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Learn More About Zoë Chance

Zoë Chance wants to get inside your head. More specifically, the Yale School of Management professor wants to help good people and businesses do good in the world. The more we understand what influences decision-making, the more we can make better decisions.

Through the lens of behavioral economics, Chance studies and teaches persuasion and decision-making, focusing on simple ways to understand how to help others lead richer, healthier, happier lives. Her research findings have been published in top academic journals like Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and in such influential business media as Harvard Business ReviewNew York TimesWall Street JournalThe Economist and Psychology Today. Her popular MBA elective “Mastering Influence and Persuasion” is one of the school’s most sought-after courses. Chance’s debut bestselling book, “Influence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change, and Making Good Things Happen” (Penguin Random House, February 2022), shares research-based, practical influence strategies to help you develop yourself as a good influencer within your organization – whether a business, nonprofit, school, political party or government.

Named to the Thinkers50 2016 Radar list of up-and-coming management thinkers, Chance is passionate about turning knowledge into practice. She delivers engaging, interactive presentations and workshops to organizations and conferences worldwide, including her recent TEDx talk, “How to Make a Behavior Addictive,” on influencing behavioral change. Her 4Ps Framework for Behavior Change is the foundation for Google’s global food guidelines, helping 60,000 people make healthier choices every day. She also collaborates with various industry partners through her work at Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, a program that connects the world’s most innovative companies with leading-edge academics to understand the evolving dynamics of consumer behavior.

Prior to joining the Yale faculty, Chance enjoyed numerous diverse and successful experiences, including marketing a $200 million segment of Barbie, developing an executive education leadership program at Harvard University, acting on stage and film, and starting a small business.

Chance received her doctorate degree from Harvard, MBA from the University of Southern California, and bachelor’s degree from Haverford College.

Zoë Chance is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Zoë Chance was last modified: September 13th, 2023 by Justin Louis

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Unlocking Powers of Persuasion

The ability to influence and persuade is a key leadership skill, and yet employees and managers struggle to get others on board with their ideas. In this session, influence expert Zoe Chance analyzes how people successfully influence others in business. Concluding that ultimately people’s minds cannot be changed, she offers a comprehensive toolbox of strategies for influencing their behavior. These tools can be customized to various industries and audiences – to elicit positive reactions, change perceptions of value and bridge the gap between intentions and behavior. Drawing on her Fortune 500 practitioner experience and her Harvard and Yale research expertise, she’ll provide  strategies to help practitioners assert influence in diverse business settings: employee engagement and retention, negotiating multimillion dollar deals and multilateral treaties, securing grants, connecting with celebrities, improving work relationships with bad bosses and entitled employees, increasing sales, and obtaining recognition and flexibility at work.

Aligning Behavior Change with Behavioral Economics

Often the most challenging aspects of influence isn’t changing people’s minds, but changing their behavior to match their intentions – or changing our own behavior to match our own intentions. The genius of behavioral economics lies in decoupling intentions and behavior and addressing desired behaviors directly. Dr. Zoë Chance’s research at Google, for example, has shown how people can eat healthier without taxing their willpower. In fact, simple tweaks to the food environment can help people eat healthier without even realizing it. Dr. Chance has created a framework to help practitioners apply the varied nudges tested by behavioral economists in diverse contexts to virtually any challenge in any domain. In this presentation, Dr. Chance will help you start thinking about how to make desired behaviors easier and more pleasurable, and how to make undesired behaviors more difficult and less pleasurable. You’ll learn to “hack” cognitive biases to leverage them in positive ways.

The Influential Sales Team: How to Nudge Customers Respectfully and Effectively

The discipline of sales has gotten a bad rap because of pushy salespeople who don’t just lack respect; they lack understanding of consumer psychology. Refusing to take no for an answer generates resistance that creates backlash and can fuel buyer’s remorse. Customers hate being pushed, says Zoe Chance. What works is to gently nudge them toward the desired outcome. When data-driven insights are combined with psychology and viewed through the lens of behavioral economics, many barriers become predictable and can be systematically addressed. Respectful nudges in the sales process can forge long-term, profitable relationships that don’t feel like “sales” at all. Ironically, making it acceptable for customers to say no prevents backlash and thus increases the chance they will say yes. In this presentation, Chance shares research-based, actionable strategies for influencing customers to make better decisions and to follow through on purchasing your products or services.

Cultivating Charisma

Charismatic people are more likely to obtain influence at work, get promotions, win elections and advance to positions of power. But is charisma an immutable trait, or is it a skill that can be learned? Zoe Chance, a theatrically trained persuasion expert, says the key to charisma is not to try to “be charismatic” (you’ll just sound like an arrogant fool), but rather to focus your attention. In this session, Chance translates the art of charisma-building in the theater to business settings. Senior leaders, mid-level managers and entry level employees alike, as well as aspiring politicians and orators, will learn how to cultivate charisma through an approach that emphasizes ongoing development of charismatic traits. Even the shy and introverted, will walk away from this workshop with the competence and confidence required to influence others and rise to positions of power and authority.

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“We had Zoe speak at our Annual Investor Meeting recently. It went perfectly, everyone loved Zoe – she was a real hit. Dealing with her before the event was seamless, we had a prep call and she gave me comfort that she would turn up, give it her all and stay relevant to what we wanted to achieve. On the day, she was a true professional. She was kind, warm and has the perfect balance of energy to hold the room. Many people came up to me and said, ‘she made complex concepts simple and made them so relevant – so much so, I could explain them to my children’. The audience continued to reference her quotes and concepts into the next day of sessions. She made a real impact and is one to remember. Thank you Zoe, you were marvelous.”

Helen Wray, Principal, Tenex Capital Management

Praise for "Influence is Your Superpower"

“This book is special. It invites you in with the promise of a truly important topic; charms you with engaging stories and stylings; and treats you to a buffet of beautifully presented, scientifically grounded life lessons about social influence. By the end, my greatest wish was for even more pages.”

Robert Cialdini, Author “Influence” and “Pre-Suasion”

“Fun, filled with great stories, and rooted in groundbreaking research, ‘Influence Is Your Superpower’ explains the new rules of persuasion for a better world.”

Charles Duhigg, Author of bestsellers “The Power of Habit” and “Smarter Faster Better”

“An engaging book on the science of encouraging other people to say yes . . . Zoe Chance’s research won’t just expand your repertoire of persuasive skills — it might also reduce your anxiety about being rejected.”

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of “Think Again” and Host of the TED podcast “WorkLife”

“’Influence is your Superpower’ is so jammed with insight that you’ll find useful advice on almost every page. This smart, accessible book will definitely make you a better persuader—and might even make you a better person.”

Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “When,” “Drive,” and “To Sell Is Human”

“The secret to leading with humility is here in this smart, lively read.”

Ed Catmull, Co-Founder of Pixar, Author of Creativity, Inc.

“Filled with the best science and catchy stories you can’t wait to tell your friends, Chance has given us an absolute treasure trove of small (and often surprising!) changes that we can all make each and every day to become more effective influencers. I know I’ll be using all these new tips at work, when communicating with family and friends, and beyond!”

Laurie Santos, Professor of Psychology at Yale University and Host of the podcast “The Happiness Lab”

“Essential lessons with the ideal teacher.”

Laszlo Bock, Co-Founder and CEO, Humu