Intent Labeling

Intent labeling is the name given to the group of techniques that consist of making a person crystalize their commitment in the first person. It includes techniques such as:

There are some techniques that work through failed intent labeling. In short, you challenge the person to make something explicit, but they can’t, and due to that, it has the opposite effect as labeling it. These include:

In its base form, intent labeling can be summarized as “make them say it in the first person”, and can be considered a one-sided version of a code of conduct.

The Persuasion Psychology Behind the Technique

Intent labeling works as a consistency trap. In short, once the person says, in the first person, they will do something, they are much more likely to act in accordance with that initial action or decision. It’s not bulletproof, but it is a powerful persuasion technique.

You can use any of the sub-techniques mentioned, but at its core, you use intent labeling by forcing the person to state something in the first person. It may be their liking for you, the action they will take in the future, or others.

You can also leverage failed intent labeling in the opposite way – challenging the person to state something that you know they will not have the courage to.


(2 in Total)


"Repeat back to me"

When you ask someone to repeat back to you, “I will do this”, you are using intent labeling. Once they say it, they are much more likely to do it

"Where is this going?"

Frequently heard when a person wants to know where a relationship is going. Same exact principle – they are forcing the other person to state, in the first person, what they’re planning on doing.

Terms and conditions

Nowadays, to accept the terms and conditions of an application, you can’t just click “Accept”, but have to wait a few seconds, and possibly scroll through the whole text. The idea is, again, to make it seem as if your action is more explicit

Use Cases For the Four Quadrants

Key Takeaways
(3 Total)

How to Stack This Technique