Oxytocin is commonly known as the love drug- as it’s the hormone your brain releases when you hold hands with a lover, have sex or when mums hold their babies for the first time- but it’s more than that.
If you’ve ever felt a warm fuzzy feeling while being part of a crowd that’s oxytocin too and it’s a crucial evolutionary trait of our make-up. For thousands of years the success of tribes, ie getting on with your mates, has been central to our existence (see the blog Why We Get Nervous that’ll be out later this year for more on this.)
I can honestly say that some of the most memorable moments of my time on Planet Earth have been from being in groups of people. Off the top of my head I could give you screaming with delight at the intro to Paradise City with 90,000 fans which was the final encore at a Guns N Roses gig at Wembley Stadium I went to when I was 14, watching the 5th Day of the 2005 Ashes Test at the Oval, Kenneth Brannagh’s Hamlet and the National Theatre and of course countless sets I’ve done at jam packed gigs that I never wanted to end. We are programmed as a species to love social events.
For the best part of a year most of the world has been under Covid social restrictions and some of the ‘new norm’ will stay; cashless transactions and remote doctor appointments are handy improvements to our lives that there’s no reason to revert from. However, unless you’ve fallen in love or had a baby (congrats on either if you have in the last year) the chances are you’re deficient in the oxytocin department.
In short, I believe people will be happy with the new norm when it improves their lives, but will go back to things they miss, like watching sports matches and concerts.
We’re all now a lot more au fait with video conferencing thanks to Covid, but we’re still wired up for physical meetings. Online meetings ease our carbon footprint and help with flexible working arrangements, so I don’t think they’ll go anywhere, but as face to face meetings and presentations become less common I believe their value will actually increase.
Even in the uber digitised 20s, lots of industries are located in close proximity of each other. As the vaccine does it’s work this year, at some point or other your clients will be thinking about meeting you.
I’m well aware I’m not inventing the wheel with this sentiment. Before setting up Smirk I was a Sales Controller at ITV, but I began as a spot monkey for GMTV in 2005. I found out soon after I got there that the client entertainment policy was more akin to the industry as a whole 20 years prior. If you came back to the office after a lunch you got a few funny looks, they often didn’t end the same day they started.
In the cold light of day you might ask whether that was a horrendous waste of time and money- going to restaurant til 5pm then bar hopping around til God knows when- but in fact the opposite was true. At the time GMTV was 2% of the broadcast market and could’ve been flicked off a schedule without anyone noticing. I firmly believe a large part of the reason we weren’t was this entertainment policy. Our customers came out, got loaded up on oxytocin and when we next mailed or called them looking for a spend, lots of people did.
It was while I was at ITV (as GMTV later became a part of) that I began stand-up comedy and was instantly hooked. I’d gig 5 times a week and read countless books on it and parts of my day job (like connecting quickly with strangers) became easier and easier. We teach companies and individuals on the countless transferrable skills between stand-up comedy and business- building rapport is a part of this work.
If you don’t consciously think about how to give your clients a dose of oxytocin then you should.Get in touch