I hate going to the dentist. Cleanings are OK, but when that drill comes out, my whole body turns into a Gordian knot. However, when she begins, “Five, four, three…” I relax…a little.
I’ve always used countdowns as a way to raise anticipation and excitement but my dental trauma has opened my eyes up to other reasons it’s important.
1. Keep people looking ahead.
Everyone’s wrapped up in what they have to do today, in this moment. It’s easy to tune out everything else going on. Countdowns remind them that there is something else coming, and it’s important. It redirects their attention to something that will be celebrated. Countdowns aim to create a positive vibe in relation to change.
2. Ensure folks are prepared.
I’m assisting a client with a major building move. New desks, new team groupings, less space. The countdown reminds them that we are close to the finish line, so they need to be prepared. A simple, attractive checklist ensures they have completed the tasks that will lead to success when move day rolls around.
3. Tell them it’s almost over.
By using a countdown, the dentist was telling me how long it would take to get through the pain. I could hold on for five seconds. I started using the same practice on roller coasters. I love them, but those big drops freak me out! I tell myself, “It will be over in seconds, and then back to the fun part!”
Not everyone is looking forward to change. They are not resisting. They are fearful.
How can you use a countdown to help those looking forward to the change with both excitement and trepidation?