Marketing research

Setting expectations can benefit even casual meetings, according to Maryland Smith Marketing Research

COLLEGE PARK, Md., October 26, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As goal setting meetings can help teams be more productive in the workplace, they can also help get the most out of personal activities, according to a study co-authored by a professor from marketing. Rebecca ratner to University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.

The study, “Navigating shared consumption experiences: clarity on a partner’s interests increases pleasure“in the Journal of Marketing Research, shows that when people take a few minutes at the start of a social event to make sure they are on the same page on what they hope to gain from the experience, they will have a better time and be less likely to leave disappointed.

Ratner worked with Yuechen Wu, Ph.D. from Maryland Smith, now at Johns Hopkins University; Maryland Smith Ph.D. Nicole You Jeung Kim, currently at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; and Rebecca Hamilton at Georgetown University.

The researchers tested what happens when two people share a leisure experience and how an experience improves for participants when they first have a quick conversation about goal setting. People don’t often have these conversations, Ratner says, and they value the experience less because of it.

“There is uncertainty. When you’re with another person, you don’t really know what that person wants to get out of the experience,” she says. “People worry too much about how they should act.”

Ratner and his co-researchers conducted several experiments sending people to art galleries, either on their own or with a companion, to study how well they were able to focus on art and how much they appreciated the art. experience.

When a participant was unsure whether their mate was genuinely interested in studying art or more interested in just hanging out and casually observing the pieces, they focused less on art and socialized less.

“They kind of end up frozen,” Ratner says.

A very brief discussion beforehand about what each person wanted to get out of the gallery visit made all the difference: “They each learned more about the art, got more out of the overall experience and felt better able to socialize, ”she says.

But in the experiments, when given the option, participants choose not to have an expectation-setting meeting before the activities. Ratner says people don’t take opportunities to get that clarity because they seem to think the conversation won’t help and will be uncomfortable – more like a job with a goal setting meeting. In fact, study participants said the conversation was much less awkward than they feared.

Having this quick chat benefits both people no matter how well they think they know each other, she says. The effects appear both when people are strangers and when they know each other. And having clarity helped even when the partners had different goals.

“It’s better to be clear that you have different goals than not to be sure that you have different goals,” says Ratner. In some cases, you might find it’s best to go it alone when it’s clear that you and your significant other are not on the same page, she points out.

Ratner’s tip for avoiding disappointment and getting the most out of a date with a companion (s): Chat quickly to set expectations. If both parties are on the same page, no one is disappointed.

“You might think it would be awkward to have a discussion about goals, but it really isn’t,” Ratner says.

Keep the conversation quick and light, she suggests, to keep it from looking like a laborious task.

Go to Maryland Smith Research for related content.

About the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, Smith School offers an undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialized masters, doctoral and executive training programs, as well as outreach services to the business community. The school offers its degree, personalized and certification programs in places of learning in North America and Asia.

Contact: Greg Muraski at [email protected]

THE SOURCE University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

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