Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The weather is not just small talk

So, are you one for checking the weather forecast on a regular basis? We all like good weather at weekends so we can get out doors and blow off some steam. During the week we like to make sure that we wear the right clothes going to work and have our raincoat or umbrella if we need it.

It turns out however, the weather also affects how we think. It does not have to be as extreme as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) It can affect us in far more subtle ways. 

I recently came across a 2009 study which showed that in something as specific as job interview performance it can have a real impact. The study analyzed the results of  medical-school interviews at the University of Toronto between 2004 and 2009. People interviewed on rainy days received a one per cent lower score than those interviewed on sunny days. While it seems small, the difference in scores was equivalent to a ten per cent lower total mark on the Medical College Admission Test for the university.  

The paper suggests that the mood of those conducting the interviews is lowered by the poor weather. This literally dampens their thinking when they score their candidates. If this is the case then the same cognitive influence could be at play when you have a salary review, when you try to close a big sale with a customer or when you gather some marketing material such as customer surveys. It may also play a role in performance of focus groups or any other setting where people subjectively score performance based on how they feel about it.

Try to pick a nice day for your review or that important sales meeting. If things don't work out and you are fresh out of other excuses, dodge the bullet by blaming the weather.

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