This is a break from the norm, not a technology article, unless you consider NLP to be a technology.

Austerity in Europe and America has many negatives, and the growing misuse of the word ‘Entrepreneur’ for multi level marketeers is one of them.

I have never had exposure to Neuro-linguistic programming, but now I have, let me tell you how it works (from my experience), and signs to look for:

  1. Iconography
  2. Negative sounding messages (that are really positive reinforcement)
  3. Unannounced speaker
  4. Disjointed presentation
  5. Multiple reflection / returning to the icons
  6. Notable resistance becomes agreement – change in participants reactions

Some of those points relate particularly to NLP employed as part of a multi level marketing sell.

That was my context, and I provide some detail next.

1 & 2: Iconography and Negative Sounding Messages

The image ( a currency symbol £ / $ / € ) is introduced within the first 5 or 10 minutes, and features prominently.

That symbol will probably be in the centre of the first / second page, and be large in comparison to other text.

This will be part of a negative message – here is an example

I was chasing the £s, but I was not happy

The introduction early for this negative message is key, because what is actually happening is, you are being moved away from the goal (rejection), in order that you strongly associate with the goal later on.

3 & 4: Unannounced speaker / Disjointed presentation

NLP is a feedback technique and requires participation and adaptability on the part of the presenter.

So a presentation that is employing NLP might seem less planned than a typical presentation. This is easy to explain away if the presentation is described as ‘last minute’, or the presenter says they are really keen on participation, rather than a typical serial approach.

There are fishing elements, similar to what you might expect from TV Clairvoyant

mediums who do cold readings “fish, suggest possibilities, make educated guesses and give options”

Quote from Wikipedia – Mediumship

Some of the disjointedness / participation is the presenter fishing for themes on which to play as part of NLP – Bereavement, Divorce, and others.

5: Multiple reflection / returning to the icons

The ‘my story’ part of the presentation is often followed by a reflection where the presenter returns to the first / second page which features the prominent icon(s)

If this is a typical ‘my story’ then it starts with ‘I was down / broke’ and finishes with the successful outcome – multi level marketing in my case

Then the £ sign reappears as the presenter flicks back to the first page.

A childlike description of the sequence might be:

bad icon, unhappiness, what I did, how the company saved me, good icon*

*Although the final ‘good icon’ is not overt – the ‘I was chasing the £s’ is never consciously contradicted, although the icon use has now been placed in a different context

6: Notable resistance becomes agreement – change in participants reactions

Subconsciously, participants know that something is unusual, although they often don’t know what in real time.

So there is resistance / an unsettled feeling on the part of some. This is later followed by quietness / lack of vocal opposition as acceptance sets in.

A strong NLP practitioner will go beyond lack of opposition, and participants who showed resistance, may actually start to be vocal in support of the presenter.

(you will know if you are in a room and this happens – believe me)

Further notes:

NLP might include associating icons, so there may well be unobvious associations that go a bit like this:

A moment where the presenter says ‘I like smiley faces’ and then draws a smiley face. This will somehow be linked to the behavior they have just described / or the main icons they have introduced earlier.

Remember in NLP, most of the stuff which is given out as low key / insignificant is usually being employed as part of a subliminal program.

The smiley face can also be a useful feedback mechanism, as with infectious yawning, it can help the NLP practitioner select the most pliable of the participants.

You will be encouraged to clap at the end. Sometimes participants are left a bit stunned by the NLP technique, so a helper / assistant might prompt the clapping.

NLP – the positives?:

Rather than state hard opinions here, I will just present alternative scenarios where it might be felt that NLP is less damaging than cult like Multi Level Marketing schemes

  • NLP as part of smoking cessation care package
  • NLP as part of drug misuse treatment plan
  • NLP as part of rehabilitation of criminal behaviour

In those contexts, is NLP use a positive tool?

The view that NLP should not be employed on the vulnerable (addicts, recently released prisoners) is quite a strong argument also.

Your own social group and wider society needs to form an opinion on this.

What to do if you have been NLP’d

  • Leave the group / meeting situation as soon as is convenient.
  • Talk to somebody and explain what did not feel right about the meeting
  • Consult your partner / family and any other support network outside the group you just left.
  • Try to avoid going to sleep immediately*

*NLP works on your subconscious, and even though you might feel a little sleepy (like post hypnosis), immediate sleep may well allow unchallenged reinforcement of the presenters message.

Once you have talked to your partner / family and put the programming in a safer context – perhaps talking about the key points from the meeting and gauge reactions of trusted family, sleep as usual.

The Scam index – a couple of questions for the wildly successful presenter:

  • If you are earning thousands a month, then why can you not afford email at your own domain name? does not sit right.
  • If you are earning enough to drive a flashy sports car and flaunt your wealth, then surely you would already have gone beyond hiring church halls, and would have your own business premises?

On a final note, I explain what I meant by ‘the misuse of the word Entrepreneur’:

In studies of several of the largest multi level marketing schemes, the evidence suggests that 90% of the participants make no income whatsoever.

In a typical large multi level marketing scheme of 10,000 agents

  • 9,000 of those agents will make no money at all.
  • 990 of those agents will make an income that is at a level typical of a blue collar worker
  • 10 of those agents will make a huge income but it will *take a decade to get there.

*There have been some pyramid / multi level marketing schemes that did survive that long, however most will not.

If you think you are the top 10 in a pool of 10,000 then you will not need a scheme to launch your own wildly successful business $

( $ There are many other franchising opportunities out there if you feel you can only be an elite businessperson through a pre-configured template. )

If you think you could be above 9,000 of those 10,000 agents, then why not just work in a factory from the outset.

(In the UK even those fairly elite 990 very hard working marketeers will not earn more than they could working in a cake factory.)

Wikipedia is as good a place as any to start in your own research

Or alternatively just websearch for ‘multi level marketing scheme zero income’ and start reading.

Apologies if the ‘fat friend’ reference in the title offends – It was meant to grab your attention, but refers to a network TV show in the UK