12 Insights on the Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior — Jonah Berger
This presentation consists of highlights
from the interview with Moe Abdou,
founder & host of 33voices®.
Jonah Berger is a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University
of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On
[hyperlinked to book page]. Dr. Berger has spent over 15 years studying how
social influence works and how it drives products and ideas to catch on.
He’s published dozens of articles in top-tier academic journals, consulted
for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and popular outlets like the New
York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work.
Wharton Professor, Speaker, Consultant
The tendency to imitate others is so
fundamental that even animals do it,
especially when uncertainty is involved.
Mimicry facilitates social interactions
because it elevates rapport. In a negotiation
or sales interaction, you’re five times more
likely to gain a successful outcome if you
mimic the language or the mannerism
of your counterpart.
Part of being human is a desire to be unique;
as such we fall prey to the illusion of distinction
as we focus on ways we are different, even if
at the core we are very much the same.
Managing identity signals is key for making
sure something not only catches on, but stays
popular. If someone is supporting a cause
or buys a product because they like what it
communicates about them. Advocacy and
sales can increase exponentially as people
rush to jump on the bandwagon.
Peer pressure matters and the presence
of others impacts performance. The more
automatic and simple a task is, the better you’re
likely to perform. However, as the tasks get
more challenging, your performance tends to
suffer as you become more occupied
with not disappointing others.
Part of the reason similar things look or
sound better is familiarity. As such, integrating
similarity with difference is particularly
important when managing innovation.
Competition influences motivation by shaping
people’s reference points. Providing a sense of
how someone stacks up against his peers can
encourage him to work harder and be more
likely to achieve his goals. At the same time, if
not carefully designed, social comparison
can lead people to get disheartened,
give up, and quit.
One way to encourage perseverance
is to shrink the comparison set. Break
larger groups into smaller ones based on
performance. Think golf tournaments.
When hiring, picking someone who is qualified,
but for whom the job is a slight stretch, often
nets more motivated individuals.
How we imitate or differentiate ourselves
depends on our reference points; we don’t
want to be exactly the same or completely
different. Instead, we choose and behave
in ways that allow us to be optimally distinct,
threading the needle between similarity
and difference. We avoid extremes.
Our tendency to imitate can encourage us
to go along when we should dissent, or
stay silent when we should speak up.
We are all social animals. Consciously or
unconsciously, other people have a subtle and
surprising impact on almost everything we
do. Don’t be fooled if you can’t see it.
How do others around you
shape your life and how are
you shaping theirs?
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Presentation by Chase Jennings
Insights by Jenna Abdou
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