Indirect elicitation literally means getting a specific response without overtly asking for that response.  Direct elicitation is often seen as being very blunt or authoritarian, whereas indirect elicitation is a way of softening up your communication.

Indirect elicitation patterns elicit a desired response indirectly; asking for an outcome without making it obvious that a) you are asking and b) there is a desired outcome.

Embedded Commands:
Commands that are softened up by the sentence around them.

Example: “And as you listen to my voice, you begin to relax even more.”
Example: “By relaxing more deeply you can feel more confident in yourself.”

Considerably different to:

“Listen to my voice. Relax even more. Feel more confident in yourself.”

Analogue Marking:
Embedded commands are particularly powerful when setting the command apart from the rest of the sentence using some form of marker. This could be the volume or pitch of your voice, by pausing before and after the command, by moving or gesturing (tapping out the point on a table for example) whilst speaking the command.

Example: “And as you. Listen. To. My. Voice. You begin to. Relax. Even. More.”

Embedded Questions:
Questions, like commands, can be embedded in a larger sentence. This can cause a listener to answer the question more easily, or more honestly, or more positively, because it was not asked directly.

Example: “I’m wondering if you have considered hypnotherapy in the past?”
Example: “I’m curious if you have considered trying other suppliers for this product?”

Considerably different to:

“Have you considered hypnotherapy in the past?”
“Have you considered trying other suppliers for this product?”

Negative Commands:
Commands given in the negative form will cause the listener to at least think about the command. You have to at least think about the negatively stated command for it to make sense.

Example: “Don’t relax just yet.”
Example: “I don’t want you to think about which one you’ll buy until you’ve seen the full range.”

Conversational Postulates:
These are simply yes/no questions that elicit a desired reaction, rather than a literal answer. You are using “can you”, or “do you” instead of “will you” or “would you”.

Example: “Do you have the time?”

Here, the answer will not be “yes, thanks!” You are actually asking, “Will you tell me the time?” and presupposing that they will react by telling you the time.

Example: “Do you know what is on TV tonight?”
Example: “Can you take a deep breath and relax?”
Example: “Can you see the different options available to you?” (Here, the answer will not be “yes, thanks!” but rather they will actually consider the options you have just given them.)

Ambiguities can be understood in more than one way. This means that the listener has to actively participate in creating the meaning of the message, making it more likely that the meaning of the message will appropriate to the listener. Nominalisations are a great example of this.

Ambiguity can also cause confusion and disorientation, which can lead to a mild state of trance and cause the person to listen more carefully.

Phonological Ambiguity.
Particularly effective when used in conjunction with metaphor:

Window pane/physical pain; write/right/rite; insecurity/in security etc.

There are also words which have several meanings, despite being pronounced and spelt the same: Left, duck, down, light, etc.

Syntactic Ambiguity.
Occurs when a sentence without a referential index is used in conjunction with a transitive verb (plus “ing”), placing it before a noun:

Example: “They were milking sheep.” (Was it that somebody was milking sheep, or are the sheep a breed known as “milking sheep”?)
Example: “We were studying students.” (Was it that we were involved in studying a group of students, or are we students that were studying?)

Scope Ambiguity.
Where it is unclear how much of the sentence an adjective, verb or adverb applies to:

Example: “They went with the charming men and women.” – Were the men charming, or the men AND women charming?

Punctuation Ambiguity.
Two sentences placed together which end and begin on the same word.

Example: “As we have discussed everything I will conclude that things will be brighter for yourself, and they will be.”
Example: “I’m speaking clearly to make sure that you can hear you are, in the process of…” (This example is also a phonological ambiguity).

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