The Swish Pattern that Doesn’t Work

I was looking over my notes from the NLP Certification seminar and I notice that Harlan had said that the Swish Pattern doesn’t work in copy.

I didn’t know what the swish pattern was so I Googled it and found that Derren Brown did a routine with it. He does one useful thing for the person and then plays a trick on her using the same technique. The embedding has been disabled for this video so the url is:

The way a swish pattern works is to switch one mental construct for another. In the video you’ll see one thing that’s certain in her mind switched (swished) with something that’s fuzzy. Other definitions of the swish pattern talk about rapidly switching one picture with another until the new one sticks.

The application to copy is that you have to take incremental steps to be effective. You can’t start out telling someone that red is black and yellow is red. But if you start with a blue green color and change a little at a time, you’ll get results. If you can help someone see things in a new light and let them think it’s an idea they came up with, you’ll get even better results.

[EDIT 8/2/08]: I’ve noticed a number of people find this post through searching for “swish pattern.” If you’re looking for info on that, see this SWISH PATTERN PROTOCOL.

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