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Are You Kind, Big Deal, or Kind of a Big Deal? The Role of Communication in Impression Management

One prominent interpersonal goal is to make positive impressions on others, and appear trustworthy, warm, or competent. This symposium explores the links among conversation goals, behaviors, and impression management. We identify the different—and often conflicting—goals that people may have in conversations, and the tradeoffs they must make in managing impressions. Next, using experimental and field data, we showcase communication strategies that help people make positive impressions. We show when and why focusing on the process by which one has attained achievements, compliments, laughter, and ingratiating behaviors help communicators with impression management and other interpersonal goals. We also identify gender as a key moderator in determining the impact of different strategies. Taken together, we underscore the importance of communication for impression- and conflict management.

Einav Hart
George Mason University
United States

Alison Brooks
Harvard University
United States

Michael Yeomans
Imperial College London
United Kingdom

Maurice Schweitzer
University of Pennsylvania
United States

Ovul Sezer
Columbia University
United States

Kelly Nault

Nadav Klein

Eric VanEpps
University of Utah
United States

T. Bradford Bitterly
Hong Kong

Jennifer Aaker
Stanford University
United States

M. Ena Inesi
London Business School
United Kingdom


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