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Craig from the Everyday NLP Diary posted something incredible today.
His dad told him, a long time ago, imagine that they all have an invisible sign on their head saying “Make Me Feel Important”.
This, incidentally, is a great example of a modeled pattern. It’s very basic and simple. A more detailed model would include the size, color, distance and shape of the sign, among other distinctions. We’d figure out whether the sign was moving or not, what material it was made of and how the letters of the text were displayed.
But for now, give this a shot. No matter how imprecise it might be, do it. As you walk around and interact with others tomorrow, hallucinate a big sign above their head that says: “Make Me Feel Important!”
Report results here.
Before being trained in NLP, I assumed straight away that I knew what state people were in.
“Why are you so grouchy?” I would ask.
“But I’m not grouchy!” They would reply.
“Yes you are! I can tell!” I would insist.
And this counter-productive dialogue would continue on and on until I gave up arguing, absolutely certain that I knew how they felt and knowing they weren’t admitting it.
How stupid of me.
During my very first NLP training, I learned that I absolutely cannot know what’s going on inside a person’s thoughts just by looking at their face.
Or maybe I can…
To do that, I first have to link up what they’re displaying on the outside to what’s happening on the inside. And to do that, I have to talk to them. There’s really no way around it.
So now, whenever I see a new face, I ask about it.
“What are you feeling right now?”
If I get an answer, bingo! I have now linked up the internal state to the external behavior.
What does that mean?
Anytime I notice that behavior (facial expression), I know what they are feeling. This is called calibration.
Of course, this principle works in any sensory channel. You can link a particular intonation to a specific state. You can also link the strength of a handshake to a specific state.
The key here is to use external behavior to monitor the internal experience of the person you’re interacting with.
With experience, you’ll be able to point out very specifically what the other person is processing.
I do this all the time with my wife. I’ll look at her and ask:
“Honey, why are you making so many calculations right now?”
She’ll look at me in disbelief (not any more now, she’s used to it) and scream:
“GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!!!”
Calibration is undertrained and underestimated. It is one of the most critical skills you must develop to master NLP.
To further your calibration skills, get acquainted with the work of Eric Robbie and Rex Sikes — now known as The Amazing Rex. Rex’s mentalism work revolves around absolutely exquisite calibration skills, of which he is a master.
And the next time you notice a particular cue in someone — facial expression, voice tone, skin temperature — don’t assume you know what state they’re in. Ask. Then link up the two.
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.
The other day, one of my corporate clients who participates in virtually all my programs asked me:
“But Steve, I have an employee at my company who is virtually impossible to motivate. I mean, the guy has talent but I don’t know what to do any more?”
Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever run into someone who, in that moment, appeared to be completely stuck? That no matter how much you tried to inspire them, couldn’t move?
Then read on… You’ll find the way out of this impass in this article.
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.