Semantic links, NLP and embedded commands

We are all familiar with semantic links. They are words in electronic media which are highlighted, often in a different colour to the main text. When you move your cursor over the word, it is revealed to be a hyperlink (a link that takes you to another web page) with more information the author wants you to read. Sometimes the sentence that the semantic link appears in is a pretext to get you to click on the link. This can be to link you to adverts or web pages, but it is also the trick used to infect your pc with trojans or viruses. You recognise the set up – a screen pops up looking like Windows Defender with scary threats that your PC is infected. You are then encouraged to activate an antivirus package, possibly one you believe you already have or one you have to purchase. The problem is that once you do this, you allow the trojan access to your pc where it can wreak havoc.  

What you may not be so familiar is that there is a linguistic (the L in NLP) trick that is used in influential communication to get people to do what you want them to. This is at the heart of the work of stage performers such as Derren Brown or Paul McKenna. In NLP it is called an embedded command. Here is how it works; the command is hidden or embedded in a longer sentence.

For instance:

“You may or may not decide to sign up to my blog site

In this example, the embedded command is written in italics. The conscious mind hears the full sentence, but the subconscious mind replays the words and can be inclined to hear the embedded command. This is particularly true if you like the speaker (another of Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion) and want to please them. This is a key basis of hypnosis.  Notice, all of this is happening at a sub-conscious level.  

Embedded commands are even more effective when they use ambiguous language, such as in the following example:

“You, like me, are probably a very reasonable person.

The embedded command is, again, in italics. The subconscious mind ignores the grammar and looks at the various possible meanings of the sentence. One interpretation, possibly the desired one, tells your subconscious mind that you like me. So you do.

The learning here is that by building up a stock of choice embedded commands you can develop as a more influential communicator. In this way you are more likely to get the outcomes you deserve.

You are probably now aware of the embedded commands you already use.

Share some of your examples below.

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