The word quantum is Latin and means “how great” or “how much.” Now in quantum mechanics, it refers to a discrete (specific) unit (measurement) that quantum theory assigns to certain quantities, such as the energy of an atom at rest.
The field of quantum mechanics came about due to the discovery that waves have discrete energy packets (called quanta) that can behave in a manner similar to particles. In other words, depending on the constitution of a waves energy packets, it can act or represent itself in different ways.
Taking this one step further, a “quantum state” refers to any one of the possible states that a whole system can take on based on the combination of different variables in the system. The number of variables that are achievable are a direct function of the differences in the value of those variables used to define the states.
OK, now I know that this is a bit “jargon-esque” so let me clean this up for you and relate it to language and our thoughts. What all of this means is that a thought, even though it is a physical entity (a neural net), can mean DIFFERENT things depending on the variables applied to it. The variables, which we will be getting into in a moment, are the “parameters” that we defined in the first post. So by changing the perimeter-creating parameters that surround a thought/belief, we inextricably change the thought.
For a thought to “mean” something to us, it needs to be defined linguistically in our mind. So the very fact that a linguistically defined thought can mean different things as different parameters are applied to it gives the thought and it’s defining language a QUANTUM NATURE. As such, we as communicators can apply different variables/parameters to any thought to give it different states… So let’s apply this concept to the act of persuading someone through our communication.
Now to refresh from the first sleight of mouth patterns post, we discussed the physical parent of a thought being in the form of a neural net. When working to persuade someone, what we are in effect doing is attempting to get someone to change a belief. Any decision that “dictates” action is a belief… whether it is as complex as moving forward with a divorce or as simple as waiting for a commercial to get up for a glass of soda.
The examples above and all beliefs/decisions for that matter need to have a perimeter around them for them to exist and function. The perimeter that surrounds the thought/belief and defines it is comprised of the “variables” that make it a “system”. These variables are what create the boundary/perimeter of the thought AND they are what give the thought a quantum nature.
This perimeter is where you want to focus your efforts in order to introduce NEW information into the belief to give it new meaning and change it. This perimeter is “constructed” from a number of different informational components. Although this is not comprehensive, today we will talk about 5 major factors that come into play when your mind is linguistically constructing a belief/decision. It uses these factors to turn the thought into something that is processable, manageable and therefore usable to you.
Each one of these categorical factors is a doorway through which you can introduce new information into the belief system or decision to transform it into something new… Hopefully into the a belief that will lead the person in the direction of the decision or belief that you are attempting to persuade toward. The 5 categories are:
1. Abstraction level – All thoughts need to be held at some level of abstraction. The abstraction level is the level of complexity, or specificity that an object/subject is being evaluated at or compared to. In other words, how much detail and specificity are you taking into consideration when beholding an objects existence?
When I say “car”, are you thinking “fuel injection system” or are you thinking “transportation”? Fuel injection is specific, transportation is NOT. Any thought, inextricably, is held at a level of abstraction. By changing to focus of that level, you are going to change the perimeter around that thought.
Ex. “Chunking Down” or changing the level of abstraction that the person is working on.
Joe: “I really don’t want to go to that party tonight…”
Cathy: “What specifically about the party is causing trouble for you?”
This is taking Joe’s “belief” boundary and sucking it down to a smaller sub-component. This breaks the perimeter down into a different animal all together.
2. Logic – I call this category “logic” but what this comprises is really any “rationalizations” that are used to support the belief. I know, I know… all of the social psychologists are screaming at me right now because of the subconscious aspects of decision making. But we are looking at ways to permeate and change the perimeter, not necessarily exorcise this belief all together. Working with this category can and will do that.
When holding the decision in place, your mind will always focus on the information that supports this decision and filter out the information that does not. By working in this realm, we are reintroducing the information that has already been filtered out.
Ex. Counter Example
Joe: “I think going to that party is a really bad idea…”
Cathy: “What circumstances will make it a good idea?”
This can and will draw Joe’s Attentional processes out of their laser focus and into another set of information that will penetrate the perimeter of his current belief/decision.
3. Meaning/Identity – What this is referring to is the actual “result” that your mind has in place as the consequence of this belief. Again, in order to create a perimeter and establish the belief/neural net there has to be a consequence in place. Usually, the consequence that the subconscious has in place is not actively extended into the cognitive mind. Never the less, there is indeed a cause – effect link underlying this. Refocusing OUTSIDE to other meanings will penetrate this perimeter.
Ex. Ecology Check
Joe: “This party is really going to be a buzzkill…”
Cathy: “How do you see this party helping your social network?”
This draws Joe’s mind outside of current negative cause-effect link to evaluate other positive cause-effect consequences. This will expand the perimeter and change it’s size and shape.
4. Perceptual Position – Any belief or decision is held from a particular perceptual position. A perceptual position is the “viewpoint” that a scenario is being viewed from. First person is that you are looking at things through your own eyes. Second person means that you are viewing things through the eyes of your communication partner. Third person means that you are viewing things from a perspective that is “above” both yourself and any communication partner. Conceptually, any decision or belief “exists” from one of the above view points. Almost always, it is initially held in the first person position.
Ex. Specific Third Party
Joe: “I get nervous for some reason when I think about going to this party…”
Cathy: “How do you think Max Power (their sophisticated, worldly powerful friend) gets himself prepared to go to one of these?”
This draws Joe’s mind outside of the current perimeter to do two things. 1. Look at it from the viewpoint of someone who is confident, 2. Evaluate empowering preparation strategies. This will indeed break open the perimeter of this current belief.
5. Time – When a decision or belief has been made, it will have a particular and specific temporal position in place. Preferences that are based on evolved characteristics will almost definitely place this temporal position in the “here and now” category. This means that the outcome that is being held will only factor in the present time frame. The “causes” will only be from the current time frame. This temporal position is a major component in developing the perimeter around your beliefs / decisions.
Ex. Eternity Frame
Joe: “I am not going to go to the party…”
Cathy: “Imagine you are sitting in your rocking chair… 50 years from now looking back on your life. How do you think never going to another party again will have hurt your life?”
This will blow out the perimeter on Joe’s belief by drawing him out into the future to evaluate from that temporal position rather than just the here and now.
Again, this is not a comprehensive list… There are several other examples of specific patterns that can blow out these perimeters. That being said, this is a great start for you in your own work on sleight of mouth patterns.
To learn more about Sleight Of Mouth Patterns and other forms of effective communication, please feel free to explore the rest of my blog The Communication Expert. Or if I am online, please feel free to connect with me via Skype.