July 25th, 2008
Ericksonian Language Patterns —
Embedded Commands are commands that are placed within the framework of a larger sentence structure, thereby sneaking by the conscious mind. e.g., “Very often, people find that they discover many useful inner resources while in trance.” Some suggested sentence openings: “Maybe you’ll… I don’t know if… A person may not know if… Maybe you haven’t…,yet.” (More about that yet soon, but not yet.)
Notice that the command part itself starts with a verb. You are telling the person to DO something. Here and now. So that verb tense is the present tense. “Do something.” Not “doing something” or “did something.”
If you were to tell someone directly to go to the store, you’d say
“Go to the store.”
To embed that command within a longer sentence and thus hide it a bit it might be more like,
“If anyone here wanted to be a dear, they could go to the store for me now.”
Here are some more examples:
“Maybe you’ll discover new resources you didn’t even know you had.”
“I don’t know if you’ll feel wonderful about it.”
“A person may not know if you’re drifting into trance.” (includes a pattern called switching the referential index.)
“Maybe you haven’t begun to enjoy that delightful feeling of trance, yet.”
A. Adding their Name
These commands can be made more powerful if you insert their name into the sentence structure just before the embedded command.
“One can, Elizabeth, feel comfortable in new situations.”
“A person could, Phillip, notice a growing sense of distance from that problem.”
“People don’t have to, Bob, listen intently to everything that I say.”
“Now” is not a magic word. Sometimes beginning NLP students over use ‘now.’ Used effectively, it can enhance an embedded command, but it alone does not an embedded command make. Often the most effective way to use it is to… pause… before you use it and then use your best trance tonality when you say it. (If you run it into the sentence without this pause it can make the sentence sound too imperative and the person feel rushed.)
“You might want to learn to enjoy that meaningful pause . . . now.“
(Remember that without shifts in tonality, etc., there is no command at all. You must shift your tonality in a way that is noticeable and analogous to a command, right at the verb of the sentence. You are telling them to DO something.
Additionally, it is most useful to pause just a beat before the command. This further sets it apart in a very subtle, yet effective, way)
So, now, here’s an idea: Write your own examples. The best way to learn is by doing. Write them down and then practice saying them out loud with the proper tonal shift. Practice delivering them to a human being. Write at least ten. Twenty is better. Perhaps you’ll find that you utilize the eight sentence openings offered on this page and then go from there.
Use them on waitresses: “You might find you want to bring me a cup of coffee.”
on bus drivers: “People can… let me out at the corner.”
Be Respectful AND Have Fun.