Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hypnotic Suggestion in Everyday Conversation

When people think of hypnotism, they tend to think of a flamboyantly dressed hypnotist, waving a watch in front of someone’s face saying "you’re getting sleepy…very sleepy."

Although this style of hypnotism is common at parties and in Vegas shows, the majority of hypnotism you are likely to encounter is in fact a covert hypnotism you probably are not aware you're being exposed to.

Hypnotic suggestion is employed as a means of persuasion by a variety of people and organizations for a variety of reasons. Bearing in mind that hypnotism is essentially a powerful form of persuasion, this should not be surprising. The ability to influence and persuade - whether accomplished by traditional means or covert hypnosis - is useful in almost every field, not the least of which is advertising.

Advertisers have on goal: to cause people to buy. Many advertisers believe that hypnotic suggestion can accomplish just that. As society becomes increasingly sophisticated and resistant to the overt style of advertising employed in the past, additional means of persuasion are necessary.

Naturally, they would not go so far as to broadcast commercials of black and white spinning pinwheels with voices saying "buy our product," but rather, they employ subtle attempts at covert hypnosis. Covert hypnosis and the efficacy of hypnotic suggestion in seemingly innocuous statements are not as far-fetched as they may sound.

These techniques rely on subtly suggesting to someone that they should accept an idea or suggestion without outwardly voicing support or for that idea or suggestion (hence the "covert" in "covert hypnosis").

Advertisers aren’t the only ones interested in the applications of hypnotism. This subtle form of hypnotic suggestion formed the basis for an entire school of thought in self-improvement and persuasion known as Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. Students of NLP have employed their own version of hypnotic suggestion to aid in breaking bad habits and addictions (smoking, etc), building new habits, and helping others to do the same.

Moreover, much of the NLP teachings on persuasion has its roots in forms of covert hypnosis originally explored by pioneer-hypnotist Milton Erickson. Even the more main-stream self-help community has investigated and adopted the use of hypnotic suggestion. Famous self-help guru Tony Robbins has long championed his Neuro-Associative Conditioning (NAC) program to help business people and entrepreneurs achieve their potential. This program is rooted in the basics of hypnotic suggestion - Tony Robbins studied extensively at the feet of Richard Bandler and John Grinder, pioneers of NLP, the roots of which, again, lie in hypnosis.

Finally and perhaps most strangely, the seduction community has appropriated many NLP and hypnosis-based teachings to aid their conversational skills and help to convince women to date and sleep with them. A loosely-knit group of men dedicated to determining what makes women tick (and what makes them attracted to men).

By analyzing what women find attractive, some pickup artists claim to be able to hypnotically suggest to women that they have those qualities, thus increasing their dating success rates through the power of covert hypnosis.

As you can see, the applications of hypnotic suggestion are endless. So, the next time you see a television ad or find yourself in what you think is a harmless, everyday conversation, think again - you just might be hypnotized.

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