No.10 – “Your Stories”

In addition to a couple of Vievolve contributions, this edition offers examples sent by some of you in response to my request last month. I think the scenarios below illustrate very well just how broadly NLP can be applied on a day-to-day basis.


1. What else could this mean?

“A colleague was giving a presentation to the data processing team, with the aim of demonstrating the end result of a project from the client’s perspective. During a break, he remarked angrily to me that one member of the team “wasn’t listening, just staring out of the window or looking anywhere else but at him”. However, at the end of the presentation, the same team member asked questions which clearly demonstrate he was listening. I know from talking to this guy he is highly auditory, his eyes flick from side to side quite obviously when you talk to him and when he is talking to you. A bit off putting unless you realise this is his processing system.

So, I talked to my colleague about this, and gave him some tips about what to listen and watch out for in order to avoid “this-means-that” judgements which could put him off his stride when making presentations.

Of course what you have to remember as well is that direct eye contact in some cultures is challenging, just another complication to throw into the mix.

2. NLP with children

“One area in which NLP has been an unexpected benefit to me is with the kids. Anchoring is an especially great technique to use with kids because they respond to it so rapidly and effectively. You can anchor a laugh, giggle, or any other positive or happy state. The anchor can be anything from a touch on the arm or shoulder, a unique facial expression, or a particular word/tone of voice, and can be triggered later on when you want to create a positive state change”

“The impact of language is also particularly evident with children. Recently I was relaxing in a local park, and sitting near to me was a mother watching her two young children playing a ball game with tennis rackets. As boredom set in the young boy began to get a bit boisterous, waving the racket wildly over his head, perilously close to his sister! I then heard the mother say “now don’t wave it about like that, you’ll hit your sister” … I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what happened next!! Suffice to say I was very tempted to suggest that in future the mother might say something like… “now be careful with the racket, make sure there’s plenty of space around you”

3. Surprising yourself!

“I was assisting a colleague with testing out a new recovery tool with some of our patients this week. As I was fairly new to the organisation, I observed and noted responses in the first session, while my colleague led the discussion. He had pre-warned me that the group was “likely to be difficult and unresponsive”, and this certainly seemed to be the case. But then I began to pay attention to the nature of the questions my colleague was asking, and noticed how many of them were closed, or leading in some way – often starting with “Do you think that…”, “Obviously you’re aware that…” or “Would you prefer X or Y to happen…”
For the next session, the group was split into two and I took one group while my colleague worked with the other, and although a little nervous I recalled the point that was made very frequently on your courses – A question pre-supposes the structure of its answer. So I paid great attention to the structure of my questions and the outcome I was going for, and when we compared notes at the end of the session I was pleasantly surprised (and pleased) to realise that my questions were getting more out of the group than my colleague, who is clinically trained, and that I had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

4. Going with the “flow”

“A colleague recently asked me if she could have a chat regarding a serious problem she was experiencing at work. It was a sensitive issue, and one that she preferred to talk about outside of the office environment. She was experiencing difficulties with a very dominating and strong-willed member of staff and constantly felt intimidated and “bullied” by this person. During an initial conversation a couple of important thing became evident. One, that she had experienced this same type of reaction to domineering personalities at several times in her life, and the other that she was highly sceptical about NLP and somewhat nervous about being “done-to” by me. I had decided that a version of the Time-line exercise(*) which I did on my Practitioner course could be very useful, and also that it needed to be done in as relaxed and conversational way as possible – avoiding all NLP jargon. I therefore suggested a walk along the canal which backs on to our office complex – walking in one direction to whilst chatting briefly about times in her life when she’d had this same feeling, sitting on a convenient bench to explore her earliest recollection and putting new resources for dealing with it in place, and then walking back towards the office, revisiting the other experiences with these new resources in place.

When I saw her again a few days later, she reported feeling much more in control of the situation with her colleague and thanked me for the “great friendly chat” we’d had!”

(*) If you’re not familiar with this NLP format, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to talk it through with you and describe some of its applications.

5. And now for something completely different…

“On a horsemanship course I met a German woman who could not understand the sequence of cues to ask her horse to make a forequarter yield!! (For the „non-horsey‟ amongst you don‟t worry about the technical term – it‟s not crucial to the story!).
The instructor was very visual, painting pictures and describing movies of the various actions and movements. What became clear to me was that the German woman was not operating in a visual mode, but predominantly an auditory one, and she was a musician to boot. What I was able to do for her in very quick time was apply musical notes to all the places of the horse so she could then understand the movement as a tune… Worked like a charm!!”


My sincere thanks to those of you who contributed to this month’s Top Tips, if these stories have reminded you of any of your own success stories, do pass them on and I’ll be happy to include them in future editions.

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