A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet an old man who was a great persuasion expert. He gave me 6 ways that metaphors are used as powerful persuasion techniques.
NLP Metaphors and Persuasion Skills
He then told me key secrets on how to make metaphors and stories work. In a half hour conversation he gave me the key to generating thousands of pounds worth of business. Here is what he told me.
1. Entertain and Build Rapport
At the time I was complaining about having to deliver a training course on a very dull subject and that the delegates on the course were resisting the subject. This persuasion expert laughed and told me that we were socialised to listen to stories, from parents reading to children in bed right through to the news, films and TV soaps that we all watch when we are older. I agreed that I would be more entertaining if you tell stories but that doesn’t mean I would get a result with the group.
2. Open Loops, Build Excitement and Anticipation
The old man looked at me and asked if I had noticed how easy it is to draw people into a story. He talked about cliff hanger endings where you want to know more. He showed me how to open a loop so you are drawn into the story because you want answers. I felt the rise of anticipation you experience when you know something good is just about to happen.
3. Pace and Lead
“You are just finding out how easy and powerful these ideas are,” said the old man as he noticed interest in his ideas. I told him it’s pointless because I am no good at coming up with story ideas.
He laughed and said, “In business your stories have to be appropriate to the context. And if this is the case then a simple formula will allow you to come up with hundreds of stories in less than half an hour. As well as testimonials, successes and failures are all a rich source of stories. Added to which just daily life is a story idea that can be built into a persuasion metaphor. The issue is not about generating stories but knowing how to fashion them into powerful and persuasive metaphors. You can do it easily by just applying a few simple processes. Here is the first, start the story at a point that is similar to where the delegates are right now…”
I stopped him because the light had just come on. “You start where they are right now. Tell them the great things that they will get from listening to the rest. That’s the open loop bit. And then you just lead them into the thing you want them to learn.”
4. Bypassing Conscious Resistance
The old man stepped in and suggested that because you are telling a story it bypasses all conscious resistance as well. So you could build all the pit falls and stupid mistakes that people make without anyone becoming defensive about the situation.
5. Embed Commands
At this point I was getting quite excited at the ideas this old man was giving me when he landed a complete bombshell. “By using metaphors you can easily embed commands into your language. This means that you have a covert and sneaky way of preframing a subject with ideas before dealing with the subject itself.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant so the old man supplied a sales example where the sales woman knows that her product is expensive but provides better return on investment than rival products. Before going into a sales meeting the sales woman might tell a story to the prospect about how much money a current customer is making by using the product and how they nearly didn’t buy because they thought the price was high. By telling the story outside the meeting the prospect is framed to expect a high price but also to make a good return of investment thus dealing with the objection covertly and before it has had a chance to form in the mind of the prospect.
I thought I could use this idea in hundreds of places. As a coach or trainer you could preframe the results other clients have got whilst comparing the initial starting place with their current prospects. As a parent you can motivate your children to overcome difficulties by comparing before and after situations of other kids. And all the while you are layering in Embedded Command and post hypnotic suggestions to support your ideas.
6. Installing Behaviours
Just as I was getting real excited the old man stopped me and said, “Don’t get excited until I tell you the best bit. You have just realised you can embed commands into metaphor very easily, but what happens if you can embed a sequence of thoughts or you can install a process into your metaphor?” He stopped, obviously building anticipation so I asked him to explain.
The old man continued, “Okay you have learnt some ideas about how to generate metaphors, you then thought about how to structure that story to pace, lead and draw your audience in. Finally you think about what key messages you want to bypass their conscious and what commands you want to embed. All I am saying is this is a lot and you might want to start to think about a sequence or process to put it all together. I might suggest now would be the time to get excited.”
Opening the Loop
I thought about this for a moment and then laughed as it all fell into place. I went home and that night worked out a metaphor for my class the next day. It worked brilliantly and I had transformed a dull subject into a course everyone in the company wanted to attend. I started doing this for several other courses when I realised that I had a process for creating powerful persuasive metaphors in minutes.
The best thing about this metaphor process is that it works for training, management, sales, parenting, dating and any other context you can think of. In half an hour I can design 20 powerful metaphors for any subject you like. Over the years this has made me thousands of pounds.
Want to know the process? I deconstruct the whole thing as part of the Advanced Persuasion Programme. A download course that contains powerful persuasion techniques.