Archives for April 2012

TED Talks

Watch Brene Brown on TED Talks

Her insights on ‘Vulnerability’ are poignant, informative and highly entertaining.  Watch it here  …and if you like this, you’ll also appreciate her talk on ‘Listening to Shame’

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

 

TOP Tips No. 15 – The 'State' is Key

One of the most important factors in determining a successful outcome for yourself, or when working with others, is the extent to which you are managing your own state of mind and how you are able to influence (positively) the state of others.

A state can be defined as a “unique combination of posture, physiology, emotions, and feelings that someone experiences at any one time”.  In other words, any significant emotional state will have its own ‘signature’ – and the ability to recognise the external changes that are indicative of an internal state change will be invaluable – both in choosing and/or managing your own state, or in situations such as coaching, negotiating, selling and leading teams.

In NLP there are several formats that focus specifically on state awareness and management.

Some that are particularly helpful in bringing about internal state change are…

Anchoring a resourceful state

Despite being one of the most basic NLP formats this pattern serves as a metaphor for what can be possible using appropriate NLP tools and techniques. It shows the power of choice (selecting the emotional state to which you wish to have access), the possible speed of intervention (most resourceful state exercises do not take any longer than about 15 minutes to be successful) and the sustainability of the intervention over time (one anchor that was originally set for me around 16 years ago still works consistently).

Chaining anchors to alter a response to an adverse stimulus that is likely to continue

Again, this is a format that is quite basic in its structure but which, when demonstrated to its full potential, does require a high degree of calibration skill in the coach. An experienced facilitator will notice changes in breathing patterns, skin colour and tone (related to blood flow) and brightness in the eyes (increased or decreased moisture content).

Causing a state change by using driver sub-modalities

When you identify the so-called ‘driver’ sub-modalities it becomes possible to create an almost instant state and behavioural change. Examples include the ‘mapping across’ process to move yourself from one state to another…

… From unmotivated to fully motivated

… From procrastination to action

… From confusion to understanding

(If you’re not familiar with any of these NLP formats and would like further details, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to help)

Calibrating and influencing another’s emotional state

When influencing the states of others it’s important to remember…

  • That tension is contagious
  • To consider what state is most appropriate for the intervention
  • To set your own state first … choose to let go of tension rather than “relax”
  • To be congruent
  • To pay attention to ideomotor signals (i.e. small, physical movements which are outside of conscious awareness – e.g. an ‘odd looking’ sideways twitch of a finger)

There are certain key things to pay attention to when noticing (or calibrating) changes in someone’s state…

Breathing changes Deep sighs Pupil dilation / restriction
Changes in blink rate Eyelid changes / closure Skin colour differences
Changes in muscle tension Moisture in eyes Vocal tonality or speed changes

 

One thing to bear in mind is that noticing changes in state will not necessarily tell you ‘what’ someone is thinking but it will certainly let you know that something is different.  For example, if you have accurately calibrated someone in a relaxed or calm state, and something happens to change that – you then have a set of criteria from which you can assess their return to that state in response to some kind of intervention from you.

No. 14 – NLP Tools for Common Issues

A question was put to us recently, asking if it would be possible to produce an NLP matrix, showing how all the various NLP tools and formats relate to each other and which is best to use under what circumstances.

It’s a request that has been made before, and indeed we have made valiant attempts to put something together, but it has always proved to be far too complex a thing to do in any meaningful way.

However, it did get me thinking about common issues or scenarios which people have discussed with us over the years, and how some tips for dealing with these recurring themes might be useful.  So here are a few situations which many people seem to be faced with to some degree, or at some time, followed by some ideas on NLP tools which can be helpful…

Scenario 1:

You are trying to motivate someone to action and/or encourage them to consider future options and possibilities.  But they are firmly entrenched in the present (or problem) state – constantly pointing out the glitches in your plan, what won’t work and why.

NLP Options:

  • Match and pace their ‘moving away from’ language before beginning to lead them into ‘future’ thinking.
  •  Covertly test their willingness to do this by first checking the level of rapport that exists between you – for example after matching and pacing their key verbal and non-verbal patterns, check that they then give indications of following you if you attempt to ‘lead’ some aspect of that.
  • If they have a very strong ‘moving away’ from motivation (and if there is sufficient rapport) play that strategy back to them by creating an even worse scenario that may occur if they stay where they are.  The key insight in this instance is that they must be getting something of significant benefit to them out of maintaining what would otherwise seem like an untenable position.
  • Analyse what hidden Value is driving their current behaviour and see if you can create another mechanism for them to get that need met but without the old attitude or behaviour. Easy to say, not so easy to do.

Scenario 2:

There is someone in your life that you find particularly challenging.  Perhaps there is a ‘personality clash’ within the team, or a person whose behaviour is ‘difficult’ and constantly causes problems.  Nevertheless, they will continue to be in your life and you have to find a way of working with them in order that the necessary outcomes can be achieved.

NLP Options:

  • Create a chained anchor in yourself to create an alternative response that is positive for you.
  • Apply the idea of ‘unconscious positive intention’ to the situation. In simple language “What learning is available to me in being exposed to this particular characteristic in this way?” Remember that this insight does not have to be true but must fit all the facts. If it does, and you then act as if it is true, you should get a major positive shift in the relationship.
  • The leverage point in this situation is that the only part of the system over which you have total control is you, so …
    • What is the characteristic(s) of the other person you find most ‘difficult’?  Apply the presupposition – “What I experience in others is, in some way, an expression of me”.  Reconcile this inside yourself first to accept (or at least manage) it in others.

Scenario 3:

You (or perhaps a member of your team) often talk about something you would like to achieve or a goal or target that you would like to accomplish.  However, despite seeming to be fully engaged with the idea, time goes by and no steps are taken to make it happen.

NLP Options:

This is potentially the most straightforward example so far. The key is that the benefits of not achieving it are currently felt to be greater than would be gained through achievement of the goal. This is often at an unconscious level, so ..

  • Using the Outcome Thinking model, consider –
    • What are the higher level interests of doing X – i.e. what will achieving this outcome do for you?
    • What are the positive by-products of the present state?  – i.e. what do you get (positively) from not doing X?  These benefits must then be present in the desired state to make it truly compelling

Scenario 4:

You have asked someone to do something – a request that you think is perfectly reasonable, logical and straightforward.  Even when you repeat the request, or ask it a different way, it’s to no avail.  The other person either gives you a direct “no” or an implied no, by finding ways to defer or ignore the issue.

Our usual response is to feel frustration so we need a way of moving beyond that feeling as soon as possible.

NLP Options:

  • People’s odd or unusual behaviour is ‘normal’ for them so there must be something in it that is important to them in what they are doing. This ‘something’ will usually be to do with their values.
  • Before your next encounter with them, use the concept of ‘Perceptual Positions Thinking’ to run a Currently Perceived Choice (CPC)* exercise.  This works in the following way…
    • Identify the question he/she thinks they are being asked (their Currently Perceived Choice) – this will be significantly different from the one you are actually asking
    • Stepping into the other person’s shoes.
      • Define all the consequences of saying “yes” to the question they are hearing
      • Define all the consequences of saying “no” to the question they are hearing
    • Rate the consequences as positive or negative – for them
    • It should then be apparent that saying “no” is the obvious choice from their perspective
    • Identify the values that are likely to drive the “yes” and “no” consequences
    • Create a new question, which will stimulate or meet these values and make it more likely that you will get a “yes”
    • The important thing is not to judge this as being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – it’s about understanding the situation the way it is and dealing with it on that basis

* For those of you not familiar with it, the CPC is a very simple model created at the Harvard Negotiation Project to deal with any situation where you are getting “No” when you believe you should get “Yes”.

These are just a few ideas of situations you may encounter, and some of the NLP formats you could consider in the circumstances. If you have any other challenging situations for which you would like some suggestions, do let us know.