Bidden, Palin, and... Milton Erickson?? | NLP Blog from Transform Destiny
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Bidden, Palin, and... Milton Erickson??

Saturday, October 4th, 2008 : Read 270 Times

Unfortunately, I missed all but about five minutes of the veep debate. Realizing that I’m busy teaching a new group of Master Practitioners right now, one of my Prac graduates decided to help out with the blog by sending me this post about NLP use in the debate.Thanks Todd! -Michael


Like many Americans you probably sat in front of your TV and watched Senator Joe Bidden spar with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the first and only Vice Presidential debate. Even if you didn’t see the debate you have likely seen clips on the news or heard about how the Governor dominated their exchange.

From an NLP standpoint there can be no doubt that Sarah Palin is trained, at minimum in hypnotic language, and more likely in NLP. She was so masterful in this exchange that it felt like old Milton was right there sitting on her shoulder and telling her what to say...

From the outset Governor Palin simply dominated the debate. She and Senator Bidden walked out on stage from opposite sides, and with her microphone on and a big genuine smile, she walked straight up to him and greeted him with a firm handshake and asked “Would it be ok if I call you Joe?”.

Bidden was so stunned that he fumbled over his words as he said yes. This is the exact point at which Sarah began building rapport not only with the Senator Bidden, the Moderator, and the live studio audience, but also the American people.

At first she came across nervous and Bidden had a air of over-confidence about him. Quickly however, she began to win the debate. Her language was peppered with imbedded commands as her tonality shifter ever so slightly on the command words and phrases. She also made a point to use common American catch phrases such as “hockey mom” and “Joe six pack”. She further made certain that she separated herself from Bidden the millionaire, as she coolly educated the American people that she has always been just middle class.

This was quite a contrast to Bidden who was wearing an expensive suit and didn’t use any phrases to try to connect with the audience. His agenda was to win the debate while Palin’s agenda was to build rapport and win the hearts and minds of the viewing population!

Palin did an excellent job of staring directly at the camera when she answered the moderator’s questions making certain to establish eye contact with the viewing millions. In contrast Bidden’s eyes were squinty and shifting. Most of the time there was a split screen so that you could see the response of the one candidate as the other had the floor. When Bidden answered questions Palin looked down at her notes and acted somewhat disassociated but in complete control. Bidden missed this lesson and when Palin spoke he watched her intently. You could easily read his reactions both good and bad.

The highlight of the debate was when Governor Palin referred to the Senator as “O’Bidden”. She said it so smoothly and without hesitation or apology that you knew she did it on purpose. This was an obvious auditory anchor to get the American people to associate Bidden with Osama Bin Laden!

Palin used other NLP techniques as well. Anytime that Palin had the first opportunity to speak, she immediately framed Bidden’s response so that it was positive for the McCain/Palin Ticket. For example she would say things like “I applaud Senator Bidden, because we know that he voted with John McCain on the...”. It was a masterful use of NLP that kept Bidden on his toes leaving him little room to contradict his own voting record.

Throughout the debates, the Senator, time and again, noticed that Palin was gaining the upper-hand and could do nothing more than smile at her responses as his forehead glistened and his lower lip shrunk in size. If you watched Bidden, he showed all the classic signs of becoming more and more agitated. As Palin went from nervous to confident the exact opposite happened to Bidden and at one point his voice began to waver as he tried to quickly regain his emotional balance.

It is fair to say that regardless of what was said, Palin used so many NLP techniques that Bidden came across looking as though he lost. She truly used the 93% of communication that is non-verbal to her advantage.

Regardless of your politics, you have to appreciate the masterful display of NLP skills that Palin displayed. It will be very interesting to see if this will have any outcome on the feelings of the American people towards the McCain/Palin ticket!

Todd Ruehs
Certified Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, TIME Techniques and Hypnosis

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