Interrupting Someone is Not Rude, It is Persuasive!

Has your mom or dad ever told you as a child to never interrupt someone while they are talking? Well I hate to be the one to say this to you, but they are dead wrong! A few years ago I was introduced to a very simple yet weird communication technique. Even though this technique is so easy to use, most people would shy away from using it. Pattern Interruption is a communication technique that many master persuaders use to confuse the mind of the person they are talking to.  I’m sure the first question that comes into your mind is: “Why would I want to confuse the mind of the person I’m talking to?”

Pattern Interruption

Wikipedia has a great explanation on what pattern interruption is exactly:

…a pattern interrupt is an action that changes a dynamic in a personal situation or relationship by making an unexpected change, resulting in a new, and hopefully more effective and beneficial, behavior…

Pattern interruption also blends in nicely with hypnotism and trance. This may sound funky and weird to you, but it’s actually as normal as anything else. The “pattern” is the  conversation or event that is taking place at that given time. The “interruption” is the new factor that comes into the picture that temporarily takes away the focus.

To understand how this works exactly, one must know a little bit about the subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is wired to automatically look for an answer to any questions you ask yourself. If you ask yourself, “Why am I so stupid,” your subconscious mind will look for an answer.

So when a person’s pattern is interrupted, their mind will begin to search for the answer to why and what is happening.

Let’s say you are convincing a client to buy your product. During your “spiel”, you decide to make ask a completely irrelevant question like, “hey did you see that show last night?”  This will catch them off guard and and your rapport will force them to answer. Then you continue with your conversation. Your client will begin to ponder about why you asked that question and what it has to do with what your talking about. Now instead of them being on the defense about what you are selling them on, their attention will be divided. Now it will become easier for you to persuade, influence, or convince this person to take action because of their lack of mental defense

Types of Pattern Interruptions

  • Hypnotic handshake: This is handshake you could use on highly suggestive people
  • Tonality: dramatically change the tone of voice for a brief second or two and you’ll find your prospect in confusion.
  • Facial Expressions: Like the example above about making a stupid and funny face
  • Visual Object: Imagine a door to door sales man selling vacuums You knock on the door and the customer answers. You say, “I am James with Super Clean Vacuums, and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I’m holding a bag full of dust and lint, aren’t ya?” Usually you won’t see a door to door sales person holding a bag full of dust and lint, because is out of one’s normal pattern. This will harness the power of the customers curiosity allowing you to take an advantage as far as creating rapport.
  • Random Sentences/Words: Talking about one thing and then bring up a completely off topic subject. Then proceed with the original conversation.

Implementing Pattern Interruptions for Beginners

Your biggest challenge with trying the pattern interruption pattern will be about your level of comfort. Here’s the simple way to start practicing.

  • Educe a conversation with your prospect.
  • Ask a question that has nothing to do with the conversation. Make sure the question will bring your prospect to a desired state (i.e. excitement)
  • Continue with your conversation
  • close or pursue your desired action

    Yes this is an overly simplified version of pattern interruption, but it will give you the basis on how pattern interruptions work.

    Can you remember a time when you unknowlingly used a pattern interpution? Has anyone used it on you?

    17 thoughts on “Interrupting Someone is Not Rude, It is Persuasive!

    1. Slaven Mandic

      “…You decide to make a stupid and funny face for a split second…”

      AJ, I love your blog and your advice on positive persuasion. But this one is just to wonky for my taste.

      In all honesty… have you ever done this to anyone?

      1. AJ Kumar Post author

        Yes I have done the face thing just recently, which is why I wrote it. However, I understand your point on this and I made it a more realistic example.

      2. Sayuri

        You already know those are good pitcrues, but I’m going to reaffirm how fantastic they are. I seriously just got a true perspective on how BIG the tower really is from your pics. I’ve obviously not been to Paris, so thank you for letting me live vicariously through you. : ) Ciao!

    2. Alexis

      A reaction to Slaven Mandic…I personally think it depends on the cultural background of the person you are talking to. For instance, making a stupid/funny face will “always” works if you are communicating with French people because they use this in their communication, also filled of big gestures, but, I swear, it will never work if you are communicating with Chinese people.

      So , Mr Kumar, I think you need a time to know and understand the person you are talking to. After all, you can not go for an interview and start immediately to use this method while you are negotiating salaries and other things.


    3. tom

      Personally, I am random at times where I am talking about one thing and then instantly switch over to something else and then back to the original thought.
      I see it as a way if I don’t say it now then I will forget it.

      I never thought it could be used in persuasion as a way to put the person in front of me off track.

      1. AJ Kumar Post author

        Good observation about yourself Tom. Many people do do it unknowingly, but the power lies in understanding it and doing it purposely.

    4. John Kooz

      YESSSSSSSSSS!!! Nice 1 Aj, including pattern interrupts and more NLP in your posts. excellent :D!!!!!!!!! Very cool insights! you’ve just reminded me even with a person’s best interests in mind (ensuring they think “happy thoughts” 😉 Interrupting them can be very positive in that dynamic. Interrupting a good pattern is destructive, sure, but interrupting a self-destructive pattern?? Well hey!!!!!!!!! That’s what coaches are for!!! My entire career revolves around interruption you just made me realize!!!!!! interrupting negative patterns and then installing massively successful and productive ones!! Excellent post!

    5. Salwa

      Excellent insightful post and I must say this is the first time I am hearing about this. From what you have written i can say that i have done this several time, but unknowingly, from now i will try and doing it purposely and see what happens! 🙂

      1. AJ Kumar Post author

        Being aware of subliminal persuasive tactics is what will take you from good to great. Your communication level will be sure to rise drastically.

    6. Ruth Greenwood

      This works. I know because I am also a songwriter, and it works in writing and in performance…catch people off-guard. It's as if they lose their balance, the balance being the usual constructs that control how they act, how they keep themselves acting according to pattern. Tilt them a little and they may fall for you….

    7. Pingback: conversation hypnosis

    8. Profitable Forex Signals

      What I adore about blogs is which they spark an concept in my brain. When that happens, I feel as I require to comment using the hope it may be interesting to some people. Simply because you will find lots of blogs and forums with numerous points of view, they question your comprehension. It is at these moments when you’ve important insignt other individuals might not have had, together with the blogger him/herself. I find myself coming back again to to your writings only simply because you’ve a number of very great insights and also you have been at this a very long time, that is really inspiring and tells me you know your stuff. Maintain triggering imagination in others!

    9. Pingback: Photography interputions | AfricanAuthentic

    10. iulina

      some time ago was my favourite trik.But in time, I begun ask myself if is not a way to distract other people but also me?I was afraid that they posible think about me that I am superficial, or I do not atend my full atention to theyr problem or issue.

    11. Bob Beth

      I struggle so much with this one, particularly when I get excited about the conversation. Sometime, somewhere, someone taught me that “Active Listening” i.e. interrupting to show that you are listening, was a good practice. Oops, turns out it wasn’t. The wisdom from Richard Carlson of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff book series and the companion Don’t Sweat Mediation app, in the original book, Chapter 7 titled “Don’t Interrupt Others or Finish Their Sentences” does a great job of explaining why interrupting others is unpleasant for them AND more work and stress for you. I’m a work in progress.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *