To sell creative ideas it pays to be disagreeable

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Trends

Creativity isn’t a question of just coming up with new thinking. You also need to sell it to others.

Creativity is therefore a social endeavour. If you want people to embrace your new ideas, you need to be willing to put them on the line, survive any negative feedback, and then have the strength of character to still convince people why your ideas have potential.

Psychologists have been researching if there are any types of personality that are particularly good at doing that. In particular they investigated whether such people happen to be disagreeable or agreeable.

It turns out that disagreeable people are better at selling their creative ideas, particularly if the people they are selling to are also disagreeable.

Their definition of ‘disagreeable’, by the way, is people who have "argumentative, egotistical, aggressive, headstrong and hostile" personalities.

Note that the research didn’t imply that disagreeable people are any more creative in the first place, they are just better at selling their ideas to a group.

Can this really be true? Don’t people prefer dealing with agreeable people? That’s surely the case day to day. But when it comes to the moment when new thoughts are being proposed, perhaps different rules apply.

It’s an odd one nevertheless. But then that’s perhaps as it should be for our last blog of the year. Our Synergist weekly blogs are based on new research, on the grounds that we prefer giving out facts than waffle. So at Christmas we like to pick something that’s still factual but just a bit odd.

This time last year we recall that we mentioned research showing that people’s attention spans have slipped to 8 seconds. Note that a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. In comparison with that little gem, our parting factoid this year is almost as peculiar. To sell your creative ideas you should become disagreeable.

It’s something to think about. For eight seconds anyway.

All the best for 2016.

Source: The British Psychological Society

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