Sleight of Mouth is an NLP communication model. It is a system of linguistic patterns that aim to change someone’s opinions and beliefs in a conversation. And is a perfect tool and foundation for DSR Rejection Coaching program. It was created by NLP Trainer Robert Dilts (“Sleight of Mouth: The Magic of Conversational Belief Change”). The second very good book about the topic is “The User’s Guide to Sleight Of Mouth”, by Douglas O’Brien.
It is one of my favourite communication models (and if you stick around long enough, You will understand why). It is the basis for my regular linguistic workout and a whole rejection coaching project.
The Hunt for CEM
CEM is an acronym that stands for Cause => Effect = Meaning
It is also called Normalized Belief Structure.
A simple and quite classic example You will find in this conversation (Example 1):
- Female: “You don’t love me anymore!”
- Male: “How have you made such a conclusion? Why do you think so?”
- Female: “I feel that.”
- Male: “What has happened, that you feel that?”
- Female: “For a year you haven’t bought me any flowers!”
- Male: (paraphrasing) “Ok, so if I understood this correctly. I haven’t bought you any flowers for a year, and it made you feel bad. And you think that I don’t love you anymore… Yes?”
- Female: “Yes…”
- Male: (Pattern Counterexample) “Didn’t it ever happen to you that someone who sincerely loves you didn’t buy flowers for you for years? Or that you got flowers from someone who slandered you behind your back the next day?”
- Female: “Oh… My mom… And the one girl from college. She was terrible, but she came to my birthday with flowers.”
- Male: (Pattern Alternative Explanation) “You see. Getting flowers is nice, but it is not the only way to express love”.
A classic Cause => Effect = Meaning with two responses.
In real-life situations we meet slightly different scenarios:
Example 2: Man is driving a car. Suddenly stops in front of another stopping car. And screams “Damm!”. We have here Effect. Simple emotional reaction. He made almost an accident. It is Cause. He doesn’t say laud what it means for him. So we don’t know the Meaning. But we can assume it.
We rarely work on the whole equation:
- we have to ask questions to fill the gaps (Example 1: first and second sentence from a male),
- or we see the emotional reaction by someone (Example 2: scream),
- or we know the context and we predict that some people will have emotional reactions and opinions about this (try not to clean at your family home).
But even if we see only some parts of this equation. It is there. And we can work on it.
The regular supply of new examples and retorts you will find in my newsletter.
Sleight of Mouth patterns (DSR Institute version):
- Redefine Cause/Evidence
- Redefine Effect/Meaning
- Alternative Explanation
- Alternative Meaning
- Apply to Self X
- Apply to Self Y
- Another Outcome
- Chunk Down (meta model)
- Exaggerate (known as Chunk Up or Blow Up)
- Reality Strategy
- Hierarchy of Criteria
- Change Frame Size
- Model of the World
- Meta Frame
- Metaphor & Analogy
For examples and descriptions of every pattern, peak here.
To disband one critical misconception – retorts don’t have to be, and even shouldn’t be aggressive or unpolite. Instead, they should be like in this anecdote: “What is a good diplomacy? It happens when someone says “get lost” but in the way, that the other person is thrilled with the idea of an incoming exotic journey”.
The best retorts are smooth, in point, using the values and intentions of an interlocutor. You can change people’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours with just words. And this is why we are doing our linguistic workouts and sparring.
Yes. You just talk, and people suddenly change their opinions and beliefs about different topics. Including saying “yes” when they said a moment ago “no”. And the whole talk is very similar to any other conversation.
What is the difference between a boss who believes that you deserve a salary raise and the one who doesn’t? Or the attractive person who thinks that you are the right candidate to be a partner, or not? It is their beliefs.
Other people’s beliefs influence your life and its quality. Because based on their beliefs, they act. And through their actions, they impact you. So change their opinions and beliefs and make them more helpful to you. Better jobs, more money, more business opportunities, and more interesting potential love partners.
With a little bit of linguistic workout, it can be yours.
And the secret is… Just reading books about communication and persuasion is not enough. You need to work out and follow the right exercise program.