Ep #51 Tongue Fu or Black Belt of Tongue: Sleight of Mouth
Play • 49 min

In 1980, Robert Dilts modeled the patterns of such esteemed communicators as Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Milton Erickson, Plato, and Socrates (to name a few.)  These individuals were superb at influencing belief systems and effectively persuading with these quick verbal reframes. Dilts called these language patterns Sleight of Mouth, named after sleight of hand from artful and crafty card magicians. These patterns have a magical quality when used and can produce dramatic shifts in perception.

 Sleight of Mouth is a system of language patterns for persuasion and conversational belief change.  They set off a chain reaction to unravel beliefs and help the listener shift perspectives. They are verbal reframes that influence beliefs and the mental maps they come from. There are approximately 14 patterns.

For the NLP student, Purpose of Sleight of Mouth Patterns: 

 Shift or reframe the various elements of a belief which make up the meaning or Cause-Effect of the beliefs to widen and enrich a person’s map of the world. The outcome is to open the belief to doubt and open the belief to something more empowering.

 What are some examples?


 What other meaning could this have? What is another word for one of the words used in the belief statement that means something similar but has more positive implications?

Pattern of Speech: It’s not that I am (you are)………….. It’s that …………………. or  It means…


Finding an example that does not fit the relationship defined by the belief. What is an example or experience that is an exception to the rule defined by the belief?

Pattern of Speech: Haven’t there been times… or Can you think of other ways…. or It is hard for me to find/think… or It is difficult for me to find/think….


What are the higher criteria?  Apply the higher criteria to the current statement. What is a criterion that is potentially more important than those addressed by the belief that has not yet been considered?

Pattern of Speech: Which do you think is more important……..? or ….more important….

More episodes on Sleight of Mouth to come.

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