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This week’s cognitive bias is a fascinating one and counterintuitive.

It’s about being more human.

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It’s the Pratfall Effect.

The Pratfall Effect is that mistakes can make us seem more likable, not less. However it only works if you’re already seen as competent or an above-average performer.

Think about how often we forgive someone we like for a mistake. In fact I’d argue in the case of celebrities we are too forgiving because we love them so much.

Everyone makes mistakes. We all know that. So to admit one is just being real.

There are other interesting applications. One is customer reviews.

If you see all perfect reviews on Google it can seem strange. So having a bad one can actually be a good thing. People will look at them being mostly good and discount the bad one anyway.

Another application of it is to admit a flaw in your product or service. Again people don’t expect you to be perfect. But when you admit something isn’t perfect it builds trust for everything else you say.

Volkswagen famously did this when the Beetle came out. Here’s just no example of their ads.

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So be honest about how you’re not perfect. People are surprisingly forgiving.