Many NLP students have a hard time understanding and using nominalizations appropriately. Most learn in their early training that we should de-nominalize every intangible noun spoken. I used to believe I had to run from nominalizations like the plague.
A nominalization is a world of its own (funny, even the word “world” is a nominalization… He he he, they’re all over the place). You have to expore it to understand it.
And it serves a powerful purpose.
It enables us to package a process into an entity and to move it around, leverage it and make it interact with other processes.
You’ll best understand this through an example.
Let’s play with the sentence “I want to change society.”
“Society,” of course, is a nominalization. By using that word, I’m turning a process (socializing) into a finite entity (society). Nominalizations can also show up by turning a process (such as deciding) into an event (decision).
Let’s get back to our “society” example.
If I want to denominalize it, I’ll say “I want to change the way people socialize and interact with one another.”
Do you notice how this complexifies the sentence?
So we nominalize for a reason. It makes our communication simpler and more direct.
Here’s the real challenge: you need to learn how to USE the nominalization. Instead of blindly denominalizing it, you can instead tease out the underlying reality it represents.
You can do this in several ways. For instance, if I told “I want to change society”, you could ask me “what do you mean by society?” Or, you could ask me “when you say society, who are you talking about exactly?”
Once I answer your question, you can then use the nominalization in an effective and powerful way. It only becomes a trap only if you assume you know what it means to me.
Instead of the classicly trained skill of denominalizing, the real skill you must master is how to unpack the nominalization and sort through its content. Once you’ve done that, you can leverage that nominalization as a powerful shortcut to its meaning.
In the context of therapy, you must unpack your client’s nominalizations to figure out how she sorts its content. If its content is empowering and well-sorted, the nominalization serves as a shortcut that presupposes all its content. If not, you can assist your client in repacking and resorting its content and then repackage it into a powerful word.
Depending on how you package the content, you can pack a whole lot of punch into a single word.
Give it a shot. If you run into trouble, comment on it here on the blog.
In the following video, you’ll watch Derren Brown skillfully interrupting someone’s pattern. This is an exquisite display of embedded suggestions, the handshake interrupt and misdirecting someone’s attention.
NLP, like every other major scientific discipline, has its own sets of models. These models serve as lenses that change the way the world looks when you look through them. And with NLP, you look at the world in a way that unlocks your personal resources as a Practitioner.
As Richard Bandler once put it, “NLP is an attitude and a methodology that leaves behind a trail of techniques.” And so it is. The more you start to ease yourself into the mindset, the easier it becomes to leverage the technology and the skills.
Speaking of which, you’re reading this because you’re curious about the Number 2 NLP Skill You Must Master, aren’t you?
OK! So you’re learning NLP and you want to use a specific pattern on yourself or a buddy or a client to change a behavior or an unpleasant feeling. Of course, you’ll find A LOT of patterns from which to choose if you surf the web for just a few minutes. And it’s good that you learn as many change pattern as you can, because each pattern serves a specific function. Just as you use a hammer to drive in a nail or a saw to split a piece of wood in two (or three or four) pieces, you use a pattern to achieve a specific goal.
Now, there’s one piece you MUST learn to include in any piece of NLP or other changework if you want to achieve results right now.
Want to know who your best NLP training partners will ever be? Your kids!
Ever since my children were born I’ve been introducing NLP to them. And you know what? They are amazing at it, both at responding and at using it. And they can be an astonishing source of development for your NLP skills. Here are 5 reasons for this:
Ten years ago, I gave a shot to selling time share or, as they now call it, vacation ownership (talk about a reframe). This was my first sales job ever. And as you might guess, I sucked at it. And I quit.
The problem was, I had no training whatsoever. Not in sales. Let alone in NLP.
It pissed me off to see clients get up and leave and not buy. It frustrated me to have to go in to work every day not knowing why I was there or what I was to expect. It annoyed me to watch some of the other salespeople in the organization striking the bell and announcing a sale when I believed I was working my tail off for nothing.