The Milton Model is a set of language patterns that can be thought of as being “artfully vague.” They work well because your listener will “fill in the blanks” using his or her own experience, which will help to create a lot of rapport.
This will also help you to persuade them, as they’ll be using their own experiences to support the idea you’re presenting to them.
However, the Meta Model, which is the opposite of the Milton Model, can have an even greater effect.
Now, what do I mean when I say that the Meta Model is the opposite of the Milton Model?
If the Milton Model is artfully vague, then the Meta Model is artfully specific. A couple of examples might help.
One pattern in the Milton Model is called the “non-referential index,” which basically means using a pronoun (he, she, they) when it’s not clear who the pronoun is familiar with.
For example, consider this sentence:
“I was talking to my brother and his friend and he said that we should get some pizza.”
It’s not clear who “he” is referring to, my brother or his friend.
The Meta Model can be used to get rid of the vagueness, by asking for specificity.
In response to that sentence, a Meta Model user might say:
“Who specifically said we should get some pizza? And who specifically is “we”?”
Now, when people learn the Meta Model, they instantly become hated and shunned from all social gatherings. They’re like the most annoying people you’d ever meet.
Why so annoying? Most of us are very vague when we speak anyway. The Milton Model isn’t really any more vague than every day language, it’s just specifically vague to create a specific outcome.
So when we’re just talking away throwing out gobs of vagueness here and there, somebody fresh from their Meta Model training will start interrogating us.
Who specifically said that? How specifically did they do that? When specifically did that happen?
Annoying to say the least.
Meta Model Persuasion
However, the Meta Model can be used to powerfully persuade people. When people are talking about events, plans, and opinions, they’ll generally get angry when you use the Meta Model. It feels like an unwelcome interrogation.
But when you use the Meta Model on somebody’s desires, then it’s the total opposite. Their eyes will light up like little kids in an toy store where everything’s free.
It’s important to note that when using the Meta Model to elicit more specific information about their desires, the underlying frame has to be that you are somebody who respects their desires, and would like to see them achieve them. Not as somebody fishing for reasons to show them their desire isn’t valid or good.
How do you use this?
Say that somebody wants X.
Just starting asking them Meta Model Questions about X.
Have you ever done X before?
What was it like?
How did you decide on that particular X?
What were some of the best things about X that you did?
What were some of the drawbacks?
How would you like to improve your experience next time you X?
If you could wave a magic wand, right now, and have the perfect X, how would you know?
Imagine it’s five years from how, and you’ve had X for that long. What are some of the best experiences? What are some things you’d like to change?
If you try this out, you’ll have some amazing results.
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