On May 17, Vlad Griskevicius (pictured above), chair of the Marketing Department, Carlson School of Management, led us on an engaging and humorous exploration into how social norms influence our behavior.

Rather than just report to you on key points of the event, we thought it would be fun to have some of the attendees share their takeaways:

from Kimberly Yazbeck, Ecolab
“I would be happy to share some of my key takeaways from Vlad’s presentation as I thought the entire presentation was very impactful.

  • One amazing point: People think they are immune to social norms- this is not the case. Vlad gave the example of the musician in the subway and the 800% increase of donations when the person in front of them gave money. The people tried to rationalize their action(s) when asked, “Why” when in reality, it was based on social norms.
  • Another key takeaway was incredible impact of peer norms. Vlad gave another effective example with teen smoking. The increased chance of a teenager smoking was 1,000% if 2 friends smoked and 2,400% if 3 or more friends smoked. Having a (4 year old) daughter of my own made me open my eyes to the incredible impact of social/peer norms and the want to pay close attention to the happenings around us every day. In this example the parent influence is one thing but the peer influence is entirely different!”

from Helene Mann, Federal Reserve Bank, Minneapolis
“The Roundtable was really good—it was great to see all the usual Fredrickson people. Since I need to sell/influence daily in my job, I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic and was already familiar with Vlad’s work. He is SUCH a good teacher and his way of presenting is exceptionally memorable. The session made me stop and reflect on what I knew already—and those principles were reinforced. It was very helpful.”

from Lindsay Knudsen, Toro
“The ‘Power & Influence: Using Social Norms to Influence Behavior’ roundtable with Fredrickson Learning and the Carlson School of Management was great. A quote that stuck out to me from the presentation was, “People often decide what’s appropriate to think, feel, or do by examining what others think, feel, or do.” I’d always imagined that I operate of my own volition; that I operate mostly independently from society around me. However, the fact that we are social beings, that we adapt to our environment, and that we are not exempt from social norms was a powerful reminder to me that we all operate with varying degrees of assimilation to the customs of the communities we are a part of – be they work, home, or elsewhere. “

from Brad Howard, BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
“The Power and Influence session made evident the strong influence social norms play in everyday life. Examples provided, like the one where a smiley face on a power bill influences people to conserve energy as compared to their neighbors, were thought provoking. While thinking on these examples, I started to make connections to my workplace. My key takeaway being that we have a huge opportunity as a learning department to influence our perception in our organization. We can do this by first identifying social norms as they relate to our department and then working to alter, or establish new, norms so as to have a stronger effect on that perception.”

from Carrie Vereide Fuery, Merrill Corporation
“Working with the Learning team, who is in my department, my biggest take away from the learning was my brain wheeling on ways that we can take advantage of our learning offerings and spin them in a way that would make them more desirable; basically take them to market!”

from Chris Janzen, Capella
“I enjoyed the level of engagement before and during the session; it felt warm and friendly. Vlad was exceptional–his energy, his humor, and his positive interaction with audience members.”

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