How To Use NLP Techniques to Lead People

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In this article we explore an alternative to traditional rapport, replacing it with a pace and lead pattern to bypass a person’s critical faculties and lead them directly to where you want them to go.

NLP Techniques using Pattern Interrupts

Have you ever had the experience of being led down a path that you are not sure of but find yourself following anyway? There are a number of ways of doing this and in this article we will explore a pattern interrupt followed by pacing and leading to get people to follow you.

Getting People in the Right Trance

This approach is amazingly effective for one specific reason. People are walking around in their own trance all the time. If you can interrupt that flow it is easy to build rapport and they will follow you anywhere. Let me tell you the story and then we will deconstruct what is going on and show you how you can use this general approach.

In Glasgow We Make Our Own Entertainment

Yesterday morning I was stood in my local coffee shop waiting thinking about some of the patterns I am going to deliver on my new NLP Course. I also had in my mind a thread a student of one of my advanced courses had set up in the practice group. So I was in a mind to play with some ideas.

I decided I wanted to see if I could use a pattern interrupt and follow it with a suggestion or two to get someone to do something unexpected. On the thread with my advanced students we were discussing about slowing down to allow the subject to get into your trance and I was of the opinion that it was about timing rather than speed. Hence I was looking for a rapid example.

I live in Glasgow so it was a dark, rainy morning as I was mulling these ideas over waiting for my drink. I was just picking up my coffee to take back to the office and I thought a nice enough challenge would be to get someone in the coffee shop to walk out into the rain with me.

As I was stood at the counter waiting for my coffee I was scanning the other customers looking for a subject. I decided on a young man stood with his back to me but just in front and to my left. I didn’t really have any criteria and only picked him because he was stood in the right place for what I was planning and also that he placed his order shortly after me. As it was our coffees were served almost simultaneously. He had two proper mugs so it was clear he was staying in the coffee shop with a friend.

As I picked up my coffee I stepped in a little so I was stood next to him and I said,” Tickle your arse with a feather!”

As I expected he did this double take and said, “What?”

I replied, “I said it’s particularly nasty weather.” I paused as he went inside to process what was happening. As he started to go into that trance I quickly followed up with, “Come on, follow me and I’ll show you.” I gently grabbed him by the elbow and led him out of the shop into the rain. He was stood in the middle of Buchanan Street in the pouring rain with a cup of coffee in each hand before he even started coming out of trance.

As I left him I just said, “See, I told you it was raining,” I did go back later in the day and he had moved on so I don’t think there was any lasting damage to him.

NLP, the Art and Science of Getting People Damp

At the beginning our subject is in his own coffee trance and has his expectations of how his life is working. All of a sudden we have thrown a rather bizarre spanner in those works. This is why sometimes people don’t notice crimes happening right in front of them. Because the experience is so far outside their normal expectations their unconscious minds sometimes blocks it out instead of dealing with it.

In this case our subject’s mind does not have that opportunity to block so he has to go inside to process what is going on. As he is doing that I give him some direct commands framed as if I am giving him the solution to the confusion he is in i.e. Follow Me, I’ll Show You (the solution to this strange situation). The poor guy inevitably follows me still trying to process the weather related trance he is getting himself into. Due to the speed of execution I have him outside in the rain before he has got close to processing what is going on.

Why do you want to know how to do this?

You may not want to terrorise people in coffee shops but consider the general approach in a slightly different way.

  • Take people out of their existing trance
  • Stack rapport, make suggestions.
  • Lead them to a more resourceful trance

As a coach, trainer and author I often start by breaking the old pattern and lead to a new resource. For example this article you are reading.

Imagine a client coming to you stuck with their thinking about their problem. You then say or do something that shocks them out of that thinking and in the pause between thoughts you shovel in a load of more resourceful ideas, concepts and beliefs before leading them out to talking about how great they will feel as they start thinking about solutions to the problem.

Please note the presuppositions in the last line above. Feeling great when they start thinking about solutions…not when they get a solution…you may as well feel good about starting as well as finding the solution.

As a sales professional you might interrupt a prospect’s objection trance and lead them to a problem solving trance instead. In fact anywhere where there is an initial unhelpful trance occurring this general approach will work.

How Can You Learn to Do this Sort of Thing?

If you want to learn about how to use hypnotic persuasion skills then the best place to start is Advanced Persuasion Patterns. You can click through and find out more here:


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