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Using Binds In Persuasion

The use of linguistic binds in the therapeutic context is well documented and researched. The use of binds in the context of persuasion and influence is not nearly in such widespread use, yet. This obviously provides those of us who make our living in the business world an opportunity to once again borrow from the therapeutic.

Binds create the illusion of choice by using language that “normally” offers a choice, where either choice you choose, you still go along with what the speaker wants.

Inasmuch as there are several types of binds, we will concentrate on binds of comparable alternatives.

You can understand it better like this:
A choice is offered the listener where “A” is choice one and “B” is choice two and has the same meaning as “A ” only worded differently.


1. Would you like to go ahead and set an appointment now or should we just jot down a time when we can meet?

2. I’m confident that before you leave today you will either buy our product or make the decision to take it home with you.

3. It is important to keep our employees happy and producing at their maximum capacity so perhaps you could manage your section by example or you could consistently demonstrate what you expect to be done.

Let’s look at Example 1: The first part or choice “A” is, “set an appointment now” and the second part or choice “B” is, “jot down a time when we can meet.” What’s the difference between these two suggestions? They both mean the same thing, only worded differently. What makes this so powerful is the use of the word, “or.”

Generally, the word “or” implies the opposite. For example, if I were to write Example 1 the way you would expect, it would go like this: “Would you like to go ahead and make an appointment now or should we just wait until you have more time?” It’s for this reason that this pattern has such impact.

Let’s practice coming up with binds that will work for you in your field of work. The way to do this is to first come up with an outcome. Then, create two different ways of saying your outcome whereby either way the person chooses, they do what you want.

1. Outcome:
Alternate way to say it #1
Alternate way to say it #2
This is a very effective pattern and yet we can go one better and double its effectiveness. The way to do it is through:

Hidden Double Binds

In order to better understand why hidden double binds work, let’s examine some issues on the periphery that will help make this more powerful.

Let’s first discuss the elements of confusion. When a person is confused, they will usually accept the first logical way out of that confusion. Confusion is not a highly valued state for most people or, I should say, people are highly motivated to stay out of confusion. When you use the word “or” in your binds, people tend to believe that you will offer the opposite of the first choice. When you don’t, people often go into a state of confusion.

The structure of a hidden bind is: While speaking, use a bind, but don’t stop after the bind-keep talking.- Here is the procedure for using a bind:

1. Come up with a bind you want to use.
2. Put it into a sentence.
3. After the bind, keep talking.
4. Use a question to “nail down” the response.


1. I’m confident that before you leave today you will either buy our product or make the decision to take it home with you; either way, the most important thing is that you become thoroughly aware of what we can do for you. Does that sound right to you?

2. I don’t know whether you will be really excited about using this pattern in your work or whether you have already begun to consider it to be as important as one of the events in your life that you look back on right now, positively, as having made you what you are today. I think we have all had experiences that have really pointed us in the right direction and helped us to become what we are now, don’t you agree?

3. I don’t know whether you will enroll in one of my programs now or just decide to be in my next one-day training, the important thing is to begin now to realize some of the important benefits of using this material. Have you started yet to gain the awareness of the power of this information?

In all of the above examples, there is no pause (for an answer to the bind).
Remember that we discussed what people do when they become confused?

Hiding binds in this way creates just that very effect. The bind serves to confuse the consciousness so they will accept the first logical way out-AND the question at the end provides the way out for the person (by re-focusing their attention).

To experience this effect, have someone read one of the above sentences to you and pay attention to the re-focusing you experience when the question is asked at the end. The question at the end also causes the bind to go straight into the person’s unconscious as a suggestion. They never need answer it because its purpose is to act as a suggestion. The question at the end also tends to create amnesia for the bind, so the person may never even know that you used one. In fact, it is my experience that rarely, if ever, does someone realize that a bind was used.

Because of the power of this technique, it is especially important to remember to use it in an ethical way that is considerate of the needs of the person to whom you are speaking.

Whether you incorporate this into your behavior or really enjoy using this to increase your skills while combining this with all the other patterns you are surely, by now, using from reading this column, pay attention to how much more confidence you are experiencing as a result of having these additional tools.

Kenrick E. Cleveland – is the “Top Secret – Goto Guy” for persuasion training for over 27 years. Check out MaxPersuasion Tips and get serious persuasion tips every 2 weeks – increase your power to persuade and put money in your pocket. Lots of it!