Covert NLP Communication

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    NLP offers us a whole host of tools for "covertly communicating" in any situation. Ten's of thousands of people search the web each month for covert communication and related terms, so in brief what is the key to "covertly communicating".

    Communicating To Your Unconscious

    Well there are a many things to get, I'll cover a few of the good ones here.

    First off; the magic is not in any one language technique or pattern. It's not in slick anchoring or below me speed seduction patterns, right fellows?  So what's it all about then?

    I was out the other night at a hip bar in Royal Exchange in London, it's a got a massive dome inside and is very majestic, you can easily get lost in here, with the most expensive of stores peppering the edge of a vast hall. The place was bombed during World War and has been re-built three times. As I entered I noticed the lights were low and I was there at 7PM with two friends, talking about covert communication.I caught the eye of my first friend thirty paces out in front, who indicated with a gentle finger wag and a smile, come closer, "we're over here".

    As I sat down, one of them turned and said "Did you see that really interesting article on Hilter by so and so? .. he was a superb communicator .. I was reading the other day how he studied Gustav Le Bon and the psychology of crowds, it's really good article, you have to check it out". This had my interest. The power to influence millions of people is something to be studied, don't you think?

    So I kinda phased out for a moment as I remembered hearing from Michael at a recent Group Energetics workshop he did that Hitler had studied orchestra conductors on how to control his output and strongly influence the patterns of others non verbally. Suddenly, a guy bumped up against me and split his drink. Splash … right over the person in front of me. Boom, next the guys glass broke! "Open your eyes!" I thought, this can be easy.

    So as I listened I remembered that other powerful communicators had studied the verbal and non verbal patterns of others so there must be a pattern there, right? Yet you may find it not strange to think that urgency has a momentum to it, you see not everything is covert, to a trained eye even covert is very overt, have you ever thought that?

    Kinda confusing isn't it. But it doesn't need to be .. because all I've done here is to demonstrate a few so called "covert techniques", through the medium of text. Now before I shine the light on some of the most powerful techniques we as NLPers can use, I want to emphasize something key…

    The other night I was watching a re-run of an intense movie, called "Man on Fire", starring Denzel Washington, you may have seen it. He plays a broken and ex-special forces bodyguard who is hired to protect a young girl in South America. It's a great movie to watch if you haven't seen it because it is not hard to see patterns occurring over and over (he's a angry, guilt ridden alcoholic). It's right there in front of your face to notice, but it's not obvious when you're on the inside. Most people are when the go to the cinema. You get lost in the big screen. Anyway there is a part in the movie where he is teaching the young girl how to improve her swimming technique. She's the fastest swimmer in the pool but she's always last off the blocks and so never does as well as she could. In her head she knows what to do, she's just got a fear to doing it. He has her rehearse in her mind over and over doing one move, just one move, again and again really clearly so that when she hears the competition gun fire, she can spring into action. She doesn't realize it will work until she gets on the diving blocks. His guidance works a treat.

     

    There were many layers of presuppositions with supporting tag questions to create certainty about covert communication being something worth studying etc.

     

    Getting clear on your outputs is essential to doing elegant "covert communication". Once you know what you are trying to achieve (have someone do, think or feel) then you can cast your spells so to speak but that only works well inside a good strategy. You can then make intentional use of the toolset that NLP provides such as anchoring, embedded commands, embedded suggestions, conversational sub-modality change, nesting stories,speaking in quotes, isomorphic metaphors, metaphoric imagery, interspersal communication, presuppositions etc 

    As a student of Milton Erickson once said "Milton would bore you to death with his droll voice and seemingly endless tales, yet somehow you just find yourself feeling better .. for no reason at all". Now getting to grips with Covert communication can be quite easy.

    Making it Practical:

    So which patterns have I been using here? .. well as the practical part of this post you can figure that out for yourself. Read it again and see. It's literally right in front of your eyes. Stay out of the content and pay attention to the process going on.

    Part 2 - What Techniques Were Being Used Above

    In part one of this article I wrote about the many covert communication patterns that exist within the NLPers toolset to impart a message or series of message other than consciously. If you haven't read that post you can read it now here.

    I left part one with an assignment for the reader to identify the covert patterns used, in this post I outline the major pattens and overall direction of the post.

    There were many levels of communication going on in the 1st post, let's review:

    The key embedded suggestions were:

    "you can easily get lost in here" .."open your eyes".. "this can be easy" followed up by the embedded instruction "So as I listened I remembered that" then gave more "big yellow highlighter" instructions by saying "there must be a pattern there, right?" .. "it's right there in front of your face.." and others delivered while speaking in quotes such as ""Gustav Le Bon and the psychology of crowds, it's really good …  you have to check it out"

    All of these were wrapped inside other overt content for the conscious mind.

    There were many layers of presuppositions with supporting tag questions to create certainty about covert communication being something worth studying etc.

    I made intentional use of sub-modality 'manipulation'

    to create an altered state for the reader. I start using big SMD visual references such as massive dome ..vast hall and change from large space references to close narrow and dim by saying things like .. lights low .. finger wag .. smile etc. This is then followed by a a pattern break (suddenly, a guy bumped up against me) and a change of sensory systems "splash, boom, shatter". This was to prime another altered state and mis-direction and to lead your mind in to a mild confusion pattern which was re-enforced with the whole section beginning "Yet you may find it not strange to think that urgency has a momentum to it". Simple negation, with use of many an overload pattern is designed to put the readers mind into a state of mild confusion so that the next thing that makes sence is something you grab on to .. in this case it's the suggestion and key lesson of the whole post "you see not everything is covert, to a trained eye even covert is very overt" and followed up with the question "have you ever thought that?". The purpose of this is to shift the readers attention from evaluating if what I just said is true but rather have they ever thought that. Sneaky but powerful.

    OK, before we continue what else did I use .. well there was the tried and trusted speaking in quotes used several times "we're over here" .. "interesting article on Hitler" etc the big benefit of speaking in quotes is you can say anything you want (useful for state elicitation, testing, strategy installation work etc) and not have to take responsibility for it. Mmm, you may be wondering where that could be useful.

    There was also direct communication right at the start with "the magic is not in any one language technique or pattern". The whole reason for not using overt patterns (sometimes) is that you want to make sure someone's conscious mind doesn't mess up the key message(s) you want them to get. Sometimes the easy thing would be to say do x,y,z or if you do this then that will happen etc but the receiver has a map of the world that is set to "i've heard this before" in which case you're message will bounce off them like bullets from Superman.

    Other times it's not that they have the "I know it all" going on but rather the've got some pretty powerful 'delete,distortion and generalisation' patterns going on in which case your direct communication is going to sink like a lead balloon. Hence covert communications can be ideal for situation like these.

    We won't go into Nesting loops (a much bigger topic) but I opened many loops and nested ideas within the structure of how I presented the content of the last post. Each layer of the stories I told had several functions, a common theme being to distract or engage your mind while I worked through the covert aspect of the post and ellict a specific state. I also switched referencial index or was non specific at key times so the reader can assoicate into "you can easily get lost in here" .. again very useful when you are doing covert persuasion. Of course when doing this in person you can spacially anchor or point at the listener etc.

    To pick back up on our analysis I left reader in a state of mild confusion intentionally and then paced the reader by saying 'Kinda confusing isn't it.' and lead from there with 'But it doesn't need to be" .. presupposing a way out of the confusion .. in which I looped back on the earlier loop I opened by repeating the same key points but in a different story this time about Denzel Washington and getting the big yellow highlighter out and directly stating "it is not hard to see patterns occurring over and over" but said within a fluff cause and effect statement "It's a great movie to watch if you haven't seen it because it is not hard to see patterns occurring over and over". Am I talking about the movie or about the post? .. This section is a big isomorphic metaphor .. and has more embedded suggestions placed inside this story.

    I shift to quite direct communication within the story here by saying "It's right there in front of your face to notice, but it's not obvious when you're on the inside." This is the flashing neon sign for those tasked looking for the covert patterns and had a key message about noticing covert communication .. i.e. you need to have your awareness on the outside. Most people would be blind to the suggestion here if this was said on the fly and in a non patterning/learning context.

    I follow that up with "Most people are when the go to the cinema. You get lost in the big screen." This is a call back to the big vast "get lost in here" suggestions from earlier for anyone who is still on that thread and for the NLPer who's tuned in, it is a reference and an isomorphic metaphor to process of creating and living from inside our minds and making movies in our mind. Without going too deep, the dialogue about the girl is a metaphor of the NLP student who may seem to know alot more than their friends and colleagues about NLP processes and techniques yet doesn't get the kind of results with the tool set that they want "She's the fastest swimmer in the pool but she's always last off the blocks and so never does as well as she could. In her head she knows what to do, she's just got a fear to doing it." Alot of NLPers who I've had the pleasure of knowing and who have responded to surveys have indicated they are concerned about mucking up or embarrassing themselves or getting caught using NLP or that covert communication is manipulative. This part of the metaphor is a mapping for that. And if you can relate with this, then kudos to you and I hope you're begining to realise it doesn't need to be this way.

    The next section is where I walk through a strategy to get good at using covert communication "rehearse .. over and over .. do just one move .. one move (move being a pattern) .. again and again .. really clearly so when you need to do it .. you spring into action" And I place the post-post suggestion "She doesn't realize it will work until she gets on the diving blocks. His guidance works a treat." Which is stating that this stuff will work well (and it does) when you use the strategy I proposed. When you're telling a metaphor your not looking for some change right away, the measure of it's success is what happens some time after it's told and the behavioural change that can occur - often without your awareness.

    I close out the post giving you the first part of the strategy "get clear on your outputs" and give you a shopping list of tools from which to draw on to get even better at covert communication and finish off with a speaking in quotes pattern about Milton.

    Now as I mentioned there is alot more to covert influence than just picking a few techniques and throwing them at a wall and hoping something sticks. Sure you can learn a few language patterns and in certain contexts they may or may not work but you'll not know why/why not and more importantly what you need to do to get the desired effect in a different context.

    In the last post I was working to a clear TOTE and outcome and was tracking the states my communication was (likely) to put the reader in, the structure that I would need to use to achieve the overall result I wanted and the strategies I was going to employ "confusion", "mis-directiion", "nesting" etc and finally the content that the would wrap around the messages I wanted to place. Will everyone reading it get every one .. no of course not .. and the cool thing is that is not important, they don't need to. The communication is so layered and redundant (meaning doing over and over again) that by being systematic and cycling several times through the same pattern/suggestions the reader will pick up what you want to leave with them .. the words will go with you.

    If you're interested in becoming really skilled with language and Covert Communication be sure to check out our unique monthly Platinum Audio News Club here.

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