Recently I attended a full day introductory seminar for a well known marketer, promoting her skills and services in training small business people on getting free publicity through well written Press/Media Releases. With an offer of two tickets for $97 for the day (your lunch was extra) and a great reputation in her industry, I knew there would be an “up-sell” sometime later in the day.
What was I expecting – at this full day seminar?
You would have to be very naive indeed to expect to get all the “secrets” of her extensive experience without having to pay a reasonable price for her services and expertise and the truth is the workbook provided and the discussions during the day gave value far above the initial entry price. I learned some very important information about the publishing business during the day and was happy to say so, on Facebook and Twitter as the day progressed.
I gave serious consideration to taking up the offer for her professional services – but it was just a little outside my current budget at the time.
But, at the end of the day, I posted this:
“Really enjoyed the day, learned lots and met some awesome people. Definitely think xxxxx really knows her stuff. Just didn’t enjoy the last ten minutes “
So, what happened?
To close the event, the presenter offered her audience a final “bonus” from her and her crew. The lights were dimmed, music began to play and she began to speak – inviting us to “feel ourselves in the present. The air on our hands, the floor under our feet,” etc.
Within a few minutes, even as an unwilling participant, I noticed the changes in my physiology. My breathing pattern altered. My sense of hearing changed and I was being “invited” to visualise the colour of success and then to envelope myself and my life within it.
What was happening? I was virtually being hypnotised, as was everyone else in the room. It was done without warning of the process or intent; without permission, at the end of a very long day when I was tired and it made me very angry!
As I posted on Facebook:
I don’t care for hypnotherapy and NLP “stuff” being done as a “bonus” at the end of a day’s work, without warning. I was too polite to get up and walk out, but I shut my mind, gritted my teeth and left angry. It made me feel as though I was being manipulated.
Disappointing end for me to a very positive day. Especially when it was announced as a “free bonus”; and I could initially feel the changes in my breathing etc before I shut it down. I came home angry and almost took it out on my Dad – when it was nothing at all to do with him.
My Facebook posts triggered some very interesting replies:
* I am with you Lesley, I know arc up at up selling like that these days. I think it is getting old, so “last year”
* Warning would have been good in case anyone was opposed. Didn’t worry me but I had a migraine and my brain was full. Had a fun day helping others. One if my guests left as it was too slow to start for them. It was a long day but the core was gold. Long intro could be condensed but that is the style if many speakers. Did you provide feedback on your views?
To this one, I replied as follows:
I will do xx – but not at the time. I was quite distressed when it came time to leave. I agree the core was gold and really considered their offer. Maybe at a future event. But I hate feeling manipulated.
Another response was this one:
“I also have strong views on NLP I believe it is often misrepresented and also misnamed, Should be NLM Neuro Linguistic Manipulation. I & my then wife walked out of a presentation in Melbourne some years ago, when we got to the exit door a man told me “You can’t leave” I said try and stop me and we left feeling thoroughly disgusted and sadly we allowed our anger to surface spoiling what had promised to be an interesting, in a pleasant way, evening.”
to which I replied:
“Yes, it is also distressing because as in your case, I got angry and we feel we have let ourselves down when we allow that to happen.
Then, we question what was really in the underlying subconscious message that triggered such a primal response.
What really triggered our “fight or flight” response? That’s what really makes us angry – at the conscious level – knowing someone is trying to manipulate us for their own purpose, without us (supposedly) being aware of it.”
I have experienced and used Hypnotherapy, visualisation and NLP practices in the past.
I have no problems with these as a chosen practice. I tried Hypnotherapy for pain relief when I had a frozen shoulder (which didn’t work). Telling my subconscious to drift down into a field of daffodils had no effect, when what I really needed was a cortisone shot in the shoulder (which did do a lot of good). Later, I had Chinese massage and acupuncture which was excellent and finally fixed the problem.
I hate having “mind games” sprung on me, in the guise of a “bonus”.
If you know it’s coming, or it’s what you go for, fine.
I have used subliminal CD programmes, based on the book “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” to help me overcome a serious paranoia about heights. I couldn’t stand on a chair to change a light bulb at one time. Now, you can’t keep me on the ground or out of helicopters.
But this time, the moment I felt my breathing change and other things start happening in my body, frankly I wanted to stand up and scream. I KNEW there were messages my conscious mind was not hearing, in that deceptively “calming” music. Very disturbing!
What left the sour taste in my mouth, this time? It was the non-disclosure that really rankled me – because I know how powerful NLP can be – especially on the unwary or uneducated.
So, What Did I Do?
I expressed my concerns on Facebook and found I was not alone in feeling this was not an acceptable practice. There was agreement with my expressed view that there was “Some excellent stuff in the workshop; but took way too long (9:30 to 6:30) to present; no problems with real life testimonials but have to question how a $22k value can be offered for $3k if you buy it now.”
On Facebook, I recalled that I haven’t always been so charitable to a presenter.
I actually got up and waltzed out ( from the middle of the front row) at a National Conference when Sam Leon started telling his THIRD sexist joke. I spoke to the stage and said “this is sexist 80’s crap and I’ll be back when you show women some respect”. As the highest selling female insurance agent for the company, three years running, it was a total insult to me and every other woman in the room. I was not going to just sit there and be demeaned – as a woman. I heard later the guy totally lost it and couldn’t properly finish his presentation.
I decided to blog my experience and see how others feel about the practice. Why? Because I have friends who are NLP practitioners, for whom I have a great deal of respect. I believe they use their skills well, helping people who need to overcome underlying issues in their lives.
In conclusion to this personal post, it is not my intention to try to explain NLP in great detail – because I am not an NLP Practitioner and have not undertaken any NLP training. However, as I have already said, I have used NLP practices to overcome issues I have had of my own, with great success.
In the context of my distinct discomfort at the seminar and to write this article, I have done some additional research on the topic.
The compelling facts are these:
Richard Bandler (who created the currently accepted process of NLP) classifies NLP as “High Tech Hypnosis”. I have viewed some of his videos; read some of his articles and found this on a website which details much information about NLP, and specifically about it being used in selling:
When I think about NLP sales techniques, this quote always comes to mind:
“People like to be persuaded, they just don’t like when it’s done badly” – Richard Bandler
NLP offers a set of powerful tools that can literally transform your selling abilities.
NLP was initially founded with a therapeutic intent. However, it was soon discovered that it offered a powerful set tools that could be applied to persuasion, specifically the field of sales. When the following list (not included here) of NLP related skill sets is applied it can transform your sales results.
I have every intention of using NLP where it is beneficial for me, in changing behaviours that need to be modified. But the time and occasion will be of my choosing and for my defined outcome.
(c) Lesley Dewar 2013 until current