ergophobe - 5:37 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't understand what "faking" it has to do with this. I can be sincere and tell you "Ergophobe is the CEO of a multinational consortium of widget foundries" (okay, I can't) and I can also be sincere in telling you that "When not working, ergophobe is busy polishing his antique spitoon collection" (okay, again not so much). One reiterates my resume, the other tells you something about me as a person. One is already public record, the other is not.
The point that Cialdini was making is that people want to connect with people, not institutions, and they need something other than your resume/mission statement/marketing gobbledy gook to connect to.
Most About Us pages sound machine-generated "We are a global leader in the widget industry, committed to providing the highest level of customer service." That tells me nothing about who you are, actually and, to me, that is the highest form of insincerity. If you're like the businesses that Cialdini and Dooley are talking about, having a good About Us page requires actually putting yourself out there and getting real with your customers, letting them know a little about who you really are. Most businesses resist this violently. They hide behind terms like "professionalism", but it's really fear of connecting on a human level with their customers.
We didn't know anything about this when we created an "About Us" for one of our businesses. The truth is, we were in a hurry and gave it little thought, so just jotted down some hobbies and passions. What surprised is is that we got many customers who said "We read your About Us and we thought you sounded like our kind of people, so we [want to do business with you]." By implication, of course, we probably lost some customers who read the About Us and decided we were *not* their kind of people. Making it personal has a risk and a reward.
When Cialdini put up his research, it really resonated with what we experienced. I thought it was the most interesting part of his talk and appreciate our own rogerd [webmasterworld.com] for highlighting it.