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?

318. Unlocking Your Hidden Influence: Revealing the Secrets to Making a Difference with Vanessa Bohns (refreshed episode)

In this episode of The Brainy Business podcast, host Melina Palmer interviews Vanessa Bohns, a social psychologist and author of You Have More Influence Than You Think. The conversation explores many concepts, including the spotlight effect, invisibility cloak illusion, the focusing illusion, and more, and how they impact the way we show up in the world. Vanessa explains that even when it feels like everyone is looking at you, people are more focused on themselves and are not constantly judging our every move. The episode also dives into the importance of dissent and expressing our opinions, highlighting that speaking up can have a significant impact on conversations.

The challenges of virtual presentations are discussed, including the absence of audience feedback. Vanessa shares techniques to keep virtual meetings engaging, such as utilizing the chat function and allowing everyone to contribute. She also reassures listeners that it’s more important to focus on the overall message than getting every word perfect. The main takeaway is that individuals have more influence than they think, and being mindful of our words and actions can have a profound impact on others. This episode provides valuable insights for individuals looking to enhance their influence and navigate communication (both virtual and in person) effectively.

  • Delve into the fascinating realm of influence and perception and learn their true power in your life and business.
  • Unveil the intriguing concepts of the spotlight effect and invisibility cloak illusion and explore how they could be affecting your view of yourself and others.
  • Discover the significant role of audience reactions on speakers and understand the saying-is-believing effect from an all new perspective.
  • Identify the challenges of virtual presentations and learn effective techniques to engage and sustain the interest of your participants.
  • Realize the extent of your influence and the imperative need to practice mindfulness in your interactions.
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  • 00:00:00 – Introduction,
    Melina Palmer introduces episode 318 of The Brainy Business podcast featuring Dr. Vanessa Bohns. She mentions that this episode is a refresh of a previous conversation and explains the reason for choosing to revisit this topic because of how it ties in with this upcoming Friday’s conversation with Andrea Learned. Melina encourages listeners to consider their own influence and how they can make positive changes. 

    00:02:35 – Vanessa Bohns’ Background and Approach to Influence
    Vanessa Bohns, an experimental social psychologist, discusses her unique approach to studying social influence, which focuses on examining the gap between our intuitions about influence and the reality of our influence. She shares a personal research experience that led her to explore this topic and highlights the importance of understanding how we perceive our own influence.

    00:05:59 – The Spotlight Effect and the Invisibility Cloak Illusion
    Vanessa explains the spotlight effect, which refers to our tendency to believe that others are paying more attention to our embarrassing or negative features than they actually are. She also discusses the invisibility cloak illusion, where we feel invisible to others but are actually being noticed more than we think. These concepts demonstrate that people pay attention to us as a whole, not just our insecurities.

    00:09:47 – Having More Influence Than We Think
    Vanessa discusses how our influence extends beyond our self-perceived flaws and insecurities. She explains Erica Boothby’s research on the invisibility cloak illusion, showing that people pay attention to us and our behaviors more than we realize. This insight reveals that we have more influence over others’ behavior and actions than we think.

    00:14:44 – The Influence of the Audience,
    Just being their–even if you don’t say anything–can shape the experience and conversation. For example, the presence of a woman in a room can shape the way others talk about an issue as people engage in audience tuning. The audience’s reactions and nonverbal cues can shape the beliefs of the person speaking, leading to a change in the message being delivered now and into the future.

    00:15:28 – Virtual Presentations and Feedback,
    Virtual presentations can be challenging without the immediate feedback of the audience’s reactions. The loss of laughter and nonverbal cues can lead to uncertainty and the need to adjust. Incorporating polls, chat questions, and breakout rooms can help maintain engagement and gather feedback.

    00:21:16 – Maintaining Engagement in Virtual Meetings,
    In virtual meetings, it’s important to ensure that everyone remains engaged and participates. Encouraging turn-taking and giving everyone a chance to voice their thoughts can help prevent people from getting lost or feeling unheard. Breakout rooms can also be used to facilitate discussions.

    00:25:38 – The Power of the Audience in a Virtual World,
    In a virtual environment, the power of the audience’s nonverbal communication is diminished. Those who are shy or hesitant to speak up can utilize the chat function to express their thoughts and contribute to the discussion without having to interrupt or speak aloud. Writing out thoughts in advance can also help overcome shyness and articulate ideas effectively.

    00:30:05 – The Opportunity for Thoughtful Input,
    It’s difficult for people to speak up (and dissent) unless they care deeply about a topic. The virtual setting provides an opportunity for more thoughtful input as people can take their time to think and prepare questions in advance. The chat function allows for engagement and gives a voice to those who may have been overshadowed in in-person meetings.

    00:31:59 – Engaging Through the Chat,
    The chat function in virtual meetings can be advantageous as it allows participants to ask questions and contribute without the pressure of speaking up. It can also shape the way people listen and think about the discussion. The chat provides an opportunity to be seen and have an impact.

    00:34:31 – The Importance of Influence,
    Having influence in meetings matters because there are opportunities that can be missed. Research shows that people listen, believe, and are more likely to do things for us than we think. By holding back or doubting our influence, we may miss out on making a real impact. It’s also important to be mindful of the potential negative influence we can have on others.

    00:36:50 – Being Mindful of Impact,
    It’s crucial to focus on the impact our words and actions have on others rather than obsessing over how we are being judged. Even small comments can carry weight, especially when we are in positions of power. Being thoughtful and mindful can help prevent negative or unintended consequences.

    00:38:59 – Moving Away from the Focusing Illusion,
    Instead of just worrying about how other people are focusing on you, reframe and refocus to be mindful of the impact your words and actions are having on others. 

    00:44:45 – “Gaining Perspective on Relationship Dynamics”,
    Dr. Vanessa Bohns shares a technique in which individuals write about a fight they had with their partner from a third-party perspective. This exercise helps to see the ways in which they may be contributing to the dynamic and understand their impact on others.

    00:45:26 – “The Liking Gap and Accurate Perspectives”,
    The liking gap phenomenon suggests that people underestimate how much others like them. Third-party perspectives, such as in videos or compliments, can provide accurate insights into how others perceive and appreciate us.

    00:46:42 – “The Power of Outsider Perspective”,
    Taking an outsider perspective can help increase self-awareness and understanding of one’s influence on a situation. This perspective can be achieved through exercises like imagining oneself as a friend. Melina relates this back to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.

    00:47:53 – “The Impact of Positive Feedback”,
    Expressing gratitude and acknowledging the positive impact others have on us can create a ripple effect of spreading gratefulness. Compliments and feedback can have a lasting impact and should be shared more often.

    00:48:24 – 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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