You Have More Influence Than You Think | Vanessa Bohns

Summary of: You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters
By: Vanessa Bohns


Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of influence as uncovered by organizational psychologist Vanessa Bohns in her book, ‘You Have More Influence Than You Think.’ Contrary to offering ways to increase personal influence, Bohns reveals that we’re already profoundly impacting one another in our daily lives, often without realizing it. She artfully combines her expertise in psychology and organizational behavior to present captivating examples and research findings to emphasize our underestimated impact. This summary will delve into the concept of everyday influence, the factors that contribute to it, and how becoming more aware of this influence can lead to more purposeful and responsible use of our power over others.

Powers of Influence

Vanessa Bohns’ book on influence delves into how individuals unknowingly impact one another every day. The author, an organizational psychologist, shows how even simple gestures and words can have a profound effect on those around us. Bohns argues that we can utilize this influence better by heightened awareness of our actions and their effects. She highlights how compliance and consent play a significant role in shaping interactions and provides some eye-opening insights into the dynamics of everyday influence. Overall, Bohns’ work encourages readers to pay closer attention to how they interact with others and to harness the power of influence for positive results.

The Power of Influence

In her book, Bohns provides extensive evidence to support the idea that we influence others more than we realize. We tend to be more agreeable and less critical than expected. Bohns explains that people are uncomfortable causing embarrassment, which leads them to say yes more often than not. This tendency can have consequences ranging from insignificant to life-threatening. Bohns also singles out the impact of asking for things, using Moody’s role in the subprime mortgage crisis as an example. Asking for favors, even in subtle ways, can lead to significant changes in behavior. The book shows how we are constantly and unconsciously influencing those around us, and how awareness of this influence can help us make better decisions.

The Power of Behavioral Contagion

Influence is often subliminal and unconscious. This is the idea behind behavioral contagion, where people adjust their behavior and opinions based on those around them. Hillary Clinton’s speaking engagements with corporate firms could have been a result of this phenomenon. Author, Vanessa Bohns, explains that this behavior is often unnoticed, and people don’t even recognize how they influence others. This is especially relevant in today’s society of social media and rampant misinformation. Bohns outlines how people tend to believe what they are told unless they have a strong opinion and counter evidence. Moreover, people don’t bother to look into details or logic. Behavioral contagion can lead to harmful actions or the normalization of choices like mounting solar panels on a roof. The concept of influence is often underestimated because of cognitive biases and a lack of awareness. Even after the influencer is gone, their influence remains. Bohns believes that recognizing this power of influence is essential, offering insight into how we can use it to our advantage.

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