Martin Messier

May 18, 2023

10 Indicators That You’re Learning NLP Effectively

If you're new to the field of Neurolinguistic Programming, you perhaps feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information, models, patterns and descriptions available online.

Learning NLP becomes a lot easier when you're able to measure your progress. In this article, you will discover 10 indicators that you're making progress in your journey. These will serve as flag posts by which you can evaluate how you're doing.

Here's what you'll be able to accomplish as you move forward in learning NLP.

1. You will understand how people build their model of the world

This indicator should be #1, #2, #3, etc. We could use it for the whole list. The reason why so many students find it difficult to learn and apply the Meta Model attests to our failure as teachers to get this particular piece handled (Here's the solution).

Learning NLP's operational epistemology will enable you to map ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING (skills, patterns, models) to it. Rep systems, swish patterns, language patterns, the whole bit. You will be able to dissect any intervention and point to the pieces of the model that it affects.

You will also have mastered all the jargon, all the way from modalities to meta-states, and you'll understand specifically what they are pointing to.

As a result, you will be able to create any pattern you need on the fly, because you will understand how to target portions of your client's model of the world.

2. You will have sharpened your sensory acuity

I know I keep beating you over the head with it, but the cornerstone skill of NLP involves sharpening your senses. While 90% of the students want to know what to say, you should be interested in what to listen to. While everyone is stuck in their own head, you'll be in uptime, paying constant attention to the world around you.

Do not underestimate the edge you will gain from this.

3. You will be able to calibrate effectively

As you sharpen your sensory acuity, you will begin detecting and recognizing patterns more effectively. You will be able to recognize the facial movements, gestures, postural changes, eye position and other cues associated to specific thought patterns. This will enable you to track your clients' train of thought and states by observing their physiology.

As you progress in your practice, you will become as close to a mind reader as you can get. I've witnessed my dear master Rex Sikes this first hand doing this, and it is mind-blowing. I haven't had the privilege of training with Eric Robbie yet, but from what I understand he is a MASTER calibrator.

Pay attention. Make connections. As above, so below. As inside, so outside.

4. You will understand rapport and how to build it

Rapport is not necessarily, as many think, a relationship of trust. It is a relationship of responsiveness. It also involves a physical feeling you get as you establish it.

As you progress, your understanding of rapport will become more and more subtle. You will know how to build it and whether you have it.

5. You will be able to figure out what makes someone tick

Indicator #1 shows your progress in mastering the toolkit and jargon of NLP modeling. This one is about your ability to figure people out.

You will know how to elicit your client's model of the world and explicitly map it out on paper (or computer, if you prefer). You will be able to link all the pieces responsible for his behavior and states. You will understand what drives and motivates them. You will also understand how they create meaning in their experience.

6. You will ask devastatingly effective questions

This indicator is obviously tied to indicator #5. Once you understand the components of a Model of the World, you will be able to ask surgical questions to retrieve the pieces you need to map out the model.

Eventually, you will even be able to ask questions that cause your client to alter her model by herself.

7. You will use language precisely to achieve specific objectives

Once again, a direct tie to indicator #5. You will be able to craft your language so that it provokes the effect you intend in your client. Vague when appropriate, specific when needed. Everything at the right time.

8. You will be able to make changes to someone's map of the world

This indicator packages indicators #5, 6 and 7. Once you know how to elicit the map, ask questions and use language precisely, you will be able to help your clients alter their model of the world.

This particular indicator also involves you setting clear and definite ethical boundaries for yourself. Not all interventions are ethical interventions. You must know where you set your limits so you can always act in the best interest of those in your care.

9. You will be able to acquire someone else's skills

This happens once you master NLP modeling. I've written extensively about it on this blog. It's a skill not to be taken lightly, and to be practiced rigorously and thoroughly.

Definitely read carefully all of John Grinder's books if you want to get into modeling. It's imperative for your safety.

10. You will be able to teach someone else a skill you have acquired

This indicator is obviously tied to indicators #1 and 9. You will know how to assimilate a skills and you will have the code available to transcribe it and transmit it.

In other words, you will be able to raise the level of everybody's game.

Learning NLP is a full-contact sport

What I'm sharing with you here is my own road map. I still have a lot to do to get to the level I wish to attain. What matters most is constantly moving forward on all of these flag posts.

Remember, these indicators are not on/off switches. They are more like analogue sliders, gauges that go from 1 to 10. They do not represent "can" or "can't," but rather "how far up on the continuum do you find yourself right now?"

Learning NLP is full-contact sport. All the indicators inevitably bring us back to my constant mantra: practice, practice, practice.

  • Excellent! Seems like what I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve spent so long gathering so many fascinating bits of information, and it’s frustrating to have gaps, not knowing how it all fits together; when different terms (from NLP or from other fields) are actually representing the same thing, how to determine when a certain intervention would be most appropriate, what it all “boils down to”, etc.

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