Hot Meals and Dead Parrots by Christopher Fish

Your meal arrives at the table, the restaurant is heaving and the waiters are moving that bit faster with an air of strained urgency. Yep it’s Easter Sunday, a really busy eating out day of the year! You’ve waited 40 minutes enjoyed the occasion, sipping a drink, sharing the company of friends and family enjoying the ambiance. But when it arrives it’s lukewarm. Am I right in thinking this can be a challenging moment for many a diner?

Some years back I went for a pub lunch with my Aunt and she had an almost pathological fear of ‘causing a fuss’. It was humble and simple fare; we ordered baked potato. Now this potato when it arrived was not just lukewarm but actually chilled on the inside. I can only assume that it was pre-cooked and hadn’t been microwaved enough – uughh! I expressed the intention to get the waiters attention and point this out. My Aunt was having nothing of it; it was a pub local to her. And exhorted that “if we complain about the food they won’t want us to come back to eat here!”

The British have a reputation for getting tied up in knots when it comes to pointing out that what they had actually paid for was not what they had actually received. There are two NLP skills that are very helpful here.

The first is becoming very clear about the goal or outcome that is wanted. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But how often in the ensuing dialogue does this get forgotten or not expressed clearly? The outcome here is simple: To have in front of me hot and tasty food. It’s not for example to let someone know that “It’s not good enough” or get them to express remorse or even for me to include a ‘Uriah Heepish’ apology for preferring hot food. The only outcome that really matters is enjoying the meal – the one described and detailed on the menu.

The second NLP skill is simply to state facts and details calmly and clearly. There doesn’t actually have to be any emotion at all! You don’t even have to actually ‘complain’. Hey, it’s not personal- really!
Now there are times when it’s the most influence choice to exercise the hypnosis language forms of indirection and permissiveness and this is not one on them. This is time for the NLP language forms of precision. Politely and concisely giving the information and hey presto hot and tasty food returns. You’ve avoided unnecessary emotional outlay and maintained positive sharing with your companions. If the restaurant had really good customer relations you may also find the meal discounted, that way you are more inclined to return. (Restaurants owners please note).

I have wondered what it would be like if John Cleese was to undertake hypnotherapy training, discover the communication ability inherent in hypnotherapy and become a master at influencing with hypnosis -Take 5 minutes and check John Cleese demonstrating his art of complaining.

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