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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Mar 25, 2022

Today I am very excited to introduce you to Dr. Vanessa Bohns, author of You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion and Why It Matters. She got her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Columbia University and her AB in Psychology from Brown University. Her research looks at social influence and the psychology of compliance and consent. 

She has been published in Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organization Science, the Yale Law Journal, and more. She and her work have also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Economist, Harvard Business Review, and NPR. She is an associate editor at the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, was previously editor of the social influence section of Social and Personality Psychology Compass, and sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Social Cognition. In this episode, we talk about influence, building relationships, Vanessa’s book, and so much more. If you have been loving all the conversations about influence this episode is a must-listen. 

Show Notes:

  • [00:43] Today I am very excited to introduce you to Dr. Vanessa Bohns, author of You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters.  
  • [03:32] Vanessa shares about herself and her background. She is an experimental social psychologist. 
  • [05:04] She started on this journey of exploring influence in a different way than many other people have. They look at what their intuitions are to influence and how they match or don’t match reality. 
  • [06:39] In general, we get focused on one negative thing and we are so focused on that one thing that we don’t pay attention to all of the other things that other people are paying attention to. 
  • [07:07] Vanessa shares about the “weird shirt” study.
  • [09:51] Good news! People are not paying attention to the things you hope they are not paying attention to and the things that you are really insecure about. 
  • [10:17] The invisibility cloak illusion is the idea that we often feel like we walk through the world wrapped up in an invisibility cloak; you feel invisible to the world, but are not. People are noticing you and more than you tend to think.
  • [11:44] People are actually paying attention to us as a whole, but they are not noticing the tiny embarrassing flaws that are the things we worry that people are noticing. In the end, we are having more influence than we think in a more positive way often than we think.
  • [13:54] Influence works both ways. It is not just the person standing in front of the room, it is also the people they are speaking to that can have influence. 
  • [15:26] The audience sitting there without saying a word can really shape the beliefs of that person at the front of the room. 
  • [17:15] One thing that was difficult for a lot of people is doing presentations over a virtual format where you lose audience feedback. 
  • [20:09] There is so much feedback you get from nonverbals that you take for granted. Vanessa wove in polls and chat questions to maintain engagement virtually.
  • [21:51] She found that going around the room in Zoom and having everyone share what they think about a particular topic has really helped in her virtual presentations. 
  • [23:18] Breakout rooms in online platforms are a great way to re-energize participants. 
  • [26:16] We have lost so much of the interpersonal aspects of influence by moving to a virtual environment. 
  • [28:39] People really just get the gist of what we say. 
  • [30:07] In general, people only speak up about things that they really care about. 
  • [31:57] The online chat feature is an outlet for people who feel less comfortable actually speaking aloud. 
  • [33:28] So often when we do something we are so focused on how people are going to judge us for that thing instead of thinking about how that thing we said or did impact other people. 
  • [35:05] Any time we are holding back and not asking for something, we may be missing opportunities. 
  • [37:16] You want to be aware that every conversation and interaction is leaving an aftertaste, aftermath, or afterglow. 
  • [38:58] We are too hard on ourselves when it comes to people judging us. 
  • [39:43] It is so important for us to be mindful of the impacts our words and actions are having on other people. 
  • [42:02] Shouting is born of underconfidence. We shout when we think nobody is listening. 
  • [44:08] We don’t see the ways we are impacting people all the time. 
  • [45:58] If you can find ways to get out of your own head and reflect on the things that you’re doing, you can be more accurate and aware of your influence. 
  • [47:02] People like you more than you think they do. 
  • [49:43] Melina shares her closing thoughts. 
  • [53:03] If you enjoy the experience I’ve provided here for you, will you share about it? That could mean leaving a rating/review or sharing the episode with a friend (or 10!)

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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Top Recommended Next Episode: Dr. Robert Cialdini and the (Now!) 7 Principles of Persuasion (episode 157)

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