THE CHALLENGE OF MODELING
Once you know that your mind moves out in a linear way, thinking one thing, then another, you can learn the basic NLP Strategy Model which is the foundation for NLP Modeling. In the field of NLP, this has led to modeling a good number of things that we do in the moment— get up in the morning, make a decision, spell accurately, buy a product, develop a strategy for eating healthily and moderately, exercise regularly, etc. But the Strategy Model does not work well for activities that occur over time or that involve layers of thought.
That’s where knowing and understanding how to work with the other way your mind works becomes important. What is that other way that your mind works? We call it self-reflexivity— your mind reflects back on itself. And when it does, you create states-about-states, thoughts-about-thoughts, feelings-about-feelings, thoughts-about-feelings, feelings-about-thoughts, etc. This complexity of your mental-emotional functioning describes the systemic nature of consciousness and is modeled by the Meta-States Model.
One consequence that has resulted from the Meta-States Model is that we are now able to model the structure of experiences that are complex, that are layered by multiple frames of mind, that are systemic, and that result in gestalt states. A “gestalt” state is a state that is “more than and different from the sum of the parts.” As a systemic state it is an emergent property— one that arises due to the system that’s created by the layered frames or states. Courage is such a gestalt state which is why the “parts” of courage and the gestalt of “courage” itself is not understood by adding up all of the parts. It is “more than” and “different from” the parts.
That brings me to persuasion. The state of being persuasive and being able to effectively influence the minds and hearts of people is not a simple primary state. Nor is it just one or two meta-states. It is a gestalt state— more than and different from the sum of the parts.
Given that, when I first began modeling persuasive people like Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc., I collected as many of the component “parts” or variables as I could. I then looked for the relationships between these variables and from there identified the basic strategies that make up the structure of what we call “persuasion.” This is the basic content of the book, Inside-Out Persuasion, as well as the training by the same title.
And there is more! There’s a reason for more. That’s because so much of what is called “persuasion” is actually manipulation. It is not healthy or respectful persuasion, it is deception, trickery, psychological maneuvers and techniques designed to get you to go along with someone else’s goals without any consideration that it is to your benefit. And I did not want to model that! My goal was to model healthy, respectful, win/win, authentic, and ethical persuasion. I did not want to model “outside in” persuasion —the tricks that manipulators use to get their own way. I wanted to model “inside-out” persuasion— where the persuasion comes from the character of the person.
No wonder modeling ethical persuasion is so challenging. It not only involves what you say and do (the external factors), it involves who you are and how you think and feel (the internal factors). It not only involves your psychology— your understandings about influencing the minds and hearts of people, the value of your product or service, the way to communicate in a way that is winsome. It also involves your identity and character— your intentions, openness, authenticity, compassion, win/win orientation — in a word, your person.
Why? Because the most effective persuaders persuade from their person— who they are and the quality of their person. That’s why merely being in their presence influences. When they walk into a room, when they interact, when they speak, when they meet you — their very presence carries a force of persuasion. Sometimes we call that “charisma” which means grace. Now, how does that work? What’s the structure of that?
The short answer to that is the persuasion is inside-out, it starts with the person him or herself being persuade and persuade-able. Ah, we are back to the basic Neuro-Semantic theme — first apply to self. That is, before you can truly be persuasive with others, you have to achieve self-persuasion. Check that one out— How skilled are you in persuading yourself about something? Is there anything that you know would be good for you, useful, effective, that would make your life better— and yet you are not “persuaded” to the point of actually doing it? If so, that’s the place to start.
Here’s another clue. What I found in my research and modeling was that “the structure of persuasion is very similar to the structure of high quality coaching.” (Inside-Out Persuasion, p. 35). The relational and communication skills of coaching are, at the same time, the skills for high quality persuasion.