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When is The WORST time for a meeting, client call, or a webinar?
Last Updated July 11th, 2013

Is there a “WORST” time for a meeting, webinar, or sales call?

Research from the Columbia Business School suggests “YES!.”

Especially if you want something from the person you’re meeting with.

Watch this new video to find out more.

When To Never Schedule A Meeting Or Sales Call

Don’t schedule a meeting or sales call during THIS time (I share it in the video), else you’ll never get what you want out of that meeting.

New research suggests there’s a WORST time for meetings, sales calls, and webinar. Here’s more – Click to Tweet

Also, I’m getting ready to film more Social Triggers TV episodes. So, if you’re not on the email list, hop on it now.

And tomorrow, I’ll send out another email where you’ll have the chance to determine what content I create next for you.

In the mean time, did you ever make this “meeting time mistake?” Share your story in the comments.

Finally, if you know someone who would LOVE the insight from this research, send them a link to this video. You’ll find web designers, freelancers, and yes, even managers who manage people in corporate america will LOVE to hear about this.

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83 comments Leave a comment
Jim Wang

The dangerous part about this is that the hungry person doesn’t know their decision making is affected by hunger as it’s happening. It’s like when you get into an argument and you realize you’re suddenly shouting, it sneaks up on you. It’s unfortunate that, in this case, people’s lives were being impacted but it’s good folks are out there studying this!

Jackie Brown

When I first received the link to this post in my email, I had a small suspicion that the answer to your question would be hunger. Just from my experience as a leader, I’m usually sharper and more intuitive when I’ve fueled my body with nutrients that help me maintain my mental and physical energy. As I burn off my fuel, I make every attempt to fuel my mind and body so that I finish the day strong. Great post backed up by research!

Asi Ace

Excellent research, though results are kind of disturbing.. think about it:
some innocent people may be doing time just because of an hungry judge 🙁

Anyways I do my best to not show in court in anytime..

Goodbye from Israel


Hi. Thanks.

I really appreciate this one. I didn’t see the research, but I was wondering how they know it was the food and not simply anticipation of the break or the break itself? I couldn’t find Danziger’s actual report, but I did find some other source’s that quote Danziger’s research, and indeed one reported the following: “It’s not entirely clear whether the food itself […] was the key factor in judges’ decision-making, or whether it had more to do with the simple act of taking a break, walking around and taking a mental rest. Danziger’s “choice overload” theory suggests the latter […].” Quote from: healthland.time.com/2011/04/14/when-lunch-is-served-so-is-justice/

In psychology, we were taught to be very careful not to automatically attribute cause to correlation. It’s a big mistake I see a lot both in research and quotations of research.

Thanks again,

    Asi Ace

    you can find it on “think, fast and slow” by Daniel kahnman.


For me, it’s before or after a nap! Man, I love my naps!


I failed my first driving test . It was right before lunch time. I never understood why- because I made no mistakes. My second test was after the Cop had eaten his lunch. I passed, even though I clearly knocked the cone over. I’ve always been puzzled. Thanks for the tip.
I think we should start an organization to ensure our judges are well fed always….(hint)

Bill Hibbler

Great story about the Israeli judges, Derek and I love the energy in your videos. You’ve also given me some ideas about how to use calls to action in my own videos. Thanks!


I avoid meetings and calls like rabies.

Christina Gustavson

I can agree with you – to some extent. It is also known that a person who has eaten will get drowsy some time after filling his belly. Will this drowsiness affect the judgement – maybe easier to give parole instead of taking the trouble to convict someone?

Ori Drory

Ha! This is great.

Interesting thing to say and it seems very true. Actually it should be, based on what i’ve learned with my study.

Brains looooove carbs, I know so from doing a ketogenic diet. The following happened.

I got cranky all week round. I had no carbs to fuel my thinking attic. But when Saturday came – and oh boy those Saturdays – I was finally allowed to munch down all the carbs I could eat. I’m talking, bread, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes, crisps, crackers and even the odd chocolate cookie or two.

What happened during these days is that on a scale of one to ten in happiness, thinking power, decisiveness and so forth… I would be a thousand. On the remaining six days of the week. Well… maybe a two at best.

Food does more to you than you think it does. So thanks Derreck for pointing this out in a business setting.

On a sidenote. I’ve had some meetings with previous managers at the end of the workday. Meaning close to dinnertime. Yeap… They were cranky, subjective and undecisive. Traits they wouldn’t have right after lunch.

Ken Boff

Forget everything you ever learned about building a high-performing team. The best way to get team buy in is to schedule the meeting at 11 a.m. and bring bagels and cream cheese. Problem solved.

Lawyer James

Most people overlook the everyday signs of knowing how to do the right thing at the right time. Good tips on the hunger game…

Michael Belk

Derek, as startling as this sounds it is not surprising that hunger plays a role in the decision-making process.

All people think better when all basic needs are met and hunger is one of our basic needs.

I write better articles as long as my needs are met. I become more creative and my thought processes flow better.

I would be willing to bet we could apply this principle to other aspects like simple yard work.

I know I tend to work faster on an empty stomach, but I work in a more detailed fashion when I am full.

Felicity Fields

I can’t think of a specific time when being hungry affected my ability to land a client. Since I’m on the West Coast, I’m always working with clients who are in different time zones. Will give some thought to scheduling them right after lunch times (even though that’s usually when I’m the most sleepy).

Michael Rich

Great video, Derek! Hangry!!! So true.

Brian Bennis

Aha, I’ll never look at your blog or watch your video again, unless I’ve eaten a big meal. I find your information of huge value and I want to be in the peak of condition when I focus on your words of wisdom, so I don’t miss anything. I’m off to get some chocolate, before I watch your video again 😉

Paige Burkes

I heard of a consultant who coaches people around the world via phone/Skype. One of her secrets is, before their scheduled meeting time, she googles the closest pizza place to her client’s home/office. She calls and orders a pizza to be delivered just before the meeting time. The client is pleasantly surprised and the consultant knows that the client will have a happy tummy for the meeting. Brilliant!

With kids and adults, low blood sugar wreaks havoc. Years ago I discovered that I had hypoglycemia. Before I learned this, I used to wonder how I could turn into an absolute tyrant in the late morning or early evening hours (just before mealtime). Now that I know how to manage it, my mood stays on a much more even keel throughout the day (I snack all day).

When my kids are being crazy and little tyrants, I’ve learned not to bother yelling at them or trying to get them to calm down. I just put food in their face (something healthy, not sugary) until they start eating. In just a few minutes, they’re normal again. This might be a good tactic to use with our bosses or clients.

In the situations described in other comments where people walked into meetings with hungry people, what would have happened if they walked in with food?


This is so true.

If I were to meet someone for important and formal matter, I would normally go just after they are having their breakfast. Normally the whole matter ran smoothly.

Sometimes, the weather also plays a big role on their mood. So I would choose a nice and cool morning if possible.


This is so true! I have implemented this strategy for a few years in my personal life.

When I want to talk to my other half about something big when she comes home from work, I ALWAYS find out if she had lunch that day.
Lunch – We talk. No lunch – I wait until after dinner.

Always works great!


There may be another reason to eat and meet. Recent research in cognitive neuroscience has found that our prefrontal cortex ( the part of our brain that does much of our thinking and deciding) requires an exceptional amount of glucose and oxygen to operate effectively. So there is a neurobiological need for our brains to have glucose. Probably why people seek snacks in the afternoon as well. We need to feed our brains.

Nitin Aggarwal

Interesting study and i can imagine why meeting and training just before lunch are not productive.

I feel best time for all these are morning time. Even lunch is a good break but i also feel that a good break is important to refresh yourself and get into decision making mode again.

Jane Frankland

Very interesting Derek. I like your idea of scheduling meetings over lunch. The reason why is based on so many people not eating lunch! When I had my IT business I never made time to eat lunch & I know I’m not the only one who’s guilty of working in this way. So, this makes me think that conducting business meetings over lunch is really the safest way to do business. Otherwise you’d have to research your market & find out the stats for those who ate breakfast compared to those who ate lunch.

The Get In Shape Girl

Yep, while I believe this to be totally true (I know how the brain just does NOT function without food, low blood sugar, etc) I have to schedule my teleseminars around time zones. But this is good to think about when it comes to what time of the day to send out emails.

If you ever want to post about the best times/ days of the week to send out emails, that would be awesome!

Laura Campbell

That’s True~As a Mum I never do the family supermarket shop just before lunch because the bill will be twice as high as if I do it straight after breakfast or lunch! AND the house is full of biscuits all week. If I’m on a diet I send my husband after his breakfast!

Evan Anselmi

I agree, being hungry probably does have a huge influence on decision making. I wonder if it also has something to do with the attention span diminishing and the break times allowing the judge to refresh. It would be interesting to see if those paroles would peak and then trough after each break.

Johnny W

I think there are OTHER variables in play here. Have you ever heard of the study on judges and parole boards where, once again, the highest rate of parolee approvals occurred first thing in the morning and would tick down as the day went on.

HOWEVER, that research came out with the conclusion that everyone has a set pool of decision-making stamina. As the day goes on, our ability to make decisions decreases as each critical decision takes a bit out of this pool.

In order to effectively make decisions, you need to take a break and allow your brain to refresh. Thus the lunch break helps give the brain a chance to refresh and restore some of the decision making pool.

This is also why the pomedoran technique works. It allows the brain chances to refresh, restore some of that pool to make critical decisions.

For us cube monkeys, most of will say about 2:30-3pm is our least productive time. Same concept – by that time we’ve been going for 6 hours with little to no breaks.

Not saying food doesn’t help, but food may not be the critical element. I would challenge that if you take a good walk or separate yourself from work for 15 minutes before heading into that meeting, you’ll be as equally successful as if you just ate.



    Johnny, I agree with you.

    I’ve also heard of that study and thought they mentioned some kind of “decisionmaking fatigue”.

    They said that people are only able to make a number of decisions before needing a break to refresh their minds. It could be that food also matters but I guess the break itself is more important.

    It’s interesting food for thought though! Maybe there should be a new study to prove which is more of influence!


That gray matter in the head needs a lot of carbs to function well so I suppose that does make a lot of sense. I’m a teacher and I know that I’ve given classes that weren’t so great when I was hungry, but if you eat some foods or to much another opposite effect can take place…sleepiness. In the end, eating can be a double edged sword. Americans like to eat small lunches and big dinners that wouldn’t have this problem, but most latin american cultures eat big lunches and small dinners . So maybe look at the lunch size to boot.


Hey Derek thanks for this:)

I would like to add something interesting to your chat…

Not only hunger and fullness can effect decition making, but so can the food type it’s self..

For example coffee makes a person more receptive to suggestion! Good one if you want something…

Vinegar can make some people angry!

Sugar can make it difficult for some people to make a decition because their body is in toxic overload and busy stablising it’s self before any energy is given to the brain!

I hope you enjoyed 🙂

More research on food over at my site 🙂


James …

Joe Hage

Why not first thing in the morning?

Presumably, they’ve had some breakfast. They aren’t yet distracted. The day is full of possibilities.


This makes perfect sense. When I go on webinars if I am hungry or tired I barely listen to the last bit. Sometime I get out of it unless it really worthwhile and interesting like your webinars Derek 🙂

This is a great point to consider when scheduling webinars.

Kristen Poborsky

There are also studies done that directly correlate to this where people have more productive times during the day vs other based on their biological and mechanical “Prime Time”. Basically you have certain times of the day where you function at a higher level than others based on genetics and I am sure that our food intake plays directly into this.

I am a morning person and generally like to schedule meetings and work that requires critical in the morning when I am more alert. I find that both myself and my clients are less alert in the afternoon so I try to steer away from meetings then. Fridays at 4pm are the worst!

Clara Rose

LOL, I knew it was true! When I get hungry and my blood sugar drops… watch out. My kids use to comment that “mom needs to eat” or gently offer me a snack, lol.

Why would this not be true in business?

Thanks for the insight Derek 🙂


Very interesting.

If you eat a good breakfast, it should hold you over to lunch, right? Or you could have a mid-morning snack. Thousands of people stopping at Starbucks during the day can’t be wrong. 😉

A few days ago, I called someone at 1o:00 a.m. about a potential income opportunity; I haven’t received a response. Maybe I should have called at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Hmm…

Thanks for this tip. I’ll remember it.

Kerry Swetmon

Ooooh, I love this psychology! Great info, Derek. Makes perfect sense to me:)


Wow, very cool info, just what I needed to know! Thanks!

Madhurie Singh

Great insight!
I do recall that when I used to give lectures to my MBA class, that were nearing lunch, the attention level would diminish fast. And there were classes that were after lunch that would start sluggish but then pick up interest.


I was thinking about the blood glucose factor as I watched the video and read the comments. Marcy was the first one to mention it.

As a person with Type 2 diabetes, I sometimes start to go hypoglycemic–especially if my schedule gets thrown off. I can feel my brain starting to struggle with the simplest matters when my blood glucose heads below 75 mg/dL or so. But within minutes of eating something, I’m fine again.


Haha, great video!

This makes total sense. I was actually going to guess hunger was the 3rd factor. Blood sugar levels affect us in so many ways. I try to eat every few hours for this reason, so that it doesn’t mess me up. I can’t think of a specific story, but its definitely true for me. I will be using this information for sure, when scheduling intro sessions. Thanks!




Isn’t the point of a webinar for a lunch break? 🙂
It’s the most effective way to multi-task… it’s hard to talk on the phone and eat but easy peasy to watch a webinar with a bigmac in your mouth.

Dennis J. Smith

I’ve been having good success with webinars on Sunday evening right around 7 PM Mountain Time/Boise.

Jake Poinier aka Dr. Freelance

Once again, fascinating stuff, Derek. It’s an interesting contrast with figure skating judging, where scores tend to go up as the competition goes on. Maybe they’re snacking the whole time.

I suspect it’s also another reason to make sure you always eat breakfast for your own performance…even if you don’t have control over what your clients do.

    Patricia Reszetylo

    I’m guessing skating competitions are like horse competitions, where the better riders come in later. Hence better scores as the show goes on.

Lou Johnson

Interesting. I know as an actor, sometimes when we’re hungry, we give a more charged performance. Does that mean as sellers, we should SELL when we’re hungry?

Jesse Freitag-Akselrod

Incredible, but makes perfect sense in hindsight and sounds very similar to some research cited in Cialdini’s “Influence”

On the note of decisions based on “expert opinion” (as in the case of these judges, for example) Kahnemann presents some pretty damning evidence in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” – whether the experts are fed or not. Simple, algorithms using base-rates and past correlations seem to outperform expert opinion any day of the week…tough to swallow, especially if you’re an expert, but true.

Mary A.

This makes perfect sense, and I think that, yes, both hunger and fatigue are factors. (I have read that if you have the choice you’re better off scheduling surgery early in the day, when the surgeon is fresh.) I also think this must apply to job interviews as well. The next time I have a choice about the time for one of those, I’ll definitely remember Derek’s advice.

Steven Moody

Great application of the research.

How do you know if someone has eaten? Plenty of people skip breakfast and/or lunch.

Two options:
*learn their eating habits and schedule meeting around this
*if you have to schedule when they are hungry, arrange for food to be delivered to them. This is awesome for video calls if you can break bread virtually.

Chris Stelzer

Fantastic Derek, thank you. I never thought about this but I find it’s hard for me to interview someone for my podcast when I’m hungry, and I’ll be sure to keep this in mind when scheduling meetings/interviews in the future.

This is why I come to Social Triggers, to get info you can’t get anywhere else.

Carole Bozkurt

A similar point, which I think your video validates is this, I was always told that the best time to make a presentation is before lunch because people are hungry and that’s when they become most alert and can take on board more information. What do you think Derek?

Mike Kawula

This makes a ton of Sense!

Remember my 1st job working on Wall Street dialing and smiling building a book of business that I had the best success calling in the evening after people ate dinner or even during. Didn’t know why at the time, but definitely makes sense.

Alexis Meads

Ha! Such a great point. We often forget that our bodies impact our minds as much as our minds impact our bodies. Makes sense…I know I get impatient when I’m hungry.


Not sure is this is related but I guess it works both ways. I am a photographer and I had a wedding client. We met and I booked the job but the truth is I could not wait for her to leave cause I was hungry. She was asking questions over and over again. She cut me a check and I wrote up a contract. She left and then a few minute’s later walked back in and interrupted my lunch. I didn’t think I was cranky but maybe I was. I am not sure what happened, I thought I tolerated her ok under the circumstances but the second time she came in she asked me more questions and then ask for her check back. I was hurt and upset cause by then I had wasted a hour and lunch interruption. Was so bazaar.


    Thanks for this Jim. That’s a really good point. To make sure that we ourselves eat before an important meeting, so we’re not cranky or short with people. This is also a reason that I like to keep a little food on me when I’m out, so that I can always stay alert if something comes up and I get hungry.


That is so fascinating!!! I don’t have a story to share, but that is certainly interesting information.

Thanks for passing it along!

Michael R. Murphy

I thought my friends and I were the only ones who used the term ‘hangry’. Nice to see some scientific research that supports this. Anybody who’s known me for any amount of time knows I’m a holy terror when I need to eat. Until now I don’t think I’ve applied that knowledge to dealing with anybody else though. Thanks Derek!

Elly Klein

So true, Derek.

This is one of the first things I learned at university. It was an advertising course. I remember the professor saying something like, ‘If you were hungry, you probably wouldn’t be listening as closely to me right now, would you?’ No, I wouldn’t, I thought! 🙂

Ryan - Comeback Academy


Wow always something new and interesting and actionable. Great stuff.

One thing to think about to is when is having the meeting over food at lunch or dinner a good decision? I’ve conducted numerous negotiations while breaking bread and it does take barriers down.

I guess just make sure they have food in their stomach before you get to the nitty gritty 🙂


While I was listening to you, I kept thinking it’s got to be hunger! I just know myself and I really could care less about anything when I am hungry. Even if I am talking to someone, I find myself getting easily distracted and just focus on finding a way to stop the talking.

Once in a meeting, I had a bagged lunch with me so I just opened up my lunch and started eating and that felt so good 🙂 I actually found myself thinking more clearly as soon as I started eating.

Recently, I had a meeting scheduled for one hour at 10 am. I thought…perfect…then lunch then more work…what a great day. WRONG. The meeting went on and on until 1 pm! Early risers, like me like to eat lunch around noon. To me, the second half of the meeting was a waste because I truly couldn’t focus on anything but my stomach.

So, I agree. If it is up to you to schedule and run a meeting…make sure it is way before lunch, after lunch, or with food.


Ha ha ha, I knew it just before you said it. It is so true. Don´t mess with me when I am hungry. I sometimes go to look for some food consciously thinking to not to piss off people around me…

Maia - Astrida Naturals

Yea this definitely feels true.

A webinar or meeting that starts around 2pm seems like a sweet spot. I’ve just eaten, I’ve had a mental break… everything just feels more workable.

Also, I think meetings that start in the late afternoon are the worst. Just yesterday I had to sit through an hour long meeting that started at 4. I literally caught myself planning dinner in my head. Needless to say my attention wasn’t all there.


Brilliant! And so true. How does alcohol factor into the equation? My last meeting was at a bar, and we ordered light appetizers and drinks. I was in a terrible mood mood I showed up, but after a drink and a small snack, the mood lightened and we had a great time. What’s better – alcohol or no-alcohol during a meal meeting?

    Greg Vinson

    I have no scientific data to help with this, but I have to believe that for moderate drinkers, one or two drinks during a meeting would help grease the wheels for any agreements, just because most of us become a bit more agreeable with a light alcohol buzz than 100% sober.

    With alcoholics, all bets are off, and you just have to hope you catch them in a good part of whatever drinking cycle they have going on, because they will have planned it out without anyone’s help; I used to have a girlfriend who had several bottles of wine in her car at all times, along with a coffee mug to drink it out of with nobody the wiser. With non-drinkers….well, you’re probably better off trying to do a deal with a drinker is my best guess.

Xavier Cobos

For a while I did corporate development for the Golden State Warriors. We entertained clients in a suite, which was usually packed with yummy food. On the games the suite was packed wings, hot dogs, beer and booze, sponsorship dollars flowed and deals were struck. On those days the order was mistakenly not put in, and there were just nuts, chips and sodas, the mood was measurably more somber. It’s long been said the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and no doubt the same is true for the best way to his wallet. Great post!


Hi Derek, thanks for this interesting video. What do you say / has this been looked at, too: about people being tired after lunch (especially if they had meat) because digestion requires a lot of energy?

    Derek Halpern

    That could be part of it, I suppose. Though I haven’t seen research about that specifically.

      Patricia Reszetylo

      It’s not MEAT – it’s carbs. Bread, pasta, anything with grains, especially. Meat is protein and amino acids, which facilitate brain function.

Carl Croft

Really interesting.

Does anyone find people feeling a little sleepy after lunch? I think we’ve all been there. Perhaps first thing in the morning (after breakfast) while people are fresh is the very best time to have a meeting.

I’d be interested to see if this also has a similar effect on peoples opinion of design. When we give them design options for example, whether these are viewed favourably.

    Bill Hibbler

    I agree. Anyone that’s ever had a speaking gig right after lunch has dealt with this one. I don’t know if it affects their ability to say Yes at the end but I know I usually have to work harder than usual to get the crowd fully engaged after a big meal.

    Andrea Saunder - LifeAfterBread Health Coaching

    That is a really good point, Carl. If they’ve been shovelling in a big bowl of pasta they’re going to feel very different to some omega-rich mackerel and salad, haha! Can you imagine taking your client out to lunch and insisting they skip the pasta and chocolate cake… or I guess you could take them to a sushi bar or teppanyaki 😉


That is so true and I knew there was a word called hangry but I used to say that it meant “hungry + angry”. As a project manager, I use that technique of scheduling meetings at about 2pm onwards because I know the stomach plays a large part on whether they will listen to your every word or to their stomach’s grumbling. Great video! It did cause a chuckle 😉


Only problem with scheduling webinars is that it is always lunch time somewhere 🙂

Andrea Saunder - LifeAfterBread Health Coaching

I so knew that hunger was going to be the reason! Why? Because I know how ‘hangry’ I can get! And because of that, I have actually refused to have sessions with clients when I know they won’t have had time to eat. If it means me working after their dinner time, so be it. I know it will be a much more effective session.

I must admit that two weeks ago I was on a skype video call with a potential client and I could tell that she had no concentration and it turned out she had skipped dinner for our session. Dur! She did not sign up as a client *sad (hangry) face*

Brian Farrell

Very interesting. Hopefully I’ll never face one of those judges!

This also confirms why most sales happen over lunch or dinner.


Glad you brought this up Derek! Hunger affects all kinds of decisions, with the most obvious being when you go grocery shopping.

I personally try and not schedule any meetings before lunch simply because people don’t come up with constructive things to your ideas (especially when it’s related to them taking an action) and you just realized that you just wasted 15-30-45min of everyone’s time.


I was in my senior year of college and was interviewing for jobs (many years ago). I had an interview scheduled for 11:40am. The interviewer was leaving the interview area when he as stopped by the person at the front desk and informed he had one more interview (before he could go to lunch). He looked at me and curtly said….”come on lets get this over with”. Needless to say that interview did not go well and I was not offered the job.


That’s an interesting study, Derek.

Was it actually just being hungry that caused it? Or could it also be that a break means that we get refreshed – get to joke with collegues by the coffee machine, get a cigarette (if you’re into that), schedule fun plans with a friend, think about something else than work… AND eat.

Thinking of The Power of Full Engagement and the ideas on energy cycles and breaks.

    Derek Halpern

    Study suggests it was hunger because of the two breaks. Though fatigue is definitely something I think could be part of the scenario.

      Darlene with BlogBoldly

      Yeah.. I can definitely see how the research supported the “hunger” theory.

      I get pretty cranky myself when I’m hungry.


Adam - Sexy Confidence

Dude, this is makes perfect sense. I hate morning meetings, but am pretty sure it’s time to get my butt out of bed. I meet a lot of prospects after dinner (8-9 PM) and those seem to be great times for people to commit to my coaching.

Lianne-carla Savage (@LianneCarlaS)

Very interesting. I’ve heard a lot of people say that 11am is the best time for webinars but I’ve always wondered how true this was or if it was something someone said and just caught on regardless of how true it is. This research would suggest the latter.

I’m not too sure about a personal example, I can’t recall anything in particular. It’ll probably come to me later.

    Derek Halpern

    Webinar times are always tough because of the multiple time zones that exist. So, I’d take a grain of salt when using this research to determine the exact webinar time.

    That said, this will work MUCH better for determining things like client calls, performance reviews, and the like.

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