You Have More Influence Than You Think and the Psychology Behind How Others View You | Vanessa Bohns on the Nudge Podcast with Phill Agnew

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Key Takeaways

  • “When we think of influence, we think of influences. But, we rarely think about ourselves. We don’t tend to think about the influence we naturally have, which is why you probably have more influence than you think.” – Phill Agnew
    • Influence is so much more than social media engagement, it’s about understanding the psychology of your interactions
    • Allowing yourself to look past your biases will reveal the natural influence you have in your everyday life
  • Vanessa and Phill explore the everyday biases that hold us back from seeing our natural influence:
  • “Basing your happiness on comparisons isn’t helpful because we are hopeless at setting reliable benchmarks for those comparisons” – Phill Agnew
    • It can’t be logically true for the average person to think they are less social than the average person
  • Engage more and worry less about getting things perfect
    • The positive outcomes almost always outweigh the negative
    • Don’t be limited by perception—it’s usually incorrect anyway

Intro

Influence

  • “When we think of influence, we think of influences. But, we rarely think about ourselves. We don’t tend to think about the influence we naturally have, which is why you probably have more influence than you think.” – Phill Agnew
    • Everyday people have more influence than they give themselves credit for
    • Allowing yourself to look past your biases will reveal the natural influence you have in your everyday life
  • Gaining influence vs Using natural influence
    • Marketing, advertising, and social media influencers have created an aggressive and flashy narrative around the influence that isn’t applicable to most people
    • The psychology of influence is so much more than just Twitter likes, it’s about understanding your everyday interactions
    • So many “influence” books claim that you need to gain influence, and that you don’t have it already—but that’s simply not true. This false narrative only bolsters our biases and causes us to ignore our natural influences.

The Biases of Influence

  • The Invisibility Cloak Illusion: Tendency to (incorrectly) believe that you notice people more than they notice you
    • We almost always underestimate how many people are paying attention to us
  • The Spotlight Effect: Tendency to overestimate how much others notice aspects of one’s appearance or behavior
    • Even when we do feel noticed, we have a misperception of what is being noticed about us—we usually assume the worst
    • The Barry Manilow T-Shirt Experiment: People don’t actively notice your flaws as much as you think
  • The Liking Gap: Tendency to underestimate how much a conversation partner enjoyed the conversation and how much they liked you afterwards
    • We unfairly judge ourselves on the specifics of the conversation while we judge the other person on warmth and friendliness
    • Based on the referenced study, the actual likeness is about 12% higher than the perception
  • Audience Tuning Effect: Tendency to adjust our language and context based on who we are talking to
    • Saying is Believing Effect: When we take audience tuning too far, we begin to muddy our own reality, memory, and opinions
    • These effects show how the audience can influence the influencer too
  • Thanks, but No Thanks Experiment: We overestimate how awkward it is to receive a compliment and we underestimate how good a compliment makes us feel
    • Meaningful compliments (or actions of any kind) are far more impactful than we expect because we have more influence than we think

Fear of  Missing Out (FOMO)

  • The average person thinks they are less social than the average person
    • Logically, this can’t be true, so there’s plenty of bias involved in FOMO
  • We have a tendency to compare ourselves to the maximum rather than the mean
    • “Basing your happiness on comparisons isn’t helpful because we are hopeless at setting reliable benchmarks for those comparisons” – Phill Agnew

Closing Advice

  • Engage more and worry less about getting things perfect
    • By trying to avoid negative interactions, you actively limit the opportunity for positive interactions
    • Interactions are usually less awkward than you think, and the results are almost always surprisingly comforting
Nudge with Phil Agnew : , , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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