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?”
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?