It’s amazing the opportunities we miss because we often doubt our own powers of persuasion.
You’re Already More Persuasive than You Think
by Vanessa K. Bohns
Our bosses make shortsighted decisions, but we don’t suggest an alternative, figuring they wouldn’t listen anyway. Or we have an idea that would require a group effort, but we don’t try to sell our peers on it, figuring it would be too much of an uphill battle. Even when we need a personal favor, such as coverage for an absence, we avoid asking our colleagues out of fear of rejection.
Yet our bosses and peers would be more receptive to our comments and requests than most of us realize. In fact, in many cases, a simple request or suggestion would be enough to do the trick. We persistently underestimate our influence.
To get a sense of how far off people are in judging their influence, consider a set of experiments I conducted with Frank Flynn of Stanford: First, we asked each research participant to estimate how many people he or she would need to approach before someone agreed to fill out a questionnaire, make a donation to a charity, or let the participant borrow a cell phone.