criteria in NLP and hypnosis

Criteria: To Die For

criteriaMeta Programs tell us how people sort and filter information. If you want your communication to reach people easily, matching their criteria and meta programs is a powerful way to do it. In other words, you’ll speak their language! In this piece, Part II of my series on motivational direction sort, we’ll take a look at towards/away motivation and how using that sort and linking it to criteria can supercharge the power of your persuasion and keep you from falling flat with your persuasion and therapeutic efforts (Part I, Persuade With Pleasure Or Pain, is here).

People that are largely ‘toward’ motivated, are excited about what they’ll get when they reach their goals. People who are ‘away’ motivated, are moved to act by what they’ll lose if they don’t act. Most people are a mixture and it can change by context. You can be away motivated about exercise and toward motivated about balancing your checkbook. Use the wrong type of motivational language and you’ll fall flat with that person.

If you want to motivate a person who is away motivated about exercising, you’d talk about how they’ll avoid health problems and looking unfit. For toward motivation, you’d talk about how exercising will energize them and create health (or whatever their particular criteria are for exercising).

Criteria: A Key To Powerful Motivation

Speaking of criteria, they are key to just about any persuasion or therapeutic effort. Criteria are the reason why; the emotion behind our actions. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” Well, he was half right. They don’t fight for the ribbon, but for what the ribbon means. It’s an emotion. Perhaps pride. When criteria are important enough, people will even sacrifice their lives to have them. You might move mountains for love, fight for freedom, or work for years for a sense of accomplishment.

When you correctly combine towards/away motivation with criteria, your persuasive and therapeutic powers go through the roof.

In the previous article, I talked about how to find out if a person is ‘toward’ or ‘away’ in a particular context. Now, let’s find out how to figure out what their criteria are…

How To Elicit criteria

Whatever the goal, you simply ask, “What’s important to you about that?” And you keep asking that until you get an answer that’s a positive emotion. It’s a good idea to use the criteria in a solution for the problem. When they’re visualizing their goal, or when you’re delivering suggestions, include it.

For example, if a client says, “I want to stop biting my nails,” you ask, “What’s important to you about stopping biting your nails?” The client might say, “I get anxious and I bite my nails.” That didn’t answer your question. So, you say, “You get anxious and you bite your nails. You want to stop. I’m curious, what’s important to you about stopping biting your nails?” Client: “I’d feel so much better if I stopped.” You: “Can you put a name on that feeling?” Client: “Peacefullness.” That’s a criterion.

When you’re having the client visualize their goal, or when you’re delivering suggestions, it’s a good idea to include that criterion. “As you look down at your neat, even nails, a feeling of peacefulness washes into every cell of your body.”

How Would You Do It?

Let’s suppose the client’s goal is to have neat, even nails and they are away motivated. Tell me in the comments below, how you would word an hypnotic suggestion, using their away from motivation and their criteria.


About The Author:

Keith Livingston is the main instructor for Hypnosis 101. Keith has been studying hypnosis since he was a boy and doing hypnosis & NLP training since 1997.

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  1. And as you now feel how smooth and even your nails are, you can breathe peacefully knowing the jagged ugly nails you used to have are in the past!

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