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Conversational Hypnosis (part 1)

Conversational Hypnosis, Persuasion, Rapport, salesEdward Kiledjian2 Comments

After writing my entry about selling encyclopedias, many readers wrote in asking for more details. I had an internal debate and wasn't sure whether I should write a detailed article about covert hypnosis.... I have spent the better part of my carreer learning the techniques of covert hypnosis. When people read the word hypnosis, they think of a guy with a pendulum trying to get you to do things you normally wouldn't. They think of negative manipulation.

Whatever your job or position, you spend your day convincing people to see situations your way. Whether you are convincing your boss to approve your project, selling your services to a prospective customer or convincing your wife that a particular movie is worth seeing. Parents can use these techniques with their children.

The purpose of the next couple of entries will be to discuss the subtle use of the English language to more easily convince the other party.

Have a definite outcome
Every encounter you have should have a pre-determined outcome. What is the goal of the encounter and what is the best possible outcome? Make sure you have a clear intent that you are committed to achieving. What is your purpose? What is your intent?

The purpose of clearly understanding and believing in your outcome will not only help you decide how to achieve your goal but will make sure your actions are congruent. Remember that I also ask you to act with integrity and conviction. This will ensure that your subconscious goes along with the plan and that everything you do is congruent and mutually supportive to your goal. Trust me, omitting this step will sabotage your efforts.

Over the next couple of articles, we are going to cover the covert art of persuasion or hypnosis (some call it conversational hypnosis). The steps will be:

- Building rapport with the other person
- How to find out their true criteria (what matters to them)
- How to take what they want and link it to you, your product, your offer

Automatic Influence
Take a couple of minutes and think about all of the situations where people influence you in your daily life. This may be a teacher, parent, boss, colleague, TV commercial, politician, etc.

Sometimes these are positive influences but other times they are negative ones. Learning these techniques may help you overcome these negative attempts to control you. The media sometimes uses these techniques to program some of your beliefs.

Most people will live their life, make judgements and decide on their actions based completely on their beliefs. Your reality is filtered by your beliefs. Why do some people see their life as bad while someone in the same situation will see it as positive?

Belief is not in-born. It is learned from family, friends and society. Belief is programmed into us. Simple thoughts reinforced by repetition become beliefs.

Take a minute and ask yourself about your beliefs? What are your beliefs related to abortion, socialism, the government, your company. How do you feel about each of these items? How do those feelings make you feel? Some people will answer in the positive with happiness, curiosity, wonder while others may feel disgust, fear, pain and hatred. Regardless of what YOU feel, make sure you allow yourself to dig deep and uncover your true feelings about these items. Make sure you notice the emotions they evoke and ask yourself which one of your beliefs is directing that feeling towards that particular subject.

The reason I want you to do this exercise is that it will start opening your conscious mind to the power of belief. Marketers, salespeople, politicians and others will use techniques to change your thoughts then your beliefs and finally your actions/reactions. They will make you act or react in their desired way. You too will learn these techniques but you must first do the introspection to truly understand the power of belief.

Building trust and rapport
Go back to my previous entry about rapport and read it. It will supplement what we will talk about here. If you want to persuade, influence or just get along with someone with whom you need to build rapport. People naturally follow people they trust or like. You don’t consciously decide to like or trust someone. This decision is made unconsciously.

You must learn to build rapport unconsciously. They must trust and like you. There are two main techniques to building rapport:
- Verbal
- Non Verbal

Verbal rapport building is using particular language techniques. People naturally like themselves and people like them. You need to be like them as much as possible. Match the speed of their language. Individuals generally tend to speak at the rate similar to which they absorb information (or think). If someone is kinesthetic they tend to speak more slowly and rhythmically. If you speed at warp speed then you will lose them, break rapport and they will not like or trust you. Conversely, if you speak slowly to someone who speak very quickly (hyper type A) then you will lose their interest and their mind will start to wander.

What about groups? If you speak to groups then usually I recommend speaking slightly faster than the average person but periodically slowing down. In group settings it is important to vary your speed.

The second thing you need to match is the tonality of the other persons voice. Tonality will include things like pitch and tempo.

The third layer is the non-verbal or physical techniques. You should have read my other entry where I discuss mirroring. Dress like the other person, if your customer wears jeans and a polo, don’t show up in a 3 piece suit. In order to convey unconscious superiority, make sure your attire is just slightly better than the other person’s (15% better, no more or you’ll defy the purpose). Then match their physical position and posture. This is called mirroring and matching.

Smiling is also a very powerful tool. Look at the person. Lock eye contact then let a smile come on your face. This is a delayed smile. If you walk in smiling, they may see it as disingenuous. Smile after you have make first contact with the person in a natural way.

What about the handshake. The old business adage is that “a firm handshake is a sign of confidence”. Firm is good but this is not a strongman contest. Maintain eye contact when shaking someone’s hand. Extend your arm out with your shoulders back. Keep you arms and body posture open. It shows openness.

The fourth layer is to get the other person to talk. You have to find ways to naturally get them to talk. The more they hear their own voice, the more they will feel comfortable. They will then link this feeling of comfort and trust with you. Ask open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no). :

- Where do you come from?
- What do you like about ...
- How do you feel about ...

Find points that you can agree on with that person (always ensuring these points are congruent with your desired end results). Small points of agreement build an additional layer of rapport.

A business environment discussion may go something like this:
-  How did you get into the gravestone business (replace this with the target’s business)?
Get them talking... Show interest and agreement. then encourage them to continue talking even more by asking:
- How long have you been in the gravestone business?
- What made you get into the gravestone business?

When the person stops talking, you can get them to continue by simply using the words: “and” or “because”.

Wait for a couple of seconds after they stop talking. Remember my recommendation about eye contact. Keep using the words and/because. Or say because and ask them a question.

If they make a statement of belief that is not congruent with your goals, do not ask ‘because’. Never get them to reinforce these undesirable beliefs. Push neutral statements or those that help you.

In the next series of articles, we will spend a lot of time talking about the intricacies of hypnotic language such as embedded commands. You will have to maintain congruence between your body language and your words.

Trust must be established before they will believe you. You must have industry credibility. Do you want a certified dentist fixing one of your cavities or a person who read a book on dentistry? Someone needs to have the credibility but also the intent. Two different doctors may have the capacity to undertake an operation for you but you will likely choose the one that seems to have the best intent. The one that seems to care the most. Both are required. You need to be the person who can provide both.

Trust means that you can give the other person what they need but you must also show sincerity, be caring and honest. These cannot be faked.

Building Trust and Credibility
We mentioned above that you must get the other person talking. Everything I mentioned above will help you build the trust that is required. Remember that these techniques are not only useful in a business setting but will often yield incredible results in your personal life (with family and friends). BE prepared with conversation starters. If the “and” and “because” technique is not working, you need to be able to steer the conversation quickly towards something positive and non-threatening. These topics may be related to family, business, hobbies, etc.

Oftentimes, when I walk into a customer’s office, I see a picture of their family. I can make a comment on how great that picture looks. Ask about how old the kids are, what they do, what they like. Stir up a conversation about their last family vacation and so on...

I once met a technical team leader who did not like the team I was working for and refused to co-operate. I went to his cubicle to pick him up for our meeting and noticed he had a picture of him scuba diving. I too am a diver and used this to talk about our love for the sport and asked questions about where he had gone diving, who he dove with and where he would like to dive. After 15 minutes, we agreed that we would organize a company diving team and head out next summer. He went from stonewalling me to being one of my biggest supporters in about 20 minutes. I also used the non-verbal techniques.

Don’t pry into their personal life. Ask general questions to get them to talk. I avoid topics such as business, ethnicity, money, religion and politics since these are very divisive. It is difficult getting agreement or building trust on this.

Be genuine. The other person will see if you are genuine.You have to be truly curious and interested in the discussion. Show empathy and genuine interest. If you don’t understand what the other person said, you can ask for clarification. You can use “I want to be sure I understand, what you mean is ...”. This shows you are listening and are interested.

Remember that the goal here is to persuade and build rapport. Do not use overly complex words. Remember to keep your language simple. This is not jeopardy.

Don’t use weak words like I, me, myself, later, maybe. Use power words that show both of you together. In covert hypnosis, this is called the premature we. It gets the person thinking about both of you together. In a personal setting (on a date), you may want to say something like “we should really go see that art exhibit” (assuming the person likes art).

In line with the above, try to prove detail and guidance on when and where. Instead of saying “let’s meet sometime this week” why not say “Let’s meet Friday at noon for lunch”. It is easy for the other person to say yes to the second statement than it is for the first one.

To be continued...
I will likely have to write 4-5 entries to completely talk about covert hypnosis so stay tuned and check back often. If you have questions or want additional details, please post them below in the comments section.

At the end of the series, I may write an article about how marketers and cult leaders use these techniques to implant false memories in people. I am not yet sure if that is something I want to share in this open forum so we’ll see.