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Invoke Norm

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Invoke Norm

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get others to do as you request by reminding them of informal rules that create social pressure to comply.

Talk about what others are doing, and how the person must go along with this. Talk about 'everyone' rather than 'some' people. Say this is the 'right' thing to do. Show surprise and even shock at any disagreement. Point out that others would disagree.

Example

Surely you can't stay here. Everyone's expecting you.

That's not how it's done around here. This is the way that people will like...

Give generously, like many of the other people around here!

Discussion

We are all affected by social norms and other informal rules as we make choices about what we do. Having to live in society and with other people, it is important to sustain their approval and respect. When we get on with others, they may offer both practical and emotional support. If we break social rules, we risk being shut out and losing the benefits of having friends and colleagues.

A remarkably common persuasive statement by children, seemingly around the world, is 'Everyone's got one'. In saying this, they transfer the social pressure they are feeling to (typically) their parents. Social pressure is also used in all kinds of other ways as a lever to get people to conform.

Invoke Norm is the 38th of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Values, Social Norms

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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