IdentifyingFeatures:Rapid-blinkingand intense eye-contact (to appear trustworthy) and the strange tendency to use American-sounding phrases in conversation.
Distinctive Markings: A copy of the latest NLP book and a subscription to Psychologies magazine.
Natural Enemies: ‘Non-receptives’, ie anyone who looks at them and says “Are you on something, or what?”
Their Heroes: Derren Brown, Paul McKenna, and the guy in the Indian takeaway who always talks you into having a vindaloo when you really wanted to order a tikka masala.
Having a conversation with Tim is a rather odd experience. Halfway though your chat, you might notice him shifting into some rather strange positions, pulling his left earlobe, or saying a few weird things. And then there’s all the elbowing. The thing is, Tim’s not really having a conversation with you. He’s actually controlling you. He’s using a powerful technique called Neurolinguistic Programming to subconsciously bend you to his will. You don’t realize it, but you are under his control. Or at least that’s what Tim thinks.
It all started when Tim was in Waterstone’s last Christmas, looking for a new cookery book for his mum. They’d changed the layout, and he ended up in the Mind, Body & Spirit section by accident, where one title caught his eye. “How to Make Almost Anyone do Almost Anything”. Intrigued, he read through Chapter One there and then, and learned that mastering a few simple techniques was all it would take to turn him from a loser into a leader, able to control other people’s thoughts and actions with some carefully placed triggers. “Finally,” Tim thought to himself, “I can get people to do what I want for a change. Especially that fit bird who works in the bank…”. You have to understand something about Tim. He’s a pushover. He can’t understand why people always seem to be taking him for a ride, and his girlfriends always turn psycho on him. Even his grandma had him going down to the chemist every lunch hour to pick up all her prescriptions. But it’s all changed now he’s discovered the power. It started right there and then in Waterstone’s when he discovered in Chapter One that he had the power to swish negative emotions away with one sweep of the… “Oh whoops, didn’t see you standing there”. Shame about that woman’s nose. Still he supposed it would look better once the bleeding stopped and the swelling went down. And it gave him the chance to put Chapter Two into practice and turn a negative situation into a positive one. “Once the doctors have worked on your nose,” he told the woman, “it’ll probably look better than it did before”. He was proud of himself for coming up with that so quickly. He’d never have thought of saying anything like that before he started all this neurolinguistic programming. The next day he tried mirroring the body language of the cute blonde cashier he fancied at the bank, but it’s harder than the book makes out – especially when you’re trying to pay a load of cheques in, and the person you’re mirroring has shoulder-length hair that she flicks. A lot. The bank queue were giving him a few funny looks that day. To distract himself, he tried out his centering technique, where he thought a happy thought and pulled on his left earlobe. But he probably shouldn’t have closed his eyes at the same time. Then he wouldn’t have walked straight into that pillar.
Tim wonders if people can tell there’s something different about him. Since he started reading about neurolinguistic programming, or ‘NLP’ as he refers to it now, he’s felt far more confident. He can’t wait to get the rest of the titles advertised at the end of the book, especially the one entitled ‘How to Talk to Women and Get Them to Go Out with You’. He’s been particularly impressed with the technique in the last chapter – anchoring, linking positive emotions to a physical action. The idea is that you give people a dig in the ribs every time they were talking about pleasant experiences, so they associate the action with the idea of positive things. Then every time you want them to agree to something, you just elbow them while you’re talking about it, and they’d feel a wave of overwhelming positivity towards your suggestion. Or at least that was what his book said. And at first, it didn’t seem to be working (“Oi, Tim what did I say?”, or “What am I supposed to be looking at?”). But then he had a breakthrough when he asked the new guy at work, Dave to go to the pub with him after work, and accompanied it with an elbow in the ribs. Dave agreed straight away, although Tim didn’t quite know why Dave gave him a wink. Maybe it’s an NLP thing, he thought, and winked back, just to be on the safe side…