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Influencing mistakes that are easy to make and to fix

The more you learn about behavioural techniques, the more you'll see how businesses are trying to influence you.

Sometimes they do it poorly, sometimes they do it well.

If you're reading this, I expect you are in a business wanting to do it well?

So let's dive into a couple of examples that caught my eye recently.

 

What Greg got wrong

Here's a LinkedIn invitation I recently received from Greg.

What did Greg get wrong?

A couple of things.

I liked that Greg mentioned what type of...

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Why staff ignore your emails

 

 

There’s a communications paradox in most businesses. 

Staff say their bosses never tell them anything.

Bosses say staff are being bombarded.

What’s going on here?

Back when I was working in corporates, we’d all go through an employee engagement survey, usually every year or two. You might have experienced one of these?

A survey that asks people what they think of the company they’re working in, and how their leaders are performing.

Invariably, one of the...

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Influencing skills 101: Squeezing the toothpaste

 

When we hear about behavioural science and evolutionary psychology, it can sound daunting and, worse still, far removed from our day to day decisions and interactions. Low on relevance, high on hyperbole.

But I’m guessing you are more familiar with the tenets of behavioural science than you realise. I’m even going to guess that you hold a lot of the insights into human nature in your hand, twice, maybe three times a day.

Ahh, the humble tube of toothpaste.

If you’re up for...

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Five myths about behaviour, and why they won’t go away

 

Here’s something that has always confounded me.

If behavioural science is so good, why aren’t more people using it?

Like Robert Cialdini’s famous study on social norms influencing hotel guests to reuse their towels. I’m still to visit a hotel that is correctly using a message about how many guests have re-used their towels to get me to do likewise.

The thing is, when people read or hear about behavioural economics, and more broadly, behavioural science, they typically...

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Why a smaller ask can be easier refuse

Richard Branson was sharing a story about introducing TV screens to the back of airplane seats.

He went to his board and the banks but couldn’t get the $10 million loan he needed to retrofit his Virgin Atlantic planes.

So instead he called Boeing and asked “if I buy 15 new planes, could you include seat back video screens?”

“Of course!”, came Boeing’s reply.

Branson’s point was he couldn’t get a loan for $10 million, but he could for $2 billion....

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Gaining, maintaining and directing attention

Let’s talk about why I love this ad. 

Tweeted by @Karminker, I love this ad for the following reasons.

It’s true. The missing tooth absolutely wins focus and supports the importance of dental care.

It surprises. What looks like a boring ad is actually clever and witty.

It makes you experience your own information processing blind spots. Yes, the first thing we see is the smile, not the missing eyebrow.

And that’s what I want to talk about today - gaining, directing and...

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What to say to different personality types

There’s a truckload of research on how best to frame messages to appeal to your audience.

For example, ads that are framed positively work best for people who are promotion-focussed – in other words, they seek to maximise the probability of obtaining a positive outcome (Lee, Liu and Cheng, 2018).

This was true regardless of whether the product was hedonic (like a massage, or holiday, or aesthetic attributes of a product like a laptop’s design) or utilitarian (think...

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Wrap-up of articles and videos from 2020

2020 covid habits influence Dec 09, 2020

Influencing Action

Two simple rules for influencing action – on friction to make the old behaviour unappealing and the new behaviour appealing.

Let’s talk behavioural models – (video) on what makes a good behavioural model and what are some of the best to use.

Nanette-ing your approach to influence – The comedian’s role, Hannah Gadsby shared, is to deliberately create tension so they can then relieve us of it. The same approach goes for pitches, presentations and...

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Two simple rules for influencing action

friction habits influence Nov 25, 2020

When it comes to changing your own behaviour or someone else’s, two simple rules are:

  • Make the existing behaviour unappealing, and/or
    Make the new behaviour appealing.

Make the existing behaviour unappealing

To reduce the likelihood an existing behaviour will continue, just add friction. For example:

  • Slowing elevator doors by just 16 seconds influenced more people to take the stairs. Signs to save energy and improve health didn’t work, but friction did. (Van Houten, Nau &...
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Three hard truths about customer behaviour

 

There are three hard truths about your customer.

  1. They write the script
  2. They are the hero of their story, and
  3. They run on batteries

The accompanying article is available on my blog archive: https://blogbriwilliams.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/three-truths-about-people/

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