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Posts Tagged ‘persuasion’

Are your Presidential candidates hypnotizing you?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

We’ve all heard rumors that governmental figures are using “mass hypnosis” to influence and sway the people of our great nations.

Most of the time, this sounds like some silly conspiracy theory. But after all the recent news about the elections, I think it’s time to find out if there’s any truth to the rumors.

I sat down to analyze the speech patterns of the top three candidates at the time of this writing (Mar 08) — Hilary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama.

Of course, without something to compare them to, numbers are just numbers. So I wanted to get some radically clear benchmarks for contrast. I picked one person who I’m fairly certain has no hypnotic skills — Bill Gates of Microsoft — and one who was notorious for his ability to hypnotize and influence the masses — Adolf Hitler.

In testing for hypnotic ability, I looked for these specific language patterns in a 500 word excerpt from each subject:

  • Erickson-style conversational hypnosis patterns
  • Presuppositions
  • Rich sensory-based language that guides the mind
  • Level of abstraction. The higher the abstraction, the more hypnotic the communication tends to be.

In addition, I made comments on whether or not, in my professional opinion, the language patterns are haphazard and incidental, or purposeful and intentional.

Here are the control results:

Bill Gates: Keynote at the 2006 CES show

12% hypnotic language. Mostly incidental. In my opinion, very representative of the average non-hypnotic speaker.

Adolf Hitler: Translated from his presentation to the Reichstag, Jan 30, 1937

45% hypnotic language. There were extensive use of presuppositions, nominalizations and modal operators similar to Ericksonian hypnotic language patterns. Though the text is translated, German is similar to English in terms of grammar and structure, and I think this is a good representation.

Now, The 2008 US Presidential candidates:

John McCain: Republican candidate, Jan 19, 2008 acceptance speech
18% hypnotic language. Mostly incidental. Little indication of actual hypnotic skill. Mostly, using kinesthetic predicates (feeling words) for high level concepts like patriotism, pride and duty to gain rapport with the crowd.

Hillary Clinton: Democratic candidate, Feb 5, 2008, remarks on Super Tuesday
32% hypnotic language. Mostly rapport building “matching” language. She builds universal quantifiers in an attempt to gain rapport with “everyone.”

Barack Obama: Democratic candidate, Feb 5, 2008, remarks on Super Tuesday
58% hypnotic language. Complete mastery of the language, including highly abstract pacing and leading language for creating emotion and motivation. In addition to the language patterns, he is fantastic at going higher up in level of abstraction beyond details, while still managing to sound relevant. He uses Ericksonian-style language patterns, including presuppositions and nominalizations extensively.

This is only a sample of 500 words from a single speech, but as you can see, Obama tops the crowd using nearly 60% hypnotic language patterns. In my opinion, this is purposeful language, likely written by a very skilled speech writer — perhaps someone trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming or Hypnosis.


PS – Here’s another great blog I found that echoes the same sentiment:

Greate Guys Weblog

UPDATE – September 6, 2008: My analysis of Palin’s RNC speech using the same criteria shows 25% hypnotic language. Good speech writer, but not as good as Obama’s.

Every-day hypnotic language

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

“So you’re sitting there, looking at a computer screen or maybe a printout, reading this tip while your eyes scan across the page taking in each letter, each and every word, becoming even more curious about hypnosis with each and every breath you take.”

What you probably don’t realize is that the above sentence is hypnotic in nature.

When we talk to people, for the most part, we are trying to influence them. We’re taking a concept from our mind and trying to communicate it in words that will hopefully make the same concept in their mind. This doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the other people won’t listen, no matter how good your concept is. Here are a few from my life that I can think of. Maybe you can relate:

  • Telling the boss you need a raise or a vacation.
  • Telling your children they need to brush their teeth.
  • Telling the officer your speeding was just an accident.
  • Telling your parents you’ll be at the in-laws for that holiday this year.

So, how would you like to be able to deliver your communication in a way that meets the least amount of resistance? That would be useful, wouldn’t it? Of course it would! And the answer is hypnotic language.

In this issue, we’re talking about the hypnotic language pattern called, “Pacing Current Reality.”

The concept is really simple. State a chain of things to the other person that are undeniably true, then state what you desire.

What this does is create a repetitiveness in the other party to continually say, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, etc”

In my opening line, you’re probably sitting there (yes), looking at a computer screen or maybe a printout (yes), reading this tip (obviously, yes) while your eyes are scanning the page (yes), taking in each letter (yes), each and every word (yes) – and here comes the part I want you to agree with – becoming even more curious about hypnosis with each and every breath you take (YES!).

See how easy it is? Now, some of you might be thinking this would sound funny in regular conversation.

Let me assure you it doesn’t.

This technique is not exclusive to hypnosis. It has been borrowed by the sales industry and they call it “Yes sets.” Not only is it used in everyday conversations, it’s very powerful! Try it!

Let’s see how the above examples work now, using this every-day hypnotic language:

  • Joe, you’re the boss. It’s your job to manage us employees and to reward us when we excel. There’s extra money in the budget this year, and I’ve done an excellent job. I’d like you to consider giving me a raise.
  • Timmy, I know you want to go to Disneyland tomorrow. It’s past 8pm, you’ve got your PJs on, and your TV show is over. Why don’t you go brush your teeth and crawl into bed.
  • Sir, I’ve realized that I was speeding. I know it’s your job to keep people safe, and you pulled me over for a very good reason. You can see my record is clean and I am a very good driver. I hope you can let me off with a warning this time.
  • Mom, Dad. I hate your turkey. (Just kidding)

As you can see, these yes sets are very powerful. Play around with them and practice them well. For a full course on hypnotic language, come join us at the NLP Practitioner Training in September. We’ll share with you everything you need to know to integrate this language pattern and many, many more into your everyday language and become a master communicator.