NLP Technique: Pattern Interruption

NLP Technique: Pattern InterruptionPattern interruption is an effective NLP technique for storing key words into a listener's unconscious mind. This can be combined with other NLP techniques such as anchoring for some excellent party tricks, or to give someone a message that for reasons unknown to them appears very heart-felt or significant.

Pattern interruption works by luring the listener's inner monologue or even their pure unconscious train of thought into a pattern or sequence. When that pattern is established, you then jolt them out of that pattern at a critical moment before the pattern completes. This leaves the listener's unconscious mind waiting for the next part of the pattern to occur, while their conscious mind is distracted.

So what exactly is Pattern Interruption?

Let's use an analogy. Say you had an old man who has a pet dog to do all his actions for him. The old man represents our conscious mind and the dog represents the unconscious mind. The man (conscious) makes the decisions, and the dog (unconscious) performs various necessary actions for that man.

Step one. We ask the old man for a sandwich. The man then asks his dog to go get some bread, slice some cheese, put it on a plate, and bring to me.

Follow me so far?

Step two. We ask the old man for another sandwich. The man then gives his dog the same sequence of commands. The dog gets the bread, slices the cheese, puts it on the plate, and SLAP! We slap the man in the face and ask him to do a dance. Before the dog has been given the final command for the sandwich (bring to me) the pattern has been interrupted and new commands given.

The old man (conscious mind) being far less clever than to dog (unconscious mind) has forgotten all about that final stage of the sandwich pending. But the dog has not forgotten. The dog cannot speak to the man, but is thinking "what about the command 'bring it to me' which I still haven't done yet?" The dog will keep thinking of this last command for quite awhile.

Step three. If I'm mean, I can ask the old man to give me his wallet. The man might ask his dog "hey dog, I'm thinking about giving you a command to bring my wallet to me. I'm not sure, is "bring it to me" something you would normally do?"

The dog might say "well yes, I've been waiting to a command like that." And the dog will bring me the wallet.

This is a very crude example of pattern interruption. This exact example obviously won't work, but the NLP technique itself is very potent. As I mentioned somewhere else on, I've seen footage of world famous mentalist Derren Brown use pattern interruption to talk a complete stranger into giving him their wallet in 20 seconds flat. He did combine the pattern interruption with a few other NLP techniques, but pattern interruption played a crucial role.

Next NLP Technique: Swish

Further Reading: Regions of the Brain