Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence

These were my favorite passages from Shelle Rose Charvet’s book.

“You pay attention to how people talk when they answer, rather than what they talk about. Even when a person does not answer the question directly, they will reveal their pattern by the manner in which they answer (or don’t).”

“You pay attention to how people answer, instead of what they say. In this way, after asking a few simple questions, you can determine what will trigger and maintain someone’s motivation and how they internally process information.”

“If they don’t have opportunities to use their high level of energy, they will become frustrated or bored, and as a result may use their initiative in unproductive ways. You can motivate them by giving them a job to do and telling them to “Go for it.” You may need to remind them to think before they jump.”

“When in a Reactive Pattern, people do not believe that they control their world. Chances are that they will be waiting for someone else to solve problems or make improvements for them.”

“When she guessed he was more Reactive, she changed her approach: “I found some info about a cheap weekend getaway in Majorca and I was wondering if we might like to do it. I am sending you the information so you can think it over and let me know.” He called back in an hour and said “Yes.””

“Reactive buyers on the other hand, need more time and may be more likely to buy when the product or service allows them to gain understanding. They will often be waiting for something to happen before making a decision. I went to see the CEO of a company that sells mutual funds.”

“I used that phrase to match his belief that things happen to him. Reactive people will be more likely to buy if you suggest that this is what they have been waiting for, or “Haven’t you waited long enough to get what you really want?” or “Once you have this, you’ll understand why …”

“You may have noticed NIKE’s slogan: “Just do it.”, which is a call to action for Proactive folks.”

“we realized that the ideal clients are those who get information and use it right away and make decisions quickly. Those who need to think things about for a longer time, tend not to be the ones who are likely to try out the communication and influencing strategies in the program and therefore won’t get as much benefit.”

“However, if the product or service were investment opportunities, the ideal clients might need to thoroughly understand before buying. This would avoid buyer’s remorse and unhappy customers because the Reactive clients are more likely to allow a financial advisor to take the initiative. More Proactive clients can become difficult to work with because as soon as they read, see or hear about something that interests them, or a problem, they want to jump on it right away, which may not be good for them in the long term.”

“Proactive: Acts with little or no consideration. Motivated by doing. Reactive: Motivated to wait, analyze, consider and react.”

“something they are excited about in a given Context. In any family, each of you knows the others’ negative hot buttons. The other members of your family know that if they say a particular word or phrase, you will react in a certain way.”

“To solve this problem, and, to show someone you have understood them, play back their key words, their Criteria.

Other questions to elicit Criteria: What do you want in . . . (a job, a home, a spouse, etc.)? What’s important to you? What counts? What has to be there? What would you like to have, be or do? What would have to happen in this project to meet all your needs?

“This is a way of helping people get their mind, soul, and body to decide. When you create a tangible, forced-choice situation, people will feel magnetically attracted to one option or the other.”

“I have noticed some cultural differences that may make it hard for some people to play along and choose which Criterion attracts them. In a culture where there is a belief that you can have anything you truly want (i.e., the United States), there is no problem in choosing.”

Many cultures, however, do not maintain this belief. In fact, many people do not believe that life is about getting what you want. Life is about doing what you are supposed to do. The reason they cannot choose between Criteria is they believe that what they may want is irrelevant to what they are supposed to do. The weight of outside considerations is greater than their desires. When this is an issue in a group, we discuss what makes for good decisions.’

person can be unburdened from their cares and obligations and, just for a moment, consider what appeals to them, they get the chance to sort out what is important to them. Then they can consider and negotiate with their external commitments.

what must it have? If you are considering getting married, what are the most important things for you in the person and the relationship? Remember that, when you change Context, your Criteria may change.

“In the process of goal-setting, you need to list the Criteria for success, and understand which are more important. We know that those people who have clearly defined Criteria for their goals are more likely to achieve them quickly. By defining your Criteria, you will have made them real and tangible to yourself.”

“My approach was first to connect with him as person, avoid directly confronting his point of view, look for areas of agreement (Criteria), and explain myself without attempting to convert him to my viewpoint. I was delighted that he also zoomed out to look at the big picture with a wish for more consensus in the future. This dialogue is in stark contrast to typical conflicts of values on social media,”

“The gathering of someone’s Criteria is a necessary prerequisite for sales and any kind of influencing or persuading process.”

“Many market researchers investigate people’s Criteria so that the exact phrasing of an advertising campaign can match what is most important to the groups they wish to influence. If you want to get and keep someone’s interest, you will need to link what you are proposing with their Criteria.”

You will need to be careful to deliver what you promise when you use someone’s Criteria to persuade them. Otherwise their disappointment and anger will most likely be directed at you. Criteria are verbal Triggers that bring up emotions, both positive and negative.

“People with a Toward pattern in a given Context are focused on their goal. They think in terms of what they want, goals to be achieved. They are motivated to have, get, achieve, attain, and so on. Because of their concentration on the end goals to be accomplished, they tend to be good at managing priorities.”

“Deadlines, for example, get these people into action. People with an Away From pattern in a given Context are good at troubleshooting, solving problems, and pinpointing possible obstacles during planning, because they automatically pick up on what is or could be going wrong.”

“Note: Listen to what a person says after the word because. It will either be a Toward or an Away From statement.

“Alternate Questions: What’s the point? Why bother? What’s important about X? What’s in that for you?”

Let’s say someone has a Toward pattern in a Context and has all kinds of habits that probably are not good for his health. Then he has a heart attack and what happens? Because the heart attack was a very nasty yet compelling experience, he may change Direction and begin moving away from health problems. He might change his behavior, quitting smoking, doing more exercise, changing his diet, and so on, because he does not want to have another heart attack. Some addiction treatment programs work on that basis.

“The rapport that you establish will be deeper because you have matched how the person thinks; you will not have to spend a lot of time to get on the same wavelength. Because you have established rapport, you can avoid a lot of misunderstandings.”

“Toward attain; obtain; have; get; include; achieve; enable you to; benefits; advantages; here’s what you would accomplish Away From won’t have to; solve; prevent; avoid; fix; prevent; not have to deal with; get rid of; it’s not perfect; let’s find out what’s wrong; there’ll be no problems”

“For instance, do you have a hard time getting started on a long-term goal? Then you probably need to have something undesirable happening to kickstart you into action (Away From Motivation).”

If I can make a generalization, top management is often mainly Toward. Goals, business plans, objectives, and so on, are Toward activities.”

“the Triggers and Criteria of the other side, and learn how to speak in their language, they could improve their chances of reaching agreement with less strife. Of course, in Reality, not all unions have an Away From motivation, nor do all employers have a Toward Trigger.”

“but if they shifted the focus to “Promotion” strategies and used goal-oriented (Toward) language, the results were very different. A great hint for all entrepreneurs looking for funding: if asked a problem-focused question by investors, start briefly with how to avoid the problem and then quickly shift to how you will achieve your goals.”

“As a culture (as distinct from individual patterns) medical practitioners tend to focus on what is wrong with their patients. They move away from sickness and dying. I profiled all the pharmacists in a hospital and found that, out of seventeen pharmacists, fourteen had a mainly or highly Away From pattern at work. The other three were only slightly on the Toward side of the equation. As a culture, the medical professions are so Away From, that when the idea occurred to them that holistic health might be something worth considering, they called it Preventive Medicine.”

I also suggest that you do not ask a Toward employee to proofread a document. They are not likely to pick out the errors. If you notice mistakes in text as if they jumped out of the page, then you have an Away From pattern in the Context of reading. I gave the first draft of this book to a friend to read over, having forgotten about her Toward pattern. Apart from adding a couple of commas, she said, “It’s just great,” and went on to tell me all the things she liked about it.

“As a result, we redesigned their marketing, sales, and customer service processes to use mainly Away From language: “Your one-stop worryfree travel agency,” “You won’t have to deal with …,” “You needn’t worry about …,” “No-fee travelers checks,” “This will save you time,” and the like. This helped them increase the percentage of members who renewed their membership, because more of them used more of the services.”

“Direction Question: Why is that (Criteria) important? [Ask 3 times] Toward: Motivated to achieve or attain goals. Away From: Motivated to solve or avoid problems.”

“Influencing Language: Toward: attain; obtain; have; get; include; achieve, etc. Away From: avoid; prevent; eliminate; solve; get rid of, etc.”

“Alternate Questions: How would you react to regular feedback from peers in (a specific Context)? Whom do you involve when you make a decision about …? If you felt, you had done good work and someone you respect criticized your work, how would you react? (Listen if the person criticizes, judges, or attempts to persuade the other person (Internal), or if they question the value of their own work (External).)”

“but you are free to refuse”. Hey, I’m going to try this out with my hubby!”

“didn’t appreciate what I did for him” (Internal). If ten people told a highly Internal person: “Wow, your tie is ugly!” they might say “Gee, isn’t that funny? There are ten people walking around here with bad taste.” Whereas, a person who has an External Pattern about clothing would go home and change.”

“shelves backward and the chipboard was showing! Had I been slightly more External, which is appropriate in Contexts one knows little about, I might have questioned what I was doing when I noticed the poor fit, instead of criticizing the design.”

“I went out to supper with a friend. She suggested a restaurant where she had liked both the food and the ambiance. “Although,” she said, “I’ve heard it’s been taken over by new management, and that it’s not nearly as good anymore.” She then went on to insist that we go there anyway because she had to go see for herself. At the end of the evening she pronounced, “Well, they were right; the service was poor and so was the food. But I had to check it out for myself.” Because she was highly Internal, someone else’s word was not good enough. It remained an unresolved issue for her until she could decide for herself.”

“Many people-management positions require someone who has a mainly Internal Pattern with some External. Managers make decisions and set standards. You would have to have standards inside your body somewhere to do that. Frequently people say, however, when their boss is extremely Internal, that he or she does not listen or respond to suggestions. Also, freelancers need to be mainly Internal to motivate themselves, but must also take into account client requirements.”



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Purpose: I create an empowering context for curious and hungry people looking for fulfillment, experiences, and creativity. We do this by developing their growth mindset, introducing self-love, and powerful group experiences. It results in people with strong boundaries, resilient mental health, and practical life skills

People leave with the ability to land their dream job, have autonomy and flexibility with their lifestyle, travel the world, and create from their heart and soul.


Davidson was once broke, insecure, low-confidence, and frustrated by doing all the wrong activities. Addicted to drugs, validation, and wallowing in self-pity. No relationship to family, and at the mercy of other people’s suggestions and opinions.

It was hell.

After spending $100k hiring different coaches, traveling the world doing workshops around the world, reading>1000 books, and through curiosity, have created the most effective system to remove people from that situation. My life’s work is to bring joy and abundance to people who as on a similar path as I was and bring back the joy and abundance of their life.

Through shared experiences and storytelling, I inspire and model behaviors that lead to a richer, more fulfilled life full of joy, experiences, passion, and ecstasy from the richness of relationships and being able to experience the depths of the human experience.

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