Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

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Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

308. Powerfully Persuasive: Zoe Chance’s Magic Question (Refreshed Episode)

Dr. Zoe Chance emphasizes the importance of examining problems from different perspectives and setting long-term goals for success. Approaching problem-solving differently can result in innovative solutions that others might overlook. By aligning these objectives with Zoe’s “magic question,” individuals can foster a sense of collaboration and create opportunities for progress.

Throughout the podcast, Dr. Chance shares stories of how people have successfully applied the magic question in various situations. For instance, she recounts the story of Gloria Steinem, who addressed the issue of sex trafficking in a Zambian village by asking the magic question, leading to a revelation that an electric fence was required to protect crops from elephants. Such examples reinforce the importance of aligning long-term goals with the magic question in order to effectively influence and create meaningful change.

This episode, which features many insights from Zoe’s book, Influence is Your Superpower, also highlights the importance of saying “No” (with a challenge to do so to every request for 24 hours) and the interesting way she set up her book chapters (along with some tips for aspiring authors).

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Enhance your connections and communication through the strength of influence.
  • Achieve better work-life balance by saying ‘no’ and outlining clear-cut boundaries.
  • Embrace an innovative way of addressing problems and designing future targets.
  • Comprehend the workings of decision-making and how to convince others with competence.
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00:00:00 – Introduction,
Melina introduces Zoe Chance and her book Influence Is Your Superpower. She highlights the relevance of the topic to the upcoming guest, Vanessa Patrick’s book, The Power of Saying No.

00:03:24 – From Theater to Sales,
Zoe talks about her experience in theater and how it helped her develop the skills to communicate, move, and connect with people. She also narrates her experience in sales, door-to-door sales, telemarketing, and marketing, where she learned about rejection and the importance of being comfortable with saying (and hearing) no.

00:06:44 – The Power of No,
Zoe introduces her 24-hour no challenge, which she did for a whole month one November, and the 24-hour no challenge she gives her students. She explains how saying no can help build healthy relationships and create space in one’s life. She also emphasizes the importance of not justifying one’s no and the need to disentangle the request from the relationship.

00:10:23 – Handling Objections,
Zoe talks about handling objections in sales training, addressing all the different kinds of objections that someone might have. She reveals that most sales training is about handling objections. She adds that it is often a good idea not to justify one’s no because it can create a way for them to convince you to change your mind.

00:13:00 – The Worst Thing They Can Say is No,
Zoe explains the mindset that “the worst thing they can say is no,” — how this is both helpful and harmful.

00:15:33 – Framing and Half Chapters,
Zoe discusses her use of framing in her book, Influence Is Your Superpower, and how she structured the chapters to include shorter chapters between longer ones to create more momentum and ease of reading. She also shares her love for Harry Potter and how she used references to create a little magic for readers.

00:19:16 – The Magic of Harry Potter,
Melina and Zoe bond over their love for Harry Potter and share their experiences visiting the Harry Potter Studios outside London. They discuss the level of thoughtfulness and detail that went into creating the world of Harry Potter and how it inspires them in their own work.

00:23:49 – The Power of Framing,
Zoe explains the concept of framing and shares an example from her idol, Derren Brown, a mind reader and illusionist who is a master at directing attention. She discusses how framing works to focus our attention on one thing and make us ignore everything else, and how this is a metaphor for how our brain makes decisions.

00:29:22 – The Influence of Derren Brown,
Melina and Zoe discuss the work of Derren Brown and how he is an expert in influence, even though he is not an academic. They share examples of how he uses questioning techniques to get people to believe certain things and how he can get them to choose something different from what they originally wanted.

00:31:38 – The Importance of Experimentation,
Zoe emphasizes the importance of experimentation in behavioral science and how it is critical to test and iterate on things.

00:31:31 – Setting Goals and The Magic Question,
Dr. Zoe Chance shares tips on setting long-term goals and using the magic question to collaborate and problem-solve with others. The magic question involves asking “What it would take…?” to achieve a specific goal or overcome an obstacle. By doing this, it shifts the mindset from resistance to collaboration, and the other person becomes committed to supporting the outcome.

00:35:20 – Personal Journey of Transformation,
The book Influence Is Your Superpower is a personal journey of transformation to becoming someone that people want to say yes to. It provides readers with the tools needed to gain influence through personal and professional relationships. The book is focused on collaboration and problem-solving to achieve goals.

00:37:06 – Connecting with Zoe Chance,
The best way to get the book Influence Is Your Superpower is through Zoe Chance’s website, You can connect with her on Twitter, where she shares tips and engages with readers. She encourages readers to share how they use the tips from the book.

00:38:39 – Using the Magic Question,
The magic question “What would it take?” is a simple yet powerful tool that can be used to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. It involves asking the other person what it would take to achieve a specific goal or overcome an obstacle. This approach shifts the mindset from resistance to collaboration and helps to identify the roadmap needed to achieve the desired outcome.

00:39:14 – Conclusion,
Melina’s top insights from the conversation. What stuck with you while listening to the episode? What are you going to try? Come share it with Melina on social media — you’ll find her as @thebrainybiz everywhere and as Melina Palmer on LinkedIn.

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