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The Witch Doctor Effect Explained [Examples!]

The Witch Doctor Effect Explained [Examples!]

What is the Witch Doctor Effect

The ‘Witch doctor effect’ creates a certain sense of ‘enchantment’ for your client. Let us explain this concept with an example. In the amusement park world, the term ‘enchantment’ has been mentioned a lot. There, all kinds of expectations are created by means of storytelling and decorations. They do not contribute anything substantively to the rides, but the visitors do expect those decorations to be there, and they can therefore believe that they are in a different world of experience.

Elements of this kind, which are not necessarily useful in terms of content, can also be useful in an NLP session. So ask the client if he can do certain things that he thinks are in preparation for something, which builds anticipation, as well as the feeling that he knows you know what you are doing. It is a kind of ‘professional mystery’ that you make the client believe in. Let’s go to the examples:

Examples of the Witch Doctor Effect

  • “Could you put your feet together, straighten your back, look here, etc.”
  • “Are you left-handed or right-handed?”

The aforementioned ‘witch doctor effect’ also serves another purpose at the same time: compliance. If you start leading the client with small instructions, you create a momentum in which it becomes more and more natural for the client to follow you. For example:

  • “Come and stand here, then you can see it better.”
  • “Just take a step forward.”
  • “Put your feet on the ground.”
  • “Put your feet apart.”
  • “Take one more small step forward.”
  • “Put your hands on your legs.”
  • “Put your feet together.”

Which Witch Doctor Effects can you spot in your coaching?

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!

1 Comment

  1. Isabella

    Hallo Rubin,
    Heel erg bedankt voor deze mooie content. Excuse my Dutch, it’s my second language. I just want you to know that you are appreciated and this website and its resources are incredible. Infinite Blessings.