This week…
How You Can Learn From Hypnosis

How you can learn from hypnosis - Part 1

You probably know quite a bit about hypnosis already? Ideas that you've picked up from the media, comedy and films but have you ever considered how you might use hypnosis as a manager?

Now I'm not talking about formal trance induction or striding about in a dark cape dangling a watch in front of your team, instead that you may find it useful to borrow one or two of the hypnotists more subtle tools.

One of the reasons hypnosis works is a curious and useful function of our minds that cause them to search for meaning in what other people say.

I’ll explain more about this in a second…

The other tool hypnotists use along with politicians, comedians and magicians is the very precise use of language.

Take the title of this weeks tip for instance.

It started off as "How can you learn from hypnosis?"

A perfectly reasonable question, that might provoke some curiosity.

With a simple change of syntax, though, it becomes stronger and includes what hypnotists a embedded command - did you spot it?

"{Your Name}, how you can learn from hypnosis". Now it is no longer a question, it's almost a command, certainly a strong suggestion and the words "you can" strongly presuppose that you can learn from hypnosis.

In fact, any use of language that gets you making pictures and filling in the gaps will be useful to me as a communicator and according to some experts could be considered hypnotic.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share some of the immediately useful language patterns that could help you to become a more hypnotic communicator.

Which brings us to our minds. Your brain is engaged in a constant process of making sense of the world and this has two implications for communication:

  1. Unconsciously we take everything personally.
  2. Unconsciously we "fill in the gaps" if bits of the communication are missing or unclear.

Taking everything personally is how metaphors, parables and stories work. It also means that you can get your message across to people by talking indirectly.

My Friend John

My favourite example of this is the "quotes" or "my friend john" pattern. What do all these phrases have in common?

In each case, instead of communicating directly you can put the force of your message in the mouth of someone else. This has the effect of displacing any resistance to your message because you didn’t say it, someone else did.

You can even use this pattern to say things to people that would otherwise be difficult. You could, for example, tell your boss about a time when someone just stopped you in the street and said "You’re a right waste of space aren’t you!". It's not you telling your boss he's a waste of space, it was that stranger!

You can tell your children a story about a rabbit who was very brave or always went to bed early (whatever you need!).

You can tell your team about a fascinating article you read where the team decided to give their manager…(fill in the blanks).

In each case your listeners will unconsciously make links between what you are saying and their own situation. Unconsciously we take everything personally - that is, we seek to make sense of the world by working out how information affects us.

Knowing this when you communicate begins to give you a reasonable idea of how to steer the mental pictures and associations your listeners are making. They will experience listening to you as an agreeable thing to do, so they will pay attention and you will become more able to hold an audience, more hypnotic.

In fact, a colleague of mine said that if you don’t use the quotes pattern you must be brain dead!


Here's one to try straight away. Whenever you start a meeting or presentation or sales situation, using 3 or 4 truisms will unconsciously cause your listeners to agree with you and begin to trust you.

E.g. It's Tuesday morning, a lovely day outside, there's 8 of us here so we can move through the agenda quickly.

Unconsciously (and very fast) your listeners will be agreeing with what you say like this:

E.g. It's Tuesday morning (yes), a lovely day outside (yes), there's 8 of us here (yes) so we can move through the agenda quickly. (yes)

By using truisms to establish your credibility you get into what salesmen sometimes a "yes set". Your listeners get used to hearing what you say and agreeing with it so that by the time you say the next thing "we can move through the agenda quickly" they just carry on agreeing with you.

You may notice politicians using this pattern "That's a very good question, I'm glad you asked it…". "People are concerned about their health" "Education is important".

Remember that an effective truism is something that it is almost impossible to disagree with, they can be said quickly and they establish a link between what you say and things that are true. This can be very useful if you want to influence people.


Next time we’ll look at other ways you can use hypnosis in Part 2 - Using Presuppositions