their mission. And yet, we know that there are companies who do have that as their goal. And similarly, with fossil fuel companies, there are a lot of people who are really upset and torn about working for companies that they think are destroying their children’s potentials for a good future. And yet, when you get that dissonance within people working within these industries, it also creates the possibility of change because people if they get motivated enough to cross the value action gap, like “These are the values that I care about, there’s a gap between what I care about and how I can act… there’s a desire to close the gap, what can I do within my role, my team, my organization, to have conversations to push the needle to make people realize that there might be a better way of doing things?” So, it’s a tricky one.
Roger Dooley: 13:04
I’m thinking it’s almost like tobacco companies perhaps, going through the transition. They were some years back, maybe 60 years ago they were considered valuable parts of the economy, and they delivered products that people liked. I think there were some suspicions that maybe there were health issues involved, but by and large, they were respected companies. And then over a period of time, the truth came out and the effects they were having on health became evident; you wonder about what was going through the minds of their employees during that period, or while they were trying to recruit new employees? Because then you get that cognitive dissonance where I’m a good person, do I want to be part of your organization that may be killing people? Now, I wouldn’t put Facebook quite in that realm, but I think there’s that same sort of thing that if you believe that you are a person who wants to make the world a better place, is this organization actively doing that, or are they neutral? (Most companies probably are sort of in that neutral zone of not making a big impact on the state of the world one way or the other.) Or are they contributing to negative things where you can say that certainly some of Facebook’s effects have been negative?
Nathalie Nahai: 14:15
Yeah, indeed. I guess it’s that timeless question of trying to find balance between what we wish we could be doing, and how we’d like to be able to live, and then paying the bills. And then I think there was a tipping point where maybe for some countries and some individuals, it’s becoming much more possible. My hope is that if we drive hard enough for it, then in affluent countries with people in privileged positions are able to make change, then it will also have a knock-on effect. I know that’s a very optimistic view, but that’s the vision I’m holding.
Roger Dooley: 14:46
Yeah. You talk about people wanting meaning, and you bring in Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 thinking; explain that, Nathalie.
Nathalie Nahai: 14:55
So, with meaning… and I think as sort of a hedonistic versus Eudaimonic experiences, we tend to remember more vividly the hedonistic short quick peaks of experience that are very much connected with the pleasure-seeking point of pain avoidance. And that’s problematic in some ways because it means that we’re more likely to remember off the cuff a brand that made us feel happy and good in the moment, and perhaps less likely to recall brand interactions that have been more meaningful over time. So, it’s a tricky one to navigate. And I think that when we’re thinking about this kind of fast, quick happiness system, one approach, and brand association, and recollection of positive experiences, it’s interesting to see more people wanting to have not only that but also the deeper, slower, richer experience of pleasure and purpose. So, I think there’s a way to meet both, to have the immediate quick hit and the immediate recall of the good stuff, as well as an ongoing sense of Eudaimonic fulfillment, which is slower and takes time; and maybe it’s harder to record in the moment, but over passage will actually build up and be meaningful.
Roger Dooley: 16:00
There is I think, a social identity component there too, where people want to feel that they are part of an in-group that is doing good things as opposed to one that’s not. I think for many companies, they aren’t really seen as part of a person’s identity, that’s just where they work. But as you move up the ranks… if you’re a Googler, you think wow Google is part of my identity, and therefore what Google is doing has to hopefully agree with your identity. And if not, then you’ve got that dissonance cropping up again.
Nathalie Nahai: 16:36
Yeah. And that social identity theory, it’s a tricky one because we tend to also be attracted to people that we perceive as similar to ourselves, so there’s also the similarity attraction piece that comes into play. And if we do that without thinking about it necessarily, or we are attracted to people who on the surface are similar; so, it might be demographically similar… and then you’ve got interesting questions around race, around age, around ability, around sex, all of the things that is interesting and useful and important be talking about now. But if you’re talking about similarity and social identity, it’s like, well, is there a different way to approach this knowing that we tend to like people who are similar? Is there a way to approach how and who we are by thinking are there ways to sort of build bridges? What values do we share in common? What goals might we share in common? And I think that this is sort of more of a personal piece, I guess, is, as we see a lot more in the news about tribalism and people on either side of a political spectrum, the us versus them, I’m really, really interested in how to build bridges between those two because they’re not as distinct in all areas as the media would like to have us believe. There are a lot of needs that we share in common and desires that we share in common, that I think if we can take the lens of social identity and similarity attraction and think, “Well, okay, these are just aspects of… or ways to understand aspects of who we are. Are there some deeper ways to approach life and belonging by looking, for instance, at values or shared goals that could bring people together?” So, I’m always thinking about that at the back of my mind.
Roger Dooley: 18:02
We both work on customer experience a lot, Natalie, and you have a story about a florist that decided to let their customers opt-out of Mother’s Day promotions. That struck me as a little bit odd. Explain the setup for that; what did they do and why?
Nathalie Nahai: 18:22
Thanks for asking. This is an amazing example. So, this is a virtual first florist in London called Bloom & Wild. And it was two years ago, they had a few emails from some of their customers requesting to opt-out of Mother’s Day marketing materials because for various reasons, they didn’t want to hear about it; whether they’ve lost a mother, they didn’t have a good relationship with their mother, or maybe they’re adopted or for any number of reasons, they didn’t want to be reminded. And what was really interesting is that rather than just opt this handful of individuals out of their marketing messages, Bloom & Wild decided, (I think it was a mostly female team, actually, which is interesting) they decided to send out an email to their entire database of customers, saying something along the lines of, “We realize that this time of year may be difficult for some of us, if you don’t want to hear any marketing messages around Mother’s Day, simply opt-out,” and they give a link, and off you went and you opted out. And what was amazing was that in one night, after that one simple email that they sent out, they had such an extraordinary response, an inundation of people saying, “This is amazing, I actually feel like you care. I feel that I’ve been considered in terms of what my needs are.” There was such a positive response across all their social channels that they off the back of it sometime later, decided to create what they’ve called the thoughtful marketing movement, which now has many big brands under the umbrella. And the idea really is to give people back, give customers back the autonomy to make their own decisions as to how they want to be marketed to; so, you can opt-out of Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, whatever it might be. And what’s really nice about that is that it kind of falls under the category of self-determination, which is one of the things that we strive for. We strive for autonomy to have agency in our lives, to have the skills to enact the goals that you want to achieve, and to have a feeling of belonging. And often in marketing experiences, the autonomy aspect of it is lost because you’re forced down the customer experience or a journey that you don’t necessarily want or that you wouldn’t choose. And so, they showed another way of doing things and as a result, they’ve had huge amounts of positive responses, and now other brands are following suit. And it isn’t done on a massive budget, this is something that any company can do.
Roger Dooley: 20:27
Right. Although I wonder if many companies will want to do that, just because… not even the expense, but the time and complexity of it. It’s like one more thing to think about when it’s easier just to send the same stuff to everyone, within some range of limits; not everybody wants every product. I’m kind of annoyed by the [unintelligible][20:44], nothing to do with personal sensitivity. I bought something from a brand, more of a department store type brand, and immediately started getting daily emails, and always the first item illustrated in the email was some kind of fashion for women, so I’d see dresses, and blouses, and purses and such. I said, “Okay, you really kind of miss the point on that one because I’m not your customer for that.”
Nathalie Nahai: 21:11
Yeah. And I think there’s [unintelligible][21:12-21:13], how much effort you put in. If you’re going to personalize at least do it with consent and do it well, or just don’t do it at all. And there is an argument to be made for having a strong brand identity and curating some products that you want people to experience. You can also do that, and that can also work really well. I think the problem is when you try to do the personalization thing, and then it just doesn’t create a good experience. I think that’s the worst of both worlds.
Roger Dooley: 21:37
Yeah. Amazon does a reasonable job of suggesting things that you might like, so Nahai, find that most of Amazon’s emails to me are relatively on target. They’ve never sent me one suggestion that I might like a particular purse or dress. They make the common errors of, “Gee, you bought a suitcase yesterday… well, you probably would like these other suitcases too.” No, I don’t need another suitcase now. But they have highly customized emails based on your demonstrated preferences, so to me, they’re doing a reasonably good job of that. But what they are not doing, what this florist did really was taking into account the emotional factors and trying to learn more about me other than what I’ve looked at and what I buy.
Nathalie Nahai: 22:19
Yeah, exactly. Looking at you a bit more holistically and humanely, I think.
Roger Dooley: 22:24
Talk a little bit about virtual work. We’ve all been working virtually for the last a year and a half plus now, and this is really sort of a key part of your whole thesis of what companies are going to look like in the future.
Nathalie Nahai: 22:38
Yeah. So, obviously, it’s tricky to make predictions exactly as to how different companies are going to adapt to previously having an atomized and agile workforce, and then bringing people in, and the role of the workplace and what it’s going to be. But I think of all the interviews I conducted for the book, of which are many, there was a few themes that really kept showing up. One of them was around the need to have places where people can come together and make meaningful experiences and meaning together. So, whether that’s a cultural hub, so you have a workplace where you host team-building activities, or there’s a social component, or there’s an educational aspect to it; so, you can have people come in and be located on-site for a certain amount of time in a physical place. So, that was one aspect. There was something else around the desire for obviously, more flexibility. And then what that means in terms of, as one of my interviewers put it, “The roomies and the zoomies.” So, what does it mean to be physically present, if you’re an executive, maybe you work at Amazon, you’re an executive there, and you get to be physically in the meeting room or physically traveled to specific locations because perhaps your company has cut budgets on travel? What does that mean in terms of a divide between those people who can physically be present, versus those that are virtually present? There’s questions around that. Questions around psychological safety. So, how do you build an environment through virtual means, with virtual teams, where the feeling of being able to speak up without incurring negative consequence, to be able to challenge an idea or maybe battle an idea or voice dissent? How do we create a space in which that’s welcomed and made possible so that then you can have the innovation, and the creativity, and the change that comes off the back of it? So, there’s all of these different themes that weave together in terms of what the future of work needs to take into account if we’re going to find a way of doing things that is flexible, that’s meaningful, and that’s also effective and high performing.
Roger Dooley: 24:31
Dig into that psychological safety piece a little bit, Natalie, in particular, expressing, say, dissent or controversial view in a meeting when you’re remote. Because when you’re in person, you’ve got all that rich body language that you can use to both read other people and see how they’re reacting to what you’re saying. And also, you can adjust your own posture to show and be less threatening if you think you’re coming across that way… but when you’ve got a bunch of heads on Zoom, you know you don’t really have that ability. What can one do to be better at that?
Nathalie Nahai: 25:04
Yes, it’s tricky. You’re right. We lose so many of the rich and nuanced nonverbal cues that we rely on to gauge other people’s responses, and interests, and emotional states. I think there are various tactical things you can do. So, one of the things you can do just on a tools basis is that if you are trying to build space for people to be candid, you can use tools such as anonymous surveys, polls, etc., as participation forces; which sounds bad, and it’s not about coercion, but it is about creating an anonymous space in which people can be honest. That doesn’t fix the problem though because what you want to do is create a space where people feel comfortable voicing their opinions as themselves. So, then it’s really about individuals within the group and in particular leaders within the group, stating what the intention for the group is, having some parameters in terms of what is welcome. Also making sure they’re giving good verbal feedback about feedback that they might have received. So, if they say, “Look, we really want to hear from you because we haven’t got experience on a day-to-day basis with customers. Your voice and insights are really important. If you’re being mindful about (as a manager as a leader), inviting participation, and making sure that that’s something that you consciously build in, that can also be really important. And then also, there are… one of my dear friends as a coach and she was describing some of the practices that you can do, which are physical practices; so, like art-based practices that she brought a team of execs together to do on Zoom. But at least it was something physical and tangible, so that there can also be with a bit of creativity, ways in which to experience something and share something a bit more deeply that involves physical participation in your environment, and then sharing the output of that across the screen. There’s lots of little things that we can do to try and help build that sort of safety. But trust is a little bit harder to cultivate online than in person, especially with teams that you’ve not met in person before.
Roger Dooley: 26:51
I think trust is such a critical element in employee experience and customer experience too. I think particularly when people are remote, there is certainly a portion of managers that are concerned that they actually aren’t working all the time. In fact, that we know that to be true. There have been a number of reports in the media about people who are holding down two virtual jobs, kind of doing a halfway quality job at both of them. But they’re unable to do this simply because they’re remote. And they’re not necessarily in that many meetings, they can just sort of do an adequate job in both, so managers may have some right to be concerned about that. But at the same time, you’ve got to build that trust, and I think that’s not easy. If you’re a remote employee, virtual employee, are there things that you can do to keep your bosses comfortable?
Nathalie Nahai: 27:44
Yeah. I think some of the things on the practices that I know that can be helpful are to have designated times to meet and speak about specific things. And one of the things that people sometimes forget about is the importance of unscheduled time where you can just log in, even if it’s like a 15-minute catch-up with your team member or the boss, to just talk to socialize. Because when we’re talking about trust, we’re also talking about emotional connection. And if you have a very highly structured meeting, where everything is focused on output and performance, then sure, you might be able to hit the numbers that you need to hit that week, but then what’s to say that that person isn’t then going to leave because they’re not satisfied, as we’ve seen with the economist headlines of the great resignation. And so, I think there is something about building trust through unscheduled meeting times. And then also making sure that you’re building time for people to come together, to engage in tasks together to create possibilities for collaborative work; I think that makes a big difference. And then also, I guess, something that I’ve seen other people do that works for some companies, depending on the culture, is to have virtual offices where you can check in for a portion of the day, and you can see who’s available in the same virtual office, so then you can literally just tap on the door virtually and say, “Look, do you want to chat about x, y or z?” So, there’s some creative ways about bridging those gaps, but I think it’s going to look different for everyone.
Roger Dooley: 28:59
It reminds me a little bit of these virtual conferences, or trade shows where you’ve got rooms and tables and such, where you can drop into the room and see who’s there and strike up a conversation with them. It’s been pretty awkward in the past, but I think that technology is improving over time. Do you have an opinion on Zoom happy hours?
Nathalie Nahai: 29:18
Oh, my gosh. Well, at the beginning of the pandemic yes, I quite liked Zoom. We would do family pub quizzes, and we had a couple of whiskey nights. But then I think fatigue kicked in, and it was too much screen time. Obviously, that’s something which people like less. I think is an interesting thing to do, intermittently. Again, it’s this whole thing of how do we get the best of both worlds, and make sure that we can enjoy what technology has to offer but not as a replacement. It’s not functionally equivalent to having an actual happy hour with people down the pub. But it is a substitute when the happy hour down the pump is not possible. So, that’s my thought you.
Roger Dooley: 29:51
You mentioned that even audio alone can be sometimes better than video. Think of if you’re in a Zoom meeting, video is important to establish that connection. But you said in some cases, just being ao audio is better, right?
Nathalie Nahai: 30:05
Yeah. And I think that’s because… well, several things. Number one, research suggests that we are a lot more self-conscious when we can see ourselves reflected on the screen. So, for instance, now me speaking to you, I am consciously attending to the video of your face and not mine because I don’t want to keep looking at my face, even though I’m right next to you on my screen. So, there’s that… there’s kind of diverting extra attention to where we want to hold our focus. But there’s also been some interesting research that women tend to speak up less in zoom meetings when the cameras are on or where they can see themselves. There’s also a gender element there that can come into play. There’s also things like, if you’re facing a bunch of heads, and you mentioned, the loss of verbal cues, we’ve in day-to-day experience, and we’ll see from the video… when I think I look around quite a lot because it helps me to think more clearly. Now on the Zoom, there’s almost an expectation that we keep looking straightforward. And of course, that’s not natural, and so it can feel threatening in some cases, it can give you eyestrain, it can make you feel tired, or it can make you feel as though you’re being surveilled. So, there’s all of this messy complex web of things that can be happening because we’re not able to actually just reach out, grab someone’s hand, say hello, or shut our eyes to think about our response. And I think that’s why audio is so helpful because it means that we are, in some ways more intimately listening to what the person is saying. We tune in to the nonverbal cues, so not just the content and the words, but how they’re speaking, the intonation, the pace, the constriction, or openness of the voice, the excitement level. All of this is something that is easier to tune into when there isn’t a visual getting in the way. So, I think those are just some of the cues and things that come into play when we’re thinking about whether we want to go audio or video or combination of both.
Roger Dooley: 31:46
I think that’s a good place to wrap up Nathalie. How can people find you and your ideas online?
Nathalie Nahai: 31:51
Thanks, Roger. So, my personal professional website is nathalienahai.com. If you want to find out about the book, I’ve made a beautiful site called businessunusualthebook.com. And then if you want to find out within your business, what your business values represent, how they express themselves, you can check out thevaluesmap.com, which is a free tool, where you can figure out what your values are and how to express and communicate them throughout your business. And then you can also check out The Hive Podcast. Thank you so much. This has been such a pleasure. We went
Roger Dooley: 32:21
We will link to all those places on the show notes page at rodgerdooley.com/podcast. Nathalie, it’s been great to reconnect. Thanks for being on the show.
Nathalie Nahai: 32:29
Thank you so much.
Thank you for tuning into Brainfluence. To find more episodes like this one, and to access all of Roger’s books, articles, videos, and resources, the best starting point is rogerdooley.com. To check availability for a game-changing keynote or workshop in person or virtual, visit rogerdooley.com.