In our final post we are going to talk about some specific examples of hypnotic language patterns and how they can be used in real life. As I stated before, hypnotic language patterns can be broken up into two fundamental categories based on the processes that they create and/or work with within the mind of the recipient.
1. Cognitive Dissonance / Certainty – These types of patterns either create confusion in the mind with ambiguity or overtly reinforce preexisting rules to “grease” the acceptance of certain information. The wonderful side effect of that confusion is that as the subconscious mind is “making sense” out of the statement, its critical thinking system is “occupied” for lack of a better term. This provides the communicator with an open and unimpeded channel in which to implant their suggestions into the busy mind of the recipient.
2. Rapport Building / Pattern – These types of patterns create predictability through familiarity, pattern and rhythm in not only the phonology of your speech but also the content/verbiage. The resulting “predictability” that occurs creates a safe and comforting environment to the subconscious mind of the recipient and thus lowers their critical thinking radar. This in turn, again, provides the communicator with and open and unimpeded channel in which to implant their suggestions into the busy mind of the recipient.
So let’s get right into it with Cognitive Dissonance / Certainty Milton-based patterns. The ones we will talk about here today are Complex Equivalences, Lack of Referential Index and conversational postulates.
A Complex Equivalence is when a complex situation, idea or object is purported to mean, or actually be something else. For example, take the statement “Wearing that suit IS career failure”. In this statement the process of wearing a specific suit is synonymous with career failure. The dissonance and certainty comes into play on two separate levels in this statement.
- Career failure can mean so many different things that the mind of the recipient will simply “fill in the blanks” on this. As a result, the dissonance is occurring at a semantic level. To the speaker it may mean that they will simply lose this particular sales pitch. To the recipient it may mean that they will literally never work in this town again. The reality of the matter is that it could mean anything in between t hose two statements. As a result the recipient’s mind will take a self-anchored approach and simply encode that with their own meaning regardless of accuracy. This facilitates the acceptance of the statement.
- Since our mind is so accepting of the conjoining qualities of predicate calculus terms such as “if – then”, “Is”, “And”, etc… the connection of the two terms (which is almost absurd if you really think about it, a suit demolishing and entire career?) is readily and easily accepted. As a result, the certainty is occurring at a rules-based level.
The result is that the person will generally absorb the statement and deal with it as their own value systems, belief systems and personality deems appropriate. So where can something like this be used in a constructive manner? Let’s take a look at some examples.
- You’re standing in the doorway of a small living room at a party with some friends. In the living room someone is laying out lines of cocaine that a friend of yours would like to try for the first time.
- a. “Buddy, you know as well as I do that drugs EQUAL failure…”
- b. “Walking into that room IS the beginning of the end for you…”
- c. “That room IS poisonous to life.”
- d. “Your success as a human IS staying right here and not going into that room.”
- 2. Your friend is angry with your boss because they didn’t get the promotion that they thought they deserved. In their emotional state they want to go and give the boss a piece of their minds. We both know that this is probably a bad idea…
- a. “Listen, you yelling at the boss IS the death of your child’s college fund.”
- b. “You giving the boss a piece of your mind MEANS that you are in the poor house.”
- c. “Yelling at the boss EQUALS home foreclosure and a strict diet of Raman Noodles…”
- d. “Staying right here and cooling off MEANS not getting fired.”
A Lack of Referential Index is an utterance where the identity of the subject that is acting or being acted upon is left out entirely. Statements such as “It is really demanding” or “It is a dangerous thing” are extremely ambiguous. What exactly do they mean when they reference “It”? In most context you can get a “pretty good idea” of what “it” is, however your notion of “it” and their notion of “it” is rarely the same believe it or not. In this scenario only mental confusion is coming into play and the hypnotic advantage appears on two separate levels.
1. In order for the person’s mind to make complete sense out of this type of statement they need to work with a number of different parameters in their Lexicon and memory retrieval subsystems to understand it. Again, during the brief period of retrieval and confusion the person is in an open state of suggestibility.
2. The broad and open slate that an ambiguous statement like this provides creates a much higher probability that what you communicating is readily accepted. Let’s look at the subject of riding a motorcycle. As a polarized example, if you say “Riding your motorcycle on a busy street without a helmet while running from the cops is dangerous” the recipient will most likely have far fewer experiences relating to this than they would the statement “It is dangerous”. When there are no obvious experiences by which to reference your statements, critical thinking fires right up and aids in keeping the person in a Beta-state. The result is a LOW suggestibility state.
So let’s take a look at some examples in real life where this type of pattern can be used to help your own communication.
- You are attempting to get an acquaintance to go on vacation with you and you want the trip to sound as appealing as possible.
- a. “IT will be the most astounding thing you’ve done this year.”
- b. “THEY will be so jealous of you because THEY don’t get to go.”
- c. “When you get THERE you will be so happy you DID.”
- d. “IT will be the best move you’ve ever made.”
- Let’s say you are a sales person trying to get someone to purchase your product.
- a. “CUSTOMERS said that it was the best decision they ever made to buy this.”
- b. “THEY told me that after THEY got is home, THINGS were never the same for THEM.”
- c. “PEOPLE really aren’t supposed to be without this.”
- d. “HOMEOWNERS say their home wasn’t complete until THEY invested in something like this.”
A Conversational Postulate is a question that normally would be answered literally by a yes or no, but is either simply followed as a request/command or is understood to be asking for a more informative answer. Whereas the two previous examples (complex equivalence and lack of referential index) are ambiguity/confusion-based, the conversational postulate is a rules-based Hypnotic Language pattern. The best example of this is the phrase “Can you tell me the time please?” The literal answer to this question is ‘Yes’, but most people would actually tell you the time as this is the understood etiquette of this type of interaction. Let’s take a quick look at the rule that this takes advantage of.
1. In this type of pattern, the natural rule that is being taken advantage of is “compliance to request”. The evolution of our social mechanisms as a species has left us with brains that are rewarded for sharing, generosity, compassion and charity. In other words, it feels good to help people (see my post on The Neuroscience of “Help”). A conversational postulate places a command attractively into a question which is a natural softener. As you can imagine, a request is always much less threatening than a demand. The end result is a command that slips gently below critical thinking radar to elicit an automatic and specific behavior.
Here are a couple of examples where conversational postulates can be used in everyday life.
- Take for example a situation where you are in a bit of a heated argument with a co-worker and you want to cool things off so that you can take a more constructive route.
- a. “Can we take a quick walk while discuss things to cool off a bit?”
- b. “Can you tell me some ways that we might be able to make this work?”
- c. “Can you drive me to the lounge down the street so that we can discuss this in less formal setting?”
- d. “Can you please lower your voice a bit while we are talking?”
- As another example, imagine that you are in a bar asking a woman (or man) for their number so that you may take them out.
- a. “Can you write your number on this napkin for me?”
- b. “Can you give me your number so that I can put it in my phone?”
- c. “Is it easier for you to just give me your number now?”
- d. “Do you think you can write your number down on this card so that I can call you next week?”
That wraps it up for our Cognitive Dissonance / Certainty Milton-based examples. This is not to say that this is a complete list by any means. There are quite a few others that we haven’t mentioned and for a complete package you will have to wait for my book that will be out in fall of 2009.
So moving on we approach the Rapport Building / Pattern Milton-based examples. To illustrate them today we will be talking about Linkage and Utilization. Let’s begin with Linkage…
Linkage is the usage of predicate logic to link 2 or more subjects together in a phrase. From a hypnotic standpoint, when several “things” (these can be anything from an object to an experience to an event) are linked together in a sequence, a “rhythmic pattern” will be developed at a subconscious level. The result will be a trance-like response from the person listening to the communication. The reason for this is that the rhythm will create predictability and the “comfort/safety” that comes along with it at the subconscious level. When comfort/safety is achieved with the listener, again, a clearer and less obstructed pathway is created into the subconscious mind for suggestion and direction.
Simple conjunctions (AND), Implied Causitives (As You… You Will) and Cause/Effect (X will make you Y) are all linkage statements. When performed in sequence these are extremely effective at helping the person’s mind move into an Alpha and even possibly a Theta brain wave pattern. The beauty of these types of statements is that they don’t even really have to be entirely accurate, just plausible.
Our phonological loop, which basically stores incoming messages while they are processed can only store approximately 2 seconds of material. This means that as a phrase or utterance goes past 2 seconds, the initial information is dropped (or more accurately dissipates) and is refreshed with the new material. So linkage can effectively take you from something that is UNATTRACTIVE to the other person and turn it into something that is ATTRACTIVE via a series of gradually increasing (compounding), semi-plausible statements. As these are more “involved” pieces of language, I will only be giving a single pattern example for the sake of space.
- You are arguing with your spouse over which channel to watch before going to sleep and they are becoming agitated. Let’s take “watching your show” from unpalatable to palatable…
- a. “I realize that my shows are boring AND this is becoming a pain in the butt for you AND the we can’t come to an agreement on which channel to watch AND THE MORE we argue THE MORE sleepy we will become BECAUSE of that arguing AND THE MORE you are going to realize that AS WE watch the shows I want to watch AND just let them naturally lull you to sleep YOU WILL be glad that you didn’t get involved with another one of your shows that will MAKE you stay awake for longer than you should AND leave you groggy again at word AS A RESULT I think you will be happy that we did change to my channel…”
Utilization is simply the process of incorporating all of the events that are naturally occurring around the communication recipient and linking them together with the person’s internal state. Utilization is not quite as sterile as some of the other Milton-based patterns as it is actually defined more by its structure rather than the verbiage used. In other words, the process of Utilization basically uses some of the other hypnotic patterns (such as Linkage, Mind Reading, Lack of Referential Index, etc…) to create/draw correlation between the things that are happening around the recipient and the “resulting” internal states that are occurring.
For example: “As you sit there and hear the humming of your computer it can only make you realize even more soundly how much you really need to get out and go for a walk…” In this statement, the communicator is basically blaming the person’s “need” to go for a walk on the humming of the computer.
Now, from an evolutionary standpoint, our brains are ever-so-ready to find and/or create cause/effect and correlation between events and/or mental states. Due to this predisposition, the mind, unless it is in a very strong Beta pattern will readily accept these correlations as being “correct” or “factual”. The result is compliance and or acceptance at a subconscious level. Following is an example:
- Your coworker is dead set on going to the happy hour after work. You happen to know that his ex-girlfriend will be there (so does he) and you know it is a bad idea…
- a. “While you sit in that chair and you feel the strength of its back holding you upright it can only continue to remind you that the feeling you have in your chest is your stomach telling you that this is a bad idea.”
- b. “While you are listening to the beeping of the traffic outside the window, continue to let it remind you of all of the hustle bustle and rigmarole that you would have experienced had you actually gone to that bar AND as it becomes louder and more frequent AND the feeling inside you becomes more noticeable you are beginning really pay attention to what you already know AND that is that going to that bar is just a bad idea…”
So, there you have it. Although these are great examples, remember that there are just a ton of other hypnotic patterns that a Communication Expert can use. To get all of them, you will have to wait for my book later this fall.
To learn more about Hypnotic Language and other forms of communication that can help you refine your own effective communication skills, please explore the rest of my blog The Communication Expert or if i’m online, contact me on Skype.