Where Did Sleight of Mouth Come From?
Sleight of Mouth is a result of the methodology of NLP being applied to NLP, or, more properly, to Richard Bandler’s debate skills. NLP grew out of Bandler and Grinder analyzing and codifying the methods of Milton Erickson, Gregory Bateson, Virginia Satir and others.
Robert Dilts applied this same methodology to Bandler’s own unique way with people. In his NLP Certification courses, Bandler would challenge participants to use their newly acquired skills to persuade him that a belief system adopted for the occasion (eg.”I can’t see the curve, therefore the world is flat.”) was wrong.
As hard as they tried, Bandler was always able to field an army of responses to turn their “logical” arguments around. Dilts was impressed with this and then fascinated to find that he was beginning to discern the patterns Bandler used. Dilts systemized the patterns into specific categories and developed an elegant mind map of them, which makes it wonderfully easy and fun to use.
As an example, if someone were to say to you,”Since I have too many responsibilities, I can’t get to the gym and work out,” you would immediately recognize this syllogism as being perfect for a Sleight of Mouth treatment. The syllogism is A=B, a “complex equivalence.” Statement A, “Too many responsibilities,””means”(=) statement B, “I can’t work out.” Now that might be true, but it’s not necessarily true.
For your reply you could use the Sleight of Mouth pattern called “Redefine” and say, “It’s not that you have too many responsibilities, it’s that you have disorganized activities.” (redefining the word “responsibilities” in statement A) or “It’s not that you can’t work out, you can’t work out how to put yourself and your needs first.” (redefining “work out” in statement B).
Another Pattern you could use is the one called “Hierarchy of Criteria.” Using this pattern you could ask, “Isn’t it more important to take care of your self and your health than to be so micro-managing?”