We all enjoy a glass of wine at business functions, but the next time you’re out networking, you might want to think twice about picking up a glass.
Recent studies have found that being seen with a glass in hand will lower your business prospects, and could even have people perceiving your IQ to be 10-20 points lower than it is.
“Small business owners who network or have a strong social media presence are particularly at risk. Just being pictured with a glass of wine has the potential to tarnish your reputation, decrease the number of leads you receive and reduce your intelligence, not in real terms, but in the eyes of those who see you,” says Rhondalynn Korolak, SMB marketing expert and author of Sales Seduction.
A new survey of 100 business owners who attended a networking event found that 71 percent reported having at least one alcoholic beverage, while 36 percent had at least two.
These 36 respondents exchanged fewer business cards and gained fewer qualified leads than the others.
The 29 who didn’t touch the alcohol reported exchanging twice as many business cards and gaining 41 percent more leads.
The study is an example of priming, which occurs whenever decisions and actions are influenced by context, visuals, emotions, or symbols.
“Alcohol and business networking don’t mix. Humans are conditioned to associate alcohol with cognitive impairment, and even when no such impairment is present, the association still sticks and we will automatically judge the person partaking as less intelligent and less suitable for doing business with,” says Korolak.
Korolak says that in a tight economy, where every new person you meet could present a business opportunity, it’s important to know how people can be influenced by subtle cues in order to prevent an unwitting faux pas.