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Be More Liked & Trusted By Harnessing The Propinquity Effect
The “Propinquity Effect” is a fancy name for a simple, yet powerful principle first observed by MIT researchers Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter and Kurt Back in 1950.
The Effect tells you the most powerful factor in building friendship, liking and trust.
And in this week’s video I explain how you can use it as a budding authority to be more liked and trusted by your audience.
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Hi, it’s Ian here. Welcome to another 5 Minute Marketing tip. This week’s tip is about the Propinquity Effect and how you can use that to become more liked and more trusted by your audience. I’ll cut though the jargon and explain what it is and how to use it after the break.
Hi, welcome back! If you want to be seen as an authority, one important component is that your audience, the people you’re trying to be seen as an authority to, actually like you and trust you because if they don’t like you and trust you it’s quite unlikely that they’ll actually listen to you and believe in your expertise.
Now, one way of accomplishing that in addition to many of the other things I’ve talked about over recent weeks, is what’s known as the Propinquity Effect. Now, the Propinquity Effect was first observed by Leon Festinger, Stanley Schachter and Kurt Back back in 1950 at MIT in what came to be known as the Westgate studies. In those studies they basically observed friendship patterns in a small two-story apartment block. What they found was that the most important thing in determining who became friends with whom wasn’t anything to do with whether you had a family, your age, your sex, what you’re interested in, it was simply how close you were, how close you lived to that other person. People were much more likely to become friends with people on the same floor than they were with even very similar people on a different floor. The only people who were friends with people on multiple floors were the people who lived next to the stairwells.
That’s because if you’re living on a floor you’re much likely to interact, meet, and bump into people on that same floor. If you live next to the stairwell you’re likely to meet other people on different floors as they go up and down the stairs.
Its been studied in more detail since and it turns out that the key determining factor is the frequency and regularity of meeting someone, of interacting with them that’s much more important than the depth of any interactions you might have or anything else that you might have in common. In fact, you’ve probably seen this in your own life! Very many of us have quite a strong and long-lasting friendships with people who we accidentally were sat next to in school or we happened to work in the same office as them at work, or we happened to share a flat with them at university. We often have very little else in common but because we’re continually interacting over that time period we build close friendship. In fact, you can see it in the world of entertainment too. On TV, the very highest paid entertainers are usually the ones who come very frequently into our living room on TV, the ones with the very regular shows so Oprah, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, Seinfeld, Raymond, all the kind of shows that are regularly on TV, week-in week-out, or, in some cases, day-in, day-out. We see that person on a regular basis, we feel like we feel like we know them, we like them, and we essentially see them as friends or family members.
Now, when it comes to building authority, the same thing is true. While, of course, as I’ve covered in previous videos, it’s absolutely vital to have your own unique content and ideas that you share with people. It’s important to have a unique persona. One important part of building authority so that people like you and trust you is simply to show up regularly. Rather than, perhaps, writing a brilliant report, publicizing that, going on a big speaking tour, and then doing nothing else for a couple of years, it’s much more effective to just regularly communicate with people all the time. That could be a regular email, a regular video show like this, a regular podcast, a regular blog, a regular webinar, anything as long as you are interacting and communicating with your audience on a regular basis, a frequent basis.
The Propinquity Effect will mean that people come to like you and trust you through that, simply because of the frequency of interaction. So when you are thinking “how do I become seen as an authority?” That’s one of the key things you have to factor in.
“What am I going to use? What’s the method I’m going to use to get regularly in front of my target audience?” I would advise focusing on one first and it’s nice if you can cover every media and be everywhere all at once, but for most of us, we really, initially at least, don’t have the bandwidth to be able to do that. It’s important to focus down on one method that’s going to get us in front of our audience on a regular basis.
I started off with email. Once I got email “sussed”, I moved on to using video like this. It may be that once the videos have been going over for a year or so, maybe I move on to a podcast as well. You can add media over time once you’re in control of that first or that second media that you’re communicating with people on, but get one sorted first. Get in front of people, adding value, saying useful, valuable things on a regular basis and people will come to like you more. They’ll come to trust you more and it will build your authority.
See you next week!