Why do we sometimes find ourselves feeling unable to influence other people? If you've ever found yourself thinking you're ineffective, invisible or inarticulate, then you're not alone. We've all experienced it. But what if it turned out that those feelings were actually wrong? On this episode, I'm speaking to the author of a new book that explores precisely this.
Vanessa Bohns is a social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University. She’s the author of a new book called You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters.
The idea behind the book, which is obvious from the title, is that we often have far more ability to influence others than we might think.
This failure to recognise a hidden superpower has two human risk implications:
The first is that we miss opportunities. If we don’t think we have any influence, we don’t see to make use of it.
The second relates to how we interact with other people and is the fact that we don’t recognise how we are influencing other people and therefore accidentally misuse our hidden power.
Both can lead to undesirable outcomes.
In our discussion, we explore how Vanessa came to be interested in this topic and dive into some of the dynamics that drive our inability to understand our own influence.
To find out more about the book: https://www.vanessabohns.com/
To learn more about Vanessa and her research: https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/people/vanessa-bohns
You can find her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/profbohns?s=20
Listeners unfamiliar with singer Barry Manilow — whose t-shirts form part of an experiment we refer to on the show — can find out more here: https://barrymanilow.com/