Post-pandemic, communication is more difficult than before. An interesting topic related to communication is hypnotic suggestion. For exploration, I tried evaluating my personal beliefs through a lens focused on suggestions and how we convey who we are to others through speech. This provides something like a framework to work out ways to improve communication in a non-familiar way.
Each person will influence others, often with unintentional thought or through a series of learned behaviors. This can lead to manipulative behavior that is difficult to break away from. With practice and following some rules, I explore how suggestions can be used as a way to improve the lives of people around you. The goal is to be aware of suggestions and how to use them.
Suggestions fall into a strange gray area of communication between the daily chat and a seemingly mystical hypnotic state. I like to think of suggestions as verbalizing non-verbal communication. Many people are not fully aware of their need to share valuable information with those around them. It's too easy to passively consume conversations like media without grasping the need to communicate important ideas. So I have amended the rules of hypnotic suggestion, so they can be applied in a more general context to improve communication where suggestions are used.
1. Suggestions should be formulated in the positive
Positive framing tends to be easier to remember. Although negative framing might be more natural to an unaware suggester, it comes with a heavy burden of side effects. Negativity bias shows that negatively framed suggestions could fail in more unpredictable ways because negative experiences tend to override positive ones. By using positive framing, the same suggestion can be shared in a way which is uplifting.
2. Suggestions should be beneficial
Appending to the first rule, suggestions should have a benefit to the suggestee. Sharing knowledge is more than a zero-sum game and can create win-win situations. A good suggestion will contradict rage and helplessness. Instill connectedness and suggestions will have a greater impact and persist longer. Focus on bonding and build alliances. Use selfless behavior to connect otherwise unconnected people.
3. Suggestions evoke costs and side effects
People adjacent to suggestions will also be affected. A suggestion for one person should be shared in private. A suggestion for a group should be generalizable so that each person receives a benefit from the info being relayed. Side effects can also influence the person giving the suggestion. Empathy has the side effect of vulnerability. When empathy is used it evokes a cost for the suggester. They open themselves up to negative suggestions. The upside is that employing empathetic responses makes future suggestions more accurate.
4. Suggestions that produce undesirable effects should be recorded
It is better to admit to a mistake and never repeat it than to hide the mistake and continue repeating it. Write the undesirable suggestion and outcome in a notebook. These notes can be used later to draw future conclusions to avoid unpredictable outcomes.
5. Suggestion content should be thoughtfully prepared
Think about what should be said before it needs to be said. Run through conversations in the mind before attempting in reality. Write suggestions down on paper and use memorization techniques for better delivery. Preparedness is the most critical step for limiting undesirable suggestions and side effects.
6. Suggestion place and position are important
A successful suggestion is easier with planning around the location and people. Physical and mental barriers block the delivery of info between people. Use proximity to get within hearing distance without crossing a personal boundary. Sit near the people you like and position your body and head for communication.
7. Suggestion stillness and movement
Movement is a powerful tool to capture the gaze of people. Loosen your body and find a flow. Move enough to maintain attention while avoiding perpetual movements that cause uneasiness. Posture conveys a mental state. Being well-rested will help maintain a still and sturdy position while no movement is needed.
8. Suggestion balance
Balance is a key component. Suggestions derived from biased thinking are more prone to unpredictable side effects. On the flip side, well-researched suggestions are more likely to land better than more impromptu suggestions.
9. Suggest using reserved thinking strategies
Allow some time between suggestion conception and delivery. Practice in a comfortable environment to improve performance. Use previous notes to improve upon suggestions and predict unfavorable outcomes.
10. Suggestions should be done with a clear mind
A well-rested mind will be more mindful of all the details. Awareness is useful to notice clues about situational elements. If the suggester is not thinking clearly or is otherwise influenced in a way that could be destructive, suggesting is discouraged.
This post is all about suggesting. Listening is important as well. Send me a message on social media if I missed something. Thank you for reading and extra thanks to those providing writing improvements.