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Suggestion and influence

Hypnotists understand the power of suggestion, but you don’t have to be in a trance to be affected. The suggestion might come through the power of television in the form of subtle and clever advertising.


Repetition makes the suggestion more effective. Even old fashioned ‘nagging’ is a form of suggestion. However that is oppressive and the ‘carrot’ is more effective than the ‘stick’. Suggestion is very effective when it isn’t very obvious; we see an advert, but we don’t think about it too much.


Products and services  are often associated with things that we approve of. A cleaning products might be advertised with images of nature and words like ‘fresh and natural’ used a lot in the promotion. Often products are associated with luxury and take advantage of people’s desire to have more status in society. The message might be that your status will be enhanced by wearing a particular perfume or fragrance.


We tend to jump to conclusions and so we will make assumptions based on the job title someone has or even the make of car that they drive. If you see someone advertising healthcare products wearing a white coat, you might conclude that they are a medical professional; when in reality they’re an actor. This phenomenon can be exploited and we can be enticed into jumping to a conclusion very subtly. This is why job titles are so important and people prefer titles like ‘hygiene operative’ to ‘cleaner’. People will jump to conclusions about us in our everyday lives by examining our ‘image’. They might conclude that we’re well off if we dress well or poor if we dress modestly. Our hobbies and interests might betray us as being ‘common’ or as being ‘cultured’.


Being aware of the power of suggestion can give us more influence over others. It can also make us less vulnerable to suggestive advertising. Suggestion is very effective when it enhances what is already there. We all like the sweet taste of chocolate, but suggestion can make it so much more. Suggestion can make it dark, luxury, desirable chocolate. Suggestion can make chocolate sexy.

Visual cues

Suggestion is often visual. Associating chocolate with a flash of stocking top makes it so sexy. If you throw in some more exciting visual cues, like a luxury car and a handsome suitor then the illusion is complete. Anything that is a primitive desire can be used effectively for the purposes of suggestion. Food and drink provide for primitive needs. Visual cues showing tantalising food will always get people’s attention. With effective suggestion in the form of advertising, you can sell people just about anything; even water…

What do you think. Do you use the power of suggestion effectively in you life. What do your visual cues say to other people? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.  You can also subscribe using the box in the side bar or follow me on Twitter for regular updates.

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