7 Techniques for Instant Persuasion
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and then buy, I may receive a commission at no additional cost you. As an amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full affiliate disclaimer here.
Rintu Basu is a leading authority on NLP and Hypnosis. He is the author of “Persuasion Skills Blackbook: Practical NLP Language Patterns for Getting The Response You Want” and “Persuasion Skills Black Book of Job Hunting Techniques: Using NLP and Hypnotic Language Patterns to Get the Job You Deserve”
In this interview Rintu shares 7 powerful tools to quickly persuade people to your way of thinking
You can listen by clicking the play button on the video or you can read the full transcript below…
Joey Bushnell: Hi everyone, this is Joey Bushnell. Today I have with me a fantastic guest, his name is Rintu Basu. He is the author of “The Persuasion Skills Black Book” which you may have read already or maybe you have seen it on Amazon. It’s a fantastic book which I myself have read which led me to want to interview Rintu. Rintu thank you so much for being with me today.
Rintu Basu: Thank you for asking me to be here Joey
Joey Bushnell: How did you get into persuasion techniques? Also I know you are an NLP practitioner, how did you start down this road?
Rintu Basu: A long history in a very short time. I’ve always been interested in accelerated learning from my teenage years. Basically I’m an exceptionally lazy person and I worked really hard to be as lazy as I possibly could. One of the big things for me was learning how I could get a lot of information from studying and everything else into my head in the quickest, shortest and easiest way. So from about the age of 15/16 I’ve been heavily into accelerated learning which includes things like auto states of consciousness and hypnosis. A great way of learning lots of stuff is to bring yourself into a learning state and then picking all that information up. So I’ve been in to all of this stuff for a very long time.
I had a couple of pivotal moments with it. There was a point in my life where I was working for a large engineering organization after I’d finished my degree and I started getting into the real heavy duty personal development stuff. I read a book by Anthony Robbins which is called “Unlimited Power” and that had a big impact on me. If I summarize the entirety of that book, it comes down to this one thing – “If you don’t like your life, you change it”. That’s what I did.
I had quite a successful career as an engineer at the time and decided I’d had enough of that and needed a fresh avenue to approach. The one I picked was, I suddenly became a police officer. I mention this because it was another real pivotal moment for me because I suddenly went from “I do all this hypnotic stuff in my head and I get great results from it. I wonder if I can do that with other people? I wonder if I can convince someone to put on a pair of handcuffs, climb into the back of my van and get them to write a testimonial to my sergeants to tell them what a good job I’ve done of it”.
That was where I really learned to get into the whole persuasive element of hypnosis and NLP. I got very good at that quite quickly as that is the nature of accelerated learning. That led me to start to teach other people how to do that.
My general approach to persuasion, NLP and hypnosis is slightly off kilter with the rest of the world because I started really studying it from an adversarial perspective. Most people come into this field looking for a win win situation, I do as well, it’s not that I’m against that sort of thing but where I first started with this was understanding how you could do it when it’s not necessarily in the other persons best interest. Now obviously for most people and in most situations what you are looking for are win-win situations. I’ve developed a whole bunch of techniques that have started from a more adversarial point and then moves into something that’s more contributory and more win-win situations.
The first place that I got into this sort of stuff was, as you’ve guessed from this I’ve had a widely varied career, if you can call it a career. I have this vision of myself bimbling round the world helping people then they pay me money for it.
So a few years ago I accidentally wrote a best selling book which is the one you have already mentioned “Persuasion Skills Black Book” which originally started off as a course in learning hypnotic language. It was originally a free course which I used to build a list on the internet. I got such great feedback from it that we turned it into a book and now you can buy it on amazon. So effectively that is a talk through what I laughably call a career.
Joey Bushnell: You also have some companion books as well within the black book series, is that right?
Rintu Basu: Oh yes loads of stuff. I have a black book on job hunting techniques and I have a couple more that are in my head that I just haven’t actually sat down and written yet. One is about sales techniques, another is about training and coaching. I’ve got a couple in my head about management that are just about to pop out. I also run a lot of courses, they are download courses.
The books are great, particularly the “Persuasion Skills Black Book” but I hadn’t realized I was being quite clever with it until people had told me but I wrote the book with the express intention of using the techniques on the reader as they are learning the techniques. So it creates this situation where as a reader of the book you’re ploughing through it, looking for the way that I’m demonstrating the stuff as I explain how to use it. Which sounds like I’m stating the obvious, if you’re gong to teach persuasion techniques you may as well use them on the people who are reading and listening as you go.
The trouble with books is that it doesn’t give you everything. You don’t necessarily see pitch, tone, the way that people are talking and what differences that makes. So I have a whole variety of download courses that demonstrate more of that stuff. My favorite bit about this is I often run workshops demonstrating this stuff and teaching it, then I will go back and write up exactly why I did, what I did, as a deconstruction later. So there’s a whole variety of things that I’ve got.
Joey Bushnell: In this interview we are going to be talking about some of those specific techniques that are written about in your book and that you teach in your courses. My first question is why should people learn these techniques and in what situations in their lives can these be applied?
Rintu Basu: That’s a really big question and a great question too. My glib answer to that is I think everyone should learn this stuff, in fact I think it should be taught in schools. Here’s my perspective, let’s start with applications…
Most people that are on your list are probably coming from a business perspective and if that’s the case, in pretty much any kind of business situation you can think of, there is a persuasive element in it. I think any kind of communication is about persuasion. Even if the only thing I want is to be heard, listened to or understood, that’s a persuasive element to start with but if I tone that down in a business context these things are great for things like sales, managing people, presenting anywhere where you have some aspect of persuasion that you need to put in, then these skills are applicable.
So given that I think everyone in business needs to know something about these skills, there’s something I’m going to add into that because we may as well deal with it upfront, there often comes up an issue about manipulation.
Now personally I don’t have any issues about manipulation. Just in terms of the word itself, it’s only about moving something from one direction to another and I don’t have any problems with that. There’s often a whole load of connotations that people put on the word manipulation and that’s where the issue is.
My tendency is to say that whatever it is that you are looking to persuade people to do, you want to present yourself in the best light, you want to present the benefits to the other person as to what those are. It only becomes this bad form of manipulation when your intent is not necessarily a win-win and that is where I think the issue is.
These things are just tools, they are things that will help present yourself in the best light and if you’re looking for win win situations then people will come with you. But they are just tools and it is just about the intent that you apply with them that makes a difference.
If I’m completely open with this my intent has not always been the best and whenever I have used this stuff in a way that doesn’t help people that I’m talking to or it isn’t in their best interest it has always come back and bitten me.
So I’m not saintly about it, I’m not one of the tree hugging brigade. I want to say “You really want to use these skills where it’s in the best interest for people of both parties, yourself and people that you are talking to. If you do that you win friends, you influence people and they come back for more all the time”.
Whereas if you’re using this in a win-lose situation people will notice. It’s very easy to use these tools in a way where you get an advantage over other people and I can’t stop you from doing that, I’m not going to be the NLP Police but when you do that sort of stuff people will notice that they’ve been conned, cheated, manipulated or however you want to say it and best case scenarios is you’re going to lose them as customers. So all I’d say about this is you can use it in any kind of situation that you like and I’d always be seeking that win-win situation when you do it.
Joey Bushnell: So it’s up to people how they use it but if you use it for good everyone wins but if you use it for bad don’t be surprised if people give you bad reviews on the internet, or divorce you, sack you or whatever it might be in life. If you use it bad the only person you’re going to end up ultimately hurting is yourself.
Let’s be frank, everyone uses these to some degree. There are no non-players are there? Personally I think that if someone says that they have no persuasion elements in their life they are lying to themselves, that’s what I think personally.
Rintu Basu: Yes I completely agree with you. One of the areas where I get a lot of discussion around these sort of things is in flirting, dating, seduction and things like that but people say “Should you be using those skills in that kind of area?” I’m a bit too old for dating stuff these days but I remember when I used to and at the very least I’m going to have a shower and put on a clean shirt, now is that manipulative? I don’t know.
Joey Bushnell: It’s true though, in it’s most basic form that is persuasion. I remember when I was courting my wife I would tell her what I planned to do with my life and the dreams I had, how we’d have a lovely family etc. Everyone does those things otherwise you’re not going to be a catch. Everyone is doing that even if you’re not consciously doing it, there’s always persuasion going on in some form or another in every area of life. So you might as well get good at it.
Rintu Basu: Yes absolutely, and for me the issue isn’t about manipulation. The only issue is in finding out what is best for the other person and presenting what you’ve got for them in a way that meets their needs.
Joey Bushnell: Absolutely. So where do you start with all of this? When it comes to changing the direction of another persons thoughts, where do we begin?
Rintu Basu: The first place where I actually want to start is something I’m going to call an “agreement frame”.
Now in it’s most basic form an agreement frame is just about agreeing with the other person. So whatever it is that they are saying, there is always some element of it that you can agree with. The issue with that is sometimes people are going to say things that you don’t agree with at all and what I’m applying to that is something that I call a 10% rule. Whatever anyone says, you can at least agree they’ve said it or that they believe it or that’s their key issue.
The reason why I like starting with agreement frames is simply this, it acknowledges the person that you are talking to and it acknowledges what their thoughts are or what their statement is. It’s kind of a way of opening people up and it’s a kind of way of making sure that they know that you’re listening to them.
The first place that I will start anything with, is some way of acknowledging them and then I want to move into changing the direction of where they are going if I want them to align with something else. So the first thing I really want to say to anyone in any kind of discussion is “I agree”, “I acknowledge” or “I see your point of view” something along those lines and that is what I call an agreement frame.
The important thing for me in any of that is that you then join it with the bit that you want to say to them. There’s a word that really needs to be in there and that’s “And”. Let me explain this a little bit more and give you 2 statements let me say “I agree with you but here is my point of view” do you see how that “But” will actually just take away the thing that I’m agreeing with?
Joey Bushnell: Yes, it invalidates it doesn’t it? What you’ve said before means nothing now.
Rintu Basu: Absolutely, and there’s 2 words that are frequently used that really do that and that’s “but” or “however”. If you’ve ever had feedback from maybe a job appraisal where someone says “You did a really god job, but…” here’s what I really think.
Now if we go back to that and change that “but” or “however” to the word “and” the word “and” joins 2 parts of a sentence. So if I say “I agree with you and my opinion is something else” you tend to get more flow to it and people will come along with you in that direction.
So the first thing that I’m going to ask everyone to do, here’s something that you might want to practice a little and notice the reactions you get from people. Say the words “I agree” and add your opinion on. Your opinion or what you want to say could be wildly different you could even go as far as “I agree and my opinion is completely different”. Now logically that doesn’t make any sense but people will come with you. They will come with you because you’re basically validating them and then you’re moving them on to something that you want to talk about or deal with. So in it’s truest form or in it’s most ambiguous form as a phrase this winds up saying “I agree you said that and I’m going to tell you something different”. Does that make sense?
Joey Bushnell: Yes absolutely
Rintu Basu: So right from the start what you are doing is validating whatever someone has said and now you’re moving them somewhere else. But there is a particular type of pattern that I like using with people, let me explain the pattern then I’ll tell you why it works…
I really love this pattern because it’s just a formula. It’s very straight forward and you don’t really have to think about it. So the formula is called an “X Y reframe” where X is what the person wants to talk about and Y is what you want to talk about and the pattern is this “the issue isn’t X, it’s Y”.
The thing I want to check with you is, I like using “the issue isn’t this, the issue is something else”. Sometime people have an issue with the word issue. That’s fine you can replace that with whatever phrase that you find that you prefer, this is just my version of it.
What I like doing with people is saying things like “Yes, I agree you think that and the issue isn’t what you’re thinking about, it’s about what I want to talk about, so let’s talk about that”.
The reason this works is effectively you’re agreeing with the person that they said what they said and from there what you are saying is “Well, it’s not about that it’s about something else, it’s about whatever I want to talk about”. What it does is validates where they are coming from and then dramatically changes direction of the conversation to wherever you want to go.
Joey Bushnell: If we do this, let’s say that we use the word “but” or “however” or we don’t validate what they say, what happens? Do they instantly, regardless of what you then say are their defenses are up? Are they resistant to what you are about to say?
Rintu Basu: Yes, what’s basically happening. If you ignore what they say then they are going to get defensive and close off just like you’re saying. If you don’t put some kind of agreement frame upfront and don’t acknowledge what they’re saying, they’ll instantly start getting their defenses up.
It’s really simple, and anyone can try this as an experiment… spend 5-10 minutes over the next day or so going into conversations and agreeing with people. Just say the words “I agree” or nod at them. You know what’s going to happen, people will open up, they will say more and they will become more relaxed about what they are talking about.
In contrast to that walk into a conversation and shake your head or just keep saying “No, I don’t agree” and see what happens.
The whole point about the agreement frame upfront is to make people more relaxed and more open as to what you’ve got to say and as soon as you’ve done that, adding the word “and” connects what you want to talk about. What they are expecting is you’re going to take the conversation further down the line they are looking at. Because of that you can change that direction just using that “X Y frame”. It’s just yes I agree or acknowledge your thinking and your thinking isn’t the issue. The real issue is whatever I want to talk about
They’ll follow it because you’ve agreed upfront, it just takes them in a completely different direction. Can you see how that works?
Joey Bushnell: I can absolutely see how that works. Another technique you talk about in the book is something called a “Yes set”. What is a “Yes set”?
Rintu Basu: Let me give you “yes set” in 2 different directions.
Firstly, this is an old style sales technique where all you are doing is asking questions to people that they are going to answer “Yes” to. If people are saying yes to stuff it makes it easier for them to say yes, then it’s fairly obvious once you get to the pricing end of it and you say “Do you like the price?”, it’s easier for them to agree with you because you’ve got them into the habit of saying “Yes”. That is an old style sales technique, it’s still used quite a lot and to be honest it’s a big hammer to hammer people with.
I prefer yes sets from a hypnotic perspective. What we are doing here is validating the real direct sensory experience that people are having. So we’re on site talking to each other, you’re listening to what I’m saying and that means you can start thinking about stuff in a particular direction. So all I’m really doing is starting to get you interested in the idea that there’s all this stuff happening that you already agree with and if you can agree to that then what it means is you are ready to move on to the next stage.
Now can you see what’s happening in terms of my language? All I’m doing is saying “This is what’s happening and these are directly verifiable sensory experiences” and then I add something on to the end of it which isn’t necessarily true but I’d like it to be true and it makes it easier for you to agree.
A hypnotist would use it. If you imagine the scene with a hypnotherapist with a client sat on the couch waiting to be hypnotized. The hypnotist might turn around and say something like “you are sat on the couch, listening to my voice and that means you are becoming more and more relaxed”. That would be a great way of starting a trance induction, for example.
If I was to switch contexts like a straight forward sales context, you might in part of your pitch as you’ve gone through the discussion, elicited your prospects needs and talked about benefits of your product, you might turn around and say “we’ve sat here and we’ve talked for the last 10 minutes about what your specific needs are.” Now all of that is verifiably true, we have sat down and talked about all your needs, I’ve started telling you all about the product, how it matters to those needs and that means we are ready to move into a pricing negotiation.
All I’m doing is saying here’s some stuff that we know has happened and that means that we are ready to move on to the next bit. It’s almost like a big agreement frame, we can agree we’ve done this bit, that bit and we can agree that the next thing that needs to happen is this.
That was one of the biggest things that I used to use as a police officer out on the streets and it would be almost as blunt as this “As you can see there has been a burglary round the corner, this is the description I’ve got, you can see that you fit that and that means that I have to take you in to the station to discuss what you were doing in this area” and people would just agree.
Effectively that’s how agreement frames work. Again, this stuff doesn’t necessarily sound easy and the reality of this is that we are doing this all the time. It’s just a case of thinking about it in a slightly different way and a little bit of practice. One of the things I advocate for most people is just 5 or 10 minutes practice everyday dramatically increases most peoples persuasive abilities because it becomes automatic very quickly.
Joey Bushnell: My next question was, you mention a technique called “anchoring”, what is that about?
Rintu Basu: Let me give you a quick bit of theory around where anchoring comes from. Anchoring came form a guy called Pavlov who did some experiments with dogs. All he was doing with these dogs was ringing a bell then feed them a steak and eventually he could feed them a steak and the dog would hear the bell.
Skinner was the guy that took that on and he created this whole branch of psychology that was all about behaviorism. It’s called stimulus response and the idea is we have hot buttons or when you are fed certain stimuli you will react in a certain way. It’s not completely true but it’s true enough to be really useful.
For example, you hear your favorite song on the radio. Do you go into a particular emotional state? Most people do. How about when your alarm clock goes off? It induces particular emotional states. What we are saying then is, if you set up particular conditions to set off a particular response then when you fire that trigger you’ll get the response that you’re looking for. There’s loads of different ways of doing this. Let me give you a couple of examples where I’ve seen this in operation…
One of the things that I used to do as a sergeant in the police service was, I had a reputation for taking over difficult teams and turning them around. Grumpy police officers are really difficult to work with and I had a reputation of being able to turn them around and turn them into high performing teams.
One of the things I noticed that was universal around a lot of the police service, is that the sergeants would have an office and what would happen is as a police officer, if you did something wrong you’d be hauled into that office to be shouted at, given bad news in that office. If you do that to people enough times the idea of walking into that office means you are going to get bad news which will set off a particular state, which isn’t a useful one.
So as a sergeant, whenever I took over a team one of the first things that I used to do would be to haul people into that office and give them massively good news and praise just so I could break the emotional state. What I wanted was a whole bunch of police officers that could walk into that office and tell me what they’d been up to without getting defensive, emotional or expecting to be told off.
Another one I’ve seen that happened a lot is, I’ve done a lot of work in call centers, with call center staff. If you’ve ever been around sales before, particularly in a call center, in a high pressure sales environment what happens is the call center agents are sat at a desk with a headset on and there is an automatic dialer that dials a number for them and once that number is dialed it beeps in their ear, to tell them now there is a prospect on the line that they can talk to.
The thing is, a lot of sales is built around rejection, not a lot of people enjoy getting telemarketing calls so they got a lot of abuse off the people they are phoning. So imagine that if you do this enough times, what these call center agents are starting to do is associate that beep with a whole load of rejection and being shouted at. The reality then is when they hear the beep they are really not often in the best emotional estate to do the sales calls.
So one of the things I used to do there was get them to detach that emotional state to the beep in their ear, get them to build really good strong emotional states and then re-anchor that to the beep so they would be on top form and look forward to the beep. That is what anchoring is so let me give you a quick version of some stuff that you could do in terms of anchoring…
This is something that I do a lot of with presenters and presentation techniques particularly when you have a baby presenter that is a little bit nervous, doesn’t do a lot of presentations and always gets nervous when speaking in front of an audience.
One of the things I will do with them is get them to think about times when they are feeling hugely confident, when they are having a good time, are in the flow, nicely relaxed and doing a good job. Then what I will do is I will link that to something that is going to happen when they are going to present.
Say for example we are talking about small presentations, to a small crowd, normally presenters will stand up and walk over to their PC screen or area they are going to present from. What I will do is link the feelings of standing up and walking over to their presentation spot to this feeling of confidence, motivation and feeling relaxed. So what will happen from there so long as they practice this, is it becomes an automatic function. So whenever they stand up to present they are in the right state to present.
The other side of anchoring is there’s a whole load of sneaky stuff you can do around it. I’m a poker player and one of the things I do because I know lots of people on poker tables are looking for tells. What I will do is, when I’ve got bad hands I will look at them in a particular way and then I’ll fold them. What I’m expecting is over a period people are going to watch me and notice the way I look at bad hands which is exactly what I want them to do. An hour or so of doing that, the next time I have a monster hand that I know is going to win I will do exactly that and then I’m stacking the deck in my favor because everyone will bet against me for me to push in with what i know is going to be the best hand, because they are expecting it to be a bad hand. Does that make sense?
Joey Bushnell: Yeah it does, that’s quite a cool technique. Another technique you mentioned in your book is called “Pattern interrupts”. What is a “pattern interrupt” and why does that work?
Rintu Basu: There’s another book that I’m going to recommend everyone to go and have a look at, it’s by a guy called Robert Cialdini and it’s called “Influence”. It’s kind of like the bible for anyone who wants to use persuasion and influence. The book is terrific because it’s a very scientific book, it’s based on 6 influence and persuasion techniques which he researches and labels in a real scientific kind of way but it’s a very accessible and readable book.
There is something he says in that book which he calls a click-whirr response. Basically our world works like this, if we were going to recognize what is going on in our environment consciously 24/7 it would be an absolute nightmare.
Let me start with things like… Are you aware of the feeling of your socks on your left big toe? You probably are now but you probably weren’t until I mentioned it. What we do is, we delete a whole load of stuff outside of our conscious awareness so that we can focus on what’s important. What this leads to is patterns of behavior. For example have you ever driven from one place to another and not remembered the journey at all?
Joey Bushnell: Yes, too many times.
Rintu Basu: Yeah, the worst of it is this is one, I do all the time actually. I set up to go somewhere and wind up going to the office and it’s just automatic. It wasn’t where I was planning to go but I end up here anyway. That is a typical click-whirr response.
A lot of what we do winds up being an automatic response to the stimulus that’s around us, that’s how we get through our daily lives and this is what I mean by click-whirr response. The thing about it is if you can interrupt that pattern people will have this pause between thoughts because they don’t quite now what happens because the system has kind of changed and they don’t necessarily know what to do with it.
In the book I outline one of the biggest ones that happened to me which is many years ago when I was a police officer. I wound up walking into this pub dressed in full uniform and was faced with these 3 guys who pretty much wanted to hurt me quite badly, they had a thing about guys in uniform. My issue was I needed to get out of the situation because at the best I’m a coward at heart and there’s a long standing joke about British police officers being armed with a box of kittens, you can’t get aggressive with kittens.
So these 3 came up and they were pretty certain about how the system was supposed to play out. It went like this… They would shout at me. I would shout back. Then they would use me as a human punch bag. That was what the expectation was in their heads.
So they came up and started shouting at me, I shouted back at them about the fact I left the box of kittens in the car. It wasn’t what they were expecting so there’s this little pause and if you catch that pause exactly right you can develop the situation that way. How it went was me going “The kittens are in the back” and they said “What?” and I said “You can’t get aggressive with kittens you just have to calm down” that is an embedded command.
So I’m using my language to disguise the fact that I’m giving them direct commands to do things. I said something along the lines of “You just have to calm down and tickle them under the chin” and I was doing some tickling under the chin gestures. It took me about 5 minutes work but after that the 3 of them were stroking imaginary kittens. That’s how pattern interrupts work.
I wrote an article about them a few weeks ago on my website. I was in one of those moods and I feel the need to practice every now and again. This is a pattern interrupt that I’ve used for years and it’s this; “Tickle your arse with a feather.” People normally say “You what?” and I say “Particularly nasty weather”. It’s a great one.
I’ve just gone in to a coffee shop in Glasgow and typical Glasgow weather is grim, dark and wet outside. I’m stood at the bar waiting for my coffee with this other guy who is stood there. I turned around to him and said “Tickle your arse with a feather” and he looked at me and said “What?” and I said “Particularly nasty weather” at which point he dropped into this “I don’t know what’s going on thing” and I said “Yeah it is particularly nasty weather, let me show you” and I led him out into the rain and left him outside the shop very confused about what was going on. He was there for at least 2 or 3 minutes before he realized his coffee was inside and he was getting very wet. That’s what happens when you hit that pause between thoughts you can lead people in all sorts of interesting directions at that point.
Joey Bushnell: It sounds quite fun, it sounds like the stuff Derren Brown does on TV
Rintu Basu: Yeah very much so. Take it the right way, people get really excited about pattern interrupts because you can do those sorts of things with them. Really the direct application, if we come back into a business context is there’s a softer version of pattern interrupt.
What I want to suggest is what you want to look at is the person you want to influence and look at what the standing beliefs, ideas and thoughts are that they have around what it is that you are persuading about. See if you can shake them up and do things with them.
Let me give you an example… When I used to sell a lot of my own training to the corporate world, what I noticed was when people walk into the room that we are going to negotiate in, there’s a completely different set of beliefs operating than before they think the meetings have started. So I would do everything that I could to have the meeting before they thought we were going to have the meeting. So I would walk in be stood there having coffee, having small talk and the phrase I would use is “before we begin, can we talk about…” Did you notice I actually did that to you in here?
Joey Bushnell: I didn’t notice but now that you’ve said it yeah
Rintu Basu: Yes, so I know full well that their operating beliefs are wildly different before the meeting than in the meeting. When I used to do a lot of coaching work most of the stuff that I would do around coaching would happen outside of the coaching room. In fact, as a hypnotherapist I would do most of the change work before they went into any kind of a trance. The trance stuff was there for show because that is what they expect but you can do most of the work covertly upfront because people aren’t expecting you to do it.
Let me give you this as an example… They actually found out that I did this and spotted it in the end but I used to run a team of trainers and whenever we did appraisals or I wanted to discuss work with them on a one on one basis I would always take them out to lunch. For a couple of reasons, from my perspective we get a free lunch on the company but the other real big reason that I use to do that is it’s got completely different frames on it than in a meeting room.
Eventually one of my trainers turned around and refused to go to lunch with me. What she said to me was “whenever we go out to lunch I get a decent meal and half a ton of work”. To me that is like a gentle pattern interrupt. We are expecting things to happen in a particular order or sequence and if I break that up a bit it gives me more opportunity to move things in a different direction.
Joey Bushnell: Yes, absolutely and I felt a little bit like I was in a trance during some of that when you were talking, so it’s powerful stuff! My final question was about a technique called “leading and pacing” and you also mention “future pacing”. What is all of that about?
Rintu Basu: Pacing is basically being with people where they are at the moment and the leading is leading them out somewhere else. This is again very much around the whole “yes sets” and language patterns that we are talking about. If you acknowledge people from where they are at the moment they are more likely to come with you to where you want to go. That’s all pacing and leading is.
There are a couple of things worth mentioning the first thing I’m going to suggest to you is, pacing for me, is about asking people about where they are or getting inside their heads and understanding things from their position.
Have you ever had this situation, it’s often a sales thing, where you know someones needs, you know your product matches their needs and you know it’s a really good thing for them and yet they still don’t go with you?
Joey Bushnell: I have had that yes
Rintu Basu: The reason that it’s happening is that in that situation you haven’t understood the situation from your clients perspective. So this is what pacing is really about; it’s getting inside their heads and understanding things from their perspective, then presenting what you’ve got to present to them from that perspective.
It’s often the difference between good and bad teachers or trainers. Its not about what they know or how they can do stuff, it’s actually about how they can sit inside the heads of their learners and motivate them in the direction of doing things. It’s also the biggest difference in managers and sales staff. It’s not about creating sympathy, it’s about creating empathy, you understand it from their perspective. But if I take that one step further once you’ve understood it from their perspective it’s about explaining the situation in a way that is meaningful to them.
Years ago when I was a trainer within the police service, I had it in my head that I was going to leave the police service and be a trainer, which is how I define myself now. Therefore I really wanted to be a good trainer, I wanted to be the best that I could be. If you ever speak to trainers there’s 2 bits of training if you like, the sexy end of training, that’s designing the course and delivering the course. Those 2 are the sexy ends.
There’s another end to training which is all about evaluation and did the course do what it needed to do? Particularly in the corporate world that’s about spreadsheets, numbers, doing surveys and about seeing what the impact of that course has on the environment of the company. That end of training, for me personally I hate it, absolutely loath it with a passion because it’s about details, numbers and spreadsheets, it’s all the stuff that I’m not good at and I don’t like.
So an opportunity turned up in the evaluation team and my boss really wanted me to take the job. I was resisting like nobody’s business. One of the main reasons why I was resisting was because my boss loves numbers, spreadsheets and graphs. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t take the job because he knew I was desperate to get as much experience as I could. He kept offering me the job and I kept knocking it back.
I kept knocking it back because he kept saying things like “Listen you’re going to have an enormous amount of fun because there’s hundreds of numbers and the graphs that you can make then you’re going to tell people how you found these small differences on tiny spreadsheets in the middle of nowhere” and he kept giving me all of that thinking that I would enjoy that sort of stuff. Every time he had one of those little motivational speeches with me I felt like committing suicide it was really that bad.
The bizarre thing is it was a mate of mine that got me to take the job and he did it in a really simple way. He just turned to me and said “So you really want to be a trainer?” I said “Yeah of course I do.” He said do you want to be a good trainer?” I said “Yes”. He said “How can you be a good trainer if you haven’t got every aspect of training experience and that means evaluation. If you’re going to be a good trainer you need to be good at that.” Then I went “Oh, he’s right” and I actually applied for the job after that.
This is what I mean. My boss at the time knew it would be good for me. It got far enough into my head to know that I would desperately want that end of the experience. What he couldn’t do was get into my head enough to understand where I was coming from. Does that make sense?
Joey Bushnell: Yes, did your friend do that consciously or did he hit it on the money just by accident?
Rintu Basu: I think he did it accidentally to be honest. He was another trainer he knew where he was coming from so I don’t think it was a conscious deliberate thing from him, it was just a discussion we were having.
So if you like, pacing is about knowing where people are and then validating them on it. Leading is about being able to present things in that kind of way that is going to move them in that direction.
You mentioned future pacing which is a really cool thing and to talk about it I need to do just a quick bit of theory. So here’s an idea; to make sense of anything I say, you have to form in your head what I’m going to call an internal representation. I call it an internal representation because it’s not just about a picture that you make but it’s about the sounds, feelings and everything else that goes with it. I’m going to call it a picture because it’s easier to see.
So if I was to say something like “Don’t think of a pink elephant”, you have to think of a pink elephant first to make sense of the sentence. Then you might delete it, rub it out or move it out the way. So that is what I mean by an internal representation to make sense of a sentence it forms this picture in your head of some sort.
Now we can start playing with that. If I were to say “John saw the mountain behind the house”, you have to have a picture of John, the mountain and the house. If I were to say “John didn’t see the mountain behind the house” because neither the house the mountain or John exist, you still have a picture of John a mountain and a house. The reality is we are doing this in conversations all the time.
Whenever you talk to someone you are forcing these internal representations on them and they have no choice but to go with you. If they want to make sense of the sentence that you are saying, they have to go with you. That creates all sorts of interesting effects.
One of my favorite examples of this is a few years ago when I was still a smoker I was listening to 2 call center agents outside having a cigarette. One of them turned to the other and said “I’ve got this really splitting headache” and the other turned around and said “Oh is it one of those headaches that has this piercing thing that goes right between your front lobes” and she’s doing all of the actions, making 2 firsts and screwing them together. It’s like this Bison that just gets squeezed tighter and tighter. You could see everyone around them as she went into this real rich, vivid description of a migraine headache. Everyone around them was starting to crumple as they felt it because she was forcing that representation on them. She did it for about 5 minutes and everyone walked away from that with a splitting headache.
That is what internal representations do and the more vivid you make them, the more it impacts the people you are talking to. If you can understand that then imagine what happens when you take people out into the future to look back at how well they may have used your product or service.
I used that link an awful lot in terms of teaching it to people who are job seeking. In an interview situation one of the questions I want an interviewee to ask their interviewer is things like “If I’m successful how would you see me progressing in the company?”. All of a sudden they have an internal representation of them not only being successful but having progress in the company and forcing them to describe it to you.
The same thing happens in terms of sales, if I say “we’ve been through all the benefits of the product, how can you see yourself using it?” or “What results are you expecting to get from this?” and it just works a lot like this.
I do a lot of that sort of thing in terms of coaching and again when I’ve been managing people. One of the things I use to do is; if I have to give people bad news in terms of their performance the last thing I want them to do is think about the bad stuff that they’ve done. Say I’m talking to a sales agent and let’s hypnotically say they are not very good at building rapport with a customer. Now If I turned around and say “You’re not particularly good at building rapport with the customer because of this and this” all that is doing is reinforcing the bad behavior.
Now we need to tell them that their behavior is not good enough but the internal representations that I want to force on them are ones of them doing it really well. My intention is then to say first of all acknowledge where they are coming from, so I want to find stuff that they did do really well.
So I’m going to start with “Here’s specifically some stuff that you did really well” and I want to very strongly validate that by explaining in great detail what was good about it and what they specifically did. That if you like is starting off with a “yes set” and an “agreement frame” we are going “you did this, this and this. That’s really good”. Then I say “What would make it even better is if you do…” and now I can describe to them in details what I want them to do rather than what they did badly.
So what I’m now doing is “If you do this, this and this it’s going to make you even better.” Now here’s a future pace on the end of that we go “Can you see how good you are going to feel now you put that all in place and you’re getting more sales”. That’s where the future pace is.
So in terms of that pattern it goes “here’s what you did well and this is in detail, what you did” which validates it “what’s going to make it even better is..” then you explain what you want them to do in specific behavioral terms, then there is a future pace at the end which goes “how good are you going to feel with the next sale when you put that all in place?” So it’s almost like a future memory.
Joey Bushnell: Yes so we are getting people to imagine and see themselves with the favorable result and that then is a much better way of trying to persuade them than to get hem to focus on the bad things they did. Like you said, you can’t help but imagine that pink elephant if you mention it they can’t help but think of that so it makes perfect sense.
Rintu thank you so much for the information that you have given us today, it’s been absolutely fantastic. Where can we get more of this kind of information from you and where can we buy your books?
Rintu Basu: The books are all on amazon and if you are really interested in all this sort of stuff there are a couple of places you can find me; on Twitter it’s persuasion tips, on Facebook its the persuasion skills black book, if you just search that you’ll find the page.
The website is thenlpcompany.com I highly recommend you go there and when you do hit the techniques tab and you’ll get to the blog part. There is a little search bar in the top right hand corner and you can search through the 2000 – 3000 articles on there and there is loads of really good content.
The youtube channel which is the NLP company or you can search for it under my name Rintu Basu, there is loads of free videos I’ve put a ton of stuff out there because I reckon people are going to come back and they are eventually going to buy stuff, if I give you lots of good information.
Joey Bushnell: Awesome, I highly recommend you go and check out all of those places. I have read the book myself it’s fantastic. I’ve not read your job seeking book Rintu because it hasn’t applied to me but if there is anyone out there that is looking for a job that is going to help you as well. So Rintu thank you so much for taking the time to do this with me today.
Rintu Basu: My pleasure Joey thanks for having me.
Recommended Tools & Software
I’m a proud affiliate for some of the people, companies and products featured on this website. If you buy through a link on this website, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Any commission received does not impact my reviews or editorial. I only recommend products I believe are genuinely beneficial for my readers. You can read my full affiliate disclaimer here.