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11 am charmer
A simple way to be more charismatic, at least once a day. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Most days I send this email at exactly 7:02 a.m. Eastern. But what if there were a better time? My colleague Jess Stillman came across a study a little while ago suggesting the most charismatic time of day might be 11 a.m. Well, maybe. Here’s what she learned.
Some people got it; some people don’t
A study published in Leadership Quarterly and written up by its authors for the Harvard Business Review website suggests that no matter how charming you are naturally, there’s a simple thing you leverage to become more charismatic.
In short, their new research shows that people’s levels of charm rise and fall dramatically throughout the day.
I'd never considered the effect of timing on charm before, but perhaps I should have. After all, studies show time of day affects just about everything else:
Morning people have been shown to be 20 percent smarter earlier in the day.
Doctors make fewer mistakes during early-morning appointments.
Here’s how the study worked. Researchers asked college students to fill out a questionnaire to determine if they're larks or night owls (what psychologists call your 'chronotype').
Then, 131 participants did a role play exercise in which they pretended to speak at a graduation ceremony. The twist was that some of these speeches were given at the eye-wateringly early hour (for college students) of 7 a.m., and others at midnight.
How did the timing of the speeches affect the students' performance?
When the researchers had independent evaluators rate the speakers’ charisma, they found that "larks gave more inspirational speeches in the 7 a.m. session than the midnight session, and owls gave more inspirational speeches in the midnight session than the 7 a.m. session.
In a follow-on study the same team found that time of day played a role in how listeners perceived the speeches, too. Surprising exactly no one who has ever tried to deliver an early-morning lecture to college kids, the researchers showed half-asleep listeners are far harder to charm.
Or as the authors put it, "The 'rah rah' speeches of leaders are less effective when followers are tired and just do not want to hear it."
This is a fairly common sense finding, but it's also one that leaders and speakers all too often ignore in the real world.
If charisma isn't just about talent and skills, but instead is also about timing, then the most charming among us might have the wisdom to know when they and their audiences are at their best, and time their efforts accordingly.
Translating this truth into real-life action is easy if you are an early bird leading early birds. Deliver your rousing call to action when everyone is fired up in the morning.
But what should you do if you and your followers' chronotypes don't match? If you're half alive at 7 a.m. and they're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, whose state of mind should weigh heavier in the scheduling scales?
"Typically, a good approach is to avoid extremely early or late times, likely settling for roughly the middle of the day. A good time to aim for could be 11 a.m. -- it's not too early for owls or too late for larks, and it avoids lunchtime and the 3:30 a.m. slump," suggest the authors, though they add that "the exact time of day you select, of course, should be driven by your context."
So, next time you want to win people over to you or your cause, don't just consider your message and your delivery, consider your timing as well. You may find yourself instantly more charismatic if you carefully time your approach for when both you and those you're hoping to charm are at your best.
(Editor’s note: Thanks to Jess, but we’ll still be sending the newsletter at 7:02 a.m. Old habits die hard.)
7 other things worth knowing today
Jair Bolsonaro’s presence in the US has turned into a diplomatic quandary for President Joe Biden after supporters of the former Brazilian leader stormed government buildings over the weekend. What initially appeared to be a target for humor—Bolsonaro was photographed eating at a KFC and strolling through a Publix supermarket in Florida after he arrived in the US in Dec. 30—became far more serious after thousands of Bolsonaro supporters invaded Brazil’s congress, supreme court and presidential palace on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, accused him of encouraging the riots. (Bloomberg)
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says a ban on gas stoves is on the table amid rising concern about harmful indoor air pollutants emitted by the appliances. (In December, a study suggested 12% of asthma cases are caused by gas stoves.) “This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, said in an interview. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” (Reuters, MDPI)
An arc of gleaming black granite slabs etched with 36,634 names was unveiled on the National Mall over the summer, built to honor American service members who died fighting in the Korean War. Only problem: It's riddled with errors, including misspellings, omissions, and hundreds of other mistakes. (NY Times)
Microsoft’s new zero-shot text-to-speech model can duplicate everyone’s voice in three seconds. (Metaverse Post)
I've followed the Mediterranean diet for over a year. Here are 14 mistakes I wish I avoided when I started. Rule #1: Come up with some go-to meals ahead of time. (Insider)
A cruise ship pool became a six-story waterfall after the ship took a hard turn to avoid hitting a raft. Has video. (Yahoo News)
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars sold more cars last year than at any previous point in its 118-year history, the company announced. Some 6,021 cars were delivered to customers last year, a rise of 8% compared with 2021. (UK News)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Jess wrote about this before for Inc.com. See you in the comments.