The Pratfall Effect – The 200 words project

Here’s this week’s 200 word idea from Give and Take by Adam Grant

In an experiment where people were asked to listen to candidates make an argument over the phone, they typically listened more carefully to the superior candidates over the average candidates. This wasn’t surprising of course.

But, when each candidate was asked to say – “Gosh, I spilt some coffee on my suit,” the persuasiveness of the superstar candidates increased while that of the average candidates decreased. The researchers call this “the Pratfall effect” – where a top candidate is liked when they feel more human.

Hence, superstar performers in fields that require them to work with and move people are those who give themselves completely to their teams/audience and are thus willing to be vulnerable and human. People who are too obsessed either with being perfect or with getting something from the people they work with forget that it is necessary to be a prat.

PS: don’t try this if you are average! :-)


Source and thanks to:

‘Everybody is scared of looking silly or looking like they don’t quite know. The truth is that we don’t mind if someone doesn’t have the perfect answer if they’re natural and honest. Much more important than getting it right is being real.’ | Patricia Ryan Madson