A seldom discussed topic in the business world is one called “Proximity.” Dave Yoho introduced me to the term in Chicago a few years back.
Amazingly, studies have shown that when you’re performing a sales presentation in someone’s home, you get a better response when you sit to the right of the homeowner. It’s theorized that because you’re closer in proximity to the right-brain of the person deciding to buy something, you’re more likely to effect an emotional decision.
Proximity teaches us that the most effective way to arrange a classroom or training event is with a “U-shaped” layout where the presenter is in the middle with the open end behind him.
Everyone is relatively equidistant to the instructor and can openly communicate with him and each other. How many classrooms have you seen arranged in that manner?
Proximity also teaches us that when selling, you never put a table between yourself and a prospect. The psychological repercussions of that are, “you’re on that side and I’m on this side” – that’s both literally and figuratively.
So if you’re at a trade show trying to gather leads for your business, the worst thing you can do is put a table between yourself and the aisle. When you’re meeting with a team member, placing a desk between you and the team member again implies that we’re on different sides.
For that reason, I recently reorganized my office to get the desk out of the middle of the floor separating me from everyone else. My L-shaped desk is in the corner opposite the doorway with each side up against a wall which means my back is basically facing the door. There is nothing else between the door, the 2 office chairs and me. With a simple swivel of my chair we’re all sitting face-to-face and working together.
Just as importantly, my computer is behind me instead of between myself and the person I’m talking with.
You would be amazed when you put these things into action and explain to your team why you’re doing them at how positively they respond. Far too few “employees” ever work with a “manager” who puts so much effort into every detail.
Remember the study in In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies that demonstrated that when your team members see you putting forth effort for them, it doesn’t even matter what you do, productivity will increase just because you took an interest?
This really doesn’t take a lot of work, thought, or effort so why wouldn’t you consider implementing the laws of proximity into your next sales presentation, training seminar, or office?
To your success, Bryan