I am often contacted by people that chase techniques and tools. They seem to know and have tried everything but nothing seems to work for them. I also talk to people that also seem to know everything but have never tried any of it in the real world. In both cases the nature of the issue is the same and is something that we will discuss in this article.
A Little Discussed Idea that Can Transform Your Persuasion Skills
You may not recognise yourself in either of the scenarios above but I want to make sure that the concepts and idea below apply to you. With that in mind what we are talking about in this article is ideas that can completely transform your skills and seriously take you to another level in the way that you use your persuasion skills.
If All You Could Do was Succeed, What Would You Set Out to Do?
Many years ago I was given the opportunity to experience one of the most powerful persuasion concepts on a deep and personal level. I had walked into work that morning to be faced by my Managing Director. The company had been spending the week making a big pitch to a large client. The deal had been going well until they had reached a sticking point about training and development.
Since training and development was my area my MD had decided to drop me into making a presentation to the potential clients. He had already decided that I should use a 30 slide presentation that some of the sales team had started to develop for exactly this situation. I had never seen the presentation and since I had not been consulted when it was created I already knew it would be at least factually inaccurate but more likely fraudulent. To impress on me the importance of the situation he explained that deal they were looking to secure was worth almost half the usual annual income of the company. At the time this was the biggest deal I had ever been involved in by a factor of hundreds.
In an effort to motivate me the MD also pointed out I had ten minutes to get them unstuck and back on track to secure the deal as the only sticking point seems to be about my specialist area. He then added that this would make or break my career within the company. He was right and I should point out I left the company shortly afterwards.
The Difference that Makes the Difference
I stood outside the boardroom quaking in my boots waiting to be called in. The only thing that was going through my mind was a question, “What resources do you have that will turn this situation to your advantage?”
My mind kept going back to a situation that built my reputation a few years earlier. At that time I was faced with a trainer who was having a particular difficulty. She was having trouble with a class of police officer who would not recognise manifestations of power. These officers could not grasp the concept that members of the public would comply with their wishes because they are wearing a uniform but may feel resentful and angry if not treated with respect.
I asked the trainer if I could take the class for an hour or so and told her that by the end of my session they would fully be on board with the idea and totally compliant. She didn’t believe I could do it but was willing to let me have a go. At the time the class had never met me. This is what I did.
Pattern Interrupts and Assuming Control
I walked into their training room with an air of importance bordering on arrogance. Without any introductions or explanations as to who I was I started asking them questions. I asked about difficult points of law and police procedures that I knew they would have trouble answering. I pressed them quite hard, looked at them disappointingly when they failed to answer satisfactorily and resignedly gave them the answers.
From their perspective a man who is clearly knowledgeable, who obviously is in a position of power has come into the room and has taken charge. They were expecting their normal trainer to come in and to continue with their normal class. I had broken the pattern which gave me the opportunity to assume control but I had to keep them off balance otherwise they would start to wake up and challenge my authority and the increasingly bizarre situation they were starting to find themselves in.
I instructed these officers to meet me in the gardens outside the training centre in full uniform including the tall helmets that British police officers are famous for. I gave them an exact location and told them to be there in exactly seven minutes. If you want to catch people of guard arrange meeting for an odd time or give them a precise but odd time to complete tasks. This is another pattern interrupt as people spend time wondering why seven and not the more normal five or ten minutes.
Manifestations of Power
Needless to say I knew I had them when all the officers turned up on time in full uniform wearing their helmets. I quickly organised them to stand in a circle facing a tree. I wanted to know how far I could push them so I then got them to hold hand closing the circle around the tree and then I got them chanting ohm.
Let me state that again so you can picture it fully. I had sixteen British police officers standing round a tree, holding hands and chanting ohms. They kept this up for three or four minutes before one of them plucked up enough courage to ask me why they were doing this. I responded with, “I wanted you to learn something about manifestations of power.”
We then went on to debrief why they had followed my instructions despite not knowing who I was and the increasingly bizarre things being asked of them. We discussed how they felt even though they had openly and willing complied with all my instructions and then we translated all of that to how they might impact members of the public in their own line of work.
The One Persuasion Technique that Controls the Rest
You may recognise a whole number of different persuasion techniques in the story above, but in reality there is one thing that allowed this to work. Right the way through this event I had the unshakable faith in myself that I would get to the desired result. I believed I had enough skills and techniques that I could steer the situation to a successful conclusion. In short I had sorted my inner game.
As I stood outside the board room thinking through previous events I suddenly came to that realisation, “All you need do is sort out your inner game.” If you are like me when you are ‘in the zone’ your inner voice suddenly goes quiet, there is a peaceful stillness inside and you just start to complete the task whilst remaining completely focused and relaxed.
I walked in and bowled them over with the brilliance of our training and development strategy and thereby securing the deal. I also realised that my inner game had been holding me back and keeping me in the company when I was really ready to go back out and work for myself again.
As you can already imagine I used a number of skills in this example. There are several different types of rapport processes, I used number of language patterns but the key think that made all the techniques and concepts work is the fact that I was using my state management tools to make sure I had the right attitude to make all of this work.
I often find NLPers getting frustrated because no matter how hard they try they can’t get a technique or tool to work properly for them. Often I find that the problem has to to with their own beliefs, fears and anxieties.
That’s why on the Advanced Persuasion Patterns Course one of the very first things you learn is how to develop a persuasive state and then maintain it. Once you can do that effectively you will automatically become more persuasive. From there we can build in techniques like how you can induce and intensify emotions in people, automatically embed command and post hypnotic suggestions and…well a lot more. You can click through to see the FAQ for the course here.