If you haven’t attended one, I’m sure you’ve heard of them – those business meetings where everyone sits around a long table and stares blankly, with mouths agape, at the head of the table for a couple hours. You may feel brain dead after a business meeting, and what’s funny is – they can actually make you that way.
According to a study done by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, all it takes is someone at a business meeting who makes us feel dumber to make us subconsciously act that way. During the study, 70 college students were given IQ tests and they all scored around the same – 126. The authors then randomly selected 10 participants and gave them a second IQ test while they monitored their brain activity using an MRI scan.
During the second test, the authors told each participant how they were doing compared to the others as they went along, and in the end, the students did significantly worse. After looking at the MRI results, the authors found that the parts of the brain that control fear and anxiety were much more active when the students were reminded of their competition.
So… if you’ve ever felt like you did badly on a presentation and you followed someone who presented really well, this could explain why you weren’t at your best. And if you’ve ever left a brainstorming session feeling mentally drained, this could also explain why.
I’d like to say the moral is: don’t have business meetings, but let’s be realistic – they can definitely serve a good purpose (especially at our digital marketing firm). Instead, let’s say the moral is: don’t have stupid business meetings.