Assumptions vs. Presuppositions

by Lou

Many NLP’ers try to explain what a presupposition is by saying that it’s an assumption. But that’s simply not the case. To assume is to take to be true without proof or verification. To presuppose is to take for granted or take as a given.

Look at this example:

Eptu has over a million customers.

What can we assume about Eptu? For me, I’d assume Eptu has a lot of money, and that they are probably successful.

Now, what’s the presupposition in that sentence? In other words, what have we accepted unconsciously as a necessary precondition in order for the above sentence to make sense?

Simple. That Eptu is a company. In order to accept that sentence as true we have to presuppose that Eptu is a company or business.

On reading this sentence, especially outside any context, we make the mental adjustment (in a split second) that we’re talking about a company.

So, how can using presuppositions be applied to your copywriting, and why would you want to bother?

First, what do you want your prospects to presuppose about your business? What do you want them to believe true? A quick way of doing this is to help your prospects realize (unconsciously) a benefit they’ll get by using your business. . . or perhaps reaching a coveted goal they’re trying for.

A simple method of helping a prospect presuppose you’ll be able to help them is by asking a simple question:

Let me ask you this: what will you do with all the extra money you will make using NLP Language Patterns for Advertising in your ads?

When prospects read this they’ll presuppose that they can make this extra money — and that NLP Language Patterns are going to help them achieve it.

Here’s another example:

Do you want to order now or would you rather continue reading?

This question presupposes the prospect is ready to order.

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