“He’s such a cold bastard! Even the room gets a chill when he walks in!”
We’re weren’t even out of the room and my consulting pal was already berating our client. He had point: it had been chilly in there, and the client — never someone who filled your heart with bonhomie — was in particularly icy form that day.
I’d always laugh when my pal said these things, of course: we all know that the “cold bastard” was (a) statistically likely born in wedlock given where he came from and (2) had a body temp around 98.6°F (37°C), give or take.
It turns out that my colorful pal was onto something. Temperature really does affect one’s affect, changing the emotions considerably, and even affects one’s intellectual performance.
Recent studies have shown that if you give someone a warm drink beforehand, he will think more “warmly” (like more) of people around him. You can even do similar things with raising or lowering the temperature of the room.
This has a lot of import for those of us who live by working with other people, especially those who work with people in distress. You can do a lot by simply having warm drinks ready.
So if you’re getting ready to break some bad news to the boss, ask for that raise, angle for a promotion above your current peers, you’d do a lot worse than stopping in at the coffee house and grabbing a couple of cappuccinos or Joes.
It also explains why my Flemish clients’ insistence on postponing the meeting until coffee was served made a lot more sense than I credited back then. Heaven knows that last gig needed it.
(I recall seeing somewhere that the effect doesn’t work with tea, at least in the States. So show up with coffee, which has the added bonus of what Americans associate as an appealing and warm aroma.)
You can read more about this at Wray Herbert’s “We’re Only Human” blog at the APA site (“Cold Shoulder, Warm Heart“).
[hattip to The Situationist blog]