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83720408 the Users Guide to Sleight of Mouth by Doug O Brien v3

83720408 the Users Guide to Sleight of Mouth by Doug O Brien v3

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  • The Structure of A Belief
  • Sleight of Mouth Responses to the Cause/Effect side
  • Sleight of Mouth in Icon Graphics
  • The Patterns Mapped
  • Hierarchy of Criteria
  • Consequence Pattern
  • A Learning Suggestion
  • Another Outcome
  • Metaphor or Analogy Pattern
  • Redefine
  • Chunk 1: Play Time
  • Chunk Down
  • Chunk Up or the Exaggerate Pattern
  • Counterexample
  • True Life Confessions - Part 1
  • Practice Session: Close Your Eyes
  • Intent Pattern
  • Model of the World
  • Chunk 2: Play Time
  • Reality Strategy
  • Apply to Self
  • Changing Frame Size
  • True Life Confessions - Part 2
  • Home Study: Blank Sleight of Mouth Pattern Map
  • SOM in Action - A Real Life Example
  • SOM in Action - Conflict Resolution
  • Appendix 2 - The Precision Model
  • Appendix 3 - Polya Patterns of Plausible Inference
  • Appendix 4 - Strategies for Using Sleight of Mouth
  • Appendix 5 - Logical Levels
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

The User's Guide to SLEIGHT OF MOUTH

How to Unleash the Magic of Language to Persuade Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.

by Doug O'Brien

COPYRIGHT 2010 Doug O'Brien

Table of Contents PART ONE ........................................................................................................... 4 Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. ........................................................ 5 Perception vs. Interpretation ................................................................................. 6 Beliefs are interpretations of perception................................................................ 7 Beliefs are Shortcuts ............................................................................................. 9 Unpacking Beliefs ............................................................................................... 10 The Structure of A Belief ..................................................................................... 12 Unpacking Beliefs ............................................................................................... 16 Unpacking the Belief "NLP is a quick fix." ........................................................... 19 Sleight of Mouth Responses to the Cause/Effect side ........................................ 21 Sleight of Mouth Responses to the Effect/Means side ........................................ 23 Sleight of Mouth in Icon Graphics ....................................................................... 27 PART TWO ......................................................................................................... 32 If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else 32 The Patterns Mapped ......................................................................................... 35 CHUNK ONE ...................................................................................................... 36 Hierarchy of Criteria ............................................................................................ 37 Employing Transformational Vocabulary ............................................................ 40 Consequence Pattern ......................................................................................... 41 A Learning Suggestion........................................................................................ 43 Another Outcome ................................................................................................ 44 Metaphor or Analogy Pattern .............................................................................. 45 Redefine ............................................................................................................. 47 Chunk 1: Play Time............................................................................................. 50 CHUNK TWO ...................................................................................................... 51 Chunk Down ....................................................................................................... 52 Chunk Up or the Exaggerate Pattern .................................................................. 54 Counterexample.................................................................................................. 56
©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 2 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

True Life Confessions - Part 1 ............................................................................ 58 Practice Session: Close Your Eyes.................................................................... 60 Intent Pattern ...................................................................................................... 61 Model of the World .............................................................................................. 62 Chunk 2: Play Time............................................................................................. 64 CHUNK THREE .................................................................................................. 65 Reality Strategy................................................................................................... 65 Apply to Self ........................................................................................................ 67 Changing Frame Size ......................................................................................... 70 Meta Frame ........................................................................................................ 71 Chunk 3: Play Time............................................................................................. 73 True Life Confessions - Part 2 ............................................................................ 74 Practice Session: Close Your Eyes................................................................... 77 The Classic Examples of Sleight of Mouth.......................................................... 78 Home Study: Blank Sleight of Mouth Pattern Map .............................................. 83 SOM in Action - A Real Life Example ................................................................. 84 SOM in Action - Conflict Resolution .................................................................... 89 Moving Toward Mastery...................................................................................... 93 Becoming a Wizard ............................................................................................. 93 Appendix 1 - The Agreement Frame ................................................................. 101 Appendix 2 - The Precision Model .................................................................... 106 Appendix 3 - Polya Patterns of Plausible Inference .......................................... 116 Appendix 4 - Strategies for Using Sleight of Mouth........................................... 125 Appendix 5 - Logical Levels .............................................................................. 127 Acknowledgments ............................................................................................. 131 About the Author ............................................................................................... 132

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

3 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

It will help you discover the following: • What is a belief? • How are beliefs held in place? • How can beliefs be changed? I’m sure some readers are already saying. and yet.SleightofMouth.it is not about selling.Ericksonian. How is it that this person you’re talking with can believe what he says he believes? ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 4 www. I’ll admit that was one of my own original motivations for learning Sleight of Mouth.it is not about winning arguments.org and www.. It depends upon a compassionate engagement .SLEIGHT OF MOUTH PART ONE T HIS book will help you win arguments – and yet . This book will help you increase your sales – and yet . This book will help you be more persuasive – and yet .. Well. you will be more persuasive.com . it’s not just about that.it is not about persuasion. What Sleight of Mouth is really about is communication.with the other person where you are seeking first to understand where the other person is coming from. and you will make more sales. This book is about beliefs.an empathic connection . the thing is. “What do you mean Sleight of Mouth is not about winning!? That’s what I bought it for!” Sleight of Mouth is often seen as a set of tools that will enable you to win every argument or make every sale.

or (at least) to see the merit of. Perhaps that’s why we have two ears and only one mouth -. The parcel doesn’t contain drugs or anything like that. The word contains two root words: com (from the Latin "cum" which translates as "with") and unio (the Latin for "union" from which our English word directly comes).say. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. Let me see if I can illustrate why this is important. Sleight of Mouth by itself is just a way of reframing statements of belief in order to change the listener’s way of looking at things.000 to transport a parcel from one place to someplace else . The added materials will help achieve that deeper understanding. from some location to New York City.Looking at the etymology of the word "communication” helps us appreciate the word's meaning. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 5 www. So Sleight of Mouth starts with curiosity about people and with recognizing that communication is about listening and hearing as much as it is about speaking. however.SleightofMouth. you get $500. Let's imagine that you accept the offer. Toto. It is a means to persuade the listener to accept. The deal is that if you deliver the package successfully. a different belief system. It is significant that two other English words come from the same base words: community and communion.com .000 free and clear. This book includes material like “Polya Patterns” and the “meta model” that technically aren't Sleight of Mouth at all.org and www.so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” So to truly communicate is to create a commonality where true union is achieved. Hence. It’s all perfectly legal and proper.Ericksonian. Consider the following: Suppose I were to offer you $500. Let’s be clear that there is nothing illegal going on here. communication means “to have union with. requires a deeper understanding of how beliefs are constructed. To become truly adept with Sleight of Mouth.

org and www. Sleight of mouth is like that. You have no idea where you are or how you got there. You might be in Mexico.Now let’s add a small complication. You’d need to find out where you are. your perception is 100%. what would be the first thing you would need to do in order to get yourself to New York City? Well of course.SleightofMouth. You don’t know. There’d be no question about it. Of course. And each of you. You might be in Canada. You need to know where you are. Conversely. Maybe you’d only see that feather or that drum in a silhouette. What if the only stipulation was that before you could start off on this transportation mission to New York City. Interpretation There’s an old Indian story that says that if we’re all sitting together in a circle and we put something in the center of that circle. Perception vs. perhaps depending on what side of the circle each of us is sitting on. You need to know the territory that you’re dealing with before you can start traveling to the new location. would be absolutely right in your perception. like a feather or a drum. You could see it with great clarity. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 6 www. Imagine for a moment that you’re sitting on the eastern side of that circle.Ericksonian. You’d have this bright golden light in your eyes when you try to look at that object. you’d see that object bathed in a golden light.com . You might be in the southwest. each of us would have a different perception of that object. You just wake up in this barren space. you’re right. and the sun is setting in the west. In that situation. if you were sitting on the western side of the circle. from where you’re sitting. from your different perspectives. you would find yourself waking up one morning in the middle of nowhere? Perhaps it’s the middle of the desert somewhere. You’d need to find the nearest road or the nearest town to ascertain where exactly you are in order to start your travels from where you are to where you want to go. the answer is obvious. You’d see the faces of the people opposite you also bathed in that same golden light. From your perspective.

However. if we were to take that object out from the center of the circle .” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 7 www. So we say to the other person. it’s that we’re both right from our distinct perspectives. many people would say something like the following: "A belief is a conviction. The idea underlying Sleight of Mouth is not that you’re right and I’m wrong or that I’m right and you’re wrong. You might see it in a different way. Given that assumption. you’re right from this perspective. then most likely we would bring even more preconceptions to the circle.that drum or that feather . raw perception is not the only thing going on there. Rather. we can then lead the other person to see things from our perspective. Yet the perception itself is pure. and also look at it from this other perspective.SleightofMouth." “A belief is something you know in your gut is true. Or maybe you were dragged to this event against your will and are just waiting for it to be over.” “A belief is a feeling of certainty. Sleight of Mouth echoes the notion that perception is 100%.” Beliefs are interpretations of perception Let’s consider for a moment the question. that perception is correct from your particular vantage point.org and www.com . In whatever way you may perceive a thing. Each person sitting in that circle naturally brings to the experience his or her own preconceived notions that color the interpretations of those perceptions.Ericksonian.and replace it with a concept or an idea. “Yes. Interpretations and ideas that we had prior to our entering the circle would influence our perception as well. There are countless ways you could color your interpretations of the event. “What is a belief?” In answer to this question. As an example. you might have had previous experiences with drum circles that were wonderful and joyous. Now.

hundreds. the reason is that they stop looking for their keys after they’ve found them. and they had to be very careful. How could a person really believe something that is so clearly untrue? Here’s one way of answering that question. Throughout the history of science and exploration. perception began to change. Instead. So. they were called heretics.But what if someone says something like this? "I believe the world is flat.an interpretation of the circumstances . of course. Most people didn’t even think about it.things that would be impossible if the world were flat.. The possibility that it might be otherwise didn’t even dawn on them. because there was a word for people who held unconventional beliefs. So suggesting that perhaps the world isn’t flat might not be a very safe thing to do. they just assumed that. The conventional belief was convenient. of course. and it worked. and so we stopped looking. the belief that the world is round became the new orthodoxy that no one questioned.Ericksonian. In that way. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 8 www. therefore." And they believe it's true because they feel it in their gut.. People started to do things like sail around the world .com . and heretics had a tough time of it back then...that worked.org and www.SleightofMouth. We found an explanation . Until. though. or even thousands. of course.. A few people did think about it.. In time. the world must be round. of years. For these reasons. that’s been the basis for a lot of beliefs. Heretics were burned at the stake in the middle ages. the world is flat. The idea that the world is flat was a convenient explanation that worked for a long period of time. the cycle endlessly repeats. most people didn’t even think about it. Have you ever noticed that a person always finds their keys in the last place they look? Why is that? Obviously.

let's take that metaphor of the suitcase a wee bit further." Thank goodness we don't have to go through that whole process every time we think about the world. Now. exploration and thinking to change from "the world is flat" to "the world is round. reasoned-out belief.Beliefs are Shortcuts It took a lot of work. It's like we packed all that experience and cognitive deliberation into a suitcase and simply put a label on the suitcase to make it easier on us. "the world is round" represent all that exploration and thinking in a simple phrase. Here are a few examples: • "Ah." • "Greed is good.SleightofMouth." • "Hey.for the speaker's whole.com . that's better." • "Life is good. It's much easier just to have the conclusion. really .org and www." • "It is important to be nice. you can't do that.Ericksonian.” Also imagine ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 9 www." These are all shortcuts . Imagine for a moment a belief suitcase that’s labeled “I believe in Sasquatch." • "Sasquatch is real.symbols. People often represent beliefs in their minds by means of these shortcuts in the form of a word or a phrase.

SleightofMouth.com . • Every year there’d be these big footprints and chickens would be gone and there’d be a trail of feathers following those footprints up into the mountains. we might expect that the contents would also be identical. when taken together. such as: • I’ve heard stories about Sasquatch from when I was growing up in Canada. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 10 www. I was with my Dad and he definitely saw Sasquatch. because they’re identical looking suitcases and have the same labels on them. long list of things inside that suitcase which. • I saw the footprints of Sasquatch. My suitcase might have a load of things in there. constitute all the reasons that I believe Sasquatch is real.that there is another suitcase that looks identical to the first suitcase and that has the same identical label on it: “I believe in Sasquatch. There would be a long. To answer that question we would open up the suitcase to see what’s inside.Ericksonian. or why do I have that belief. and the second one belongs to my friend Fred. • I think I saw him once.org and www.” The first of those two suitcases is mine. You could ask me how I know my belief is true. Yet. • We were always losing chickens. Unpacking Beliefs Let's take a look at my belief-in-Sasquatch suitcase.

you find just a little pair of socks in there. The suitcase is virtually empty. The only thing backing up his belief is that he saw a picture in a tabloid once.org and www.Then when you go to open Fred's identical looking belief-in-Sasquatch suitcase. it would be contestant number two who has very ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 11 www. Which of the two people in this scenario would be easier to convince that there is no Sasquatch? Clearly.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. much to your surprise.com .

little in the way of a support system for that belief. What we need to do. With that in mind. how is a belief actually structured? Once we answer that question. then. we don t know how a person comes to believe what he believes until we ask questions.Ericksonian. The lesson here is that we don’t know what a person has inside their suitcases until we unpack them.com . Take a look at the illustration below: The Structure of A Belief ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 12 www. is be curious about how a person holds a belief to be true. and the way to do that is by asking questions.org and www. more specifically. the first part of this exploration of Sleight of Mouth is to find out what is a belief? Or. That is.SleightofMouth. we can go on to find out how we can guide people toward other ways of looking at reality and possibly to having different beliefs.

The first part of the Normalized Belief Structure (NBS) is the “Cause/Effect. These symbols are labeled "Cause ." that I became convinced that there is really only one. "Knowledge Engineering." We'll talk more about this in a moment. we have to take a closer look at the individual pieces that make up the structure of a belief.Means. It's just that most people don't elicit that structure in its entirety.” This piece can show up in our ordinary language in more than one form.’ Yet all of these forms are Cause/Effect statements because they all assert a causal dependency of one thing on another.the Cause/Effect belief or the Complex equivalence belief. however. It is read from left to right. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 13 www. You need to unpack them to discover their inner structure. Sometimes it can be as straightforward as saying ‘X causes Y.Y." All beliefs have this structure. then Y.Effect . This is a somewhat new way of looking at belief structures. so the triangle goes to the square.” Or sometimes it can come in the slightly disguised forms of ‘Y because of X." (You can also look at it as a "Cause/Effect" plus a "Complex Equivalence. It wasn't until I was exposed to Jonathan Altfeld's brilliant work. structure.Ericksonian.org and www. One of the things you’re going to learn in this book is how to do precisely that.This diagram was first introduced to me by Robert Dilts. inclusive. I'd always been taught that there were two kinds of beliefs . although it is rarely readily apparent that they do. which goes to the circle. Before we can get there.’ or even ‘If X.) This three-part structure will henceforth be referred to as a "Normalized Belief Structure (NBS). Cause/Effect statements are represented in the first part of the NBS diagram by the triangle connecting to the square.com .SleightofMouth.’ or ‘because of X. Regardless of the form in which we find them.

org and www. Because he likes her.” We then take that piece and add to it that “Y means Z.com . Her blushing is caused by strong emotion. the “Complex Equivalence. Rain causes wetness. In other words.” This relationship is ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 14 www. If he calls then he likes her. If you learn..” In this piece. I’m sure you can think of lots more. he’ll call. It’s wet because of the rain. the Cause/Effect gives us “X causes Y. then you will grow. Learning causes growth.e. it’s wet. then you’ll get wet. Now let’s take a look at the second piece of the NBS – i. but these will be enough to give you the idea. we take the “Effect” from the “Cause/Effect” and attribute a meaning to it.Here are a few examples of Cause/Effect statements. Here’s what they might look like: Because of the rain. Each of these Cause/Effect statements could be stated just as well in any of the various alternative forms we mentioned earlier.SleightofMouth. If she blushes then she's feeling strong emotion. If it rains.Ericksonian.

“That's good.org and www. It’s always one to the other. There's nothing wrong with that.” or. Here are a couple of examples: See. and that’s fine. Notice that it’s always a relationship. she's blushing. humans tend to attach meaning to it. “Miracles do happen. It has been said that nothing really has an intrinsic meaning. when something (an “effect”) happens. “Oh. Rather.SleightofMouth. you'll get wet. For example. most beliefs will just be statements like.” People will simply state something like that. that’s a bad omen of trouble brewing.Ericksonian.represented in the diagram by the square connecting to the circle. “I believe in politics. referring back to our earlier suitcase idea (remember Sasquatch?). that means there s going to be rain tomorrow. a thing or event has only the meaning that we attach to it.” We can give different meanings to the same cause and effect. It’s a relationship between the triangle and the square or a relationship between the square and the circle. It’s a shortcut that represents the whole ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 15 www. Interestingly. “Oh yes.com . Now. Learning causes growth. people see a halo around the moon and one person says.” Another person says. So you ought to study hard.” or. That means you should never leave home. If it rains. That means she's guilty.

I'm curious as to how you've come to believe in Santa. keep in mind that what we’re trying to do is to elicit enough information to cast the belief we’re working with into a full." ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 16 www. so one way we can start is by asking a very simple question: "Why?" Them: "Well. really. We can’t do Sleight of Mouth with just the belief label.com . three-part NBS. It’s pretty simple.org and www. that's OK. it’s not going to help us do Sleight of Mouth one bit. which asks very specific questions for information that’s been deleted or generalized or distorted. so you can see how this works. Suppose we have someone who has the belief. We need more information.Ericksonian. but for now. There’s a whole area of NLP called the Meta Model. There’s not enough information to work with. though. As we do this." You: "Oh. to ask for the specific information that you desire. many people do. We need more information. sleight of mouth becomes easy. Unpacking Beliefs And while that's fine for them. So how do we get that information? How do we unpack their suitcase? We do it by asking questions. let’s go back to do some examples.SleightofMouth. Here’s the first of our working examples. we could just say. because I do. “I believe in Santa. “Hey. We’ll take some more time with the meta model a bit later. It's their label on their suitcase. could you give me more information?” It would be more productive.thing to the person. As an example. Once you get a belief into that structure.

*REMEMBER* Whenever you hear the word "because. Thus. what meaning does the person attach to this cause and effect? In order to get that information. That is.Ericksonian." We've now retrieved enough information to do Sleight of Mouth on this belief." Excellent! By asking these questions we’ve elicited from our person the Cause/Effect part of their belief. or.the Cause to the Effect.Them: "Well. you might say something like this: You: "So. but we still don't have the complete belief. if you get gifts from him on Christmas morning then he must exist." they are telling you their "CAUSE..com . I’d want to know what’s in the circle.cuz he brings me stuff on Christmas" is the cause. That's enough to get started with Sleight of Mouth. do we? It's most often useful to find out the complete NBS before getting started. So. "I believe in him.SleightofMouth. We have enough information because we have a relationship of the triangle to the square . if you want to.". is that right?" ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 17 www. the "effect" is that he must exist. So we have the square and the triangle.. cuz he brings me stuff on Christmas.org and www." So. It's like finding out exactly where you are before you start traveling.

SleightofMouth. If you want more insight and practice in doing this. By the way. But we have the information we need. that means magic is real.Ericksonian. "What does that mean to you?") Them: "Well. He uses this exact same NBS structure as a way of finding out how beliefs are put together. We could say. It’s almost like every day is Christmas. “Yes. you can just ask. we could also use Sleight of Mouth to reinforce or expand on that belief. you can help the person to expand upon that belief and make it even better using Sleight of Mouth.” Jonathan developed “Knowledge Engineering” out of his work in Artificial Intelligence where the outcome was to model the thinking process of humans in order to make computers smarter.org and www. and we’ve gathered much more information from him. just in case. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 18 www. and he spends a lot of time explaining and demonstrating this process very clearly. if we stop to think about it that way. meaning to this thing. while we might want to leave the guy alone.com . isn’t it?” In other words. All this comes down to finding out enough information to get the belief into the NBS structure. Instead. and what does that mean to you?" (Note: to retrieve the "Means" information. you could use the patterns to expand or reinforce their existing beliefs. It’s very cool." All right. magic does happen in life. beautiful. so he’s attributed a nice. life. it's questionable whether you'd actually want to do Sleight of Mouth to change that belief.Them: "Of course. Maybe it's perfectly fine to leave that belief the way it is. itself is a miracle. I recommend Jonathan Altfeld's CD set on “Knowledge Engineering. In this particular example." You: "OK. based on this structure. very hip. You don’t have to change their belief.

and your potential client is not yet convinced to utilize your service.cause.” “OK. How do you see that?” “Well. You are an NLP Practitioner. Remember the Sasquatch example.com .” So now we have elicited. Imagine yourself in the following situation.” “I have heard people say that before." Let’s have a go at another belief. a complete belief statement although it’s possible the structure is a bit hidden. It really could be anywhere . Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know.Unpacking the Belief " NLP is a quick fix. The first clue the client gives is. Do you see it? Let’s look closer at what’s there. but it is incomplete.” That statement alone sounds like a belief. The dialogue might go something like this: “I need to think about it. “everyone says NLP is a quick fix. it won’t last. or means.” “A quick fix?” “Yes. isn’t it? We don’t know how they are thinking about that piece of evidence. Keep in mind that we can have no definitive way of knowing where the “suitcase label” will end up in the NBS until we unpack the belief by asking questions. conversationally. effect.SleightofMouth. No problem.” “And if it’s a quick fix.Ericksonian. if it’s too fast. Can I ask what it is you are considering?” “It’s just that everyone says NLP is a quick fix. So we ask a very nonleading question. that means it’s not worth doing.org and www. We basically just repeat what they said with a questioning ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 19 www. how is that a problem?” “Well.

“Well. They just say. effective change.” So we have to probe a little more explicitly.” The full question is. the person will counter it themselves.tonality. In this example. but we want to be careful not to reinforce a false belief so we carefully add an “if. will depend on where the most obvious fallacy lurks or where you feel it would be easiest to begin. In this case. Remember .Ericksonian. you first chose to respond either to the cause effect side of the belief or to the complex equivalence side. how is that a problem?” At this point they change their language. the belief we’ll attempt to lead the client towards will be one that says. “Yes. "Quick change can be the best kind of change when it is a good." When you actually DO Sleight of Mouth. that means it’s not worth doing. in effect. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 20 www.org and www. “Well.you are well advised to know where you want to go with the belief before you start using Sleight of Mouth. in turn.SleightofMouth. Now that we’ve elicited the entire belief we can do Sleight of Mouth. mapping it out looks like this: Excellent. even though the word “then” isn’t stated. but sometimes if you just question the statement.” You could go in a lot of different directions from there. it won’t last.” So. “A quick fix?” The client doesn’t bite.com . if it’s too fast. they go further and add the complex equivalence. “And if it’s a quick fix. That choice. but they give us a clear if/then.

don't jump to conclusions so quickly. over time.com . We’ll go into considerable detail a bit later on how to generate those patterns.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. their worth has been validated. we can now generate appropriate Sleight of Mouth patterns in order to lead them in the direction we want to take them. Yet.it's too fast . Having made that choice. Apply To Self (Cause) Well.it won't last. however. For now. we’ll just list some of the possible Sleight of Mouth patterns we could generate around this belief: If .Sleight of Mouth Responses to the Cause/Effect side Let's imagine that we elect to enter the system on the cause/effect side of their belief.then . Change Frame Size Many breakthroughs in the history of science have met with that same skepticism. Hierarchy of Criteria ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 21 www. Apply To Self (Effect) That belief won't last for long as you see the deep changes that take place. and perhaps to whet your appetite just a bit for the good things to come.org and www.

it's that it is highly effective. Metaphor/ Analogy So you're saying a dentist should drill teeth slowly? The best ones I know work fast and effectively and cause minimal pain to their patients.com . Redefi ne (Effect) It's not that it's too fast. Chunk Down How fast is too fast? How slow should it be? How speci fically does length of treatment lead to quality? How long should change last? Chunk Up So unless a therapy treatment lasts for years it's just a total waste of time and energy and should be avoided at all costs? ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 22 www.Ericksonian. Another Outcome Whether it's too fast or will last isn't the issue but rather how to assist the client in finding appropriate new patterns to relieve suffering now.Isn't the depth and effectiveness of the therapy more important than its duration? Consequence Having a belief like that will ensure your problems will last a long time because you refuse to allow for possibilities.org and www. the more they'll form that new habit. Redefi ne (Cause) It's not that being fast means it won't last. It only seems fast by comparison to conventional methods. The more they do that. being fast means it will be less painful so people will be more likely actually to do it.SleightofMouth.

How speci fically do you represent that belief to yourself? Do you make pictures in your mind? Is it a feeling? How would you know if it weren't true? Meta Frame You're only saying that because you don't understand the internal mechanism of true change and are buying into the out-of-date Freudian belief systems our Grandmothers were sold. that the change is yours to keep. Intent I know you're saying that because you sincerely want to make these changes permanent. That's fascinating. we could generate patterns like the following: ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 23 www. we could opt to enter the system on the complex-equivalence side. Sleight of Mouth Responses to the Effect/Means side Those are some of the patterns we could generate around this belief if we were to enter the system on the cause/effect side.com . Model of the World Many psychologists used to believe that and some still hold to that model of the world.org and www. not the duration of the treatment. now.Counter-Example Really? Have you never heard of any therapeutic intervention that happened quickly and was permanent? Many advances in medical history have seemed like miracles until people understood the science behind it. Alternatively. Most modern theorists and practitioners believe that it is the thoroughness of the work that creates change. inside. We can take as much time as you need to be certain.SleightofMouth.Ericksonian. In that event. Reality Strategy Wow.

Most people I know are willing to do whatever it takes to make change last. maybe in a loser's model of the world that's true. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 24 www. but what you're doing is avoiding any progress at all.it's not worth doing.It won't last .SleightofMouth. Intent I know your intent is to avoid wasting your energy on futile pursuits.Ericksonian.means . Reality Strategy How would you know if that weren't true? How many counter-examples would you need to convince you? Model of the World Well.org and www. major change often starts with small steps. In my model of the world.com . Meta Frame You're only saying that because you're trying to avoid taking responsibility for you own state of mind.

com .Counter-Example So even if we accept the possibility it might not last forever. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 25 www.org and www. Hierarchy of Criteria Isn't it more important to make any change even if it may be minor. So a migraine sufferer shouldn't take an aspirin because the relief is temporary? Another Outcome The real question isn't whether it will last or is worth doing .SleightofMouth. what if it does last? Thousands of people will tell you it has for them.the real question is how long will you avoid change because of fear? Consequence Having a belief like that will keep you from ever doing anything because you are always focusing on what won't work rather than what does. Chunk Up (exaggerate) So if a change doesn't last for all eternity a person might as well do nothing ever and just stay in a painful situation? Chunk Down How specifically do you know that? How specifically do you make positive changes worthless? Metaphor/ Analogy (two examples below) That's like saying relationships won't last so it's not worth dating or falling in love. don't make change last. rather than to reinforce the old pattern of behavior that is creating the painful situation in the first place? Apply To Self (Evidence) Well then.Ericksonian. make it first. is something temporary never worth doing? Besides.

If you need it again you just do it again. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 26 www. Apply To Self (Value) Aren't you worth doing whatever it takes to change? What you have been doing isn't working.SleightofMouth.org and www. it would look like the diagram on the following page. is it? Redefi ne (Evidence) It's not that it won't last.com . it's just that it's fast.Ericksonian. the complete belief is divided into two bits. • Remember. The two are not equivalents. in the bigger picture any change from a destructive pattern is worth doing because it leads to new patterns. Redefi ne (Value) It is worth doing because it works. Graphically.Change Frame Size Well.

Ericksonian.SleightofMouth.Sleight of Mouth in Icon Graphics ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 27 www.com .org and www.

SleightofMouth.org and www.com .Here it is with the belief example we've been looking at specifically: ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 28 www.Ericksonian.

Here are all the patterns for the Cause/Effect.SleightofMouth. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 29 www.com .org and www.Ericksonian. laid out graphically.

And here are all the patterns for the Complex Equivalence. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 30 www.com .Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. laid out graphically.org and www.

org and www. That's what we'll do now in part two. I find it just a little daunting to try to grasp all those patterns when presented as a whole like that. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 31 www.Now.Ericksonian.. but personally. I'm much more able to grasp them when they’re presented one at a time. I don't know about you..com .SleightofMouth.

Science these days we can slow death indefinitely.” The underlying idea is the same: do what the doctors tell you. it doesn’t cause death. you’ll be OK.” Or we could say. you'll probably end up somewhere else Now.” This would not exactly be my first choice. cancer causes death? No. “Well. you need to know where you’re leading a person. but it’s a choice. Or you could say. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 32 www. For example. it just causes diminution of one’s quality of life.” We know we don’t want the person to believe that. So you’ll want to lead them to that way of believing and doing things. that used to be true. It’s worth repeating here that sleight of mouth is not limited just to changing beliefs.SleightofMouth. “Hmm. and choices are what you have to make. suppose the person with whom you’re dealing has the belief.Ericksonian. if you do exactly what the doctors tell you.com . As we mentioned earlier. in order to begin to formulate the sleight of mouth patterns. perhaps you want them to believe that alternative therapies and a positive mental attitude are what will help them prevail. you can also use sleight of mouth to reinforce a belief that’s already there and is a good one but that perhaps hasn’t yet become sufficiently entrenched. It’s great to use the “agreement frame. but what specifically do we want to lead them to? We could say. to do sleight of mouth. you need to know where you’re going to lead them.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH PART TWO If you don't know where you're going.” (See appendix 1) But once you’re pacing them so nicely. but now most people live from today’s modern therapies. OK. “Cancer causes death.org and www. You need to know what belief you want them to adopt. You have to make a choice about where you’re going to lead the person. “Hmm. Alternatively.

As we proceed.com . And as you do that more and more. that someone has just learned how to ride a bike for the first time. So now we’ve got their belief. both to reinforce a belief that just needs to be made better.” You can also redefine the key ideas by saying. and isn’t it more important to focus on your successes rather than how long it took you to learn? Because. they never learned how to ride a bike and they’ve felt bad about themselves their whole life for this reason. Having acquired that skill. We have it as a complex equivalence or a cause and effect. for example. In other words.org and www. We have it in the formula that we want. Good for me. All of this ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 33 www. A equals (or causes) B..e. Once you’ were given the opportunity and you focused on it. We also know where we want to go. Let’s say they took lessons to learn how to ride a bike.SleightofMouth. as well as changing the belief from A to B. That’s fine. after all. I’m OK. They’re 50-years-old. I’m not such an inept bike-riding failure anymore.Ericksonian. we know what belief they have and what belief we think would be better for them – i.” You could use sleight of mouth to reinforce that positive belief by saying something like the following: “Yes. I’ve learned. we know where we want to take them. I’m not so bad. We know what it is.” In this way you can begin to generalize much more broadly than just that one definition they’ve given themselves.Suppose. you’ll find that that’s a pattern that really becomes you. “It’s not that you’re just an OK bike-riding expert now. you learned very quickly. you’re going to notice that some of these patterns are familiar to you. So now what? What do we do with this information? Now is the time to utilize those sleight of mouth patterns. that is good. The idea is that we’re going to give them names and put them in locations so we can get hold of them easily and know exactly where they are. So you can use the sleight of mouth patterns. “OK. you'd never had the opportunity before. and B means C. They might think. you’re a modeler and you can model any behavior and learn that. they feel pretty good about themselves.

999. The guy reaches up with his wrench and taps the valve about a quarter of an inch. It’s been about determining the entry point for the belief and where we can make the most elegant shifts in the other person’s belief system. and hands it to the admiral. reaches in. The rest of it is easy. All of the sudden.” And the admiral says.000? I don’t think so. please. “Excuse me? You’ve been here for what.00. Up above him there’s a pipe with a valve in it. $1. So they hired this expert to come in and do some troubleshooting.SleightofMouth. It reminds me of the story about the guy who knew where to tap. goes up to the admiral. “OK.preliminary work has been crucial for getting us to this stage. All this preliminary work has been about figuring out where to tap. writes on it. an hour maybe? You tap on a valve and you’re done? $10. I need an itemized bill. The story is about a multi-billion dollar aircraft carrier that was built and it just wasn’t working right. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 34 www. “For tapping on the valve. “OK.org and www. This guy comes in carrying a little black bag with him and he starts walking around. says. pulls out this little pad. please. puts down his little black bag. this billion-dollar aircraft carrier that’s been making all sorts of terrible noises suddenly starts to hum.Ericksonian.000. and pulls out a wrench. that’ll be $10. The guy puts his wrench back in the bag. It’s just humming away perfectly with everything in sync.” So he reaches in his black bag. The admiral looks at it and it says. reading gauges and stopping and listening some more. For knowing where to tap.com . Finally.” The guy says.” So the important thing is knowing where to tap. He’s looking and listening. $9. he walks down this corridor. especially if you know these patterns.

The stated belief is EITHER a cause effect statement OR a complex equivalence. In order to make things easier. we’ll display them in the form of series of “Pattern maps” in order to make them easier to remember.SleightofMouth. we'll take these patterns in groups of five. We’re going to start with one belief and one pattern.com . You'll find the complete Pattern Maps for these four beliefs on pages 78 .org and www.82. "The Classic Examples" by Dilts and Epstein. We’ll then go on to another belief using the same pattern. As we examine the patterns. In each case. the stated belief we're arguing with is in the center of the page in the darker squares.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH The Patterns Mapped Now we’re going to go through these patterns one by one.Ericksonian. We’ll then proceed around the chart in a clockwise direction. which is found in the upper right hand corner of the chart. The first group of five patterns will start with the Hierarchy of Criteria. We’ll use this same pattern on four different beliefs so you can see how that pattern works no matter what the belief might be. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 35 www.

org and www.com . you use the patterns in whatever order works best in a particular situation. This is not to imply that there’s any sort hierarchy to using these patterns. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 36 www.Ericksonian. Rather.CHUNK ONE PLEASE NOTE: We’re going to start with the pattern in the upper right hand corner only because you’ve got to start somewhere.SleightofMouth. There isn’t.

That’s why the 10 Commandments tablet makes such a nice symbol for the hierarchy of criteria pattern. There’s a veritable shopping list of possible responses listed there.” The hierarchy of criteria response to that could be. The Commandments express a system of values that are arranged in a kind of hierarchy.Hierarchy of Criteria The symbol for the “ Hierarchy of Criteria.a hierarchy of values -. But it could also work.Ericksonian. The pattern deals with a hierarchy of criteria -. It’s very much like a listing program written out. “Don’t you think it’s more important to be genuine or honest than to tell people only what they want to hear?” Now.” pattern is drawn in a shape that resembles the 10 Commandments tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain.org and www. If I had included all the responses that are written in the diagram. you may have noticed that I left out some words that are included in the diagram. The first belief we’ll deal with is one of the classic Robert Dilts examples: “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. it could be kind of overwhelming to a person. so you give them a whole bunch of things that they could pick from and they’ll pick the value that actually works for them.com .that the person will respond to.SleightofMouth. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 37 www.

“Don’t you think it’s more important .com . . “Cancer causes death. . For that reason.?” In other words. . rather than to focus so much on one’s own death?” Are you beginning to see the pattern now? The third of our sample beliefs is. “Don’t you think it’s more important to focus on what would make life worth living and how to make it more worth living for everyone. “Well. you could also phrase it as a statement by saying something like. “Isn’t it more important to fulfill my responsibilities to the people who are depending on me than to be punctual?” We have one more example: “Nuclear arms cause strength. the language has started with either. whether involving sleight of mouth or not. . ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 38 www. you know.” The hierarchy of criteria response might be. we’ve been using the pattern in the form of a question.SleightofMouth. for example. The hierarchy of criteria response to that belief could be. In all of these cases.The next belief we’ll work with is. your communication could have very different effects depending on what tonality you use and the way you present yourself.” Going once again to the upper right-hand corner of the diagram.?” or.org and www. the effect would be quite different than if you were to speak the same words in a conciliatory tone. I think it’s more important . protection and safety. “Isn’t it more important . “Don’t you think it’s unmanly or unfair or dishonorable to bully people by using excessive force when they are unarmed or unprepared?” Now I’d like you to notice something here. Certainly. the language is softened up a bit and creates more of a sense of a discussion rather than of a lecture. . a significant percentage of your message is delivered by means of your tonality and your physiology. If you were to speak with a sarcastic tonality. . It’s also important to note that in any communication. . there it is in those tablets.” But by phrasing it as a question.Ericksonian. “Your being late means that you don’t care about me.” Look at the same pattern up in the upper right-hand corner of the diagram.

Perhaps you’ll hit one that works for them out of three that don’t. Both of these men were very intelligent. and the effect can then become that much more powerful. In short. It was created back in the early 1980’s by Robert Dilts for none other than Timothy Leary. Gordon Liddy was. one of the Watergate conspirators.SleightofMouth. What he values instead is detached. unfair. To his consternation. this was a very odd pairing of people. Liddy had actually arrested Leary during the heyday of Leary’s drug use in the 60’s. He was a very tough ex-Marine and former FBI agent who placed high value on martial virtues such as manliness and honor.” He promoted the use of LSD back in the 60’s. scientific thinking. and dishonorable. it’s much easier to pick a value that you know works for them. an argument that centers on values like unmanly. protection and safety. G.org and www. There’s an interesting history behind this example. but they operated out of very different systems of beliefs and values. believe it or not. by contrast. would likely not mean a thing to him. of course.” In fact. Leary kept losing their debates. Liddy was kind ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 39 www. was the quintessential “hippie. “Nuclear arms cause strength. but chances are that those aren’t values he really cares about. Also. if you know their values.Ericksonian. Of course. consider the belief we used above that says. Turn On. At that time Timothy Leary was on a college lecture circuit with. and he coined the phrase “Tune In. Drop Out. Timothy Leary.” If you’re talking with a very scientific person with a very analytical mind.Another thing that’s important to notice about the hierarchy of criteria is that in some cases you get a kind of shopping list of values.com . G. such an argument might work. The two would visit college campuses and debate one another on such things as nuclear arms proliferation. Gordon Liddy. In that event you can use the shopping list of different values and let your listener pick one. As an example. but they were both very intelligent.

Just remember the story about tapping on that valve. But Leary was smart enough to go to Robert Dilts and ask for help. In order to illustrate what I mean by this. and it was an extremely effective tactic.org and www. The lesson here is that if you know the values of the person with whom you’re speaking.” If you go up to the hierarchy of criteria pattern that we just learned a few moments ago. an ex-Marine. If you don’t know the values. it makes your effort that much more powerful. we change some of the words in order to suggest other meanings. he was hitting Liddy right where he lived.Ericksonian. If you know and can tape in the right place. Leary exploited this by saying things like. you’ll see the response. placed high value on honor. unfair. Employing Transformational Vocabulary It’s also important to note here that some of these patterns use what could be referred to as “transformational vocabulary. Together they created this pattern map to help Leary argue that nuclear arms don’t cause strength. One of the patterns that worked best for this argument was the hierarchy of criteria because Liddy. “Don’t you think it’s unmanly. but he was not stupid at all.com .SleightofMouth. Instead. he argued the very opposite. “Your being late means you don’t care about me. and he was winning these arguments every time. “Isn’t it more important to focus on getting my job done effectively to help the people that are depending on me than to be punctual?” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 40 www.” In other words. protection and safety. and dishonorable to bully people by using excessive force when they are unprepared or unarmed?” In other words. use them. you might have to give the person the shopping list that we mentioned earlier and take more of a scattershot approach to winning. let’s look again at the example.of an unusual character in his own right.

“Cancer causes death." This change has the effect of diminishing the strength of the initial accusation. then who would tell us our faults?” In the next example.” You want to ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 41 www. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person.com . I’d do them. Notice it and use it. This is to indicate a movement in time. a person says. The idea is that in using the pattern you’ll be talking about the consequence in time of having the particular belief you’re dealing with or the consequence of having not taken a particular action. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. Here are some of the many possible responses you could give based on the consequence pattern: “I’m only saying these things to make them better.org and www.” Or. so it helps to bolster your side of the argument. Consequence Pattern Now let’s look at the next pattern: the "Consequence Pattern. As before. This happens in many of the various examples offered." On the pattern map you’ll find the consequence pattern by moving clockwise downward from the hierarchy of criteria.Notice that in our response we changed the word "lateness" into "punctuality. going from left to right.SleightofMouth. “If there weren’t bad people. The symbol for the consequence pattern is an arrow. You’re using sleight of mouth to defend yourself.” “If I didn’t say mean things.” Keep in mind.Ericksonian. our first sample belief is.” is being said to you by someone who’s accusing you of saying mean things.

it’s the consequence of something having to do with the belief. I might have lost my job. you’re suggesting to them a negative consequence of holding onto that belief.” That’s a really good one to demonstrate.” You could also say. In the next example. “Believing that nukes are the only way to be safe can lead to weakness because we fail to see other possible choices. So let’s move on to the last of these four classic Dilts examples: “Nuclear arms cause strength. Either way.lead them out of that belief. This belief leads to paranoia.SleightofMouth. beliefs like this tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies because people stop exploring their choices and options. if I hadn’t been late. The consequence pattern might point to a response like. “Your being late means you don’t care about me.org and www.” A consequence pattern response might be.Ericksonian.” you’re once again being verbally attacked by someone. You can use the consequence pattern to help the person change their belief by helping them see the consequences of that belief or of the behavior based on that belief. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 42 www. but I cared too much about you to risk it.” You can see how some of the patterns are about the consequence of holding the belief. which makes people act irrationally.” In other words. “You know.com . “You know. so you might use the consequence pattern to say something like. Some of the patterns are about doing or not doing a particular behavior based on that belief. “Well. having a belief like that probably does make caring or not caring just a matter of time. protection and safety.

com . That’s all we’ve done so far.A Learning Suggestion At this point I’d like to suggest that the best way for you to learn these patterns is to write out your own. If you do that as well. See it in your mind and touch it. I then came up with my own examples. You’ll be able to look up and see the pattern map as a Plexiglas screen right in front of you. I took the patterns home and photocopied 20 of these blank pattern maps. you’ll stop and write out your examples.Ericksonian. When I first learned how to do sleight of mouth patterns with Robert Dilts. In fact. but they were blank. do that now. The shapes were all there. I did one a day for 20 days. three feet wide by two feet high. you’ll find that the patterns become engrained in your brain. With each pattern we do. In that way you’ll engrain them in your brain. but I want you to do this for all the patterns that we discuss. Then reach up with your right hand to the upper right-hand corner and touch the hierarchy of criteria pattern.org and www. Get this spatially anchored in your brain. Reach up with your left hand and your right hand and just touch that “A equals B or A causes B” image in the center. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 43 www. You’ll get these patterns anchored for yourself so you’ll be able to access them and use them when you need to. the consequence pattern. Then move down in a clockwise motion to the arrow going out to the right.SleightofMouth. Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the pattern map right there in front of you.

rather. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person.” A response based on the “another outcome” pattern might be. “Cancer causes death. “ Another Outcome.org and www. Do the ends justify the meanness?” That’s a very cute little verbal sting there at the end. “The real issue isn’t what causes death.” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 44 www. isn’t it? The next example is.” The third of our four standard examples is. it’s like changing the subject.Ericksonian.” Another outcome: “Whether I’m late or uncaring isn’t the issue.SleightofMouth.” One possible “another outcome” response could be.” Going clockwise around the pattern map. but rather what causes life and health? Let’s focus on that. In effect. but rather whether we can meet each other’s needs in this relationship without laying any unnecessary trips on one another. “The issue here is not whether I’m saying mean things or whether I’m a bad person. you’ll find the “another outcome” pattern in the lower right-hand corner. we shift attention away from whatever topic the other person has brought up and onto something else entirely. The issue. “Your being late means you don’t care about me.Another Outcome Now let’s get back to the patterns. Let’s take a look at our first example. In using this pattern.com . is what responses your communication elicits. The next one is called.

whether we’re acting honorably and logically and not just out of fear. you say in effect.” Here’s a possible response: “You know. With this pattern. In this pattern we’re going to be using metaphors or analogies to ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 45 www. teaching tales. protection and safety. whether what we’re trying to protect is worth protecting. For Jesus. the real issue isn’t whether nukes make us safe.” Metaphor or Analogy Pattern The next pattern we’re going to go to is a delightful pattern called the " Metaphor” or “ Analogy Pattern. Let’s focus on this instead. they were therapeutic metaphors. “That’s not the real issue. Or number three.SleightofMouth. whether there’s a better choice. It’s a very powerful pattern because it provides you with an elegant way of changing the subject and kind of sidestepping the other person’s whole argument. you’ll recognize that both Erickson and Jesus used stories.org and www. But there’s power in the stories.Ericksonian. but rather. they were parables.” So that was another outcome. “Nuclear arms cause strength.com . You might be right about what you said. Number two.” Now if you’re familiar with Ericksonian hypnosis. For Erickson. The really important thing is this other issue. or if you’re familiar with the teachings of Jesus Christ. but we’re not talking about that.And the last example. number one.

and that can be a useful thing. does that mean he doesn’t care about eating?” There’s a kind of joking quality in this example. So this is an actual metaphor that was used to help someone overcome their belief that cancer causes death and move on to some healthy choices. The immune system might not realize the danger before it’s too late. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 46 www. again. she lived a good. of course. our last example: “Nuclear arms cause strength. “Would a dentist be bad or mean if they told someone they had a cavity?” The next example: “Cancer causes death. other things. I’m told that this particular metaphor was used directly by Robert Dilts while working with his mother who had cancer a number of years ago.” A metaphor or analogy might be. but through the changing of her beliefs and.org and www. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person.” Response: “Well if a surgeon is late for dinner because he’s saving someone’s life. So let’s take a look at.” Response: “You know. She was not given a particularly good prognosis. But if you concentrate on growing and adding more healthy sheep back into the field. with this pattern you’re using a metaphor or analogy to illustrate your rebuttal point.illustrate our side of the argument or to illustrate the belief to which we want to lead our client. long life after her diagnosis.com . The next example: “Your being late means you don’t care about me.Ericksonian. cancer is like a grassy field and your white cells are like sheep.” So. it would reach ecological harmony again. a bad diet. Stress or excessive chemotherapy.” Here’s one possible response: “Nuclear weapons are like cancer.” By the way. Finally. reduce the amount of sheep in the field and the grass gets overgrown and turns to weeds.SleightofMouth. etc. protection and safety.

Redefine The next pattern we’ll be working with is called “ Redefine.” Thus. The idea of this pattern is that we’re going to redefine the meanings of the very words that are used in the belief.SleightofMouth. you’re redefining “mean things” as “telling the truth. I’m stating the facts.” You can redefine one side of the belief as follows. I’m telling the truth.” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 47 www.com .” It’s represented on the pattern map by two squares located beneath the main belief. “I’m not saying mean things.org and www. We can illustrate this by recalling our first example.Ericksonian. I’m expressing my point of view. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person.

” Here’s our next example: “Your being late means you don’t care about me. So let’s explore ways to bolster that.” Let’s move on to our next example.” The next example is.” If you want to address the second side. protection and safety. I’m honest.com .Ericksonian. “Nuclear weapons don’t cause safety.” Redefining the first side gives us. “I’m not a bad person. you could redefine death. I was delayed. “late. I’m genuine.” and turning it into “delayed. “Nuclear arms cause strength.” One redefine could be. it causes loss of hope or fear.” We could also play the sympathy card: “I’m unhappy. I’m not as sensitive as you. they cause death. which creates fear within people who don’t ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 48 www. “It’s not that I don’t care. “It’s not that cancer causes death. it’s that I show my caring differently.” In this instance you’re redefining the word. What other things could stop people from wanting to take aggressive action?” Redefining the second side suggests. “It’s not that nuclear weapons protect people.SleightofMouth. “Cancer doesn’t cause death. “Cancer causes death.You can also redefine the other side of the equation by saying. I’m just flexible. it’s the fact that they deter people from taking aggressive action. Beliefs like this that bring depression are what are dangerous.org and www. “I’m not late. it’s the breakdown of the immune system that causes death.” A redefine on the first side might be.” A redefine on the other side might be.

“Cancer doesn’t cause death.com . And that brings depression and that’s what’s dangerous. A causes C and that's D.SleightofMouth.Ericksonian. so they have to sneak around.have such weapons. “A doesn’t equal B.org and www." So to take one of our examples as an illustration. and that’s D. stated as a cause/effect the equation would be. It suppresses the immune system.” One way you could represent this pattern to yourself generically in a kind of formula would be to say.” Or. A equals C. "A doesn't cause B. cancer causes loss of hope.” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 49 www.

to have them at your finger tips to use in your real life. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 50 www. Write them in the boxes. it’s important that you practice using them by writing your own examples.Ericksonian.org and www.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Chunk 1: Play Time Now that we’ve described the first group of patterns. The goal of this book is for you to master these patterns. So now is the time for you to make up your own examples. The only way to accomplish this is by practicing. Here's a sample complex equivalence for you to practice on.com .SleightofMouth. and don't move on until you do this.

this section of patterns starts with the “Chunk Down” pattern and the “Chunk Up” pattern.Ericksonian. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 51 www.SleightofMouth.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH CHUNK TWO Speaking of chunks.org and www.com .

then. and we chunk down from that. Chunking down is incredibly simple. or whatever. for example. that chunking down is very simple. If we take a category of something. Alternatively.Ericksonian. To explore this a little further. On the other hand. the chunking up pattern should really be called something like the “ exaggerate pattern. The point is that in chunking up we’re getting more general. the name ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 52 www.” Nevertheless. this more specific information could be things like steering wheels. we might even get to different types of movement. while in chunking down we’re getting more specific. Chunking up from there. etc. tires. or Lincoln Continental. is a little trickier. let’s forget about sleight of mouth for a moment and just think about this idea of chunking down. however. That is. In other words. if we were to chunk up from cars. In fact. that’s chunking down. You can see. like cars. so the name is misleading. we could go to the type of car like Maserati. Whenever you ask for more specific information. In the case of cars. we’re not really becoming more general. cars are just one example of many modes of transportation.com . we might go into something like modes of transportation. The chunk up pattern. I believe the chunking up pattern is misnamed because in using the pattern we’re not really chunking up in the strict sense of that term. we’re getting more specific information.SleightofMouth.org and www.Chunk Down These patterns are a lot of fun. As you’ll see shortly.

you could ask.Ericksonian. “Late? Define that.” To use the chunking down pattern on this belief. you can chunk down in either the A. Thus. specifically? How specifically does lateness mean not caring? How do you draw that correlation between them?” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 53 www.SleightofMouth.” Some chunking down responses might be. please. “How specifically?” A somewhat more elaborate application might be.” Here are some ways to chunk down on this belief: “Which cancers. “How specifically am I saying things that sounds so bad or to whom?” This might be one of the easiest of all of the sleight of mouth patterns to understand. Don’t care? How. the B. The first one is. all you have to do is say.com . or how exactly.” For example. Let’s look first at chunking down in the context of each of our four example beliefs. or the meaning. do you mean that?” The next example is.“chunking up” has become standard for this pattern.org and www. so we’ll continue to use it. specifically? How specifically does it cause death? Dying? How. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. however. Notice. “How do you know it means that? How specifically does it mean that or make that happen?” The next example: “Cancer causes death. specifically?” It’s worth mentioning here that there are lots of other words you could use instead of “specifically. “Your being late means you don’t care about me. you could say things like. “How particularly.

Ericksonian. " Chunking Up" (or the “ Exaggerate Pattern” ) is a little bit different.” That diminishes the “A” part. then they’re doomed to be evil for the rest of their life?” There are actually several things going on here.SleightofMouth. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. protection and safety. So instead of saying “mean things. To my mind.” we’re saying. in terms of the A equals B belief structure as represented in the NBS.Here’s our last example: “Nuclear arms cause strength. I just slipped up and was irritable in my ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 54 www. the bombs or the missiles?” Chunk Up or the Exaggerate Pattern As mentioned previously.” Chunking down responses: “How exactly do they make us safe? How do they specifically protect us? Which nuclear arms are we talking about. First. it’s one of the most fun patterns of all. “I wasn’t saying mean things. that one-two punch of diminution and exaggeration is facilitated by the notion of transformation of vocabulary that I mentioned earlier in reference to the hierarchy of criteria. the chunking up pattern has us verbally diminish the “A” part and then wildly exaggerate the “B” part.com . Go back to the first of our examples. Second.” Here’s one way a chunking up response might look: “So you mean if somebody slips up and happens to be irritable in their communication.org and www. “Someone slips up and happens to be irritable in their communication.

we also say. since nukes and weapons cause safety. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 55 www.org and www.” “Well. Do you see how it works? Next example: “Your being late means that you don’t care about me.” Here’s one way of using the chunking up pattern on this belief: “Are you saying that a change in mutation in some small part of the system is going to automatically cause the destruction of the entire system?” It’s that same pattern as before. in a sense. We begin with the diminishing and end with the exaggerating.SleightofMouth. starts with the diminishing and then follows up with the exaggerating.” On the other hand. but it’s kind of fun to think about.communication.” That’s chunking up.com .” “Are you saying that the most fundamental aspect of our relationship is simply a matter of time?” This is not necessarily recommended for use in a real life relationship. then let’s give them to all the peoples of the world so we can all be safe. Let’s move on to the next example: “Cancer causes death. “So if anyone ever does that. Finally. they’re doomed to be evil for the rest of their life?” That’s a massive exaggeration of the “B” part. It really is. The chunking up pattern. and you can see how it’s not just getting more general. then. taking the first part of the A equals B and diminishing the A part verbally and then wildly exaggerating the second side.Ericksonian. protection and safety. It’s a lot of fun. “Nuclear arms cause strength.

People die of many other things than cancer. “Have you ever heard of anyone who has had cancer and lived?” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 56 www." This. In fact. So let’s take a look at the counterexample pattern for “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. though.” Counterexample response: “You know. Maybe you will. “Well isn’t it possible to say mean things and not be a bad person?” Or. it’s having all of them at your fingertips that gives you the real power. the " Counterexample.Ericksonian. “Isn’t it possible to be a bad person and not say mean things?” Example number two: “Cancer causes death. we come to the left-hand corner. by the way.com .Counterexample Continuing to progress around the pattern map. is one of the patterns that I discovered I did very naturally. or maybe you will find other ones that you’re just naturally good at. too. most medically treated cancer patients die from the severity of their treatment rather than from the cancer itself.SleightofMouth.” A response might be. Remember.” Or you could ask.org and www. there are more and more documented cases of people who have had cancer and are surviving just fine. myself.

Sometimes that’s even more powerful.com .” you might say.” Response: “Is it possible to have nuclear weapons and not be safe?” Or. Let me give you an example. If someone says. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 57 www. “Isn’t it possible to be uncaring and punctual?" I think so.” You could say. protection and safety. “Is it possible to create safety without nukes?” Another very effective way of doing counterexamples is to exaggerate the premise of the person’s statement and ask it as a question. “Your being late means you don’t care about me. are nuclear weapons the only way you can be safe?” “Is that the only cause that can have that effect? Is that the only way that could ever happen?” You ask that as a question and let them answer it because. it’s sometimes even more powerful because they’re bringing up their own arguments for themselves. “Nuclear arms cause strength. “Isn’t it possible to be late and still care?” Or conversely. Next.Ericksonian. protection and safety. and they’ll come up with their own counterexamples. If you can do the latter.This example illustrates the fact that you can use the counterexample pattern in two ways. they come up with an answer that can be even better and more powerful than the statement you might have given them. it’s not the only way to be safe. “So. “Nuclear arms cause strength. or you can ask questions and help the person draw from their own references and resources. So if you ask them the question. of course.SleightofMouth.org and www. Next. You can offer counterexamples that form a statement.

as I argued more and more with this guy.SleightofMouth. Of course. many years ago. you’re likely to get the same results. I was a wee bit upset. Now I'm sure you know that if you do the same thing over and over again. So I called up the guy and confronted him with this betrayal. Especially since her paramour had supposedly been a mutual friend of ours. I have never been one to give up easily. I'd been away over the holiday and. Did you ever notice that. I found myself losing! How could this be when I was so clearly right? His point of view was that he and she were soul mates and were meant for each other.com . Especially since the reason I'd been away is that I'd been attending an NLP Master Practitioner training with Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein where they'd taught Sleight of Mouth.org and www.True Life Confessions . How could he have done such a thing? I was morally outraged and knew I was right. He believed this made normal rules not apply. Amazingly. I should have known that. I was livid. when I found out several days later. no matter how fast he throws it. Truth be told. Perhaps you can appreciate that. my at-that-time girlfriend had secretly begun a new relationship.Ericksonian. while I was gone. The thing is. It would be like a baseball pitcher who always throws in the same spot. I knew this argument would be a slam dunk. People will hit him every time. under pressure. however. people often resort to old patterns? I was falling right into this phenomenon and my old patterns were not working.Part 1 It was a few days after Valentines Day. It’s always the same pitch. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 58 www. too.

Some of the ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 59 www. I decided to make an effort actually to use other Sleight of Mouth patterns I'd just learned. he was thrown for a loop. To my shock and amazement. He’s got the fountain pen that is actually a breathing apparatus for swimming under water.So finally. I'd been using Counter Example and Hierarchy of Criteria. If you’re always doing the same thing over and over again. you’ve got to have sliders. As you start learning the sleight of mouth patterns. no matter how fast he throws the ball. you’re going to notice that some of these patterns are familiar to you.org and www. So you’ve got to have change-ups. I sometimes use the analogy of James Bond being a powerful guy. you’re going to get the same results and then become predictable like a Major League pitcher who always throws in the same spot. you’ve got to have different approaches to take. but because he has the most toys. try something else. He’s got that car that does any number of things. It was like the old pitcher had suddenly thrown a curve ball. almost as a last resort. Remembering the NLP adage that if what you're doing isn't working.com . not because he’s the biggest and strongest or fastest or quickest. So many different possibilities are available to him that of course he’s going to win.Ericksonian. I visualized the Pattern Map in my mind and picked one of the patterns pretty much at random. He’s got the wristwatch that does any number of things from satellite positioning to all sorts of stuff. It can be a spaceship or an underwater vehicle. This illustrates the point that one of the reasons sleight of mouth is so powerful is that there are so many different patterns to choose from. People will hit him every time. I realized I'd been doing the same two patterns over and over again. I was able to step back in my mind and get a perspective on what I'd been doing in this argument.SleightofMouth.

the Another Outcome. .com . Practice Session: Close Your Eyes Practice that now.org and www. Get this spatially anchored in your brain. and do the same thing . the Metaphor.see it in your mind and touch it.. the consequence pattern. You also have to be able to step back and look at the patterns as if they are on a wall chart or on something like a clear piece of Plexiglas that’s in front of you so you can grab hold of the patterns and utilize them. of course) and imagine the pattern map right there in front of you. Continue with all the patterns learned so far. This helps to spatially anchor the patterns in your mind.patterns are ones you’ve already been doing. Close your eyes for a minute (after you read the directions. You need to be able to use all the patterns that are available to you. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 60 www.get this spatially anchored also. Reach up with your left hand and your right hand and just touch that “A equals B or A causes B” image in the center. Counter Example.SleightofMouth. See it in your mind and touch it. It’s going to make your use of the patterns much. Then reach up with your right hand to the upper right-hand corner and touch the Hierarchy of Criteria pattern. Sleight of mouth gives you strength in having more than one choice.Ericksonian. Chunk up and Chunk Down. Actually use your hands and reach up into the space in front of you as if you are touching a large Plexiglas representation of the Pattern Map. the two Redefines.. much more powerful. Then move down in a clockwise motion to the arrow going out to the right.

“Your being late means you don’t care about me. “Cancer causes death. Let’s find some good alternative choices. but you are preventing any hope at all. defending yourself. That’s why this is called the “ Intent Pattern.” Let’s look at. to make you better. but to teach you something.SleightofMouth. it’s still kind of indicating time in a way because in a sense. you could say something like.” For the belief example that. to be realistic.” Once again.” And the last example here. to finish my work so I could spend the highest quality time with you. protection and safety. we’re stepping back and looking at the intention behind the person saying that particular argument.” you could say.” You might say to the person. there must be a reason for what they said. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. “I know your intention is to prevent false hope. “Nuclear arms cause strength. I’m sure you’ll join me in finding as many choices and alternatives as possible. My intention is to protect myself. If you take that step back and think about it. “My intention is not to be mean.” Next example.Ericksonian.com .Intent Pattern Now looking at the pattern that has the arrow going to the left.” “Since your intention is to create safety and protection.” or the “ Intention Pattern. They must have an intention behind it.” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 61 www. “My intention wasn’t to be late or uncaring.org and www. but rather.

With this pattern, of course, you’re going to have to do some mind reading and say, “I know your intention is this or that or the other thing.” You might not really know. You might be hoping; you might be fishing. If you can hit it, that’s great. If you know what their intention really is, you might just wonder to yourself what would cause them to believe a thing like that. What would cause them to think this way? “OK, I know your intention is such and such.” If you can just do that, you can create a nice intention sleight of mouth example.

Model of the World

Let’s continue around the pattern map. The next one up is “ Model of the World.” A model of the world response for “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person” could be, “Well, it might be mean or bad in your model of the world, but in my family, that’s how we showed that we cared.” I had a friend once who married this woman, and they came from very different families and very different models of the world.

In his model of the world, when they argued in his family, they got intense. They raised their voices. They emoted. They told what their true feelings were loudly. It was expected they would do that. For them, that’s simply what one does in an argument. The worst thing you could do would be to walk away. Instead, you handle it, you get intense until it’s handled, and then it’s done.

Now his new bride came from a family where they never did that. They were a very proper family and if anyone ever raised their voice, that was the
©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 62 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

worst thing that could happen. So, of course, if you raise your voice, it means you’re getting out of control. In that event you must leave the situation and come back later and talk about the matter rationally when you have your emotions under control.

So these two people got married. Eventually, of course, they had their first argument. Guess what happened. He starts getting intense. He starts raising his voice. That’s the worst thing that could happen in her model of the world. So, of course, she leaves to make it so that everyone could have an even temper when they come back. But leaving is the worst thing you could do in his model of the world, so he chases her and makes it even more intense. The situation escalates like this. It’s very interesting, very comical, really, from the outside. But it probably didn’t feel that way from the inside.

Let’s go to the next example, “Cancer causes death.” In the model of the world, you could say, “Not all medical people hold that belief. Many people believe that all of us have some mutant cells all the time and it’s only when the immune system is weakened that it becomes a problem.”

The next example is, “Your being late means you don’t care about me.” “Well, many people I know judge caring on the basis of sensitivity to another’s feelings, not their awareness of time.”

And the next example, “Nuclear arms cause strength, protection and safety.” “Well, you might call it safety and protection. I call it paranoia and fear.” Again, the model of the world pattern deals with the reality that the person lives in. What might be true for you might not be true for them.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

63 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

Chunk 2: Play Time Let's have some more fun writing our own patterns and playing with a different belief. This one is a cause/effect.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

64 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

Ericksonian. Continuing clockwise around the pattern map.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH CHUNK THREE Now we come to the third and final group of patterns.com . Strategies are usually described in a sequence of sensory-specific terms of the ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 65 www.” Reality Strategy In NLP.SleightofMouth. a strategy is defined as a mental sequence used to achieve a goal. we find the “ Reality Strategy.org and www.

And. A "Reality Strategy" concerns how a person creates a sense of reality in their mind. That is how she decides to believe gossip or not. by the way. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 66 www. then she compares that with what she knows about the people from her past experience of them. how specifically do you know that in your mind?” Or. So if the person says. One of my favorite questions follows right on here. how do you represent that in your mind? How do you understand this to be real that it’s bad or mean? And the next example. that’s going to be the kind of example that puts them into a deep trance. she first listens to what's being said. “How would you know if it weren’t true?” That’s such a great question. “Well. they have to start searching their mind’s files to find out how they would know if it weren’t true. You could say.representational systems and submodalities employed. “Oh.org and www.Ericksonian. “How specifically do you know that it’s bad or mean that I said them?” In other words. “How do you represent that belief to yourself?” It’s an interesting question. that’s real.SleightofMouth.” You could say. that’s called a strategy. As an example.” could be. protection and safety. The next example: “Your being late means that you don’t care about me. “Cancer causes death. “How do you know that lateness and caring are equivalents?” The reality strategy for “Nuclear arms cause strength. that’s true. In NLP. of course. “How would you know if that weren’t true?” You can always come back to that one. whenever Alice hears gossip.” You can ask questions about how they know it’s real or not? So “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person” offers the following reality strategy rebuttal.com . then she pictures the people involved in her mind. imagining them doing what was said.” “How do you represent that belief to yourself?” If the person doesn’t know anything about NLP. and decides whether the gossip is plausible or not.

it will be immediately obvious as to how you can apply the belief back to the speaker. There are a lot of examples of this throughout history. the apply to self pattern can be applied to either the A side or the B side of the NBS. the easier it’s going to be.” “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It can be really ridiculous sometimes. You’ll get it as you go along. one being applied to the A side. We can just use the words and go off in a very non-linear way. So you see two examples of this same pattern.Ericksonian.” Or “Take the log from your eye before you talk about the moat in somebody else’s. really fun because it can also sometimes become nonlinear.org and www. it’s fun. you might find this right up your alley if you’re a punster or if you’re a person who loves to do plays on words and find different meanings in that way. In some situations.” Now this is really. Therefore. “Physician heal thyself. and if you’re not naturally a punster. Jesus Christ liked to do this. it might take a little stretch to start getting into these and understanding these. which is to say it can be a pun. He said.com . ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 67 www.Apply to Self The next pattern is the “ Apply to Self” pattern. You’re applying the belief to the person expressing the belief. and one being applied to the B side. Just go with it.SleightofMouth. Other times it might not be so obvious. The more you do it. Like the “redefine” pattern.

” and apply it to self on the second side. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 68 www.org and www.Let’s start with our first example.” The idea is that you’re playing whatever they said right back to them.Ericksonian.” The first example on the left side could be. “Saying mean things? Well that’s a pretty mean thing to say. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. So let’s take the same example.com . “Bad people always tend to find only the bad in others.SleightofMouth.” You can see how we’re applying the criteria to each side. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person.

I wish you’d cared enough about me to tell me earlier. “The fallout that this belief might have as a byproduct could be as devastating as an atomic blast if it bombs. as well.SleightofMouth.” I love this one on the first side.org and www. dead end and death.Ericksonian. very punny and that’s OK. Hey.” Again.” And the B side. you can see how they can be applied to the criteria. There are some other examples that could be very non-linear. it’s just a little tardy. It’s a little non-linear. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 69 www. On the second side you could say.” Now. Sometimes when you’re doing sleight of mouth. but useful. Apply to self can be very subtle. When that happens. “Cancer causes death. Let’s take a look at.Let’s go on to the next example. there’s that transformation vocabulary.” A really caring person could overlook that.com . just go with it.” Applying to self on the second side might result in.” One response might be.” Again. but the words are very similar. It can only lead to a dead end street. protection and safety. “That’s a pretty deadly belief to hold onto. but it’s also pretty content-oriented. deadly belief. “A little tardiness? I might have been a half hour late. It would be interesting to see what would happen if it died out. you’re applying the criterion to the self on the first side. Some of these other examples might not be so much. but some of them perhaps a little bit more directly than others. “Are you sure that’s a safe belief to hold onto so strongly?” In all these examples. And the last example is. what’s a deadly belief? What’s a dead end street? What’s that have to do with cancer? It doesn’t really have anything to do with cancer. “That belief has spread like cancer over the past few years. “Nuclear arms cause strength. “A really caring person would be able to overlook a little tardiness now and then. “Your being late means you don’t care about me. and in some of them a little bit less directly.” The A side might be. a single rebuttal won’t be enough and the apply to selves can either be just perfect or they can knock the other person off balance a little bit. “Well now you tell me.

it’s one way. and as it does so.Changing Frame Size We’re moving on now to the next pattern. it’s very different. with blonde hair and blue eyes. It’s called " Changing Frame Size. It’s a beautiful. probably 16 or 17 years old. beautiful looking boy. The people in this outdoor café are all sitting in terror. Then the camera starts panning back and you see that he’s dressed in some sort of brown uniform. “Cabaret. but it’s a great example of changing frame size. The scene is just chilling as you pull out like that. a closeup of this young." and it’s located right in the middle of the pattern map at the top.” How might we respond in a way that changes the frame size? “Well it ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 70 www. you see the boy in full uniform and realize that he’s a member of the Hitler Youth. Changing frame size is like taking a larger viewpoint. Finally. In the first frame. almost innocent and inspired. He’s very forthright looking. but as you look at it in a bigger picture. and so on. Let’s look at our examples. The camera angles from the bottom up. and it starts with a tight shot. There’s a great example of this in the film.org and www. The camera keeps panning back. He’s looking up in the sky and singing a song. trying not to show their fear.” The scene is set in an outdoor café. so the sky is behind him. You then see that the armband has the black Nazi symbol on it. more and more of the picture is being shown until you see that he’s got a red arm band along his arm.com .SleightofMouth. touching scene.Ericksonian. The boy starts singing with this lovely voice something about the sun in the valley is summery warm. the stag in the forest runs free. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. as the camera pans back even further.

Ericksonian. I ought to be risking my life to get here every spare minute. With the warm caring reception I get when I do get here. we’d never have any hope of finding a cure. you’ll see it was necessary. Meta Frame Now let’s go on to the " Meta Frame" pattern. you can just get inside. but if you look at the bigger picture.SleightofMouth. it might well be different.” And finally. protection and safety. It’s really about claiming to know what the person’s thinking. like Sigmund Freud and you can just know what a person’s really thinking.” We could change frame size by saying. in order to help make things better. It’s as if you were up above it all. but in a different context.may seem mean now.” Changing frame size: “Better late than never. but if you look at the bigger picture.org and www. you’re really asking for an examination of the different context in which the statement might be true or not true. Your statement may be true in this context.” Next example: “Your being late means you don’t care about me.com . “Is that a belief you’d like your child to have? If everyone had that belief. “Cancer causes death. Or a change in frame size could address same action over time.” The next example is. It’s up at the top of the pattern map and is drawn over all the other patterns. Changing frame size is looking at things in the bigger picture. Another way of thinking about it could be that you’re like a great psychiatrist. it was necessary to say those mean things. “It may seem mean now. looking down from the heavens. what their motivations are behind what they’ve said. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 71 www. from what?” You can see with those particular questions. I think of this pattern as representing a kind of God’s eye view. Yet overall.” You can think about changing frame size as a change in context.” Changing frame size: “Well for how long or how many nukes or for whom. changing frame size is looking at things in a bigger picture. “Nuclear arms cause strength.

“Your being late means you don’t care about me.” Don’t try this at home. protection and safety. if you’re right. the meta frame is the place where you’re acting like God. or personal power to change people and protect yourself without intimidating or coercing others. and I’m sorry. “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. track and test all of the complex variables that contribute to the life and death process.” Our meta frame response might be.” Now look at “Cancer causes death.Ericksonian. “You know what? You’re right. and you give it to them right in their face.” To reiterate. but it could happen. depending on how you say these things. you’re just feeling that way because you build unrealistic expectations about other people and then blame it on them when you get disappointed. you’re stuck in your own way. “You have that simplistic belief because you don’t have a model that allows you to explore.” It might not be likely. the other person might not be immediately receptive.” Here’s one possible meta frame response: “Well.SleightofMouth. These are professionals here. I do create those unrealistic expectations and then. It’s not necessarily a pleasant choice all the time.” “You’re only saying that to cover the fact that you don’t have the understanding.” Tonality could make that into an okay statement.Let’s turn now to our examples beginning with. technology or debate skills. you’re just saying that because you’re over-sensitive or you don’t understand. And lastly.” “Well. However. sometimes it can be so powerful that.” Or. but they might come back after they’ve cooled off a bit and say. This could be dangerous. blame other people. Here’s a case in point.org and www. It could also make it into a nasty kind of statement. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 72 www. “Nuclear arms cause strength.com . You adopt the stance that you know the other person’s true motivation for believing as they do. “I’m the only one that cares enough about them to say these things. You’re imperceptive. it could happen.

It's all right. Go ahead and write right inside the boxes.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian. You have the right. Right? ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 73 www.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Chunk 3: Play Time Now let's have some more fun writing our own patterns and playing with a different belief. it's your book. This one is a Complex Equivalence.com .

"Since I'm sure your intent is to do the right thing." I said. I wasn't sure I even fully bought myself. since.) to connect one pattern with the next and hitting him with every pattern I could think of as fast as I could think of them.com .. But it didn't matter. how would you know if you really weren't soul mates?" I was using connecting words (like because. besides. What we’re talking about is C equaling D.Part 2 Remember my story about the Valentines Day learning experience? When we last saw our hero.SleightofMouth. by-the-way. “Because you know." Followed closely on its heels by a "Reality Strategy. so." I said. actually.True Life Confessions . I had an entire arsenal available to me! So before he even responded to that new pattern I'd used. "Besides. we’re not even talking about whether A equals B or not. I had just had the epiphany that I could employ more than one or two patterns. and.Ericksonian.. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 74 www. I said. etc. we'd made the point that one of the reasons Sleight of Mouth is so powerful is that there are so many different patterns to choose from.. the "Intent" pattern.” Which.org and www. I went to "Another Outcome.. It was a great segue to my next pattern. blah blah blah.

It was a long time ago in a different universe.org and www. the tide had turned. The point is this: Use more than one pattern. It’s immaterial. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 75 www. did win the argument. I was starting to win this argument. The names haven't been changed to protect the innocent because they haven’t even been mentioned. I’m not going to tell you details about what was said.Ericksonian. .com . and ultimately.SleightofMouth. .And pretty soon.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 76 www.org and www.SleightofMouth.Ericksonian.com .

That's why I suggest you frequently practice the visualization exercise we did earlier.org and www.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 77 www. You’ll be much better off if you have them all. You will then be able to step back and look at the patterns as if they are on a wall chart or on a clear piece of Plexiglas that’s in front of you. you'll need to be able to use all the patterns that are available to you. so you can grab hold of these suckers and utilize them. much more powerful.Practice Session: Close Your Eyes In order to really do Sleight of Mouth and be persuasive. It’s going to make it much.com .

Ericksonian.org and www.SleightofMouth.com .The Classic Examples of Sleight of Mouth created by Robert Dilts & Todd Epstein * Copyr ight by Rober t Dilts 1984 -.Repr inted with per mission ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 78 www.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 79 www.com .Ericksonian.org and www.SleightofMouth.

SleightofMouth.com .©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 80 www.Ericksonian.org and www.

Ericksonian.SleightofMouth.©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 81 www.org and www.com .

com .org and www.©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 82 www.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth.

SleightofMouth.org and www.Home Study: Blank Sleight of Mouth Pattern Map ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 83 www.Ericksonian.com .

. before we delve into today's agenda.SleightofMouth. but my office is a mess.Really? You're totally disorganized? . . The specific details of the situation and the names have been changed to protect confidentiality. Which organization is that .Hmm. It's Phil.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH SOM in Action . and it's really frustrating. Great to hear from you.Ericksonian.the scouts? . I owe it all to you and your brilliant coaching. . . I've got piles of papers everywhere. is there anything you feel a need or desire to focus on today? . Stacks of mail. .-) ] .Yes I am. Thanks for being so punctual. You haven't missed a scheduled appointment.So Phil. I need help with organization.I see.Well. What am I missing? . [Editor's note: the actual transcript here was "no problem. I'm on top of it here cause I'm paying you and I really want this to work.me! I'm just totally disorganized. So why is that? What makes it that way? ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 84 www. yeah. .Hey Phil.(Answering phone) Good Morning. I can't find anything.org and www. . actually. It's interesting to me that you say that because in the little time we've worked together that hasn't been my experience of you.OK. .No .A Real Life Example This is an edited transcript of a real life Coaching session between a Personal Success Coach (let's call him Doug) and a client (let's call him Phil). You call right on time.Hey Doug." but the author elaborated on it a little bit for clarity of meaning.com .Well. You seem pretty together.Well. yeah. .

- I dunno. It's just too much. I get tons of junk mail, catalogs... - And when you get junk mail you just pile it on your desk?

- Yup.
- and then it breeds and multiplies?

- Exactly!
- You've got to sterilize them first. Practice safe mail. Wrap them in plastic bags first. Cold water helps.

- Right.
- So let me see if I understand... You're saying that if the mail comes then you put it on your desk and that means you're disorganized?

- Uh huh, but it doesn't with end with the mail. I've got piles of papers, books, magazines, receipts, whatever.
- and it all goes on your desk?

- Well, on my desk or some other piece of office furniture.
- Ah ha. The picture is becoming clearer. Do you have filing cabinets?

- Ha ha ha ha (crazy sounding laughter)
- (Chuckling) pretty full, are they?

- I can barely open them.
- How long would you guess since the tomb's been opened?

- God only knows.
- Whew. Ok, so... If your mail or papers or receipts or whatever comes in, then you put it somewhere in your office where it remains for some time, and that means you're disorganized?

- Yes, I'd say so.
- Well, it's hard to argue with that. You've got a considerable pile of evidence to support your claim. Maybe you should just cart it all to the woods some place and burn it. Start over.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

85 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

- I've thought of that.
- I bet you could get the scouts to help you with that.

- Ha.
- You know, I'm curious about something. How is it that you are always right on time? That requires some degree of organization, doesn't it?

- Yeah, but that's different.
- How do you figure?

- Because it's easy. You just pick up the phone.
- Easy for you. I have many clients for whom it seems impossible.

- hmmm.
- Really. Somewhere around 10-after I usually call them.

- ok.
- Why do you suppose it's easy for you?

- Because, if it's an important appointment, I'm always on time.
- Always?

- Pretty much always, yes.
- So what do you think it means about your organization vis-a-vis appointments?

- (tentatively) That I'm organized?
- Yes! So it's not that YOU'RE disorganized. It's that you need better strategies in certain areas. And remember, if you are organized in any area, then you can be organized in ANY area you choose. All you need do is discover appropriate strategies for those particular areas.

- OK (pause) I think I followed that. - so how do we do that?
- Now THAT's an excellent question. That's exactly the sort of modeling question that makes NLP so effective.

- So what's the answer?
- We'll get to that in a minute, but let's just stop for a second and be sure we're
©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 86 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

clear on this... Earlier you'd said that if the mail came and you dumped it into your office it meant you were disorganized. And you also said that if you have an important appointment then you're always on time for it and that means you are organized.

- When it actually means I'm nuts.
- heh heh, well let's not jump ahead. NO! Because you can't be both organized and disorganized at the same time. If you are organized in any area, then you can be organized in any area IF you learn how. And that's the first question you asked, wasn't it? "How do I do that?" Clearly you have a highly organized intellect and you'll be able to apply that to this challenge, won't you?

- OK, so what's the first step?
- See what I mean? Asking what's the 1st step is a perfect strategy question. You're a natural. ANALYSIS The previous example shows how seamlessly both the meta model and Sleight of Mouth can be employed conversationally.

At the beginning of the conversation, Phil said he was totally disorganized. Clearly that is easily recognized as a belief statement, but it is only a piece of the whole and we don't know what piece. So instead of doing the obvious and asking the easiest meta model question - like "How specifically are you disorganized?" I presented him with a counter example to indirectly get him to expound on his conjecture. He became more specific and and offered more details. In so doing we discovered that he wasn't "totally disorganized," he was disorganized in a certain context under certain conditions. It was the papers in his office area. So we asked "What makes it that way?" This is a question that usually elicits the cause. We almost didn't get it though. At first his answer was a non-committal "I dunno," but he went on to say he received a lot of junk mail.

I tested the cause effect by asking, "So when or if you get junk mail, then you put it on your desk?" He said yes, so that was our cause/effect. I then tested the whole NBS and asked, "So, if you get mail, then you pile it on your desk and that means you are disorganized?" He agreed but offered a fuller picture by
©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 87 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

Ericksonian. I also overtly stated the belief I was attempting to lead him to." "redefine." ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 88 www. I want him to adopt the attitude that he's totally capable of being organized by virtue of the evidence of other circumstances where he is." and "counter example" again.saying that it wasn't just junk mail but a variety of printed matter. I also want to impress on him that he just needs a new strategy for this circumstance of office paper management and to encourage him to believe that it's easily accomplished. I don't want to use Sleight of Mouth to make him believe the opposite of his current belief." Then I immediately began using Sleight of Mouth to open up some new ways of thinking about the situation. of course. X is bad.SleightofMouth.com . then you can be organized in any area you choose when you find the right strategy. I don't want him to believe he's NOT disorganized and that leaving his office in dysfunctional chaos is OK.org and www. which was. Rather. "No. I've included this example because it's kind of an interesting situation. So we revised the NBS to "IF any printed matter arrives THEN I put it on some surface in my office and that MEANS I'm disorganized." It's not that simple. The patterns used in this example were "counter example. "if you are organized in any area. It's not one of those situations where one person says "X is good" and the other person says.

org and www. In the classes I teach on SOM we often conclude the class with an exercise where two class members play-act that they are a couple experiencing relationship issues and a third class member acts as their marriage counselor. Each time a pattern is used there will be a superscript number like this1. Each participant is assigned certain SOM patterns and must stay within those patterns for the duration of the exercise . The following imaginary conversation is an example of how that might go. Now .It's a pleasure to meet you. Please notice how the counselor occasionally strings more than one pattern together in a row. I don't know what to say. C . Smith. listing the patterns used. She . as well.how may I help you? She .Please have a seat.SleightofMouth. In the example below you will see the meta model in use and at least one example of each Sleight of Mouth pattern.com .Hi. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 89 www. The couple are meeting with the counselor for a session to sort out their differences. Any similarity to a real couple is purely coincidental.Conflict Resolution Although SOM is often thought of as a persuasion skill employed to win arguments. it is also a profoundly effective tool for conflict resolution.Ericksonian.Oh my. Canny readers will notice that the occasional Ericksonian Hypnotic Language pattern is mixed in. Counselor: Good morning Mr and Mrs. This tactic seems to work quite well. It might be fun to test yourself and see if you can name the patterns. He . At the end of the section will be the key.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH SOM in Action .

what would "more closeness" look like? What would you see.Never? What about that trip we took to Aruba last January?3 She -Your "working vacation?" I don't call putting a trip on a credit card "reaping the rewards of investing. do you agree that you just aren't close anymore? He .2 He .He .5 She . C . more intimacy? He . If one thing could be improved in your relationship. He .com . So Mrs.That's a lot of crop! What farmer ever waits five years for a crop? You've never harvested anything. That's responsible book keeping.I'm only in debt until these business investments I'm involved with start paying off." I call it going deeper into debt. maybe go to the shore once in a while.org and www.Great.Ericksonian.(Silence) C . what would you hear. what would you feel differently that would indicate you were having "more closeness?" She .And you want more closeness.OK .I do. what might that be? He/She . then we could take some time to be together. Smith.We're just not close anymore.SleightofMouth. it's that I know how to position my corporate earnings and losses to get the maximum tax write off possible. let me ask you. C .If there was one thing that could be made better . More intimacy? She .That would be nice.Yes. I think. if he were not so deeply in debt.well that would be a first. C .Well.so you want more closeness. both of you have made the effort to be here.And Mr. It's like a farmer who's planted a crop . Smith. yes.4 He .Well.It's not that I'm going deeper into debt.there's a long time between the planting and the harvesting. C .Wow. C ..1 She .. How do you even represent a belief like that in your head?6 ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 90 www.Mrs Smith? She .

C . trust is earned. And I know your intent is to rekindle that passion and intimacy with each other again.He was charming and funny and so handsome. Smith. Mrs. if you continue in the same way you have been going for all these years. hearing the sounds you heard then. (pause) Now open your eyes and see that same person is right here with you now. Be there now.. the energy.org and www. so it's worth taking the time and making the effort to make this relationship as beautiful as it can be. intimacy is built. She . Smith? Remember back when you were first dating. Now just stop for a moment. And Mrs.No. both of you.14 The good news is that this is totally doable. what first drew you to Mrs.13 What you both need to do is find some new ways of responding to each other and to begin to appreciate that the issue.SleightofMouth.Ericksonian. the charm. She was always up and engaged in life. is not who's right and who's wrong.Excellent. You both agreed that more closeness and intimacy was your major outcome. let me ask you.please. learn from the past so you preserve the goodness that's there while you rekindle the old flame and move into a better future.You mean anytime I make a suggestion about how you can improve you hear it as me totally emasculating you?12 C . Smith? She . and the sound of each other's voices.com . you'll never have more intimacy and it could end up even worse. The real issue is how to forgive the past. take a breath and remember those times.9 You don't want that. stop . what drew you to Mr. See things that you saw then now . now close your eyes.. do you? He .8 Besides.So Mr.. C . The only ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 91 www. now. C . I really think you're responding that way because you're both stuck in some old patterns of responding that come across as condescending and certainly not going to foster intimacy.No we don't.7 Because when we stop and look at the bigger picture. Remember one of your first dates or a special time early on and float back there now in your mind's eye. Isn't it more important to focus on the areas of your relationship that promote that goal rather than on areas of your disagreement. really..Let me just stop you there for a moment.I loved her energy and vitality. He. the vitality. be there now and feel those feelings of attraction. won't you?10 He .. the humor..as if looking through your own eyes.Great. Smith. Smith.Now if I could just stop us there for a second. C . and you two have really invested a lot in each other.How specifically can we do that here in the present when she constantly puts me down?11 She . so let's find ways of doing that together.

Mrs. C . That's all the time we have for today.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. See you next week.org and www. Smith? He .com . THE PATTERNS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Metaphor/Analogy Apply to Self Counter Example Model of the World Redefine Reality Strategy Hierarchy of Criteria Change Frame SIze Consequence Intent 10 11 12 13 14 Chunk Down Chunk Up (exaggerate) Meta Frame Another Outcome ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 92 www. Smith? She .Excellent.Sure C . I think we have made some excellent progress today.Yes I am. Thank you both for being open and willing to change.question is are you both ready and willing to do that? Mr.

You’ve got the complete deluxe tool kit. It’s a story of a prince who grows up in a kingdom and his father. When we get down to it. it can get pretty unsettling for some people. Sleight of mouth gives us the ability to be flexible with belief systems. In order to do that. etc. I first read it when it was used as a preface to Patterns 1 by Bandler and Grinder.org and www. Now it’s up to you to use it and to master it. etc. I want you to write out that belief and then write down responses to it based on all the different patterns we’ve examined. Becoming a Wizard I’m reminded of the story of The Magus. The patterns will come out fluidly in a variety of different ways. it really begins to show us that belief systems themselves are flexible..SleightofMouth. asking questions. and they’ll go from one pattern to another pattern to another pattern to another pattern to another pattern. followed by another outcome. followed by the consequence. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 93 www. Write out the hierarchy of criteria. I'll be paraphrasing. by James Fowles. as opposed to a non-useful belief? And how do I change my own beliefs? When you start getting into things like that. we have to start asking ourselves questions about what we believe and why? What is a useful belief. It gives us the ability to influence other people in their belief systems. Go through the whole set.com . As you do so. I want you to find a belief about something that comes up in your world so that you’ll be armed and ready to use the sleight of mouth patterns the next time you encounter that belief. When we realize that. keep in mind that the order in which you use the patterns in real life does not have to be the same as the order in which they’re listed on the pattern map.Ericksonian. giving statements on a variety of different things that happen all at once.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Moving Toward Mastery So that’s the presentation of sleight of mouth.

There are no princesses. So he didn’t know what they were. can you tell me what those things are out there. he was puzzled. One day as he got older. Then along came this man walking along the shoreline. They looked an awful lot like princesses. wearing a long black robe with his sleeves rolled up.Ericksonian. “My boy.org and www. What are those strange and beguiling creatures on those islands?” The man said. One day. He was a very tall. son. And the boy said. “Islands? I didn’t think they existed. dramatic looking man. those are islands. three things you must remember. He was just riding through the forest and came out the other side. but he knew they didn’t exist because his father had always told him so. there are no such things as islands. And there out on the ocean were some land masses. “Certainly. Standing on these cliffs overlooking the ocean he saw an incredible broad expanse of water he’d never seen before.” The boy replied. he was about 17. And even more puzzling were these creatures that inhabited those islands.com . “My goodness! Well if there are islands and there are princesses. those are princesses. just knowing that this is true. “Excuse me. and there’s no such thing as God. 18.he left the kingdom. They looked kind of like those mythical islands he’d heard about.” He grew up believing these things. sir. It had always been true. They were close enough that he could see they were pretty interesting.the king. went through the hillsides on his horse. or 19 -. little bodies of land out there. He didn’t really understand what those things were. He went wandering. then there must ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 94 www. has told him of three truths. It was just like basic presuppositions. He didn’t ever question it. he came to the end of the land and came to the ocean.” The boy said. but he knew there couldn’t be any princesses because his father had always told him so. those land masses?” And the man said.SleightofMouth. “As you grow up. He said.old enough to strike out and have some adventures of his own -. So what were they? He was confused.

Those are illusions.SleightofMouth. “Yes. my son. “I know who you are. have been deceived. black robe?” The boy remembered back and said. father. xv John Fowles] When he saw his father.” The king said. yes. and he’s very troubled and very confused. but only a magician?" The king smiled and rolled back his sleeves. “Actually. “Well that was not God.” So the son left the kingdom again and went back out through the forest. He went running back to his kingdom and said. he looked him in the eye. were his sleeves rolled up?” The son said.” And the man bowed and said. they were not real princesses. You fooled me. You’re a magician. but. “Father. those are real and I am God. And the boy accosted him and said. He still saw those islands and there were still beautiful princesses on them. I saw real islands. “Well yes. Your father all these years has told you he’s a king. real princesses. is it true that you are not a real king. they were. "Yes. those aren’t real princesses. you’ll never guess. He’s no king. I'm only a magician. You don’t live in a kingdom.org and www.Ericksonian. “I’m afraid.” And the king said. “Yes. It was pretty interesting that this illusion would still be there. “By any chance. Ask him. you have been deceived.com . the man came walking along the shoreline again.” The boy was quite impressed with this. They were not real islands. Those aren’t real islands." ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 95 www. I am God.” The man said. over the mountains. eventually. was he by any chance wearing a long. and I met and spoke to God!” His father laughed a little bit and then he said. and back to the cliffs.” So the boy goes back home.also be a God. That was just an illusion. my boy. good lad. son. [page xiv. as a matter of fact. that was a wizard and you have been deceived. This God person. but an illusion created by that magician. "Father. but you. He’s a magician. no. he was.

too.Ericksonian. "you. my son.org and www." "There is no truth beyond magic. He said." ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 96 www." "You see. "I can bear it.SleightofMouth. "Very well." The king by magic caused death to appear." he said."Then the man on the other shore was God." "I must know the truth.com . The prince was full of sadness. now begin to be a magician." said the king. "I will kill myself." "The man on the other shore was a magician. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince." said the king. the truth beyond magic. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.

SleightofMouth. "Hey. and challenge his students to get him to change it. if you go around just naively believing that people are trying to be nice all the time. I want that person identified.org and www. the person who put that up there was probably trying to be nice. He would adopt a belief system that was clearly inaccurate and perhaps irrational.com . you're bound to get stomped on because you'll have no defenses. They probably thought you'd like them.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH OUTRO-DUCTION A Brief History of Sleight of Mouth Robert Dilts created Sleight of Mouth back in the late '70s and early '80s while exploring belief systems and how to change them. You could say that Sleight of Mouth is the result of Dilts modeling the modeler. "Gee Richard. in that he applied this most essential NLP skill to Richard Bandler's remarkable ability to win any argument. Richard would sometimes challenge the class to see how persuasive they could be using their new NLP skills. and would assist at their NLP certification trainings. As an example. who put these flowers up here? Everyone knows I'm allergic to them so someone's out to get me.Ericksonian. the co-creators of NLP." Nobody ever persuaded him because he always seemed to have something ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 97 www. "OK. and I want them out of this seminar now!" Now. if there was a flower arrangement on stage. During these trainings. Bandler was an excellent actor and would play his part with conviction. Dilts was an early student of Bandler and John Grinder. he might say." Bandler might reply. When people would say to him.

'" then you can more easily notice other consequence patterns.org and www. Why bother? There's nothing there. And they could have a column for ones and a column for 10s..Ericksonian. But the Romans didn't have a way to represent nothing.com . one more convincing than the next. a zero. three lines is three (III). So it became a whole new system because they'd labeled something differently. "That's a 'consequence pattern. Labels are good things for this purpose. So Dilts gave this pattern a name.SleightofMouth. So if you say. in the ones column." Naming Names Have you ever noticed an interesting thing about names.) Over the course of many similar trainings. This system worked pretty well but it had its drawbacks. One was a pattern of response in which Bandler would describe the consequences of a belief or action (as in our example above).. Pretty soon people were siding with Richard and looking for the saboteur. that they could track nothing. It wasn't until Arabic numbers came around where they had a zero. the Romans didn't have a symbol for zero. a symbol that meant no thing. (Actually." and all of a sudden people are seeing the "long-tailed blue Lampides boeticus" everywhere. that if you name something. Roman numerals.. This reminds me of a story. so they didn't represent it. He called it. then you can track it? A scientist discovers a new Butterfly.else to say. the "Consequence Pattern. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 98 www. start with a single line for one (I) and two lines is two (II). They didn't have a zero. Back in the Roman Empire. with Bandler repeating this exercise with a host of different adopted beliefs.. The Romans couldn't multiply or divide with their number system. names it the "long-tailed blue Lampides boeticus. Then they could have one in the 10s column and no thing. A "V" was five and an "X" was ten. as you probably know. I made that part up. Dilts noticed that Bandler would come back to the same patterns of responses. and so on.

getting back to more modern history now . That's where problems come up because we can make wrong interpretations. It's just a circular layout.about what's important to focus on. meanwhile missing something else that is actually more important. We can't possibly make sense of all that data. But the problem is when we filter things." the "redefine pattern. not a flow chart.coined the term "consequence pattern. too. He started noticing and naming other patterns Bandler used as well.So when Dilts . Magic takes advantage of our brain's way of making sense of the world around us. When using the patterns you can start anywhere and go anywhere. Magic The name." the "chunk down pattern. Keep in mind.." etc. comes from Sleight of Hand. We might notice something.. When learning Sleight of Mouth. He placed "A equals B" (or "A causes B") in the center and arranged the icons representing different patterns in a circular fashion around them. the "intent pattern. we make an interpretation .SleightofMouth.org and www. we usually start in a particular place because you have to start someplace. think it's important and focus our attention on it. delete and generalize this information about the world around us. Sleight of Mouth. there's no real order or syntax to how they get used. Finally Dilts took these patterns he'd named and arranged them in a iconic representation chart as you've seen in this book.. Sleight of Mouth was born because Dilts began to notice that he could employ these patterns. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 99 www. The possibilities are limitless. Our five senses take in billions of bits of information on a regular basis. so we filter it.Ericksonian.com ." he became able to track other times when Bandler used it.a judgment . We distort.

look here what my left hand is doing and focus all your attention there. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 100 www. As a Sleight of Mouth-matician." Of course.org and www. He's doing something like making gestures with his left hand while. thinking and appreciating. He says. as by now you are completely aware. Sleight of MOUTH sort of does that same thing. Attention is directed in one place. Sometimes it seems like magic and really. too. while the action is happening someplace else. he doesn't say that directly. his right hand is secretly going into his coat pocket and getting a different card out.Ericksonian. that's fun. it is a totally organic process.com . In Sleight of HAND a magician directs your attention.SleightofMouth. you're directing your listener to another way of looking. but essentially that's what he's getting you to do.In magic. He palms the coin and pretends to pull it from behind the kid's ear. by directing attention to particular frames of reference. meanwhile. "Now.

Appendix 1 - The Agreement Frame I’d like to discuss now some things that are really important adjuncts to sleight of mouth. These are things that will make your sleight of mouth work much more effectively. One of these adjuncts is rapport. If you’ve studied NLP at all, you know rapport is part and parcel of NLP, and the idea of rapport is to establish and maintain a sense of connection with the other person.

When I describe and explain sleight of mouth patterns, I sometimes say things like the argument is formed in a particular way. When I do that I’m talking about the patterns from a logical construct point of view. The subtlety I want to add here is that although the use of a particular sleight of mouth pattern may take the form of a logical argument, you don’t have to be argumentative in your delivery of the pattern. You can have that sense of rapport while still maintaining your position.

Actors go through many months, even years, of training, where they look at a single line and discover how they can say it in a million different ways. The choices an actor makes in that regard are extremely important to the success of the eventual performance. The same thing applies to your use of sleight of mouth. If you’re going to say something like, “If you continue to believe that, you’ll never find any happiness,” you can say it in a way that drips with sincerity. Tony Robbins once said, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

But seriously, you can make the same statement in a variety of ways. You could say it sarcastically; you could say it sincerely; you could say it with a great deal of compassion. You could just say it as if you were reading a menu. There are a million ways. So bear that in mind throughout all these communications. The impact of a communication depends much more strongly on how you say it

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

101 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

than on the words themselves.

Another highly useful adjunct to sleight of mouth is called the “agreement frame.” Just for the record, I was taught the “agreement frame” by Anthony Robbins. I don’t know whether he made it up or whether he got it from someone else, but I learned it from him, so I’m grateful. It’s very, very valuable. The agreement frame is kind of like verbal Aikido. In the martial art of Aikido, when someone attacks you, you align with the attack. The agreement frame is very much like this.

Let’s say someone is going to attack you with their fist. A person trained in Aikido would respond by sort of stepping aside and helping the fist to keep going past the attacker’s point of balance so that the attacker ends up on the floor. It’s not like you try to block the fist or hit back at the attacker. Instead, you just redirect the attack somewhere else, and the floor is a great place for that attack to end up.

The agreement frame works in very much the same way. Rather than verbally blocking or directly confronting what the other person has said, you align with it. You say things like, “I agree with you. That’s true, you’re so right. And if you look at it from this perspective, it could be something different that you want to appreciate.”

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth

102 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

The Agreement Frame
I agree...and... I respect .... and... I appreciate ... and...
You can do this in one of three ways. First, you can say, “I agree with such and such and such,” and align with it in that way. Second, you can say, “I appreciate . . .” something about what they’ve said or about their intention behind saying it. Or third, you can say, “I respect . . .” again, something about their intention or what they’ve said.

There are endless stylistic variants that are possible with this. You could say, “I agree with you. That’s absolutely right.” Or, “I appreciate your point of view. It’s so good to hear somebody speaking their mind so clearly and honestly. And [blah, blah, blah, blah, blah] . . . .” Or you could say, “I respect your intensity of emotion with this. It’s great to see somebody who is really so passionate about what they believe. And [blah, blah, blah, blah, blah] . . . .” You lead from there.

The essence of the agreement frame is that the word “and” is what leads the other person from wherever he’s at to wherever you want him to go. By contrast, the word “but” has a very different effect in that it negates what came before. Most people tend to use the word “but” a lot. I know I use it all the time. Sometimes I use it intentionally because I mean to negate what came before it. A lot of times, however, I use it just because I’m not thinking about it and it just comes out. It’s a common habit.

When you’re using persuasion skills, though, you’re usually more attuned what exactly you’re saying. That’s a good thing. You want to be attuned to when you’re using the word “and” or the word “but” because sometimes you want to
©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 103 www.SleightofMouth.org and www.Ericksonian.com

too. “I appreciate what you’re saying. I agree with your position (or I don’t). The agreement frame acknowledges that fact.negate what came before what you said.’ Let me try that again. In general. you’re right. . blah. And I know we’re both on the same side and we want to resolve this. ‘Yes.” As soon as they say the word “but. though. The agreement frame utilizes this truth that people see things from their own perspective and that they’re right. I said ‘but. you don’t want to do that. we do an exercise with the agreement frame where we have the participants argue about an issue on which people usually hold passionate beliefs. “Look. blah] . “You said but!” Interrupting the pattern in this way helps the first speaker regain his or her bearings. From your perspective.SleightofMouth. from their perspective.” Earlier we discussed the idea that perception is 100%. or abortion. well I appreciate the fact that you’re a human ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 104 www. Many times during this exercise. .Ericksonian.” the other person is supposed to jump up in their chair and shout.com . you’re right. as well. I respect what you’re saying (I actually don’t). you use the word “but. And if you look at it from this perspective. . or something like that. It might be something about war. but [blah. Well. yes. When we do a workshop with sleight of mouth. the participants will forget the game and start saying. particularly if you’re using the agreement frame.” Most times. I agree with you. I think you’ll begin to agree with me that there are other ways of looking at this that can be equally important. They can then say. and I would encourage you to do that. Hmm. In those instances. so let’s look at it from this perspective. “Oh. then. You can actually just come out and say.” You can appreciate or respect something about the other person or what they’ve said and then use it in the sentence or agree. “Yeah.org and www. really well. yes. I see it absolutely that way.” Or you could say. It will work really. you want to use the word “and” rather than the word “but. I’m really glad that you brought that up.

or get a partner to do this with you. “I’m sorry. . I don’t think you can necessarily do that exercise just on the streets.” In other words. .Ericksonian. and . “You said but!” to the bus driver. but there’s no bus stop. . however.org and www.being and you have a right to breathe. and use this exercise to train yourself to use the word “and” more often in conversations. I could let you off here. If the bus driver says.com . become more aware of the word “but. you find something you can agree with and then take it from there. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 105 www.” you can’t just shout. You can.SleightofMouth.” Perhaps you can create an exercise for yourself.

We don’t really know what the person is talking about. so we have to find out by asking questions like. suppose someone says. It’s called the “precision model.org and www. if a person says. The Meta model and the precision model are ways of extracting or eliciting lost information from a person’s belief systems. This is a simplified version of it.” Or you could say. and they delete information. “What do you mean by crazy?” That’s called an “unspecified noun. As an example. “What’s crazy? Who’s crazy? What do you mean by that?” The Meta model is comprised of a whole list of specific questions to ask in specific situations to recover this lost information.” you might want to say.” ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 106 www. “It’s just crazy.SleightofMouth. then you don’t need to look at this page. If you’re familiar with that in NLP. though.com . this statement is not very informative. “It’s just crazy.” On the face of it. They also do what’s known as distort. People often generalize in their beliefs. here’s a brief explanation.Ericksonian.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Appendix 2 . If you’re not familiar with NLP. To continue with the above example.The Precision Model Below you’ll find a drawing with a couple of hands. “Crazy according to whom? Who says it’s crazy?” That’s called a “lost performative.” This model is a kind of simplified version of the Meta model.

” That sentence contains an unspecified verb because it doesn’t specify how he went to the store. the precision model is a simplified version of the meta model. to get your fingers on. On the finger chart you’ll see nouns on the index finger of the right hand. To recover that information you could ask things like. of getting more specific information out of a person.org and www. so all this information is right at your fingertips. even though the precision model is a simplified version of the Meta model. literally.Ericksonian. “How did he go? Did he drive? Did he skip? Did he run? How did he go to the store?” We need to know information like this. That’s what I mean by saying the precision model is a kind of simplified version of the Meta model. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 107 www. and the Meta model is a way of getting it. First. The precision model tries to make the Meta model a bit easier to get a hold of. it helps us get the other person’s beliefs into the NBS structure that we need as a prelude to doing sleight of mouth.As I mentioned before..” Consider.e. it imparts the idea of the Meta model – i. I recommend that if you’re serious about learning NLP.com . Second. for example. “Unspecified verbs. On the middle finger of the right hand it says. “He went to the store. There are a number of good books available on the subject.SleightofMouth. However. This is the category of unspecified nouns. you should study the Meta model in its entirety. it’s still very useful for us for a couple of reasons.

and say the phrase that’s written on the diagram. you’ll notice an illustration of two hands. We’ll get to that in a minute. the hands will go together so that what’s on the left hand will coincide with what’s on the right hand. “Who or what. “Who or what. a left hand and a right hand. reach with your right hand.org and www. Put the diagram up there and you hold it up with your left hand so that your thumb is lined up with the thumb in the illustration. specifically?” “Who or what.If you take a look at the precision model diagram. and it’ll be stored there more readily. In this case it says. squeeze your left index finger. then you’re done. there are two lines with one sentence above the line and another sentence below the line. the middle finger. Do this several times. “Compared to what?” Do this while you’re looking at diagram. Ultimately. auditory and kinesthetic. specifically?” Do it over and over again until you’ve got it anchored in there. According to NLP. “Compared to what?” Keep doing that until it’s anchored. the upper left is where we usually store visual memories. specifically?” See it and say it as you squeeze the index finger. “Compared to what?” Reach over with your right hand and squeeze your left thumb and say. let’s just do the one that’s below the line. specifically?” Again. The phrase for that one is. For now. Now go on to the left index finger. “Who or what.SleightofMouth. Squeeze your left thumb and say. “Who or what. specifically?” Then go to the third finger.com . “Compared to what?” Squeeze your left thumb and say. So put the diagram up there where you can see it. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 108 www. By doing this you’re encoding the information in three different modalities: visual. If you look at the diagram. take this diagram and put it up on the left side of your body. Do you see that little phrase that says. “Compared to what?” Squeeze your left thumb and say. Put it up so that your eyes are looking up at it.Ericksonian. But first. How do you know if something’s anchored? You squeeze your thumb and see if it automatically comes up as “compared to what?” If it is.

“Nouns. “Too much.SleightofMouth.“How. too expensive. too many. but do it anyway. squeeze your right thumb with your left hand.com . and you’ll automatically say. Now you’re going to do the same thing with your right hand. You still want to be looking up to your left because you still have a visual memory of the diagram to your left. and say. Just anchor it in there so that when you squeeze that ring finger. squeeze the middle finger with your right hand and say.” Squeeze the right index finger and say. the fifth finger. too expensive. too expensive. say the phrase from the diagram. too many. “How.org and www. “How. let’s go over to the pinkie finger. “Too much. never?” Keep doing that until the response is automatic.” Squeeze again and say. Squeeze that that finger with your right hand and say the corresponding phrase on the diagram. specifically?” Just as before.Ericksonian. and say the phrase.” Squeeze it again and say. Reach over with your right hand. That’s it for the left hand. every. see it. “Nouns. It’s a little awkward. For the middle ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 109 www.” Repeat until the response is fully anchored. it’s an automatic response.” We’ll do the same thing with the right index finger. every. perhaps. never?” Squeeze.” As before. The word for that finger is “Nouns. “All. too many. “What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?” “What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?” Finally. specifically?” You squeeze it.e. “What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?” Squeeze. fourth) finger. “All. too expensive. You’re going to take your right hand and reach across your body and put it up on your left side. “Too much.” Squeeze. “Too much. specifically?” “How specifically?” “How. As you squeeze that finger with your right hand. too expensive..” Squeeze. too many. specifically?” Go to the ring (i. “Too much. too many. “What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?” Squeeze. “What would happen if you did? What causes or prevents?” Don’t worry about what this means for now. keep doing this until all you have to do is reach over and squeeze the right thumb.

” The left hand index finger asks. “Compared to what?” The right hand index finger says. must.” Squeeze. can’t. “Verbs.” Squeeze. squeeze the ring finger of your right hand and say.” Squeeze. too expensive. “Universes. “Should.” And so on. the word is “verbs. “Verbs. “Should. We have the right thumb saying. Once you’ve got them fully anchored. then go back and repeat the ones that are giving you trouble.” The left ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 110 www. shouldn’t.” Let’s move on to the ring finger of the right hand. index finger to index finger. The words for that finger are. Now test your progress. “Universes. shouldn’t.Ericksonian.” Keep repeating as needed.” So you’re looking up to your left. “How. Notice what we have when we do that. reach over and squeeze your right pinkie finger with your left hand. etc.” The left hand middle finger says.org and www..” Once again. etc. Keep doing this until it’s just automatic. must. ring finger to ring finger. “Nouns. “Universes.” Squeeze. specifically?” The right hand ring finger says. must. shouldn’t. can’t. “Too much. can’t. “Who or what. The word for the right pinkie finger is “Universes. “Should. specifically?” The right hand middle finger says.finger. “Verbs. If you haven’t got it so the responses are anchored automatically. take the left hand and the right hand and put them together. third finger to third finger. Finally. shouldn’t. “Should.” and the left hand thumb saying.SleightofMouth. must. can’t.” Squeeze the right pinkie finger and say.” Squeeze. squeezing your right middle finger with your left hand. “Verbs. and saying.com . too many. Clasp your hands together so they’re lined up thumb to thumb.

” your response might be. “Who specifically has attitude?” They might then explain that. every.” So the immediate response to “too much” or “too many” would be. you’ve narrowed down the other ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 111 www. you can make up your own sentences. I can’t afford this. and you just want to know it’s too much. “Oh. “That guy just makes me so mad. “Well that receptionist was short with me once. “Really. “Universes. “Too expensive? Compared to what? Compared to our competitors’ inferior product? That really wouldn’t give you value for the dollar. By using these Precision model questions.” Let’s say you’re in a sales situation and the person to whom you’re trying to sell says something like. “Gosh. it’s too expensive.org and www. “universes.” Suppose someone says. you know to ask “Who specifically?” For example. that’s terrible. compared to what? Too much what? Compared to whom? When you hear nouns that are unspecified. what specifically is terrible?” This can be used in combination with generalizations. “Well.” Your pinkie finger response would be.com .” Your response would be. who specifically?” Or if someone says. what would happen if we did? What causes or prevents?” The right hand pinkie finger says.” Your response would be some variation of. “Well. You don’t have to stick with the “Compared to what?” But that should immediately flash in your mind.SleightofMouth. “All.Ericksonian. “Everyone?” The index finger response might be. which you’ve anchored to the pinkie finger with the word. “Everybody in your company has an attitude. “Compared to what?” Of course.” That’s a very different thing from everybody has attitude all the time.” The left hand pinkie finger says. never.hand ring finger says. It should immediately flash there because a comparison is being made.

That means miracles are real.” At that point you’ve got the whole belief: “My friend drank water blessed by a faith healer. “Miracles are real. “How do you know that?” That question will recover their lost criteria. The person might then answer with something like. but you don’t know what they are. “Well my friend is alive today. my friend is cancer-free. We said earlier that often a belief will be stated only in the circle part of the structure.” Or. the speaker will give you only the meaning part of the NBS.SleightofMouth.” That’s their entire belief system on that topic. Or. you don’t know in which part of the NBS that statement should be placed. “What makes it that way?” That will help you to recover the cause of the effect. “I believe in Santa. and my friend is alive today. she drank water blessed by a faith healer. We do that by asking the Precision model or Meta model questions. You might begin by asking. “I believe in this. People will say things like.Ericksonian. Then you need to ask. “I believe in miracles. and you need to find out. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 112 www. or it might go in the square. That response gives you their square information. let’s go back to the structure of a belief and see how that can be applied.” They’ll just state the meaning part of their belief while leaving the other parts unstated.” That’s their circle statement. It might go in the circle. Those other components are in their brain someplace. Let’s say someone says. You simply don’t know until you ask some questions. or it might even go in the triangle. Initially. Now that you have the Precision model and the Meta model there at your fingertips. They might then respond with something like. I believe in that.com . In other words.person’s belief to something that’s much easier to handle with sleight of mouth.org and www.” That was one of our examples.” That’s how they know that miracles are real. “Well. That caused the cancer to go away.

” or. The sleight of mouth patterns will further that process. Other sleight of mouth patterns operate on the complex equivalence component – i.” By asking the Meta model questions. the square to the circle. “Who says it’s bad?” or. “It’s good. the Meta model and sleight of mouth are both elegant ways of doing reframing. “Who says it’s crazy?” “According to whom?” you’re already asking questions that are going to challenge their belief. you’re already doing sleight of mouth just by doing the Meta model..e. comparative deletions and the appropriate response to them are represented by the thumbs. In other words. that kind of ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 113 www. In addition.. “It’s bad. “How do you know that? What makes it that way?” you’re going to uncover information that’s going to be useful for you. The simple act of having to think about their belief in order to answer the Meta model questions causes the other person to loosen their grip on this belief system that they’ve been holding onto.” In terms of the Precision model. You must get information into this structure in order for you to be able to do sleight of mouth. when you hear someone say something like. you may have noticed that just by using the Meta model. they’re using what in the Meta model are called “lost performatives.” Once again. each of those two relationships can be the target of sleight of mouth patterns. “This is the best. Another example of this would be “comparative deletions. People often will say things like.” or any other value judgments of that sort.” or. For example. In fact. In a sense.e. Some sleight of mouth patterns operate on the cause and effect component – i. you’re already in a sense challenging the other person’s belief system.The lesson here is that if you ask these questions.Ericksonian. “It’s poor. It’s also important to remember here that a belief is structured as a cause and effect combined with a complex equivalence.org and www.SleightofMouth.” or “It’s crazy. the triangle to the square.com .

” “I must. One great example of a nominalization is the notion of a “relationship. Yet another set of Meta model distinctions are called “universal quantifiers. everybody?” A similar Meta model distinction is that of “modal operators. “Well.” These are expressed by words such as “I should. compared to what?” Again. its place in the NBS is in the circle.” “I shouldn’t. You can challenge the universal quantifier simply by asking. As such.” “every. That is to say this kind of statement represents the meaning part of a complete belief.” These are processes that have been made into nouns. simply by asking that question you’re already doing sleight of mouth on the person. One of the features of such statements is that they typically do not specify to what the thing under discussion is being compared.statement is a judgment. That is. In order to turn that nominalization back into its proper verb form. “Everybody hates me. “How do you relate to that person?” The act of answering that question requires the other person to unpack the nominalization and describe it as a process.” When you think about it. Instead. It’s something that people do rather than a thing that exists. “Oh. a “relationship” is not a concrete object that you could put in a wheelbarrow and carry away. Another Meta model distinction is called “nominalizations.” or “I can’t.” These show up in language as words like “all.org and www. Suppose someone says something like. there’s really no such thing as a relationship.Ericksonian. they are located in the triangle part of the NBS. a “relationship” is really just a process of people relating to one another. It’s an activity.” and “never. As such. you could ask the Meta model question. you could ask.” or “Everybody is doing this. In order to recover that information.” Universal quantifiers often function as the cause of an effect.” Modal operators also are often to be found in the cause and effect area of a belief ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 114 www.” In those statements the person is using a universal quantifier.com .SleightofMouth.

com .Ericksonian.system – i.e. the Precision model. in the triangle part of the NBS.. you can ask. and our two basic questions: “How do you know that?” and “What makes it that way?” These tools all work together and enable you to take a person’s belief system and refine it in your mind so you can put it into the NBS structure and then do sleight of mouth on it effectively. To challenge a modal operator.org and www. We’ve discussed the Meta model. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 115 www. “What would happen if you did (or didn’t)?” We’ve now described several tools that you can use to extract information.SleightofMouth.

In particular.” In other words.” if the cup is sitting there in front of you. another person who was intrigued by this same topic was a Princeton mathematician named George Polya. How does that happen? In an effort to answer that question. Back in the 1950’s. It’s another thing altogether to profess belief in something that’s not strictly provable. Polya was interested in what makes an idea so plausible that it can take a person up to and then over that threshold? The result of Polya’s investigation was what he called “patterns of plausible inference.” We’ll now look at several of them. but it’s a tangible thing. You could argue maybe it’s a teacup or something. an idea becomes plausible up to a certain threshold and then. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 116 www.org and www.Polya Patterns of Plausible Inference One of the things we’re interested in with sleight of mouth is how beliefs are held in place. Polya was curious about how people come to believe things that are not provable. I now believe it.” He wanted to see how things can became so plausible that at some point a person will say.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Appendix 3 . Polya began investigating what he referred to as “plausibility. “I now believe this to be true. It’s one thing to say. “I believe in the existence of a coffee cup.com . boom.SleightofMouth.Ericksonian.

org and www. The degree of plausibility will be stronger if there is a lack of other probable causes. Verification of a Consequence . 4. If something which is not very probable cause-effect occurs it tends to validate the belief which predicted it.Ericksonian. Inference from Analogy .If a belief (B) presupposes (or requires as a precondition) some event or phenomenon and we verify this contingent event (C) then it makes the belief more plausible.The likelihood that something will occur again based on its past performance (measured by occurrences ÷ opportunities). B. A. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 117 www. Successive Verification of Several Consequences. Contingency .SleightofMouth. 2. If the analogy cannot be shown to be true but it can be shown to be credible then it still increases the plausibility of the analogous belief.Polya: Patterns of Plausible Inference* 1. IF B implies C AND C is true THEN B is more credible. Meta Pattern: Probability . Verification of an Improbable Consequence (Extremes).com .A belief (B) is more plausible if an analogous conjecture (A) is proven true. The more something occurs the more we believe it will occur again. 3. The degree of plausibility will be stronger if the contingent phenomenon would not probably occur in and of itself. B. A.If a particular belief (B) implies a particular consequence (C) and we verify that consequence then it makes the belief more plausible (it does not prove it however). IF B presupposes C AND C is true THEN B is more credible.

and again you bring them flowers.” and it is simply the perceived likelihood that something will occur again based on its past performance.org and www. you bring them flowers yet again. measured by occurrences divided by opportunities. I’m supposed to get flowers. the more often something happens. let’s say you go out on a date and you bring flowers to the person with whom you’re going out. IF B is competing with C AND C is false THEN B is more credible. In other words. *G. “Hey. You go out with them a third time.SleightofMouth. you go out with them a fifth time.Ericksonian. but this time you don’t bring them flowers. The fourth time you go out with them.com . 6. Princeton University Press. The response you get on that fifth date is likely to be something along the lines of.” Thus. II. You go out with them a second time. Disprove the Converse .IF B is analogous to A AND A is true THEN B is more credible. Finally. Patterns of Plausible Inference. 1968 The first pattern is quite straightforward. 5. where are my flowers? There’s something wrong here. Polya. and you bring them flowers again. the more we believe it will occur again. By way of illustration.If a belief can be shown to predict a particular result with better than random accuracy then it is more credible. Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning Vol. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 118 www.The plausibility of a belief (B) increases if a rival conjecture (C) is disproved. the more likely we are to believe it will happen again. the more that something occurs. Comparison with Random . It’s called the “pattern of probability.

D. D. it merely increases the plausibility of B. Thus. The fourth pattern is called “verification of an improbable consequence. is called “successive verification of several consequences. I used to work for Anthony Robbins and I’ve done a lot of fire walks with him. closely related to the previous one. if a particular belief. If you then verify that C. and F are all true. E. In other words. we get burned. B’s plausibility increases.Let’s look at number two. that makes B more plausible. suppose that B implies C. that makes B even more plausible than if you had verified only C. A fire walk is a fascinating thing because everyone has the belief that when we touch fire. C.com . and the reason they believe it is because they’ve had a verification of the improbable consequence. then.” This pattern is the same as the previous one except that instead of verifying just one consequence.Ericksonian.SleightofMouth. B. “verification of a consequence. to walk across hot coals and not get burned. implies a particular consequence. An example of this that I like to use comes from the work of Anthony Robbins. and F. you verify several in a row. E. “You have a headache. the needle in your foot is ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 119 www. and you verify that C is true. Each time another consequence is verified. Another example I like to use is that of acupuncture. that occurrence tends to validate the cause effect belief that predicted it. A lot of people believe acupuncture.” This one says that if something that is not very probable occurs.org and www. so I’m going to stick this needle in your foot. Also. The third pattern. It’s important to note that the verification does not prove that B is actually true.” This pattern states that the verification of a consequence of a conjecture renders the conjecture more plausible. It’s amazing. And because of these meridians that run through your body. the degree of plausibility will be greater if there is a lack of other probable causes for B. They go to an acupuncturist and are told that. Because that outcome is so unlikely to occur. it really does tend to validate all the cause-effect beliefs that Anthony has set up to prepare his students for the fire walk.

right? So it’s not likely that anything is going to happen when the needle gets stuck in your foot. so when it does indeed turn out successfully. It would be hard to imagine a more dramatically improbable consequence than that. The inference that many people tend to draw based on experiences like this is that you must really have meridians after all. Here’s a more concrete. The degree of plausibility will be stronger if the contingent phenomenon would not probably occur in and of itself. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 120 www. The verification of that pre-condition increases the plausibility of the belief that they did indeed commit the crime. Suppose further that in order for them to have committed the crime. and the whole acupuncture thing must be true. that doesn’t make any sense. we’ve got veins. but where’s the meridian line? It doesn’t seem to exist. They’re not there. a certain precondition would have to have occurred.org and www. that believe a particular person committed the crime. So you’ve verified the improbable consequence. Let’s say Alice is accused of blowing up a ship. then it makes the belief more plausible.SleightofMouth.com . for example.” Obviously.Ericksonian.” This one says that if a belief presupposes or requires as a pre-condition some event or phenomenon and we verify that pre-condition.going to make your headache go away. The fifth pattern is called “contingency. Suppose. Incidentally. A variation of this pattern is used all the time in criminal prosecutions. We’ve got nerves. But then the needle gets stuck in your foot and your headache does goes away. it greatly increases the plausibility of whole explanatory apparatus of acupuncture that predicted it. You can’t perform an autopsy on a cadaver and point out the meridian lines. people have gone so far as to have major surgery done using acupuncture as the only anesthetic. we’ve got bones. You can see those things.

lab rats are not humans.” This pattern says that the plausibility of a belief increases if a rival belief is disproven.e. The seventh pattern is called “disproving the converse.. Therefore. where candidate A was running pretty solely on the platform. We often hear candidates say. be is more plausible if an analogous belief. I believe in New Jersey. So if you can prove the analogy. and animal testing is depends upon analogy. Despite these similarities. works best when there are only two competing beliefs. If the analogy cannot be shown to be true. but it can be shown to be credible – i. then B becomes more plausible. Test animals have certain biological features that are similar to our own.” The fact that this approach works so well is why we have such negative campaigning.Now. Alice is a nice lady who has no criminal record and has never done anything wrong in her life. That’s why the use of test animals is an analogy. is proven to be true. plausible – then it still increases the plausibility of the analogous belief. I must be good. Now this. in effect. they’re still different from us in many ways. “Vote for me.SleightofMouth.org and www. that evidence increases the plausibility of the belief that she really was guilty after all. I’m not him.” According to this pattern. Besides. It’s interesting that much of science is based on analogy. it makes the belief more plausible. the inference is that it’s very likely humans will have the same response. a belief. Still. This happens all the time in politics. Our initial reaction might be that she couldn’t possibly have done this horrible thing. where would she get the explosives? However. The sixth pattern is called “inference from analogy. of course. he’s wrong. If you give drug X to a rat and he has a particular response. There was an election not too long ago. B.Ericksonian. if the prosecution comes up with a receipt from Explosives ‘R Us showing that Alice did in fact buy explosives. This is because so much of scientific research employs animal testing. If B is competing with C and C is proven false. A. “Vote for me because my ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 121 www.com . He’s bad.

I’m going to present a couple of test questions and you’re going to try to figure out which Polya pattern is being represented. that meant that candidate A had no more platform. It says that if a belief can be shown to predict a particular result with better than random accuracy. and he lost the election. The opposing party then replaced the withdrawn candidate with someone better who actually had a track record and was a good guy. hardware (i. When that fact came to light.” He did succeed in proving he wasn’t candidate B. In the first one there are actually two patterns. and software (thoughts and beliefs). Now that we’ve learned the Polya Patterns. Of course. is a crook. “I’m not candidate B. Candidate A had spent all his money on advertising that said. so see if you can get both of them. he found a video with images of Dr. Firsthammer buying dried newts. let’s have a little fun with them. You ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 122 www. Everyone knows you can program.” This pattern also is used in science a great deal. Firsthammer’s assistant examined footage from the security cameras at the Witch’s Supply Store. “I’m not the other guy. deprogram. his opponent was a crook. To his surprise.. Firsthammer.e.” Suddenly. the other guy was gone.Ericksonian. The eighth and final pattern is called “comparison with random.SleightofMouth. candidate B withdrew from the race. Here are the facts for the first question: “In order to prove Dr.com . It has input and output channels. candidate A was right. and reprogram a computer. His whole campaign had been.” Interestingly. Rathbone and not Dr. turned into the Incredible Green Monster last weekend. Dr.opponent. but with B out of the picture A had nothing left to offer.org and www. the gray matter). the plausibility of that belief is increased.” Which patterns did you spot?” Question number two: “Neurolinguistic programming is based on the proposition that because your brain is like a computer. candidate B.

com . when you hear a Polya pattern. They don’t prove anything.” Question five: “I was told that either drinking a Coke or drinking a ginger ale would settle my stomach. Firsthammer could buy ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 123 www. Firsthammer bought the newts. soon just squeeze their knee and they’ll feel that same emotion. you can immediately start searching for ways to demonstrate to the person you’re trying to influence that their search for validation isn’t over yet. every time my dog Fido hears the National Anthem. You can figure them out for yourself. People sometimes (maybe even usually) stop searching for answers once they’ve found one that satisfies them. no different.” Question three: “I never thought I’d believe it but since last week. They make beliefs plausible. If you squeeze someone’s knee at the same time that they’re feeling an emotion and repeat that like Pavlov. So as a sleight of mouth sleuth. Ginger ale may be just as effective or ineffective as Coke for settling a stomach. but it didn’t work. So next time I had an upset stomach.can do the same thing with a human being’s subjective experience. you could ask. “So is the only reason Dr. The important point is that once you start hearing the Polya patterns at work.SleightofMouth. you’ll remember their main function. There may be many other reasons Dr. Fido may be responding to an inaudible to humans pitch that the stereo emits when tuned to the radio station that broadcasts the game.” Question four: “People behave just like Pavlov’s dogs. For example with our test questions.org and www.” I’m not going to tell you the answers to these test questions. he stands at attention and gets mistyeyed. So that’s why I know drinking a ginger ale will do it for me next time I have an upset stomach. whether or not it’s actually true. but I couldn’t remember which one it was. they just increase plausibility.Ericksonian. I drank a Coke. Counterexamples work brilliantly with Polya and any complex equivalences.

By asking these the questions. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 124 www.SleightofMouth. Rathbone?” Or. you’re helping to loosen the person’s firm grip on this belief that might not be so useful to them.newts is to turn into the Green Monster? Is it totally impossible that he might have purchased them for Dr.Ericksonian. “Dr.org and www. Rathbone couldn’t possibly have acquired newts on the black market? And that somebody else entirely was involved here?” This series of counterexamples injects doubt into the other person’s mind.com .

and (4) Change logical levels. The first of these strategies is aimed at changing the meaning component of the other person’s belief.Ericksonian. “No. I was just saying things to help them. You remember the example. Suppose for example that a prospective customer says.000 an hour for a consultation.” Or. That’s nothing compared to that.” You could use the change or challenge comparisons strategy by simply saying.” You can change the causes by saying things like. it’s the loss of hope that causes death. “Cancer causes death. cancer doesn’t cause death.” or “toxins that cause death. (2) Change the causes. The strategies are as follows: (1) Change the meaning.SleightofMouth.org and www. I’m just 200 bucks.Strategies for Using Sleight of Mouth Let’s look now at four basic strategies for sleight of mouth. (3) Change (or challenge) the comparisons.” or “overaggressive cancer therapies that often cause death. we’re rejecting the cause that the other person has identified and substituting different causes. The third strategy is to change or challenge comparisons. You could ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 125 www.” That example illustrates the strategy of changing the meaning. The second strategy is to change the causes.” We change the meaning a lot with that one. “Compared to whom? Anthony Robbins charges $5. Recall the example that says. “It wasn’t that I’m mean.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Appendix 4 . “It’s not mean. “Your service is way too expensive.” In other words. it’s simply being honest.com . “Saying mean things means you’re a bad person. “Compared to what?” A more elaborate and potentially more effective response might be.

©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 126 www.” What the speaker is really doing in that redefine is taking what’s called an identity level statement – i. Finally. “You’re late” – and shifting it to an environmental level statement – i.org and www. This strategy was demonstrated perhaps most succinctly in the example. “I’m not late.” You could also challenge another aspect of the comparison by asking.e.Ericksonian. the last strategy is to change logical levels. I was delayed.e.com .buy a whole week for an hour of his time. The effect of that shift is to diminish the culpability of the speaker..SleightofMouth. “I was delayed by outside forces. “You being late means you don’t care about me..” That’s a shift in logical levels from identity to environment. “In what way is it too expensive?” That question provides a slightly different angle on the comparison.” The redefine for that was.

Logical Levels Logical Levels have become a bit controversial in some circles of late. Critics have said Robert Dilts’ “logical levels” do not fit the conventional meaning of the term based on class inclusion as used in logical arguments or mathematics. That may well be accurate… AND… whether they fit the conventional meaning or don't fit the conventional meaning isn't this issue for our purposes here.org and www. They also are useful in fully understanding some of Dilts' strategies when it comes to using Sleight of Mouth. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 127 www.SLEIGHT OF MOUTH Appendix 5 . We include them here because they are very useful in recognizing the way people hold certain beliefs and hierarchies.com .Ericksonian. Robert Dilts has a fun and easy way of understanding logical levels that he calls the ABC’s of NLP.SleightofMouth.

Actions speak louder than words. Interestingly. the identity level is designated by the letter A.SleightofMouth. Because behavior is at a lower logical level than identity.” It’s curious how the priority of identity over behavior gets reversed when we apply it to other people as contrasted to when we apply it to ourselves. but look at what he does. the identity level belief trumps the belief about my behavior.org and www. he thinks he’s a nice person.The first thing to understand is that logical levels are arranged in a hierarchy. “I am a good person. he says he’s a nice person. so he’s not really a nice person at all. If I nevertheless act like a jerk sometimes. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 128 www. that honesty is more important than expediency. as in the phrase "Who I AM.Ericksonian.” That’s an identity level statement in that it expresses a belief about who I am or what kind of person I am. In Dilts’s “ABC’s” scheme. we might think about him. The second highest logical level. at least for our purposes here. The interesting feature of this hierarchical arrangement is that beliefs at higher logical levels in a sense trump those at lower logical levels. Now. The highest logical level. “I believe that this is more important than that. Suppose I say. a person can sometimes act like a jerk and yet still hold onto the belief that they’re a good person. that fact exists at the level of behavior. designated in Dilts’s scheme by the letter B. As a result. Perhaps an easier way to think about it is that this is the level that is concerned with values. is comprised of beliefs about who we are." The hierarchical nature of logical levels can be illustrated with the following example.com . you may have noticed that when we look at that person from the outside as he’s acting like a jerk.” These are statements that express my values. is home to our beliefs about what we believe. “You know. They are beliefs concerning our identity. that definition might be a bit confusing. For example.

which happens to be D. In other words. so we use the next available letter. Pretend you’re in the fifth grade.org and www.SleightofMouth. Just think of D as standing for “do. you’re really a good speller. Alternatively. and it was just an environmental factor that tripped you up. The capabilities level is designated by the letter C.” Finally. when I do things. to be marked with the letter B. whether applied to yourself or to others. that values themselves are arranged in a hierarchical order in which we rank some values more highly than others. Here’s an example of applying sleight of mouth to oneself.com . such as where I do things. really good to know because the more you can change logical levels in sleight of mouth. So these are the logical levels. They are environmental factors. etc. That’s why the "hierarchy of criteria" sleight of mouth pattern works so nicely with statements at this level. One way you could preserve your identity belief that you’re a good speller might be to claim the room was too noisy and distracting. This is where we classify statements concerning what I’m capable of. That’s why you did poorly on the test. but B was already taken. The third logical level deals with capabilities. you could move up a level and talk about your behavior. the letter E is for the environment. and you had a spelling test and did poorly on it. These are things that are outside me. and they’re really. by the way.Ericksonian. It might help you remember this to note that my behavior is what I do. You might expect the next level down. with whom I do things.It’s interesting to note. the level of behaviors. You ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 129 www. The very act of saying that value X is more important than value Y necessarily implies such a ranking. the more effective your use of sleight of mouth will become.

In doing so you might say to yourself. All the other ones were good. the power of each is enhanced. “I am sick. “Oh.” I’m still a smart person. “I am depressed.Ericksonian. I just need to learn a more effective spelling strategy.” You could use a response based on shifting logical levels.” you could say. ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 130 www. The implication of that shift is that the client isn’t really depressed at all.com . “I’m depressed. if you’ve done poorly on more than one spelling test.org and www.” or. “Hmm. Tell me. Nice to meet you. evidence is beginning to indicate that my spelling capabilities need some work. what are you acting depressed about?” That’s a great response because it takes the client’s identity statement and shifts it down to the behavior level. working as a professional people helper. this is the only test that I did poorly on. When used in conjunction with one another. “Hmm. You can also use logical levels and sleight of mouth as a therapist. and this is the only one I did poorly on. “That’s a pretty sick thing to say. and I’m a good speller.could say to yourself. If a client says to you. Suppose someone comes to you and says. and that’s significant because behavior is much easier to change than identity.SleightofMouth. so this one must just have been a fluke. Logical levels and sleight of mouth are both powerful tools.” On the other hand. he’s just acting that way. really? I’m Bob. you might move up to the level of capabilities.” You could use the sleight of mouth pattern of apply to self by responding.

Thanks to designer Phillip Devita who did the fabulous cover art. NLP Trainer Jonathan Altfeld. I maybe could have done it without him.com .Ericksonian. Although everyone with whom I have ever studied has taught me much. Thanks also to good friend and NLP Trainer Kevin Creedon. modeled excellence and integrity so truly I’ll forever be inspired to follow his lead. Robert Dilts's excellent book on Sleight of Mouth is called Sleight of Mouth: The Magic of Conversational Belief Change. Thanks to Serena Stean of Salad Seminars.Acknowledgments I would like to gratefully acknowledge the invaluable help of Aaron Spurling who not only edited this transcript but also gave many valuable suggestions concerning layout. 1999. who I asked to make the Table of Contents perform as hot links with the chapters and ended up making the entire book look really good. Most of all. it must said that most of the information and charts contained in this book are compiled from or inspired by the work of Robert Dilts. Meta Publications.org and www. I'd like to thank my good friend. Robert taught NLP in such a way that I really understood it and. putting up with my seemingly endless revisions throughout the process.SleightofMouth. Capitola. CA. CA 95005 ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 131 www.. perhaps more importantly. but not nearly so well. and also helped redo and clean up some of the illustrations. the best wine with fish. and any number of things that have shaped the way this book has come together. order of chapters. who generously helped redo and clean up some of the illustrations. To contact Robert Dilts: NLP University PO Box 1112 Ben Lomond. who's work "Knowledge Engineering" informed and deepened my understanding of the structure of beliefs and thus improved the quality of this book.

Take classes from: Doug O'Brien & Associates Center for NLP and Hypnosis 371 First Street Brooklyn.org and www.Ericksonian. As a Hypnotherapist. *Photography by Gene Hirschel Doug now conducts numerous trainings around the country in stress management.SleightofMouth. visit our web site at www. You can enjoy the finest in Neo-Ericksonian Hypnosis training and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. He also has a private practice.com Also visit www.com .com For Schedule information and to register for classes.About the Author Doug O'Brien is a Certified Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In 1988 he founded NCI east (later Doug O’Brien and Associates) and devoted himself to creating and developing a Training Center for NLP and Hypnosis in New York.Ericksonian.org ©2010 Doug O'Brien The User’s Guide to Sleight of Mouth 132 www. he helped found the Department of Complimentary Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in the mid-nineties. Doug worked directly with pre-operative and post-operative patients on stress management and pain reduction as well as long term behavioral change to generate healthy living. Doug is classically trained in music.SleightofMouth.com www. utilizing these techniques for behavioral change.dougobriensblog.Ericksonian. Mehmet Oz. "Sleight of Mouth" patterns of persuasion. Neo-Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and NLP Certification Training. certified by The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. under Dr. NY 11215 718-768-4098 or toll free 877-362-7436 (DOBRIEN) e-mail: Doug@Ericksonian. and was a professional musician before becoming the New York Center Manager for Robbins Research International in 1987. For ten years Doug was a Master Trainer for Robbins Research International. assisting at their Certification training and at Mastery University.info www.

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