My last article on NLP Questions provoked quite a few emails. Most were asking for some more examples, so here are a few.
Questioning, a vital NLP Technique
Meta Model vs. Presuppositional Questioning
A couple of people were waving their NLPness around so I need to talk a little bit of jargon to them before we get into the examples. The Meta Model is NLP’s over complicated jargon name for getting more detail and disconnecting people from the assumptions they make through the use of their language. This generally draws people out of trance although skilful Persuasion Artists will use it differently. For all of you that don’t need the jargon I will write a few articles on the Meta Model in the future.
Presuppositional Questions do exactly the opposite. This is a persuasive technique where you are deliberately putting in assumptions into your questions so you can alter the train of thought of your subject. This is almost anti meta model and when used really well takes people into the trance you want them in.
Examples of Presuppositional Questions
Greggs, a national chain of bakers in the UK train their serving staff to ask a question when they are serving you. “What else can I get you?” This presupposes that there is more that you want. Compare it to, “Can I get you anything else?” and just notice the difference.
I have trained a number of people to answer the phone with their introduction and following it up with the question, “How can I help you?” This presupposes that the caller can be helped…and by you specifically. Compare it to “Can I help you?” and you will realise just how useful this is as a technique.
Law enforcement officers around the world are trained to use questions like, “What can I say or do that will make you… calm down / put the weapon down / tell me what happened etc.” This phrase is excellent because it also sets up an embedded command. Have a look at the example again and see if you can notice the commands. Sorry I couldn’t resist the temptation with the embedded commands. How many outside the obvious did you spot?
When training and someone looks like they are confused I may ask them a question like, “You look confused, what is the one question you can ask that will let all the pieces fall into place?” Notice that the presupposition is that the asking of the question, not the answer, is what will allow the pieces to fall into place. Also note that the question is set up to deliver the embedded command “let the pieces fall into place” If I am really on form I will add another embedded command so the whole question looks like:
“What is the one question you can ask that will let all the pieces fall into place and you understand completely!”
I put an exclamation mark at the end because the last three words would be delivered in command not questioning tonality. The grammar is all over the place but half the beauty of the spoken word is that no one notices how you use hypnotic language.
How many different ways can you use this idea?
I could sit here typing up examples all day, but the issue is not about my examples, but, how many different ways you can put this concept to use.
The sentence above is difficult to show in writing but try saying it out loud turning the last part into a question. You will notice the interesting structure to the whole phrase and the sequence of internal representations it creates when you do this.
The easiest way of learning to do this is to go out and do it. So think up ten questions that you can use and go out to deliberately use them on unsuspecting members of the public. Try them out for a day and I guarantee you will have properly deepen your understanding of hypnotic questioning techniques.
If you have already been through the book have a look at this comprehensive persuasion skills course which will amongst other things show you advanced ways of looking at hypnotic langauge.