Following is a transcription of episode 43 of the LeaseSmart Commercial Real Estate Podcast.
Craig: Today, I want to speak about choosing your commercial lease space. It will be somewhat which has been highly recommended by everyone I know who has read it. It is called odd though! My point today: I’ll be talking about a fantastic book I am in the middle of reading Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. He originally wrote ‘Influence’ probably 30 years ago, and it’s also been mentioned by many people as a massively important book in marketing and human psychology. It explains why people do what they do. And so, for any reason no matter what business you’re in or even if you’re not in business, if you want to try to figure out why you do the things you do or why other people do the things they do, it’s a great book! Cialdini emphasizes that people make their decisions based on emotion, and then they justify those decisions with logic. So you can talk until you’re blue in the face to convince someone of something using facts and detail, and they’re not listening. It’s not going to work. Just like the sales cliché, people buy with emotions and justify with logic.
The emotionally based decisions of people were one of the major points in the book and a huge eye opener on why people do the things they do. But how does this affect or relate to the commercial real estate user? Well, Cialdini gives a perfect example in the book, which might be useful to the office space users as well as other business owners.
His example in the book is where some people were going to their client’s office spaces to prepare Insurance Programs packages: employee benefits, that kind of thing. What they found was that, when this team of people went to a company and were housed in a room that was glass on all sides and the benefit designers could see the people through the glass, they generally would put together better plans than when they were in a room without a view of the proposed beneficiaries.
Natalie: That is very interesting.
C: I know! The point Cialdini was trying to highlight here is that there are pre-suasive ways in which you can stimulate creative new solutions to problems, and working space is one of them. Think about it. Try going in a room with a high ceiling or even an open, expansive place. Expansive places make people think in open and expansive ways just by the association between the two concepts. Office workers will also be more creative when they see their fellow workers through the glass walls. There are no physical enclosed constraints around them.
N: I think it makes sense because I think it has to do with how big they perceive their audience is. They’re on a bigger stage, and they feel like more people are going to be walking by or maybe looking at what they’re doing right?
C: It could be, but I’m not sure the employees were reviewing the material as it was being put together. I think in the book, it had more to do with the attraction or human psychology of seeing the actual people that are going to be affected by your work. That’s the take I got from it.
Another point that might even be more important, was when he was writing a book a few years ago. He had two places where he was writing this book: One was in an office at a university. A beautiful office, nice view overlooking the university and all the academic buildings and things. He had all these books and research papers and everything all lined up there where he could see in the bookcases. So, he saw these things all the time when he’d look up from his writing. Now, he also would write from his house sometimes. His house had less of all the academic materials around him, and the view was still magnificent, but it was entirely different. This view was of the general population going about their business walking by, shopping and doing all the things they do. What he noticed was, his writing style was entirely different from one location to the other. I mean dramatically different.
N: That’s fascinating to me!
C: I know! You would think you could write the same no matter what and that’s what he and probably everyone else thinks. He didn’t want his writing to be stilted in an academic style since his book was being written for the public. So, after looking at the different samples of his writing and finding he just couldn’t stop the academic style while he was in his academic office looking at academic buildings, he ended up moving and writing that book out of his home.
So how does that affect business owners? If you’re an office user and you have employees you want to be productive, depending on what they’re doing whether it would be academic based, scientifically based or creative, you want to pick your surroundings carefully.
Quick note on décor: He does some other studies about people taking tests if there’s a poster up on the board that says “Achieve!”
N: Oh right! Happy and inspirational.
C: Yes, and he thought they were BS for a long time, but then he saw some research. People do better with these inspirational posters hanging over them! Who knew? A similar example: Females do better on science exams when there are pictures nearby that show other scientific women that had scientific breakthroughs. This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Who would have believed that subliminal things matter so much?
So, when you’re picking an office space you should be very keen on the environment and views, both internally and externally. Like Google and Facebook who use are open floor plans, and glass walled conference rooms. So maybe they’re onto something, maybe it’s more than just the image they want and their philosophy, but maybe it does, in fact, deliver a better product. So, I would think a little harder about the facility because of these factors than maybe I used to. It’s certainly not about all the rent. Rent is a minor factor compared to employee productivity and retaining and hiring and firing and training and all that.
So as always, pick the space carefully, and keep this new element in mind!