Sunday, September 10, 2006

Covert hypnosis using story

In covert hypnosis, stories are one of the most powerful vehicles to drive your persuasive message to others. It's very well known in direct marketing that story is what sells...
But not just any story -- it really has to have certain traits to it that will captivate the listener, get her to pay attention and create specific feelings in her while secretly conveying desired messages directly in her subconscious mind.
Is this hard to do?
Well, is it hard to drive a bicycle? If you don't know how and you never practised, you won't be able to do it. Period. It's true that some people were "born" to be persuasive and can tell stories like no other, but the bottom line is that they were in some point in life exposed to such stories (maybe from their father or mother) and found them to profoundly influence them and now use the same principles to covertly persuade others to do what they want...
Wanna know exactly what these principles are? Read on...
I can still remember the time when it really first clicked for me...
It all begun several years back when I was still in University. As a biologist it was a part of my studies to go to several field trips, although I'm more specialized in molecular biology and neurobiology.
Anyway, my colleagues and I always enjoyed such trips as they offered time to spend with each other in usually very beautiful natural environments that Slovenia (a middle European country where I'm from) is full of. Besides all the technical things we learned there from our professors, we also had quite some time to, you guessed it... PARTY :-)
One such trip will always stay in my memory and as I write this I still get all those warm feelings inside from that one single evening. All those feelings of riveting attention, incredible connection with people in that room and in particular with one of my colleagues and excitement still manifest in me as I think back on those few hours...
We were on a botanical field trip in the mountains, more precisely on Komna, a mountain situated in North-West region of Slovenia.
After having spent an entire day on fresh air, enjoying beautiful panorama and exploring the plant-life in that region, we went back to the cottage where we were situated for the three days of the trip. After a very late lunch, we all sat down in a cosy, but fairly large wooden room with a bigger table in the far end of the room and many smaller tables where we sat together in groups and had a discussion of what we saw that day.
After an hour or so the formal gathering was over and we started to have a party. Our professor even brought some wine and gave each one of us a glass. After the toast, we started to have individual conversations and were having fun. This is when one of my colleagues started to tell stories of his traveling all over the world.
He begun to tell one story to his table (he sat with three girls at the table -- he knew what he was doing :-) ). When they laughed more and more people started to gather around and pretty soon we were all listening to his stories.
Boy was he good. He could make us laugh, sigh, even feel incredible sorrow and back to laughing again. His stories completely riveted our attention and we begun to actually experience the stories with him. He was also talking about what great parties he has had with people in the wild and what a great experience those were.
Now, in that room there were about 35 people and usually only 10 of us were the so called "party animals". Other 25 were usually "early-to-bed" type of people and almost never stayed late, many of them never even stayed at the beginning of the parties.
But on this night we all stayed!
All 35 of us stayed and had a wonderful time. And all of this just because of a simple story that made us all agree to have a giant party this night.
At the time I had no idea that a story can have such a profound effect on people. We all new that this collegue's stories had a lot to do with the party taking place, but none of us... not even him... were aware that he was using the principles of covert hypnosis using story.
Some years passed by untill I became interested in persuasion and came across covert hypnosis. At first I though it was all about the application of certain NLP (= Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques, but I soon learned there was a lot more to it.
Among many other techniques, I found one particularly interesting, and that was storytelling.
The problem was I thought I could never tell stories like that
After getting some information on the subject I still didn't have an idea on how to get to the point to be able to influence people using stories. I mean, I was never a guy to tell stories. I never wanted to be in the spotlight.
But very soon I realized that in order to be persuasive and to use covert hypnosis, I'd have to get out of my shell and start getting attention from people. After all, if you don't have the attention to use covert hypnosis on a person or a group, you won't be able to do it -- nobody will listen in the first place!
And this is where stories came very much in handy...
Why are stories so powerful...
There are several aspects of why stories are so powerful in influencing the subconscious mind:
  • Good stories captivate the listener and get her to experience the events with the storyteller
  • Stories can carry powerful messages woven into the fabric of great entertainment (= a place where people's guards are way down!)
  • Stories allow the use of metaphors and exaggerations including the non-analytical right brain to participate -- stories stir imagination and that is the most powerful way to convince people of something
  • Stories can create false memories in people (if told correctly) and create a bond or rapport between the storyteller and listener (very useful in covert hypnosis)
  • Stories had a profound effect on us since we were kids (if we were told them) and our subconscious mind always searches for such guidance (or help) even when we're fully grown adults
  • Stories can be used to gently (covertly) build an image of ourselves in people's minds -- the exact image we want them to have! This is very powerful. Usually if we just say to a person: "I have a lot of money!", they view us as arrogant and self-centered. But if we tell a story where we gently mention that we lost a great deal of money on stock exchange, we'll be automatically perceived as very rich and won't seem arrogant or rude or judgemental of other people. The same goes if we say to a lady: "I'm a great lover", she'll just think: "Yeah, right, you just want to get me to bed. I wanna go home now...". But if you were to tell a couple of stories that subtly hinted that you were a great lover, she'd get hot really fast!

There's no limit to using story as a vehicle to persuade people. The best part is that people think that their conclusion was THEIR OWN. They have NO IDEA that it was actually FORCE-FED to their subconscious mind! This is where the power of a good story lies within.

As I mentioned in the covert hypnosis course review, I was floored when I listened to an interview where a well known Internet marketer was explaining the process of storytelling and it's effect on people's mind. It was just awesome.

Hope this post helped you realize yet another way to use covert hypnosis and to become a great persuader. I wonder in how many ways and situations you'll use this simple technique to get exactly what you want from people?

Where to go from here?

For more information on the use of story in covert hypnosis and all of the other covert hypnosis techniques, see the Advanced course in subtle unconscious influence by Kevin Hogym, Psy.D.

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