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Advanced Language

Pattern Mastery Flash


Cards Vol II:
Sleight of Mouth

Matt Caulfield
© 2012 Matt Caulfield

This entire document is copyright to Matt Caulfield. The right to sell it as a


book or ebook is strictly reserved.
Acknowledgements

These cards would not exist without the hard work and insight of some of the
geniuses and forerunners of NLP. In particular Richard Bandler, who’s
argumentative skills these patterns are based on, and Robert Dilts who
modelled and codified those patterns.

I must thank above everyone else Doug O’Brien who’s hard work in this area
has made the sleight of mouth patterns accessible and easy to understand,
learn and apply. If you wish to learn sleight of mouth, I highly recommend
Doug’s books and audio programmes, which you can purchase at
www.ericksonian.org.
Introduction

I produced the original set of “Advanced Language Pattern Cards” for myself
and then for the attendees on my NLP Practitioner trainings. The plan was
always to expand this deck into a second volume to cover the Sleight of
Mouth Patterns, and finally here they are.

To use these cards, print them out onto card (or print them on paper and stick
them to card), I have included a handy card back for you to use on them if you
wish! If you really want to you could even laminate them...

The secret is to use them every day, even if it is just one card for 5 minutes. If
you do that you will be surprised how quickly you master these patterns.

The great thing with having them as a pdf, rather than a hard copy, is if you
lose a card or your set becomes a bit tatty, you can just print out a new one!

I hope enjoy them and find them useful,

Matt Caulfield
Sleight of Mouth: A History

“Sleight of Mouth” is a system of language patterns for persuasion. The story


goes that Robert Dilts devised the patterns by modelling the argument and
persuasion skills of Richard Bandler. By breaking down the methods used by
Bandler, Dilts came up with 14 patterns.

The name "Sleight of Mouth" comes from the phrase "Sleight of Hand" which
refers to a magician's skills in making things happen which appear impossible.
Sleight of Mouth helps you change (or reinforce) peoples beliefs as if “by
magic”.

The Structure of Belief

Sleight of Mouth focuses on influence by challenging, changing or reinforcing


beliefs.

Sleight of looks at the two Meta Model Patterns of beliefs in more detail:

Cause-Effect: X causes Y, for example “if I eat chicken (CAUSE), it will make
me sick (EFFECT)”.

Complex Equivalence: X=Y, or X is equivalent to Y (the meaning a word or


statement has to you). For example:

“You're late again, which means you don't love me”. (Note that this is not just
"I believe you don't love me", but rather there is something that leads to that
outcome.)

“I am not going to do that, [because] I am not that kind of person!”


Polya Patterns and the Structure of Beliefs

George Polya was a mathematician (much the same as Alfred Korzybski, the
developer of General Semantics) at Princeton who was curious about how
people came to believe something if it wasn’t provable. He referred to this
ability to believe in something as ‘plausibility’, he wanted to see how things
became so plausible, that at some point it becomes ‘true’ for that person.

He described five patterns of plausibly (We have simplified the description to


remove the complex mathematics. If you love maths feel free to dig out a copy
the book these came from: “Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning Vol II”):

1. The Meta Pattern: Probability


The likelihood that something will occur again based on its past performance.
The more something occurs the more we will tend to believe it will occur again
(the sun coming up for example).

Also, if something which is not very probably occurs it tends to validate the
case-effect belief which predicted it (pressing the button more often gets the
lift to come quicker)

2. Verification of a Consequence
If a particular belief (B) implies a particular consequence and we verify the
consequence (C) than it makes the belief more plausible.

>>> If B implies C and C is true then B is more credible. <<<

3. Contingency
If a belief (B) presupposes some event or phenomenon and we verify this
contingent event (C) then it makes the belief more plausible.

>>> If B presupposes C and C is true then B is more credible. <<<


Polya’s example is about criminal defence or prosecution and is believed to
have committed it, and that crime needs a contingent event and that event is
proven to have happened it makes it more plausible that the person
committed the crime.

Say someone is accused of holding up a store with a gun and the prosecution
demonstrates the person has a gun, then the possibility that they held up the
store seems more plausible.

4. Inference from Analogy


A belief (B) is more plausible if an analogous conjecture (A) is proven true.

>>> If B is analogous to A and A is true then B is more credible. <<<

This is where we draw comparisons to things that appear related, but aren’t.

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.

Animal testing is the classic analogy. In fact much of science is based on


analogous testing...

5. Disprove the Converse


The plausibility of a belief increases is a rival conjecture is disproved.

This is the classic argumental process that the philosopher Nietzsche would
use. He would rubbish the challenging conjecture and then provide his own.
His own was often no more plausible, but because he has rubbished the
alternative his appeared more plausible.

6. Comparison With Random


If the belief can be shown to be able to predict results better than random
guessing then it is more credible.
Tips for Learning These Advanced Patterns

1. Us the Meta Model questions to recover the full belief before you begin.
You can see the Meta Model patterns in the “Advanced Language
Pattern Cards Vol. 1” (see www.mattcaulfield.co.uk).

2. You don’t need to learn the labels. They are the least important part of
these cards. It is more important to be able to recognise, generate and
know what to do with the patterns.

3. Set a goal, develop a plan and stick to it!

4. Start slowly (otherwise you may overwhelm yourself), just pick one
card a day to begin with and listen out for, and generate, that pattern.

5. Have FUN! Enjoying what you are doing will make you learn much
faster.

6. It must sound like naturally spoken, “normal”, language. If it sounds like


hypnotic mumbo jumbo, it will not be as effective.

7. Practice good tonality (for more information see “Developing You


Dynamic Voice” audio programme at www.mattcaulfield.co.uk).
Suggested Beginner Exercises

1. Write down a list of as many beliefs as you can think of, either in the
Cause & Effect (this causes that) or Complex Equivalence (this means
that). The classic examples are:

• “Cancer causes death”


• “Saying mean things, means you are a bad person”
• “You being late means you don’t care about me”
• “Nuclear arms means strength, protection and safety”

But generate (or listen out for) your own examples.

2. Draw one cards at and random and use it generate 3-5 challenges or
counter examples.

3. Draw one card at and random and use it generate 3-5 suggestions that
can reinforce the belief.

4. Draw three (or more) cards and generate a counter examples (or
reinforcing suggestions) and form them into a coherent paragraph or
statement (or story if you pick the “Metaphor/Analogy” card).

5. If you hear a belief pattern REMEMBER you do not need to challenge


it, you can reinforce it too. However, it is good practice to think of a way
it could be challenged.

For many more suggestions on how to practice language pattern drills


please see the “NLP Exercise Manual” at www.mattcaulfield.co.uk
CAUSE/EFFECT COMPLEX THE META
EQUIVALENCE PATTERN:
will, will make, cause,
requires, etc (X => Y) Probability
Making two different
experiences have the The likelihood that
same meaning (X=Y) something will occur
“Positive thinking leads
to unrealistic again based on its past
“He doesn’t love me, he performance.
expectations” doesn’t buy me flowers”
The sun coming up.

META PATTERN META PATTERN POLYA


Linguistic Structure of Linguistic Structure of
Belief Belief PATTERN
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield

VERIFICATION CONTINGENCY INFERENCE


OF FROM
CONSEQUENCE If a belief presupposes ANALOGY
some event or
If a particular belief A believe is more plausible
phenomenon and we verify if an analogous conjecture
implies a particular
this contingent event then is proven true.
consequence and we
it makes the belief more
verify the consequence This is where we draw
plausible.
than it makes the belief comparisons to things that
more plausible. appear related, but aren’t.

POLYA POLYA POLYA


PATTERN PATTERN PATTERN
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield
© Matt Caulfield

DISPROVE THE COMPARISON INTENT


CONVERSE WITH RANDOM
What makes them make
this statement?
The plausibility of a If the belief can be
belief increases as a shown to be able to Concentrate on the
rival conjecture is predict results better intention behind it.
disproved. than random guessing
then it is more credible. Highlight the positive
function of the idea, or
challenge the negative
one.

POLYA POLYA SLEIGHT OF


PATTERN PATTERN MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield
© Matt Caulfield
CONSEQUENCES ANOTHER COUNTER-
OUTCOME EXAMPLE
Look for the
Offer an alternative Use an exception
consequence (even an
outcome of the belief. where their statement
unintentional
would not be true
consequence) which “Maybe you don’t need (useful if the structure
can lead to the belief ABC, maybe you need of the belief includes a
being challenged. XYZ?” (Universal) Quantifier
as evidence to that
belief).

SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF


MOUTH MOUTH MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield

APPLY TO SELF REALITY MODEL OF THE


STRATEGY WORLD
Turn the comment Delve behind the belief Demonstrate that the
around onto them - by to their perceptions belief is only true in their
saying (or implying) the about the world. understanding or model
consequence they Challenge the of the world. Give
suggest is applicable perceptions the belief is alternative models as
for you, really is based on. counter examples.
applicable for them.

SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF


MOUTH MOUTH MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield
© Matt Caulfield

META FRAME CHANGE HIERARCHY OF


FRAME SIZE CRITERIA
Challenge the basis
behind the belief, rather Extend the implications Challenge the idea
than the belief. from the belief to some according to more
bigger (or perhaps a essential criteria,
This can be a rather more compact) scale in recommending
aggressive attack. It is order to a bigger (or something more
“an all” out strategy, shorter) time period. important they must be
don’t use it lightly! thinking about.

SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF


MOUTH MOUTH MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield
CHUNK DOWN CHUNK (BLOW) METAPHOR OR
UP ANALOGY
Much like a lose thread
can unravel a knitted Exaggerate the belief to
jumper. Chunking down an absurd level in order Using an example, story
to a specific part of the to challenge it. Taking it or demonstration to
belief and pulling that out of the context it is in. challenge the belief.
apart can unravel the
whole belief.

SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF
SLEIGHT OF
MOUTH MOUTH
MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield

REDEFINE TIMELINE REDIRECT


Redefine the meaning
of the words used in the
structure of the belief. Challenge the belief on Attack the belief by
the basis of when and questioning the
You can redefine the how long it holds true. underlying beneficial
cause or effect or the motives.
resulting meaning
(complex equivalence).

(ADDITIONAL) (ADDITIONAL)
SLEIGHT OF
SLEIGHT OF SLEIGHT OF
MOUTH
MOUTH MOUTH
© Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield © Matt Caulfield

Card back to cut out and stick to


your cards!