The Skill of being Artfully Vague

Steven Burns
A free video tutorial from Steven Burns
Founding Director of the Scottish Centre of NLP
4.6 instructor rating • 17 courses • 52,158 students

Lecture description

Been artfully vague is one the key skills in metaphor delivery.

In this lecture, Steven will explain this idea giving multiple examples. You will learn how to go from the "explicit" to the "implicit".


HYPNOTIC METAPHOR MASTERY: TRANSFORMATIONAL STORYTELLING

Learn more from the full course

Hypnotic Metaphor Mastery: Transformational Storytelling.

Create powerful change in others through hypnotic storytelling.

05:08:28 of on-demand video • Updated March 2021

  • Design high quality hypnotic metaphors that encourage profound change in others.
  • Effectively deliver high quality hypnotic metaphors that encourage profound change in others.
  • Listen to a client and pick up on the relevant details need to construct an effective hypnotic metaphor.
  • Use hypnotic storytelling to embed suggestions and ideas for change.
  • Use hypnotic storytelling from beginner level to advanced.
English [Auto] So and in this video would like to build on this idea of implicit communication and in particular I'd like to talk about this ability to be artfully vague. Most of what we're going to be covering on this training course is based on the work of the legendary hypnotherapist and psychotherapist Milton each. And amongst the many skills he had he was tremendous at being able to set a very clear and well-defined direction while at the same time be incredibly vague about how the client heads towards that direction. So he would set the direction he had a very strong idea of where he was heading. We would sprinkle in all kinds of ambiguity and vagueness. So the client could then start to attach their own meaning to what it was that he was seeing. And this is really important when it comes to implicit communication but also when it comes to the delivery and the design of view hypnotic metaphors because Milton would set them with his clients and he would let them talk about the problems and he would look at them quizzically and say that's really interesting. And I know all right. I know that you have a solution to that problem. It's just that you haven't connected with it at this stage. That solution is in the background of your experience. So I'm curious what it's going to be like for you at some stage in the future when you fully connected with that one thing that can make the biggest difference to this problem the situation that you're experiencing. What will your life be like looking back from this place having already connected with a solution and having moved beyond this problem and what really really said. There's been clear zayn behind that statement in that description but it's so ambiguous and so vague that the listener can then attach their own meaning to it. They can prove the and spent on it. It's a bit like if you were to go see a fortune teller and you sit down and if you can't you see I can see that you are clearly a person of pure potential and you're frustrated right now that you're not achieving the kinds of things that you would like to achieve. And I can tell that there are certain things in your life just know that you would like to let go of that you would later get rid of. And there are of course other things that you would like to bring into your life and experience more. And I can also see a man a man is important to you isn't he. And you would like to communicate more with that man right. No. Perhaps it's been a struggle in the past. And so and so forth. I'm not suggesting that some people don't have psychic abilities to be honest that's not up for me to decide. But fortunetellers Jianli use what we call Barnum's statements and these are very general very vague and ambiguous ideas words and phrases and then look for subtle cues in the person doing the reading with and then they'll use that feedback to start to go down that path. So the person be sitting there and thinking wow I am a person of pure potential. And I do have frustrations I'm not leaving the things I want to achieve. And there are things in life I want to get rid of. And there are things in life I want to include more of and I'm on. He must be talking about my dad who passed away five years ago. I would love to communicate with him. And again this may or may not be true. That may be the intention of the fortuneteller. It may not. But most of the time they are going for these big high level Barnham statements. Vagueness and ambiguity Sello let's not they attach their own meaning on it to put her own spin on it. But at the same time we are still ceding the direction. You're actually a very very small thing when you do hypnosis but also when you use hypnotic metaphor you want to design and deliver your hypnotic metaphors and do it in a way that does set a clear direction you want to create them by design. But at the same time you want to deliver them in a way that has enough ambiguity and nothingness so the listener can then put their own spin on it and attach that with meaning. And what that inevitably means is that most of the time you wouldn't really know how your metaphor is going to land. You can have a clear direction for that you can have a clear design and a lot of the terrain that will be the path that the person will go down. But a lot of the time it wouldn't be. And that's absolutely fine because that's a much more important way to work with someone. So let me give you a couple of examples of how this works. A few years ago during one of the life training courses I do with my business partner Brian Castello we were doing a session on hypnotic metaphors. So we decided to open up eight individual hypnotic metaphors each and then close them in reverse order. It's a very technical approach to metaphors called Mysti loops. No jueteng the storytelling Brian they say the to tell a story from Hardy Porter and it was a story about something called the Patronus charm. Now we have to be honest with you and say I've only seen two Harry Potter movies so I actually don't know what the PETROULIAS charm as I know a little bit about it just listening to blind students. I really need to get my -- in gear and watch the rest of the movies. A Scottish author as well what my thinking after the session again from the audience came up to us and said wow that was truly profound. She said you were speaking directly to me were you when you told that story about the Petronas charm you had me in mind didn't you. And she then went on to describe this incredibly profound and deep insight she got from the story and she said thanks so much for telling that story I it was designed for me. And you were speaking directly to me and I asked you and of myself and Brian kind of looked each other and there was a bit of a wry smile because we had no idea what she was talking about. The metaphor was actually designed for a different purpose and we had no idea what this performance was that she got. It made sense to her but it didn't make much sense to us. But at the end of the day who cares. That does not matter. And that's the beauty of metaphor. When you design them with a clear intention a clear direction but when you sprinkle an ambiguity and vagueness you just don't know how it's going to land and how it's going to affect someone. And that's absolutely fine. You can allow them to put their own spin on it that has their own meaning to it. To give you another quick example that this actually came from the same session when we were delivering these it's open loops each. And then McCool's them in reverse. They're doing the session. There was a gentleman in the front row. And every time we stopped the story and in started another one he would start to get really quite edited it looked on his face it was like he was starting to get really angry and really aggressive. That was the end of the session he came walking up to us and he was absolutely furious that this guy clearly walked out because he had some seriously big guns. So we were a little bit scared to have to be honest because it looked like he was going to punch us. So clearly we used all of our super advanced rapport skills to calm him down so we didn't try to kill us. And then eventually once he managed to come down then suddenly it facial expression changed and he said you know what. I've suddenly got a realization from what happened here. And then he started to share this really allophone story about how a couple of years ago it split up with his wife and things had been left open. You know we hadn't really resolved lots of different things and there was so much bottled up anger so much resentment. It was absolutely incredible. And actually because we were stopping stories short and in starting another one it was triggering off these feelings. And it shouldn't she was aware of this. Suddenly he started to see the potential solution. He realized that it was a problem because at the time he didn't realize it was a problem it was affecting him but it was in the background of his experience. So by telling this story it brought it from the back room to the Fortran's and all of a sudden when he looked at it actually I really need to let this go. And it helped her move towards some kind of resolution. So again this is just an example of where you can design a story you can have a clear intention a clear direction but you just don't know how it's going or lands because you've been artfully vague you writhing in ambiguity and sprinkling in the ignorance so that the listener can then take your story and improve their own spin on it. Attach meaning. And that's a wonderfully artful way of using metaphor. So just to finish off this video of late to tell you a quote that comes from an amazing book called The storytelling animal I will include details of it at the end of this course and the recommended reading list. And he says this orated of a story leaves them the words but they are in there. It's they need a catalyst to come to life. That catalyst is the reader's imagination. You want to craft your stories in a way that does take a person down a clear path but give them a license to on out to put on creative imagination and really start to make the story come alive and Saidie in mind so they can start to what we in the unconscious and become the thoughts become their realisation. So hopefully this helped -- your understanding of important communication and when you're ready to head off to the next video and we'll continue with the training course. See you shortly for that.