Can You Use Questions as a Persuasive Technique?

Rintu BasuConversational Hypnosis7 Comments

What question do you need to ask that will allow you to understand how you can use NLP questioning as a very powerful persuasion technique?

Persuasion Skills and NLP Questions

Let’s just analyse the previous question to see what presuppositions or assumptions are hidden in it.

NLP Presuppositions Inherent in Language

By starting the phrase with “What question do you need to ask…” it presupposes that there is a question and that you need to ask it.

“…that will allow you to understand…” presupposed here is that it is the asking of the question not the answer to the question that will allow you to understand

Also presupposed is that you can use NLP Questioning as a very powerful technique…the only thing in question is your understanding of how.

There is much more presupposed in the sentence but these are the three I want us to focus on so you can learn the concept.

Presuppositional Questioning

Now the idea is that anyone who takes the question seriously and thinks about an answering it will have to take on board the presuppositions in it. In essence they are now moving in the direction you want them to. Just how sneaky is that?

Now that you know how presuppositional questioning works how will you use it?

NLP Techniques, Applications and Ideas for Questioning

Here are a few questions for different contexts. Just analyse the presuppositions inherent in the questions and see what you come up with.


What do we need to discuss about the product for you to make a decision to buy today?


What aspect of my CV do we need to discuss to demonstrate my unique suitability for the job?


What do you need to understand about consequences to go and tidy your room right now?


Where is the one place we can go that will get you so excited you will want to…(fill in the blanks with whatever you find appropriate)


What is the one thing we are doing right now that will give you the motivation to try out some of these patterns on people?

What is the one application of this skill that you can think about that will give you the motivation to just go out and try it?

This should be enough for you to get the idea of how presuppositional questioning works and how you could possibly use it. Now, what is the one thing you need to think about to get the motivation to go and try out some of these ideas?

The Persuasion Skills Black Book will give you more information on how to construct these sorts of questions and an electronic copy of the book is part of the far more comprehensive Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme. You can click through and find out more right here:


7 Comments on “Can You Use Questions as a Persuasive Technique?”

  1. adam smith

    This is really nice and quite provoking. Now i will use one of these idea to get the motivation.

  2. Rintu Basu

    Hi Cameron,
    I am actrually putting together a short lecture tour of down south at the moment. Basically I am putting together a number of book signing, talks at practice groups and half day seminars based on the book. Probably won’t be for a couple of months. I hadn’t realised how much organisation this sort of thing is, but I will let the list know once I have put it together.



  3. Cameron

    Thanks for all the info and the presuppositional questions email.

    When is your next evening event in London ?

  4. Rintu Basu

    Hi Tom,
    That is really cool stuff. Here is another track you might want to play with:
    How do you know that you are not already hypnotised into believing that you are not a good hypnotic subject…that is what I would do to you if I was a black hat hypnotist?
    Here is another
    If you were a good hypnotic subject how would you know…and then whatever they say give them evidence of them doing exactly those things.
    And when I want to put people down
    It is only highly creative, imaginative and intelligent people that are good at going into a hypnotic trance. You see people with a strong will, know their own minds and can think on their feet have access to the resources you would need to be able to go into trance. I’m sorry you have the problem, perhaps if you call my office and arrange an appointment we can discuss how you might develop your mind…I don’t make many sales from this one but generally use it when I am faced with someone I am not really interested in talking to.
    Hope that gives you a few more ideas.



  5. Tom Gilfillan

    Hi Rintu,
    Presupositions are something I am working at. There are several ways I’ve been doing this. I have an MP3 player and replay the Advanced PErsausion Patterns lessons daily. I repeat to myself “The key to Hypnotic Persuasion: Ask people to think the way you want them to think.” And I have a pneumonic: A.N.S.W.E.R. B.A.B.Y. That stands for A= Aware, N=Notice, S=See, W=Why/and or any question word (when, what, how, etc.)E=Experience, R=Realize B=But, A=And, B=Because, Y=Yet.
    In Hypnosis or Persuasion (In my opinion and experience Hypnosis IS Persuasion) Presuppositions are what get you there. As a hypnotist, I like to have people who think they can’t be hypnotized, to have the experience, if they’ed like to. (Wink! You guys caught that, right?) Here are some examples: “I don’t think I can be hypnotized?
    1) But if you could, and it would be fun, you’d be willing to do that, wouldn’t you?
    2) I bet you’d be more comfortable if you knew you could do it with your eyes open. Now (pause) that would be something easy for you to (pause) do it now, right?
    3)I agree with you, most people say that, and those people make the best subjects. The only people I can’t hypnotize are imbeciles and morons. You’re not one of those are you? Great, just follow along, you’re ready,now you can do it.

  6. Rintu Basu

    Hi Turil
    I think you are right and this is the art of persuasion. If the presupositions in your question are too far against the norms of the person you are talking to they will reject the question. As a blatent example if you don’t like fish and I ask you something about your favourite fis restuarant you are likely to reject the question. The art of persupositional questioning really comes when you start covertly changing things like beliefs and self image with questions. This is something we will discuss in a blog post sometime soon.
    Thanks for the comment


  7. Turil

    I’m wondering what one might do when one gets a negative reaction when using the presuppositions in question…

    I’ve had this happen (somewhat violently) once when I was using it on someone else, and also when someone used it on me in return.

    My guess is that if the presupposition goes too far against the natural inclinations and desires and capabilities of the individual, it will act against rapport. In the case I mention, the presupposition we were implying was something that at the time we did want on some level, but also really didn’t want on another level.

    I suppose this is a good example of needing the NLP goals to be ecologically sound for them to work well.

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