A Comparative Study of the Effectiveness of Different Doughnut Types in Maximizing the Impact of Business Presentations

14 Sep

Readers of The Management Secrets of T. John Dick will be aware of the many benefits of having done so. Foremost among these, of course, is membership in a very exclusive club. Lesser authors might be frustrated by such a relatively small readership, but I judge success by quality, not quantity, and by that criterion my work has been a triumph. Frankly, I wouldn’t want just anybody reading my books, and in this I have been spectacularly successful. I hope you feel special. You certainly should.

But there are other benefits too. The insights and tips contained in The Management Secrets of T. John Dick have been invaluable to readers in managing their business and personal lives. They range from the benefits of applying the latest management principles to your marriage (you’re welcome ladies) to the appropriate way to respond to customers’ promises to set their dogs on you if you ever come near them again. But perhaps the single most important piece of expert advice in a book that is practically bursting its binding with pieces of expert advice is this: if you want to be taken seriously, always be sure to serve doughnuts at your meetings. Well, not you personally of course – have someone set them out on a table before the meeting. This will emphasize your position in the office hierarchy. After all, not everyone has the authority to provide doughnuts at their meetings.

You will understand then why I was intrigued to read this article from the BBC, concerning idiosyncracies of the British workplace. Most of the article deals with the importance of serving tea. Disappointingly there was no mention of doughnuts and I began to wonder how (or if) British business manages to function at all.  Then, amongst all the woolly feelgood nonsense concerning office camaraderie, I cam across this gem:

“A study by biscuit baker, Thomas J Fudges, of 2,000 British workers, revealed one in four would be more likely to close a deal in a meeting because of the biscuits provided, with shortbread, chocolate bourbons and flapjacks all likely to win a favourable reaction.”

This is pretty powerful stuff. It leads me to believe that a comparable study should be carried out on this side of the Atlantic. Several executives of equivalent experience and presentation skills could lead meetings identical in every respect with the exception of the types of doughnuts provided to the attendees. Would an executive with powdered cinnamon doughnuts command more respect than his plain doughnutted rival? Would an executive who served a wide variety of doughnuts be viewed as someone able to see the big picture or simply as  indecisive? Would a presenter who served glazed raspberry filled doughnuts find his audience’s attention distracted by the concentration required to eat said doughnuts without dribbling on their ties? Would he find his own concentration impaired by the sight of raspberry jelly on his listeners’ chins? Perhaps most importantly of all, which variety of doughnuts takes the longest to eat and is consequently most effective in preventing listeners from asking awkward questions?

I’m not sure if the editors of the Harvard Business Review have read The Management Secrets of T. John Dick or follow my blog. Frankly, I’m not sure if they would meet the stringent qualifications I mentioned above. But if they happen to be part of my exclusive readership, then I think the least they could do would be to offer to publish the results of this research, if I ever get around to conducting it. Maybe if I offered them a nice cup of tea and a chocolate bourbon?


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