Understanding and predicting responses from the general public is advantageous. It is a hot topic that everyone is interested in. Wouldn't you like to be better at getting a "yes" from people when you ask for something? Keep reading to find out how (or watch the accompanying video below).
In psychology, priming is defined as "a phenomenon whereby exposure to one stimulus influences a response to a subsequent stimulus, without conscious guidance or intention."
Did you know that a host who offers a guest a warm drink of tea/coffee/hot cocoa will be more likely to be perceived as friendly?
Did you know standing like a superhero before a job interview increases your chances of getting hired? Watch this Amy Cuddy TED Talk if you don't believe us!
Likewise, a man standing outside a flower shop is likelier to get a passing woman's phone number. In this phone number example, the woman was primed by the romantic idea of a gentleman gifting flowers… only nice men stand outside flower shops, right?
Okay, that was a joke, but it also allows us to point out the part of the definition "without conscious guidance or intention."
In theory, if you asked the woman why she gave her number to the man outside the flower shop, she might say, "he seemed nice." She likely wouldn't think the flower shop had much influence over her decision.
Robert Cialdini: An Expert in the Field of Priming
Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent his entire career researching what leads people to "Yes" to requests. He is a well-known and respected scientist as well as an engaging storyteller.
His answer is relatable and entertaining,
"All my life, I have been a sucker… I'd find myself with an unwanted magazine subscription and think… isn't this interesting… it was the psychology of the delivery of the case (not the merits of the product) that inclined me towards consent…"
His books combine ethics with persuasive influence and have sold over 7 million copies in 44 languages!
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Melissa Tiers: An Expert in Combining Priming & Hypnosis
At the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, we are interested in how priming can be applied to hypnotic practice.
One of our recent guest trainers, Melissa Tiers, gave a riveting lesson on the Art of Priming. Melissa is a phenomenal NLP trainer and hypnotist who defines priming as "seeding ideas that are more quickly accepted by the client."
She explains that priming can occur through any of the three senses – smell, touch, and sight – and that it occurs in our lives all the time.
Here are a few of the intriguing examples Tiers shared in her training session:
- It is harder to change a person's mind when they are sitting on a hard surface.
- If you want people to take you seriously, put your information on a heavy clipboard as it lends weight.
- You are likely to turn and look if you hear a high-pitched yelp. You are more inclined to run if you hear a low, ominous growl. This relates to the neurobiology of fear and the predicted answer to the question: "Am I safe?"
One of Melissa's favorite techniques is noticing the client's body language when they are empowered. She will later use that exact positioning/gesture to help move them out of a problem state and back into a positive state.
Book Suggestions From Melissa Tiers
- "Before You Know It" By John Bargh
- "You Are Not So Smart" by David Mcraney
- “Incognito” by David Eagleman
- "Drunk Tank Pink" by Adam Alter
- "Metaphors We Live By" John Lakoff and Mark Johnson
- "The Extended Mind" by Annie Murphy Paul
We didn't price search; these are just the Amazon links in case you want to see the cover or find the best deal for yourself.
How Priming Can Work for You
Build a Safe Environment
- Use comfortable seats and soothing colors.
- What pictures or art do you have around you? Consider what they suggest about you from an outside perspective.
- Your office must reflect the well-being and security your clients are looking for, even if it is over Zoom.
Be Mindful of How You Present Yourself
- What are you wearing?
- What cues are you giving your client to show you are fully attending to (and understanding) them?
- How are you using body language to help build positive states?
Use Linguistic Presuppositions
Here is one way to do it.
- Assume that what is supposed to happen (in the hypnosis session) will.
- Ask a question with the above presumption: How will your life be so much better when you discover it's completely gone one hour from now?
- Let them realize (with surprise!) that it (their problem) will be gone soon and see it through.
Establish a Tacit Contract
Tacit contracts are a great way to prime your subjects.
A tacit contract is an unspoken agreement between two or more parties. It's an implied understanding.
Imagine you are eating dinner with several people out at a restaurant. Nobody has to bring up a list of rules each time you go out. Everybody already knows you don't eat off other people's plates. Nobody has to say anything to each other. It's just understood.
You can have a tacit contract be part of a presupposition that sounds like a regular statement. As an example, imagine you're a parent who wants your child to get ready to eat dinner. To use a tacit contact, you may say something like:
"Once you sit down, I'll know you're ready for dinner."
The implication is that your child will sit down, indicating to you that they are ready for dinner. The chances of the child eating what you put on the table without complaint suddenly go up.
Most Importantly: Rapport
Rapport is the proverbial glue that keeps conversation and communication open and honest. Research shows that a critical factor influencing change work success is whether the client likes the therapist.
Rapport is "a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well." And as Mike Mandel says,
"In the presence of rapport, you can do the near miraculous with another person. In the absence of rapport, nothing really works".
People are much more likely to go along with ideas when they are in rapport with the person who presents them. Read NLP Rapport – The Proverbial Glue To Honest Connection for more information.
We teach this and much more inside the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, our flagship online hypnosis training and certification program.
And as soon as you realize you're ready to learn many more awesome hypnosis and interpersonal communication techniques, you can join MMHA. Click here to get started for free.
See what we did there?