More than three years ago, I wrote about Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion, and what it takes for business presenters to appear convincing, credible and trusty in front of their audience. The six principles are labeled: reciprocity, liking, authority, social proof, commitment, and scarcity.
When asked in an interview, 30 years after publication of his list, if he still thought that it was complete, or whether there was room for adding a number seven and number eight, Dr. Cialdini replied that
“… the majority of the most effective [practices] seem to fall into one or another of those categories.”
Well, never say never. About six months ago, in Cialdini’s latest book “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade,” the author writes:
“But now I believe that there is a seventh universal principle that I had missed – not because some new cultural phenomenon or technological shift brought it to my attention but because it was hiding beneath the surface of my data all along.”
And the newborn principle is called… unity!
“[Unity] is about shared identities. It’s about the categories that individuals use to define themselves and their groups, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and family, as well as political and religious affiliations. A key characteristic of these categories is that their members tend to feel at one with, merged with, the others. They are the categories in which the conduct of one member influences the self-esteem of the other members. Put simple, we is the shared me.”
Photo: Where’s Wally World Record by William Murphy
Thinking back of most of the B2B conversations I’ve participated to throughout my professional career, I must admit that unity has always been present in some way. When I discuss job-related issues with my colleagues, or when I present to an audience of technology people, product marketers, or business decision makers, we’re (almost) always sharing a common technical background, a mutual understanding of our industry’s challenges and opportunities, as well as a common jargon and visual language – with lots of subject-specific acronyms, architecture diagrams, and data visualizations.
So, yes, unity has always been, and will continue to be part of my marketing toolbox. A means to tell my story, to make my arguments more credible, and to persuade my audience.