Psychological needs of a successful business meeting
Maslow’s theory of needs is well documented and well understood. The parallels between human needs and marketing needs of one’s audience. We’re diving deeper below.
Succeeding in business largely boils down to how gratified your audience feels after you have pitched your product or services to them, according to revered psychologist Abraham Maslow’s 8 decade old “Theory of Human Motivation”. First published in 1943, this psychology research forms the bottom line of today’s business meeting etiquettes. The theory states that the human needs are structured in a pyramidal hierarchy, and understanding this might just be the remedy to the unproductive meetings you might be hosting. The Maslow’s Pyramid has the most basic needs of humans- Physiological needs (food, clothing, shelter) at the bottom, and safety, social needs, esteem and self-actualization making up the remaining upper part of the pyramid. Maslow argues that as the baser needs are satiated, newer needs begin cropping up in humans, and these newer needs tend to have a deep emotional overlay as compared to the physical nature of the baser needs. Addressing these needs of your clients, you stand the best chance of winning that business approval you have been working so hard for.
So how can you use this psychology to make your meetings more productive? This study by FreemanXP, investigates the parallels between the marketing needs of your audience and the human needs. Based on these investigations, they have come up with the following pyramidal organization of the marketing needs.
- Level 1: Guidance.
First and basest of the needs of the audience is guidance. Easing them into the meeting ambience plays an important role in making them confident about the engagement. Thus, helping in accessing the meeting is one such way of easing them, and therefore, you must ensure that you make it amenable for them to locate the meeting spots by using mobile apps or other social media tools. Making sure that your meeting rooms are impeccable, appropriately lit and have comfortable furniture is another important aspect of securing your audience’s comfort.
Level 2: Value
After a guided experience into the meeting, you have to address the second need, adding value to the audience’s experience. Now that we are set up for a great presentation, you must make the most of your communication skills and deliver small but coherent presentations which engage the viewers through informative visuals which enable the clients to extract maximum value out of your ideas. Allow some room for creativity- design videos, use smart-arts to capture you audience’s attention. Giving out relevant and crisp information using today’s media is highly crucial in capturing the audience’s attention.
Level 3: Connections
Allowing clients to interact and giving them ample of time and space to express their opinions whilst reciprocating their observations makes the clients respond positively to your proposals. This is aimed at a deeper, emotional need of humans of social connection – anyone who is being given importance in a social group satiates their want for acceptance, and business is no exception. Offer networking opportunities for your audiences, like social media based discussions and audience oriented discussion sessions.
Level 4: Esteem and recognition
At such stage, the audiences now feels compelled to give in their contributions, which, according to Maslow, is a reaction due to the need of a proving their competency and confidence. Fostering this need and taking care of it is crucial in ensuring a satisfied audience, and ultimately, a productive meeting. Provide ample opportunities for such interactions- having feedback sessions, for example. Encourage participation in these sessions and assuring the audience a comfortable space for showcasing their knowledge.
Level 5: Growth and Self-Worth
Smoothly transitioning though these levels results into an audience that is ready for self-actualization, which is a way of them reciprocating what they have seen and learned in the meeting. This is the highest need in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and serves as an indicator to the effectiveness of the meeting. What they take away from the meeting or the event is what extends the meeting even after it has been finished.
So, we look at the pyramid for business meetings like this:
This study was done by Niru Desai, who is the Vice-President of the Strategy International and published under the title “Maximizing Attendee Engagement and Value by design.