To be influential you do not require power, but wielding your influence is powerful. Vanessa Bohns, social psychologist and professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University, joins us to discuss her enticing new book “You Have More Influence Than You Think”: She draws from her research to illustrate why underestimating our influence can lead us to miss opportunities or worse yet, to misuse our power.

Vanessa challenges us to examine our powers of persuasion and to recognize that we have more influence than we even realize. We learn exactly why it’s so hard for us to say no, even when we’re uncomfortable with saying yes. And why we should focus on communicating more with people face-to-face.

As with all of our episodes, we leave you with a Grooving Session discussion focusing on how we can use Vanessa’s research to improve our lives, our relationships and our workplaces. Maybe this episode will influence you more than you realize? If it does, please support our ongoing work by contributing to our Patreon page at (just imagine, if we asked you in person, would you say yes?).


(3:19) Welcome to Vanessa Bohns.

(5:46) How your enjoyment of chocolate is influenced by others.

(8:15) The spotlight effect; is everyone really looking at me?

(12:34) How can we influence people more than we think?

(17:20) How Vanessa discovered people are likely to help, if you ask.

(23:34) Why it’s so much harder to say no than we think.

(26:50) How power amplifies your influence.

(29:22) Why we need to recognize white privilege as a position of power.

(32:47) Communication: why our choice of words matter.

(34:13) Robert Cialdini’s Influence.

(36:30) What are the most common misconceptions about influence?

(41:07) What are the 2 biggest takeaways from the book?

(43:52) How music has influenced Vanessa.

(49:13) Grooving Session discussing how to apply Vanessa’s research.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


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

John Bargh, Episode 248: Do We Control Situations or Do Situations Control Us? With John Bargh:

Shankar Vedantam, Episode 222: How Delusions Can Actually Be Useful: Shankar Vedantam Reveals How:

Cristina Bicchieri, Episode 102: Social Norms are Bundles of Expectations:

“Shared Experiences Are Amplified”  Erica J. Boothby, Margaret S. Clark, John A. Bargh (2014): 

Good Lamps Are the Best Police: Darkness Increases Dishonesty and Self-Interested Behavior” Chen-Bo Zhong, Vanessa K. Bohns, Francesca Gino (2010): 

Robert Frank on the Power of Peer Pressure in Fighting Climate Change: 

Robert Cialdini, Episode 226: The Power Of Unity: Robert Cialdini Expands His Best Selling Book Influence:

How to Start a Movement | Dan Sivers: 

Musical Links 

Bronksi Beats “Smalltown Boy”: 

Sleigh Bells “Locust Laced”: 

The National “Light Years”: 

Vampire Weekend “This Life”: 

David Bowie “Ashes to Ashes”: 

Harry Styles “Watermelon Sugar”: 

Billie Ellish “Everything I Wanted”: 

Taylor Swift “Willow”: 

Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: 

Employee burnout, The Great Resignation, Office Covid Regulations; these are all major concerns for leaders in the workplace right now. But how can managers successfully navigate these stresses, while still maintaining productivity among staff?

At the start of the pandemic, Behavioral Grooves began a series of podcasts with researchers and practitioners to understand the organizational shifts we were seeing. Over the course of our interviews, we discovered big changes in the way business was being conducted and that managers, specifically, were really caught off guard. They didn’t have a coach or a guide to help them through all the changes. We decided to change that. And so, we created Leading Human™.

In this Grooving Session with Kurt Nelson PhD and Tim Houlihan, they sit down to discuss the following topics about Leading Human™:

  • What is Leading Human™?
  • Who is Leading Human™ going to benefit? 
  • Why did the Behavioral Grooves team feel inspired to write Leading Human™?

While Leading Human™ was initiated by the pandemic, it goes well beyond the current workplace dynamics and delves into the core of how work will happen in the future. 

Ultimately Leading Human™ focuses on four key areas: 

  • Creating Psychological Safety; 
  • Building a Team Charter;
  • Implementing Human-Centered Routines;
  • Charting a Clear Path Forward.

Together, these can make a significant difference in employees' emotional connection to the company and successful re-entry to the workplace. Leading Human™ is full of practical tips and exercises to implement.

Where to Get More Info on Leading Human™:

Leading Human™ Workbook and Playbook:

Leading Human™, Free Whitepaper Download:

Leading Human™ Workshop on Nov 2nd, 2021 (more dates to be added soon):

Promo Code: GROOVERS to receive $20 off (limited time offer for listeners).

[NOTE: This episode is republished from #178 in October 2020.]

Kwame Christian, Esq. is the author of “Nobody Will Play With Me: How to Use Compassionate Curiosity to Find Confidence in Conflict.” He is the host of two podcasts, “Negotiate Anything” and “Ask With Confidence.” He is a professor at The Ohio State University Law School and is the director of the American Negotiation Institute. Kwame’s educational background combines an undergraduate degree in psychology, a masters in public policy, and a juris doctor. Yup – a classic underachiever. (NOT)

Kurt and Tim got to talk to Kwame about the behavioral science hidden in his practical techniques. For instance, we discussed how to be more effective in negotiations by managing our emotions and how to reframe our negotiations as opportunities. He went on to say that negotiations are really “the art of discovery.” We also discussed the decades-old myth of the win-win negotiation – you guessed right: it’s a myth!

Kwame also dropped more sound-bite bombs in our conversation than any other guest. There are tons and tons of takeaways from this conversation that you can put to use in your work or home life right away.

And if that’s not enough, he’s got the most eclectic musical tastes of any guest on Behavioral Grooves so far. Check it out.

We are grateful to our friend Brian Ahearn who introduced us to Kwame in May 2020.

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Kwame Christian on LinkedIn:

Kwame on Negotiations:

Finding Confidence in Conflict: How to Negotiate Anything and Live Your Best Life: 

Kwame’s Podcast Negotiate Anything:

Kwame’s TED talk:

Kwame as Ohio State Law Professor:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Matthew Walker, “Why We Sleep”: 


Behavioral Grooves Patreon page: 

Musical Links

Bob Marley “Wait in Vain”:


Soca (Soul Calypso):


Dub Step:




Smooth Jazz:


“Under the Graveyard” by Ozzie Osbourne:

Major Lazer:

The Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go”:

The Police:

George Benson “Breezin”:

Grover Washington “Just the Two of Us”:

David Benoit “Lucy and Linus”:

Earl Klugh & Bob James:

Lee Ritenour:

The Rippingtons:

How can behavioral science aid the mammoth task of vaccination the world against Covid? What common barriers cause vaccine hesitancy in populations around the globe? And how can behavioral design overcome them? 

Born out of frustration, while trying to eliminate Polio from Pakistan, the global behavioral design agency Common Thread ( was born. They use findings from psychology, anthropology, economics and sociology, to identify and analyze behavioral insights. Bringing a people-centered approach to the world's toughest public health problems.

We are delighted to be joined on this podcast episode with the co-founder, director and lead storyteller of Common Thread, Michael Coleman. He talks with us about his new publication, “The Little Jab Book: 18 Behavioral Science Strategies for Increasing Vaccination Uptake” ( and the global projects that he is currently collaborating on.


(6:24) Speed round questions.

(8:55) Applying behavioral science to global health concerns.

(9:47) How Common Thread was started and why it focuses on putting people at the center of public health problems.

(11:30) The complexities Mike faced with the Polio Eradication Plan in Pakistan.

(14:02) What is the mission of Common Thread?

(15:52) What tools does Common Thread use to change behavior?

(18:59) How can removing friction from decisions make a big difference in people’s responses?

(23:00) About The Little Jab Book: 18 Behavioral Science Strategies for Increasing Vaccination Uptake.

(25:33) Who The Little Jab Book is intended for?

(27:01) What are the barriers to vaccinating the world against Covid?

(31:50) How vaccine hesitant conversations can impact public health responses.

(34:28) Work with UNICEF to create individual country responses to vaccination barriers.

(39:16) What music would Mike take to a desert island? 

(41:43) How Common Thread uses music to foster an inclusive work culture.

(43:35) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim summarizing the application of Mike’s insights.

Behavioral Grooves has a Patreon page to help fund our work, please consider donating a small amount to our podcast at We also love reading your reviews, tweets and comments about the podcast; these help others find out about us too. But most of all, thanks for listening!

© 2021 Behavioral Grooves


Common Thread: 

Michael Coleman: 

Common Thread newsletter “The Stitch”: 

The Little Jab Book: 18 Behavioral Science Strategies for Increasing Vaccination Uptake:

Behavioral Insights lab set up with Gavi for immunization oriented to the global south: “From Idea to Immunization”: 

Barry’s tea:

Sherine Guirguis: 

Harvard School of Public Health: 


The Global Vaccine Allowance:

The Gates Foundation:




The New York Times Global Vaccination Tracker: 

Rob Burnet, Well Told Story: 

Episode 202: How Chaning Jang Works Around Not Being WEIRD:

Episode 223: How Behavioral Science Can Impact Nonprofits: The Inspiring Story at Save The Children:

Musical Links

 Nina Simone “Stars” (Montreux Festival in 1976): 

Jeff Buckley “Grace”: 

Jeff Buckley (Live in Frankfurt, 1995): 

The Tragically Hip “Ahead By a Century”: 

Common Thread Spotify Playlist: 

Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou, a 93 year old Ethiopian jazz pianist:

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