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NLP Q&A With Subscribers: How To Master Practical Aspects Of NLP

Conrad sent me an email a few days ago asking:

Again….need help in the first 3 key activities of NLP [Modeling, Design, Installation]……any ideas on how to master them in a pratical way? Most of the trainers over here can’t seem to breach theory and the pratical aspects of NLP….when NLP is supposed to be about “reality calibration”….and modeling the best for the best outcomes to make life fun.

I figured many might have similar questions in mind, so rather than responding to him directly, here’s the answer straight in this post.

(By the way, should you have questions about NLP, and ANYTIME you have questions about NLP — even if you’re going through training right now — come straight here.)

Before I go into suggestions for each area Conrad asked about, here’s the grand solution to mastering absolutely any skill in life: practice.

Do it.

Every once in a while, check in with a competent coach who can help you adjust parasitic behavior (eliminate unnecessary moves and adjusting faulty ones).

Keep putting in time and sticking your neck out.

Put your ass on the line. Practice in real time, in real life, with real people. With bank tellers. Cashiers. Secretaries. Telephone operators. Flight attendents. Waiters. Co-workers. Family members.

There’s no other way to do it. That’s the only solution.

How to master Modeling

OK. You want to master Modeling. How are you going to do it?

You better be able to answer that.

That’s right. Practice.

Figure out a skill you want to master. It can be anything. Public speaking, juggling, negotiating, hiring, hypnotizing, surfing, playing basketball, investing, firing, writing, and so on, ad infinitum.

Now, identify someone to model.

If you want to master juggling, identify a master juggler. If you want to master investing, find a master investor.

Cut a deal with your model. Explain you want to master their skill. Explain to them what they stand to gain from helping you (you did think about that, didn’t you?).

Then, put yourself in their presence while they’re performing.

Critical key: Don’t let them explain to you what they’re doing. If they do, don’t believe a word they say!

You want to absorb what they do, not what they say they do, and even less of the theory or story behind it all. Forget it!

In the case of an investor, sit quietly and watchful behind her as she goes through her stock analysis routine. When in doubt as to what she’s thinking or deciding, gently ask what she’s considering (gently is very important. You don’t want to totally break her pattern or else you might f%$k up her strategy.). You want to practically become at one with her.

Then, on next passes, you might want to have a laptop with you and go through the motions yourself.

Repeat until you feel you’re analyzing stocks just like her.

How would you know you got it? When you conduct an analysis by yourself, show it to her and she says: “That’s exactly what I would have picked.”

Then, you can go on to code your model and make it explicit using NLP.

How to master Design

A great example of a designed pattern is the Swish Pattern.

Bandler designed it by putting together therapy techniques and various epistemological pieces he got by modeling representational systems, submodalities, ericksonian patterns and sensory language.

Here’s how to master design.

First, you’ll have to master a few patterns by modeling a few great performers in a specific area.

Let’s take soccer, for example.

So you model particular dribbling moves from Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. You master them.

Then, you start piecing together parts of Ronaldinho’s moves with parts of Rooney’s moves, along with Cristiano Ronaldo’s gestures.

At first, it’s clumsy. Not elegant. Ugly, even.

But you stick to it. Eventually, it all gels together and streamlines into a single-piece pattern.

There you go. You’ve designed a pattern.

Once again, practice, practice, practice.

How to master Installation

In two words: NLP Epistemology.

Installation is probably THE most sophisticated skill a Practitioner of NLP can master. It requires absolute mastery (totally unconscious performance) of calibration, sensory predicates, tonality, rhythm, advanced meta-model and language patterns.

First, you need to master the model tacitly. That is, you must be able to replicate the skill you wish to install.

Then, you must have coded it, using NLP, into sensory language.

Third, you must adequately sequence your installation procedure, always knowing that you might have to adjust your sequence based on calibration and feedback from the person receiving the pattern.

Friendly advice: Don’t start here!

Precise installation is analogous to surgery. You can really mess with someone’s patterns if you screw up during an installation. So figure out what you’re doing before you go playing around with this.

In the case of modeling and design, you’re working solo. No problem there.

But in the case of installation, you have an added responsibility. Don’t take it lightly.


To master modeling, model many people who master skills you want to acquire. Follow the steps I showed you above.

To master design, model a few outstanding performers in a single specific field. Then, try combining patterns from different performers and notice what you come up with.

To master installation, first master the NLP Epistemology. Then, study how it translates into specific language patterns. Always be careful.

Any questions or comments? Show me you’re alive! Post them below.

shah - January 20, 2010

hi Martin,
how nlp can help students improve their learning skills and engage with accelerated learning

Gary - February 15, 2010

Hi Martin,

Assuming we can can find somebody who is a master, what do you use as some of the benefits to them?

    Martin Messier - May 14, 2012

    Hey Gary,

    First of all, you show them that they’ll know exactly how they do what they do once the modeling project is over. For many, the curiosity itself is enough of a motivator. But you can throw in a few extras.

    Here are a few I’ve used in the past:

    1. A copy of the schema of the model in electronic or printed format.
    2. A complimentary training session where you’ll teach the model to his/her employees.
    3. Commissions on subsequent sales of the model.
    4. Joint venture in which you and the model train others.
    5. License rights to re-sell your product for profit.

    Of course, it can vary depending on the nature of the modeling project. Come up with a few new options yourself and share them with us here!

DailyNLP — You asked for it - May 6, 2013

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