What is a Yes Set? – Good Hypnotic Language Pattern in NLP

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Yes Yes striplights illuminating the yet set langauge patternA yes set is a long standing, frequently used, very successful technique used in sales, NLP and hypnotherapy. Sales people often use this technique to make you more agreeable. Your hypnotherapist may build a story (metaphor) for you and suggest a change that you want to make in your life. The ideas for change will come from you and the words will be your own. So, you are agreeing with yourself really. It is realy is that simple and a good reason why it is so effective.

The Efficacious Yes Set Explained

This technique has been used for a long time in sales and therapy because, quite frankly, it works very well. Basically, what it comes down to is, once you have started being agreeable you tend towards staying agreeable. Once you have said yes and agreed to something, you are more likely to say yes again. Being in a positive frame of mind means building positive rapport is happneing and trust is being built.

Simple methods of getting a yes set going are:

  • Using their own words. You have told the therapist things about you and things you want to change for the better.
  • So, you have come to see me about you stress issues at work (yes as told to therapist in intake interview) and are looking for a little help in coping with that stress now? (yes that’s why I am here)
  • Offer agreeable subjects you are likely to agree about themselves like the following.
  • I imagine you are very diligent in your work and well respected for it. (yes i am)
  • Did you drive here today? (yes) You must be a good driver to manage that traffic on the way in (oh yes I am a very good driver). Traffic can be terrible in York (yes it is). I bet you chose a good route (yes I did) which way did you come?

Example of a Yes Set Created by a Salesperson

Yes set album coverAs an example, you might already have knowledge of or have experienced, imagine you spotted a product online that you like. So, you have sent off an email enquiry asking for more information. When a salesperson rings you in reply to your enquiry, they will try to get you in a positive frame of mind, on a roll of saying yes, which is called a “yes set”. To do this they ask you to confirm things they know are likely to be true.

  • Salesperson: Hello is that Mrs Smith? (your name from your email enquiry)
  • You reply: Yes.
  • Salesperson: And just to confirm do you still live on Parliament Street Liverpool? (your address from your email enquiry)
  • You reply: Yes.
  • Salesperson: Good! So, Mrs Smith I am replying to your email enquiring saying you want more information about our new product XTZZYX?
  • You reply: Yes.
So, that is only a few seconds into the conversation with a complete stranger and Mrs Smith is already agreeable. She has been led into saying yes 3 times using this technique.

Example of a Hypnotherapy Yes Set in a Metaphor for Stress

Picture of wood tiles spelling out yes we canAn example of a hypnotherapist building a yes set with a client suffering from stress might be as follows. I will number each of the positive, true parts of the yes set as it builds for you.

Therapist taling to a client in hypnosis:

Now Mrs Smith (1 your name) you told me you had (note the past tense) problems with stress (2 they said this in their intake interview) and you had great difficulty in relaxing (3 also said in the intake) and yet, you have the will to phone me for an appointment (4 which you did) and have the strength to arrive on time today (5 which you have done). You have positive intention to find a solution (6 that’s why you are there), as you sit here listening to the sound of my voice (7 which you are doing) you have all the capability, skills and motivation you need to let go of all of that stress and simply … relax. Yes. Well done.

After the yes set has been built, the suggestion (in bold) is offered which you are more likely to agree with and observe positively.

Yes! Yes! Of Course I Agree With What You Are Saying

Salespeople and hypnotherapist alike know by asking you questions that you are likely to say yes to, puts you in a compliant “Yet Set”. After a number of agreeable sttements you are in the “Yes room” now for sure. This means you are comfortable answering yes to questions at the moment and in a more agreeable frame of mind. Once you are agreeable, suggestion is offered and you should continue to be agreeable if the suggestion are also agreeable.   

It is Your Own Words Meaning Agreeing to the Changes is Easy

Generally, during your therapy session here the suggestions offered are from your intake interview and will be in your own words. So, you are in fact agreeing with yourself about things you want to change. This is much easier than agreeing with anyone else because, you have more knowledge and expertise about you than anyone else.


Centre of Excelence (2022) NLP Master Practitioner Trauing – Module 6 Quantum Linguistics: How to Change Your Mind

Waller D & Turner B (2020) Advanced Certificate in Anxiety Management

Zimmerman K (2015) Hypnotherapy Refresher Course California Hypnotherapy Academy

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