Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How to Spot (and Use) the Invisible Power of Influence: Interview with Jonah Berger

People want to believe they are good at making their own decisions. From what they buy to who they vote for. It’s easy to see other people being influenced, but we have difficulty seeing it in ourselves.

How to Spot (and Use) the Invisible Power of Influence: Interview with Jonah Berger

We tend to hold a curmudgeonly attitude when it comes to being influenced or manipulated. And yet, everyone wants more influence. We hear a lot of people talking about how to become an influencer, and how to engage with influencers.

It’s seems like the “Age of the Influencer.”

Our guest this week on The Portfolio Life, has a counterintuitive approach to what actually influences us, and how to use it to our advantage.

Listen in as Jonah Berger, a Wharton professor and bestselling author, and I talk about why it’s easier to observe other people being influenced, why doing the opposite is still being influenced, and why writing down your goal improves your performance.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

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Show highlights

In this episode, Jonah and I discuss:

  • Unpacking the concept of social influence
  • How we are passively influenced by observing others
  • The sweet spot of optimal distinctiveness
  • How to positively influence others and be more positively influenced
  • Trying to avoid influence during the creative process
  • The danger of creating in a vacuum
  • How to write something accessible, but a little bit different
  • Illustrating complicated concepts in a way that’s accessible to your readers
  • A simple trick to improve rapport and get better tips
  • Finding motivation to write
  • Appealing to peer pressure and social comparisons
  • The hidden value of a “designated dissenter”

Quotes and takeaways

  • Recognize influence in the world around you to live a happier, healthier life.
  • Use the tools of influence to be more influential yourself.
  • Optimal distinctiveness communicates added value that people can relate to.
  • Answer the question: What’s an interesting way to tell a familiar story?
  • “When someone is like us, we feel like we’re part of the same tribe.” –Jonah Berger

Resources

When was the last time you noticed being influenced? Who are you trying to influence? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Hi Jeff,

    I’m a fan of inspiring other folks, by following my passion. Almost like a passive influence deal, because some folks call me an influencer in the blogging niche – even though all I do is type away squares with my fingers every day LOL – without me trying. I persist. I help. I befriend top bloggers by promoting them and serving them and assisting them, and through their individual perception, folks see me as influential.

    The only issue I have with being the target of an influencer campaign – folks trying to woo me because I am established online – is that some see me as a target, versus a human being. If you want my help, help me, connect with me, befriend me by being generous, and then we can chat about some partnership or feature on my blog, a few weeks or months down the road. Gotta pay your dues in generosity as I paid mine to become established online.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan