Welcome to Influence, Psychology and Persuasion Podcast

This is session number 003 of the Influence Psychology and Persuasion podcast. This show is all about the halo effect. Understanding this fantastic psychological principle will allow you to become a better judger. Plus, you can play to the rules meaning you can hack this cognitive bias to your advantage.

What is the Halo Effect

This social psychological phenomenon causes people to have a bias in their judgement. If a person attributes a particular feeling or experience to another, then they are more likely to perceive that person with matching attributes. For example, a smart, tall, well-dressed, good-looking person is more likely to be regarded as an honest, and trustworthy individual. We give more credit to people who are attractive and “look the part.”

When you think of that, on the face of it, it makes absolutely no sense. However, we do require our psychological biases to run our day and make the snap judgements. I’ve mentioned it before, we are pattern making machines, and this cognitive bias can help us at times. However, you need to make sure that you do not hold your ground on an initial judgement because you need to understand that there will be more than meets the eye at first.

This podcast is not meant just to allow you to open your eyes and your attitudes towards how you may perceive others, but also to enable you to understand this psychological effect, and use it to your advantage. Now you know that people make snap judgements and will categorise you, then you can play the game by ensuring you are “dressed for the occasion,” so to speak. Use this confirmation bias to your advantage, because what people perceive, they more often than not believe.

Allow people to remain in their pattern

As well as looking good. Be it pretty, well-dressed, smart etc. What’s also important is that it’s relevant. If the chef was dressed in shorts and T-shirt, his food wouldn’t taste as nice. Keep in-keeping with what people expect and dress that up. Familiarity is another principle that influences behavior. This ties in nicely to the halo effect.

You’ve no doubt heard the sayings “first impressions last,” and you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. These are entirely true, but you do need to know that people will perceive and therefore judge and more importantly categorise you based upon their initial perception. We just can’t help ourselves. You don’t have control over a person’s opinion of you, but you certainly can play the odds when you understand that this is always happening. And, once a person makes a judgement about you, they will then look for more evidence to confirm the initial decision.

Is it only people?

Absolutely not, If you like the smell of a new car, you will have an increased overall feeling towards that vehicle.

Flip that example for a moment. If you went in to buy a brand new car and in the showroom and as you opened the door of your potential car it smelled like rotten eggs, you’d feel repulsed. Logic says you could rationalise and know it was a one-off or prank being played by someone. But, you’d still have a decreased attachment that car.

How do you take this and prepare

  • Remember, people will be making judgements about you all of the time. Therefore, take into consideration the expectation of how you look, and if relevant, play to your strengths and exceed visual expectations.
  • Get curious! Look for what you have missed in an initial assumption of a person. This will give you a more rounded view of them.
  • Just because you like some part of a person, house, item, holiday etc. Doesn’t necessarily mean everything else will be fine and dandy.
  • Selling your house? Put a halo on the whole experience.

We sold our last house within 12 hours of it going on the market, and there was huge interest. We put a Halo on everything we could think of.

Just because the house looks amazing when you first view it, doesn’t mean that it’s structurally sound.
Just because the website is easy to use, doesn’t mean the TV your buying will be any good.
Just because you’re learning something about the Halo effect doesn’t mean I know anything else about Psychology! Lol

So, the takeaway from this is:  Don’t necessarily judge on first impressions. And remember people will judge you on your first impression! It’s all because of The Halo Effect