A few weeks ago I posted a blog about some refined uses for your but. In it we talked about people that use the phrase “yes but…” and how you can counter that pattern.
Tag Questions, Embedded Commands and Buts
You can read the full post as part of this persuasion techniques blog.
As a result Geraint emailed me with a modification to the pattern allowing you to use a tag question to embed the command.
Here is his email:
Received: 10:30 Tuesday April 28
I really enjoyed your rephrasing of the Yes but pattern and I would like to ask if the following would make it more effective. I have copied and pasted part of the text for reference purposes.
It might seem expensive but the return of investment is huge, wouldn’t you agree? or ‘you can see that, can’t you?
This is not an easy thing to explain but you can see the applications immediately, can’t you?
You might have thought this was about bottoms but this pattern is much more useful, isn’t it?
You might have thought this was about bottoms but this pattern is much more useful, wouldn’t you agree?
I am sure that you would agree that if you rephrase, as you suggest, and then plant the tag question on the end then it not only erases the ‘negative’ element of the statement then it focuses on the ‘positive’ element and it then gets immediate reinforcement from asking the tag question, wouldn’t you agree? or doesn’t it?
I look forward to your comments and learning more.
Embedded Commands and Voice Tonality
Geraint’s addition is brilliantly observed and does exactly as he suggests. The only thing I would add is consider pausing and lowering the tone of your voice when you get to the tag question. By doing this you are turning the question into a command.
You can turn any phrase into a question by raising the pitch of your voice up at the end of a sentence. In the same you can change any statement into a command by lowering the pitch.
By lowering your tone and stressing the tag question you are turning the last part of your statement into a command for the listener. So the overall pattern now deletes the bit you don’t want, focuses on the bit you do want and then turns it into a command that they agree with you. And all this came from your but.
If you want to know more about embeded commands, tag questions and voice tonality the best place to start would be The Persuasion Skills Black Book Master Training Programme.