“Who you are being is so loud I can’t hear what you are saying.”

– Marc Anthony Yhap to Dr.Graham Dorrington in “The White Diamond”

Some of the more popular NLP classes I teach are classes on persuasion. The “Sleight of Mouth” class, “Belief Craft” with Jonathan Altfeld, “The Language of Change” (Ericksonian Hypnotic Language Patterns), and the new “Heart-Centered Sales System” all deal with persuasion.

That’s fine. It’s a useful study because everything requires persuasion… sales, doing therapy, relationships, pretty much every activity that involves humans interacting will require some form of persuasion. And it is useful to remind ourselves that persuasion techniques alone don’t make somebody persuasive. Sales techniques take a back seat to being able to relate meaningfully to another human being and being able to establish a deep rapport between you both.

Intention has a Scent


Have you ever had the experience of being with an experienced salesman who was doing his whole shtick and it just felt creepy? IF you bought anything from him, you probably questioned whether you really wanted it or needed it or if it really was what it was claimed to be. This would be because we pick up on non-verbal communication, at least subconsciously. He was probably a master of sales techniques and maybe even hypnotic language patterns, but your other-than-conscious mind saw through the act. You smelled a rat.

Rapport – REAL rapport – is the secret to being truly persuasive. Because real rapport flows, not from rapport techniques, but from actually caring about and actually connecting with another human being.

The Notes or the Music


I devoted much of my early years to the study and performance of music. I was a piano and composition major in college, attended a year at the Guildhall Conservatory in London and performed at Carnegie Hall, among other places.

One thing required of all instrumentalists is the practice of scales. Mastering scales is essential for any instrumentalist who wants to really get close to mastering their instrument. However, no one, no matter how good you are at your scales, will pay you to play them. They will come to the concert hall to hear Beethoven or Bach, but not scales. The MUSIC is not in getting the notes right, it’s HOW you play those notes. Music is the soul and sensitivity of the music expressed THROUGH the notes.

In the same way, if you have a real caring for the person with whom you are interacting and sincerely have their interests in mind, then the techniques will serve you. I’m reminded of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street. It’s not about selling what Macy’s HAS, it’s about helping the customer get what they want… even if you have to send the to Gimble’s.

Think about it. Just like in music, you don’t want to have to pick between getting the notes right or being emotionally expressive, you want both. (And isn’t it nice to know that you can enjoy both at the same time?)