You can break down any effective ad or political campaign and find it follows the precise framework. First it uses visual and auditory stimuli to put you in the state the promoter’s desire. Then it anchors your state to a product or action they wish you to take. This, of course, is done time and again until your nervous system effectively links the state with the product or desired behavior. If it is a good ad, it will use images and sounds that attract and affect all three major representational systems: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. TV is such a persuasive medium because it can make the best use of all three; it can give you pretty pictures, it can include catchy song or jingle, and it can provide a message with emotional punch. Think of the most effective ads done for a soft drink like Coke or a beer like Miller or a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s. Think of the Reach Out and Touch Someone ads for the phone company. What they all have in common is a strong V-A-K mix that offers a hook for everyone.
Of course, there are some ads that are effective in producing the opposite image – they break the state in as stark a manner as possible. Think of antismoking ads. Have you ever seen the one showing a fetus smoking a cigarette in its mother’s womb? Or Brooke Shields looking dopey with cigarettes coming out of her ears? Those ads are most effective when they function as pattern interrupts, when they destroy the aura of glamour someone else has tried to create around an unhealthful product.
In a world full of persuades, you can be one, too, or you can be someone who gets persuaded. You can direct your life or be directed. Persuasion has to be developed as personal power that can put you in control so you can do the persuading, whether as a role model for your kids or as powerful force at work. The people in power are the persuaders. The people without power simply act on the images and commands that are directed their way.
Power today is the ability to communicate and the ability to persuade. If you are a persuader with no legs, you will persuade someone to carry you. If you have no money, you will persuade someone to lend you some. Persuasion may be the ultimate skill for creating change. After all, if you are a persuader who is alone in the world and does not want to be you will find a friend lover. If you are a persuader with a good product to sell, you will find someone who will buy it. You can have an idea or a product that can change the world, but without the power to persuade, you have nothing. Communicating what you can offer is what life is all about. It is the most important skill you can develop.
Let us give you an example of how powerful this technology is and how much you can do once you master the techniques NLP offers. When a HR expert (H) created his first twelve day Neuro-Linguistic Professionals training, he decided to come up with an exercise that would really make people use what they had learned. He got everyone in the course together at eleven thirty at night and told them to give their keys, their cash, their credit cards, their wallets – everything but the clothes on their backs.
H told them he wanted to prove that to succeed they did not need anything but their own personal power and persuasive abilities. H said they had the skills to find and fill people’s needs, and they didn’t need money, status, a vehicle, or anything else the culture teaches us we need to make our lives the way we want them.
The first challenge was to find a way to get to Phoenix, about an hour away by car. H told them to take excellent care of themselves, to use their skill to arrive healthfully in Phoenix, find a nice place to stay, eat well, and use their persuasion skills in many other ways that seemed effective and empowering, both for themselves and for others.
The results were amazing. Many of them were able to get bank loans of $100 to $500 simply on the force of their personal power and congruence. Remember, they had no identification whatsoever, and they were in a city they had never been in before. One woman went to a large department store and, without any identification at all, got credit cards she used on the spot. Of the 120 people who went out, about 80 percent were able to get a job, and 7 people got three or more jobs in that one day. One woman wanted to work at the zoo. She was told the zoo had a six month waiting list just for volunteers. But she developed so much rapport that she was allowed to come in and work with the animals. She even treated a sick parrot by using NLP skills to stimulate its nervous system. The zoo trainer was so impressed that she ended up doing a mini-seminar on how these tools positively affect animals. One guy, who loved children and always wanted to speak to a large group of them, went to a school and said, I’m the speaker for the assembly. When do I start? The people said what assembly? He said ‘the assembly scheduled for today. I’ve come a long way. I can wait for up to an hour, but we have got to get started soon’. No one was quite sure who he was, but he seemed so sure and congruent, they decided there had to be an assembly. So they got the kids together, and he talked for an hour and a half on how kids could make their lives better. The kids and teachers loved it.