Most people think of peer pressure as something that only happens in high school. The reality is that it never stops; it just takes on a different form as we enter into the workplace. And it can be anywhere from the office to a professional conference. The fact is – we do care about what others think and that influences our actions.
At a recent tradeshow, there was golf simulator game where attendees could compete to have the longest drive. If you love golf (or even if you don’t) the prize was a full set of Callaway golf clubs. This prize attracted both novice and more seasoned players. And they got a sleeve of Callaway balls just for trying.
The big question isn’t whether people played. Of course they did — and the engagement was a HUGE hit. What was curious were the reasons people had for not playing. And even more surprising were the people who chose not to win. What do you think was the most common reason not to play? Check out the list below.
7 Unexpected Truths About Peer Pressure — And Why It Matters
- Taking A Risk Isn’t Easy. Now this may sound obvious, but really when given the chance to try something in front of other people, how likely would you do it? It depends on what’s being asked of you perhaps, but even if it were something you knew inside and out — if there were a crowd, would you do it?
- Looking “Stupid” In Front of Others Counts. Whether perception is real or imagined, no one wants to look the fool. If there are colleagues around in a group and you are “dared” to try something, how likely would you be to try it?
- Self-Doubt Happens To Everyone. Gender and age play only a small part in what people think. In the golf example, the audience was largely male and over 35 years old. When asked if an attendee would play, they would look at the stats on who had the longest drive and say “Well I could never hit it that far.”
- We Listen to Others. If there is a group of people and the group says, “Go on try it,” a person is more inclined to do it. When that same group adds “This is gonna be good,” the person about to take on a challenge suddenly loses confidence and they don’t do as well.
- Waiting Before Doing Is Safest. Very few people will look at a challenge and jump in. Think about a group meeting when a leader asks for volunteers. The room usually grows quiet before someone steps up. The same is true in a competition. In the example above, people stood and watched for a long time before deciding if they would try to play.
- Incentives Work. Even when people are in a group setting and everyone is watching, if the person taking the challenge knows the reward is big, they are likely to do it even if in the back of their mind they question their abilities or the likelihood that they will actually win.
- Determination Wins Out Over Abilities. Without question, if a person is totally skilled at an activity (like golf), they are more likely to try a challenge like the one described here because they know their odds are good. It is also true that people like a challenge. They live for a thrill and they are focused. It is that drive that allows them to ignore the crowd, get in the zone and not care what other people think.
What would you do? Are you a person who would try for something because you love a challenge and figure “I have nothing to lose!” and go for it? Or would you be thinking about what your peers think, or what the crowd is saying or worry someone might laugh?
You may be wondering the outcome of the engagement described above. Despite the hesitancy of some, the desire for the prize was greater and the experience drew huge engagement compared with the previous event.
How about you? What makes you hesitate to try something out? I would love to hear from you, firstname.lastname@example.org