Sleight of Mouth | what is?

Sleight of Mouth are reframing patterns used as persuasive tools to help strengthen beliefs as well as to change them. Moreover, it’s a tool you can effectively use to help you respond to people in more effective ways.

There are 18 known patterns that are sub divided into four basic types including:

  1. Change Meaning
  2. Change Cause
  3. Comparisons
  4. Change Logical Level

Read more: Understanding Sleight of Mouth

Here is an example of how to use Sleight of Mouth when your boss calls you into his/her office to scold you for being late once again (provided by Doug O’Brien):

You’re being late shows that you don’t care about the job.

Using Sleight of Mouth techniques you can respond in the following ways:

  • Reality strategy: How do you know lateness and caring are the same thing?
  • Model of the world: Some people believe caring is shown by quality of the job done and the results obtained.
  • Counter example: We all know people who are always on time and yet are goof-offs once they get here.
  • Intent: My intention is not to be late or uncaring but to give you the best quality time and highest productivity while I’m here
  • Redefine: I wasn’t late, I was delayed in traffic
  • Chunking up: Are you saying the most important aspect of my job is showing up on time?
  • Chunking down: How specifically are lateness and not caring the same thing?
  • Metaphor or analogy: If a surgeon is late for dinner because he is saving a life, does that mean he doesn’t care about his wife’s cooking?
  • Another outcome: The real question isn’t whether I’m late or I’m caring. The real question is how much I’m producing for the company.
  • Consequence: If I wasn’t late I wouldn’t have been able to close the sale while I was at a breakfast meeting.
  • Hierarchy of Criteria: Isn’t it more important to focus on how much the person gives while on the job rather than punctuality?
  • Apply to self: Gosh, I wish you’d cared enough about me to tell me this sooner.
  • Changing frame size: Over time, you’ll see I brought in more business in a timely fashion for the company than all of the people who showed up to work on time.
  • Meta frame: Lots of progressive companies are working with flex time for their high producers. I thought you were a forward thinking manager.

As you can see, the Sleight of Mouth technique gives you a wide variety of options when it comes to stating your case and persuading the other person that being late to work is actually not such a big deal. 🙂

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