Motivation and NLP Persuasive Techniques

Rintu BasuCase Study7 Comments

This post is about an incident that happened to me the other day. In this particular instance the language patterns I used failed me spectacularly and I had to rethink my whole approach.

Hypnotic Language Patterns and Motivation

Often people can get caught up in a series of actions and lose sight of the end result. This is about how I stood back from the situation and worked out a strategy for getting results I wanted.

How to Ramp Up the Power of Hypnotic Persuasion by Looking at Motivation

The Situation 

A couple of days after Christmas I had gone into the town centre to meet a friend. The town was crowded and most of the centre car parks were full. I had to queue for hours just to get into a particular car park and then was driving around for a long time looking for a space. I eventually noticed a person going back to their car, I asked them if they were about to leave and then stopped my car a little further down so they could back their car out.Once this person had left I started driving my car into the space. At the same time another guy started pulling into the space from the other direction. We both stopped our vehicles partway into the space. We spent a few minutes waiting and gesturing to each other before I realised it would take more than a few gestures to get this guy to back out of the space. I got out of my car to speak to him.

Standard NLP Language Patterns for Car Parking

As he left his vehicle to speak to me I noticed that there was a woman and two kids in his car. I assumed they were his family. I explained to the man that I had got there first and that he should back out. He pointed out to me that I was going in the reverse direction from the one-way system and therefore he was more entitled to the space. I told him the only reason I was the other side of the one-way system was because I had been letting the previous driver out.

I had thrown several redefine patterns at the guy, for example:

“The issue isn’t the one-way system but the fact that I was here first and that means you need to back your car out.”

We were at loggerheads and it was quite clear at this point neither of us was going to back down. I even got very firm and authoritative with the patterns I was using, for example:

“I was here first and that means the space is mine and you should leave. What do I have to say so you understand and back your car out?”

I have emphasised the embedded command, I had taken a one-up position in terms of my voice and nonverbal signals and was getting assertive.
Nothing was working, he was not backing down and we were at a complete standstill. It was at this point I realised that I had not been looking at this from his perspective. As soon as I realised my error I stepped back rethought the position I worked out what I needed to say to him.

Perceptual PositionsNLP Technique

This guy had a goal i.e. the parking space all I needed to do was to make the pain of getting the goal far worse than the positive benefits of getting the space. I noticed he had his family in the car and they were all looking tired and frustrated. Here is how I dealt with him.

Why Build Rapport when you can Pace and Lead

I started by building rapport. Not rapport in the sense of liking each other but just building common understanding. This is not just about building non-verbal matching and mirroring rapport but it is all about pacing and leading.

You, like me, have waited hours to get into the car park, are tired and frustrated and you really want to get on with your shopping or whatever it is you come to town to do. I understand because there are things I want to do. The only difference is I don’t have a car full of my wife and kids. I know there are other spaces in this car park and that means you can easily look for another space.”

I have the words I’ve emphasised in bold. You will notice that was my words are showing understanding and building commonality I am also driving to the point where he is looking for another space. I am also labouring the internal representations that I want him to take away.

Ramping Up the Pain

The next part is where I really ramp up the pain of the current situation and give him a way out.

“I was here first and I will not back down on a point of principle. I am only here to meet a friend and that is not for another hour so I have plenty of time to sort this out. If you want to sort this out properly we will need to talk to one of the parking attendants. I think I saw their booth on the ground floor. I am now going back to my car and will wait for you to do one of two things. Go down to the ground floor and bring a parking attendant up here to resolve the situation or you can simply back to your car out, find another space and take your family shopping. I am sure it won’t take us any more than an hour to sort this out so I can meet my friend on time regardless”

I didn’t wait for his response. I went back to my car and waited knowing full well that the guy was going to back out and give me the space. And that is exactly what he did. But the reason they gave me the space was because once I built some rapport I stuck his head full of the internal representations that were all about how painful it was going to be to resolve the situation and how he could simply go and find another space.

NLP Language Patterns not Working

I have had a few emails about the x/y redefine not working. I suspect the reason is similar to what happened to me in this situation.
The reason the patterns weren’t working initially was because I had not taken the time to tap into the motivations of this guy. All I had been doing was trying to redirect his focus from his agenda to my agenda. Obviously at that point in time he had no motivation to really look at my agenda and therefore was sticking to his guns. As soon as I found some motivation for him its objectives changed and it gave him the opportunity to let me have the space.
The Master Persuader’s Black Book Training Programme gives you more on how to use towards / away from motivation as well as how to build nonverbal rapport before using pacing and leading statements. This link is where you can find out more about this comprehensive programme on NLP Persuasive Techniques.

7 Comments on “Motivation and NLP Persuasive Techniques”

  1. Rintu Basu

    Hi Barry,
                 Interesting set of judgements you are making of him. I don’t know if he was slow witted but he certainly was not of a good temperament. He might have got further with me if he had built rapport, explained his difficulty etc. Instead he attacked and at that point I was not going to let it go.

    If he had approached this in a better manner my general nature would be to let him have the space without him having to invent a dying relative. Of course if he had invented a dying relative and I didn’t believe him I would not have changed my approach.

    It is easy to lie, con and cheat your way through life…all you have to do is be believable. Whilst these skills are used by unethical people in that sort of frame I would suggest that not having to invent dying relative to get what you want would be a better skill to cultivate.



  2. Advancedmindmanagement

    Isn’t it sometimes hard to make the right choices? Both of you had your own valid reasons. I can imagine that the guy, like you, waited for hours, to get into this particular parking lot, and most likely, it wasn’t easy to find the right spot inside of the place, once inside. As such, your statement that there are other parking lots available for him might have been your imagination. 

    There was no win-win here, and only the person with the strongest hammer could win – which was you, as you had so much more time to wait it out. Being in a car with kids and having to wait for another period of time is horrible. On the other hand you could have used the one hour available to you to find another spot just as well, and leave behind an extremely grateful and appreciative family. 

    In a situation like this, it is not easy to make the right decision. Emotions are running high and we just want to beat our chest stronger.  Rational decisions are tough. Honestly, I admire you that you were still able to formulate some language patterns. Most of us would have just come out with the usual “bla-bla-bla”.  

    It shows that you are real great at it. I admire as well that you are openly share these stories. Not everyone in the NLP community shows that they have weaknesses and most want to show that they are beyond any emotions as they are in charge of their mind and brain. LOL.

    I leave it at this, Rintu. Thanks for sharing and I always appreciate your sharing!!!

    1. Rintu Basu

      Thanks for commenting, there is loads of good stuff in what you say.

      I agree there is no win / win here because our two goals are mutually exclusive. And if you chunk up a level we are both after one thing and that is to park our cars and get on with the next things that we need to do. I think I am facilitating that man to getting what he wants, which has nothing really to do with parking spaces.

      My point is very similar to where you are with this. Whilst I stay at the same level as this guy we are at loggerheads because we are both at a fixed position and both believe we are right. By getting above the problem I am no longer trying to get him to see or agree with my position I am looking at ways of getting him to fulfil his objectives without interfering with mine.

      Thanks for saying about me as well. I live in a world of grey areas, having to make decisions and where things sometimes don’t work. I am also a human being with emotions, faults and favours. I like to think I always do the right thing and will have to admit I sometimes fall very short of that mark. My opinion is that if I am to train people to use these tool they should see them in that light and that context. I have never liked those trainers that want to tell you that they live in a perfect world, always getting perfect results with their perfect tools and techniques. So thanks for noticing and even more thanks for pointing it out.



  3. Dene

    Excellent article, Rintu!  I can see many parallels for me that happen when I give up my own (metaphorically speaking) parking space- many times I find out that the other person has many more resources (metaphorical parking spaces they might even prefer) and choices.  Even though I tell myself things like “They needed ‘it’ more than I do”, I want to begin standing up for myself with people who do enjoy getting their way through manipulation or trickery.   Resolving problems like reasonable adults using well-crafted and intentional words is much preferred, and building rapport (a common ground at the beginning of a conversation) makes sense as a starting place. 

  4. Tonyschofield

    Intriguing article. Even more intriguing, on returning to your car, weren’t you a little astonished as to how you managed to develop 4 punctures at exactly the same time???

    1. Rintu Basu

      Hee Hee, I think I probably sound a lot more brutal than I really was. For the most part I am a complete pussy cat… just when you catch me on a point of principle I get all stroppy.

      If he had turned round and started throwing patterns at me I would even have parked his car for him.


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