Make sure your communication doesn’t backfire

IScreen Shot 2014-12-16 at 8.42.46 AM had an experience just now.  Had to write about it.

I was in LinkedIn, checking things out, which I don’t do all that often.  I had 13 messages so I clicked to look through the link.  I had a message from one person that read, “what is it that you do?”

Ah! I thought!  This person is interested in my work.  Could be a lead, or a good connection of some sort.  “This person is interested in me,” is the gist of the  thought running through my mind as I click on the message to see what’s up.

Turns out the link takes me to her post which is all about her and what she does.  She bills herself as “An Experience Maker.”  Which leads me to wonder what it is that SHE does.

Then it dawns on me.  I’ve been duped! Fooled!  Tricked!  She used a carefully created phrase that she knew most people would interpret the way I did, and garner herself a lot of clicks to her blog post.  I’m sure she’s thinking, “wow, look at all these clicks.  All these people are learning who I am and finding out about me and what I do!”

What she doesn’t realize (or she wouldn’t have done this) is that people don’t LIKE to be made fools of.  And that now, whether they’re going to remember it consciously or not, their subconscious mind has created an association between a negative feeling (oh, I just got made a fool) and her name, her picture, and her marketing message.  This could backfire on her.  I wonder what the bounce rate is from that post (that’s how fast people realize they’ve not reached the content they thought they were going to see and click back away).  Even a fraction of a second, though, is long enough for the subconscious mind to record everything on that page and create the emotional link to a negative feeling.  She’s creating negative anchors in a good portion of the people who click through.

Might some reactions be different than mine?  Of course.  It’s going to depend on values.  There might be some people who share that value of being expeditious in getting what you want, (kind of greedy?) and say, “Wow! What a CLEVER way to trick people!  I can use this and get a bunch of clicks to my profile too!”  There may be some people who engage with her content, certainly.  But I would bet a fair number will respond as I did and feel a sense of disappointment and then feel duped.

My Dad, who as many of you know was a Master Social Worker who worked with what they then called juvenile delinquents in the Michigan Dept. of Corrections, was also a hypnotist, and from a number of things he said, I bet he had studied neurolinguisitc programming (NLP) as well, or something akin to it.  I remember him saying, when I was about 10 or 11 years old, that “the responsibility for your communication being understood in the way you intend is your responsibility as the communicator.”  That’s quite a mouthful and don’t ask me why that stuck with me as a 10 year old, but it did, and it’s been a guiding principle for me in crafting my own communication.  As a Master NLP Practitioner, I’m also very aware of the subconscious associations (or anchors) that are being formed, what feelings are being connected with me and my message.  And that’s a part of the meaning of your communication; a part most people aren’t aware is happening.  But it’s very powerful.

Have you ever encountered someone and immediately had an emotional response, either positive or negative?  Then something about that person reminds you of someone or something on a subconscious basis.  These emotional anchors are very real and are being formed all the time.  As conscious communicators, we need to be aware of what is being connected to us by those with whom we are communicating. I’ll give you an example.

Several years ago I was taking my Board exams to become a Board Certified Hypnotist.  This was an intense process for me.  You had to apply a year in advance, and there was a lot of material to study.  I studied that whole year.  You had to write a pretty intense paper. You had to sit for an oral exam and a 4 hour written exam.  So, I was pretty focused on making good impressions with the people responsible for scoring that oral exam and giving me a pass or fail on my Boards.  The day before the exams, they had a meeting for all the people taking the Boards.  This was in a conference room and was led by the fellow who was giving the oral exams, someone you definitely wanted to make a good impression on.  I sat up front, between 2 empty chairs, where I could make good eye contact, make a good impression and be recognized by the gentleman.  I was managing my non verbal messages, and part of that was managing my environment–how I was “framed” from his perspective. Ten minutes in, late and noisy, came this other student.  He came in, not quiet and apologetic, but disruptive and rude. He drew all attention to himself, and not in a good way.  The face of the proctor at the front of the room (who is a VERY proper English gentleman) showed clearly his immediate disdain (anchor!) with this fellow.  Who then came up and plopped himself down on the chair to my left, and actually flopped his briefcase on my legs! OK.  It only took a minute, as well, before this fellow was raising his hand and asking the RUDEST of questions.  There was still an empty chair to my right, and I had moved over to put visual distance between us.  I did NOT want to be captured in the visual association (anchor) of this fellow’s very big wake.  Toward the end of the meeting, the English gentleman disclosed that he would be the one proctoring the exams and making the decisions as to who would pass or fail.  At which point the fellow on my left gave out a loud groan and said, aloud, quite loudly….”I wish you’d told me that before I made an ass of myself!”  No kidding, true story (folks, you can’t make this up.)  I was so glad I had moved away from him and framed myself differently in front of the proctor.  I even leaned over, physically, visually and emotionally “distancing” myself from him.  And yes, I passed my Boards.


Wow, OK, this got to be a longer post.  As you craft your communications, whether they are written, on social media, in an email, verbally, or non verbal, practice being aware, what i call a “conscious communicator,”  and see what changes in the results of your communications!  Most of all, come from a place of RESPECT (which is what that LinkedIn message title was lacking, IMO) for yourself and others in your communications. Which you will always find here at ChangeWorks and the Midwest Hypnotherapy Academy, because I insist on it.

Happy Holidays!

Cindy Locher, BCH (yep, Board Certified Hypnotist, LOL!!!)