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Influential Language

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Do you ever feel frustrated when trying to make a point? Do you wish you could wield more influence with friends, colleagues and family members? It is not as difficult to do as you may think. Removing the other person's resistance to your ideas is the first step. When we think of language as a tool to remove resistance instead of only as a method of communicating our view, we increase our influence.

Reducing the other person's resistance is the key to getting them to be more receptive to our views. Often we get frustrated when people do not see what we think should be obvious. What we do not realize is that talking to a person in a way that puts our frustration on display just creates more resistance. It's like throwing gasoline on a fire and wondering why it is getting bigger.

The principles of hypnosis can be applied to everyday conversations in a way that sound perfectly natural. Here is one simple thing you can do to increase your influence immediately.

Resist the temptation to tell people what they "should" do. When we use this word we risk that the other person will feel we are being dismissive of their model of the world. In essence, what we are really telling them when we say they "should" do something is that their model of the world is invalid. Not only is their model of the world invalid but they "should" accept our model of the world. Why? Because we view our model as better, of course.

Their view about a particular topic comes from their personal history and how they view the world and everything in it. The view they hold of a particular situation comes from their model of the world. We interpret everything in a way that is consistent with what we already believe to be true. Meaning, our interpretation of all situations is nothing more than a reflection of us. As Steven Covey said, "we view the world as we are, not as it is." We project our minds onto everyone and everything and tell ourselves that this is reality. If it were in fact reality, wouldn't everyone else's reality match ours? This thing that we perceive as reality is quite subjective when we look at it in this way.

It may not be so damaging if we were only being dismissive of someone's idea or view. The problem is that the view they hold comes from their model of the world so we are really dismissing the persons entire being. Do you see how this can only lead to resistance?

Lets take a look at how we can replace the word "should" with words that remove resistance.

Instead of saying "you should wash your car before it gets dark," you might get less resistance to your suggestion if you said "it might be better to wash your car before it gets dark." Another way to phrase it might be to say "maybe you should wash your car before it gets dark." You could also phrase it as a question by saying "do you want to wash your car before it gets dark?"

People are less resistant to suggestions than they are to directives. Telling someone they "should" do something can create such resistance that it may not matter how valid your directive was. A person may agree that it would be wise to wash their car before it gets dark but the use of the word "should" might cause them to put off washing their car altogether.

Making suggestions using soft language maintains the feeling of autonomy that we all desire. People will not resist you as a person when you stop tampering with their model of the world. This does not mean that they won't resist your words, it just means they will not resist you. As long as their resistance is not directed at you as a person you are still in the game. The possibility that the person can be swayed to your way of thinking still exists.

You can increase your influence simply by understanding how others are affected by the language you use. The art of hypnosis is nothing more than the study of how language can be used to create a predictable response from another person.

My suggestion to you is that telling people what they "should" do will get you the predictable response of resistance.

Influential language will be the topic of an upcoming webinar.

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