A real life lesson, thanks to the NLP Milton Model
A few years ago, I was at a business conference in Dallas, Texas for what I believed to be an important networking opportunity for an online company that I was working part-time for.
I sat for hours listening to speeches from entrepreneurs who had scaled out their businesses using a specific sales strategy that had changed their lives.
At this conference, these presenters were selling sales strategies.
After a few hours of this, I was ready to turn in. I was dreaming about my comfortable, fluffy king size mattress waiting in my hotel room, whilst my backside was aching from sitting in a stiff chair for 8 hours.
Until a man walked out that caught my attention. This guy was the “main event” at this conference and I could feel the excitement fill the room as he took his place on center stage. Why were these people getting so excited to see this strange man and what made him so special?
He was a stage hypnotist.
I had never witnessed stage hypnotism before, or any other kind of hypnotism, for that matter. It was completely foreign to me.
Was I going to suddenly black out, walk up on stage, and do the chicken dance? Would I get up and gallop about the room as if I was riding on an imaginary horse?
Fear struck me.
There was no way I was going to let some guy put me in any kind of trance. I have severe stage fright and the thought of performing a ridiculous act in front of a room full of strangers is my idea of a personal hell.
Fortunately, I went unnoticed and untranced. However, I did get to witness some very peculiar acts from participants from the audience that made me question if what I was eye-witnessing was actually possible.
I grew up always knowing that hypnotism is related to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). My family is involved with the iNLP Center. Nonetheless, this was still hard to believe as I sat in that uncomfortable chair watching it happen right in front of me.
The truth is, some stage hypnotism can be just that – staged – the participants from the audience being actors putting on a show for the crowd. What I have realized, however, is that not all hypnotism is staged, and not all hypnotism is the same.
Milton Erickson was considered to be the greatest hypnotherapist ever.
And is even considered by some the “founder of modern hypnotherapy”.
He was so great at what he did that the founders of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, studied his interactions with people when creating NLP back in the 1970s. Together, they created the Milton Model based off of 27 patterns of speech they noticed when speaking with his clients.
Traditional hypnosis uses direct suggestion, but what makes Ericksonian hypnosis unique is that it is natural and conversational. These language patterns are used to induce people into a trance-like state while still conscious (something that we do many times throughout the day).
The goal is to get the conscious mind out of the way so that the subconscious mind can be easily accessed. Erickson believed that the subconscious mind is inherently positive and the key we all need to create change.
Here are two examples of the NLP Milton Model:
- Mind reading or “jumping to conclusions” is a technique in which you assume you already know what the other person is thinking or feeling. We are all experts in picking up on small social cues to formulate what others may be thinking. A raised eyebrow, a pause during conversation, eye contact avoidance, or a wink, for instance, helps us determine what it really going on in someone else’s mind. We also expect others to know what’s going on in our minds with our nonverbal cues. It can be used to solve inner conflict and problems when used correctly.
Phrases to use would be:
“Now, I know what you’re thinking…”
“There are a lot of people like you who believe…”
“You have seen/heard/felt…”
- Cause and effect is another language pattern used by Milton. It is more self-explanatory, suggesting to people that one thing causes another thing. The statement doesn’t necessarily have to be true, but it implies that it is true. This temporarily confuses the conscious mind and induces a trance, while the person has to determine if what was said is true not not. In every cause effect suggestion there is an identifying word that brings about the action.
Phrases to use:
“If you take this course, then you will have a head up on your competition.”
“I am happier because of you.”
“I can make you understand how to use this technique.”
The techniques used in the Milton Model can be very persuasive, so the use of them for the care and well-being of others is heavily encouraged by NLP practitioners.
When Milton used these practices, it was when a client genuinely needed his help with a personal issue they were dealing with. They wanted him to use hypnotic techniques on them for their own good.
These techniques can be used to help people overcome deep-rooted emotional problems, or to simply cheer them up and motivate them when they’re feeling down.
Business Case for the NLP Milton Model
There are also many entrepreneurs and business owners who use these practices to persuade deals to go their way, and it isn’t exactly unethical.
If someone is on the verge of buying something from you, but they’re teetering back and forth between if they should go through with it or not, it’s possible to tip the scale in your direction.
Some part of them already wants to give you their money to purchase a product/service from you that is of benefit for them. Nudging them in your direction with these conversational patterns can help them make a final decision, and possibly make you a sale.
On the other end, you should never use the Milton Model to persuade people to do something they do not want to do.
There is a story about how a thief once used Milton Model techniques to rob a store. He had walked into a store with no weapons, had a conversation with the cashier, and the person happily handed him the money from the register without question. The validity of the story cannot be proven, however it can be used as an example of an abuse of this therapeutic practice.
When used correctly, the Milton Model in NLP is an extremely powerful tool that can be used to help people with deeply rooted subconscious problems.