Language – Playing with Patterns

As a Hypnotherapist, language is important to me. I need to use the right language for each client to achieve the best outcome for them. NLP teaches us the types of words to look out for from each individual and what similar words we can also use. For example, if someone describes things in a visual manner, I’ll use words  describing colour, distance or qualities such as whether an image is moving like a film or still like a photo.  Whereas for someone that describes things kinaesthetically (feelings-based), I’ll instead use words about how something feels within them or qualities like texture, intensity, size or location. This makes everything much more individual, which can help achieve better results.

However, more and more as I listen to the words used every day all around me, I wonder what else is not just useful, but essential. It’s all very well making sure you’re using the right words, but if you don’t deliver those words in the right way, it’s not going to be as helpful. For example, if I wrote a custom relaxation script for a client, how could I deliver it? Well, I could yell it in a loud, fast and agitated manner. Or alternatively, I could speak calmly, perhaps then slowing a little as I go on. Which do you think would work better? I think nearly everyone would choose the second option! So we come to two more things in addition to the word choice – tone and pace. You then can consider rhythm too. The natural pauses in speech can be added to, to emphasise certain phrases, or even highlight particular words which are important.

And then you can get back to the words themselves. As well as the natural pattern of sentences and paragraphs, you can consider using one word to emphasise another. Think about the songs you hear on the radio, which bits do you remember the best when you hear a new song, the verses or the chorus? Most of the time it’s the chorus, because the rhythm is catchy and there is usually a bit of rhyming going on. The rhyming makes it easier for the brain to remember because the similar sound can help trigger the memory of the other words. While it would be extremely unusual to write a custom script that was all rhyming couplets, it can be occasionally useful to have  a rhyming line in for emphasis. It can end up a bit like a personal mantra that the brain can hook onto and remember at times when you need a bit of a boost. An example I’ve used recently is “Remember that ‘trying’ will soon turn to ‘flying'”. This line might not work for everyone, but was based on words that the client used in describing what they were good at and how they wanted to feel. In this case, perseverance in trying until a task became easier (“flying”).

It’s a similar thing to what happens when you get an “earworm” (a song or bit of a song that gets stuck in your head). Frequently it’s just a small bit of the song, often a part that rhymes, that gets stuck, because it’s easy to remember. As I’m writing this blog, the one I’ve had stuck in my head recently is from Toby Keith’s song Beer for my Horses:

“We’ll raise up our glasses against evil forces, Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses”

Catchy, definitely. Little bit odd, probably! How much better would it be though if it was something positive to help you through any problems that came your way?

So the next time you need something quick to keep you going, it might be fun to think up your own short line to use!

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