How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Bond and Bend
A simple method of persuasion is 'bond and bend', where we bond with the other person then bend them to our will.
To 'bend' is to move them in the direction that you want them to go. Once you have bonded them to you, then you can bend them to your will. If they are bonded then, for simple requests, all you need to do is ask. Things that require more effort or changing how they think will often need more subtly. The stronger the bond, the more easy this task will be.
Think of it like bending a stick. A slight flex is easy. A significant bend depends on the flexibility of the stick. Try to bend it too far and too sharply and it will break. Also like the way wood can be shaped in making furniture, slow and steady bending can make it go much further than attempting a sharp, sudden bend.
A parent shows their child lots of love and gives them much attention. They are then able to command the child. When the child does something wrong, they find parental disappointment so upsetting they just apologize and do as they are told.
A business leader sells her vision to her team and gets them deeply involved in achieving it. They bond together and share a strong commitment towards success.
A sales person smiles and offers a compliment. As the person smiles back, the sales person moves smoothly into the sales pitch.
Bonding works because it is effectively a joining of identities, where a bonded person feels as if their sense of identity is seamlessly connected with the other person. When another person shares their identity with you, doing something for you is like doing something for themselves.
Trust is a gateway to persuasion. It is also an essential element within bonding. People will not connect their selves with yours, at least not in any deep way, unless they trust you. Having said this, a light bonding is quite easily created, as many salespeople know.
Bending is based on creating a tension between their actual thoughts or actions, and the things that you are suggesting. When they are bonded with you, they will want to be like you and to do things that make you happy. If you show that they are still not like you, they will act to change themselves, including their beliefs. If you ask them to do something, they will do this in order to make you happy.
Of course you can bend a person too far, such that the bond between you gets fractured or broken. Just how much you can ask of them depends on the strength of the bond. all relationships between people work in this way, with the desire to help and align with one another.
Bending the person to your desire can sound very manipulative, though as the examples illustrate, the intent and consideration of others is a critical element and in reality this method is widely used. Certainly it can be used in questionable ways, such as the way cults use methods such as the love bomb followed by extreme techniques such as identity destruction.
A simple variant is called 'pace and lead', and is based on matching non-verbal language (pacing) before modifying one's own language to move them in your direction.