Since you're learning Neurolinguistic Programming, you'll find it worthwhile to focus your efforts on the skills that will result in your greatest competence in the shortest amount of time. In this article I'll list 5 NLP skills that you should constantly focus on developing.
So let's look immediately at the first one:
1. The Number 1 NLP Skill
This one is described in detail in the free dailyNLP Academy course The Number 1 NLP Skill You Must Master. If you haven't yet, request your free report by filling out the form on the top right of your screen. I must insist! Learn and master this skill and your overall competence will soar!
This skill enables you to read people's mind. Have you ever met someone who claimed to know how you were feeling or what you were thinking but was completely wrong? This happened because that person didn't calibrate to your state appropriately. Calibration is the process by which you link a person's state to the physiology being displayed at any point in time. You'll see spectacular calibration taking place at the World Poker Championships. Each poker player is constantly looking for other players' "tells", the little quirky behaviors that give away how they're feeling about their cards, whether they're bluffing or they have a strong game.
3. Detecting patterns
NLP revolves around patterns. As such, to be a successful NLP Practitioner, you must always look out for patterns. But what exactly is a pattern? Let's allow Gregory Bateson, one of the godfathers of NLP, to answer that question (as taken from Whispering in the Wind, by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair):
any aggregate of events or objects (e.g. a sequence of phonemes, a painting, or a frog or a culture) shall be said to contain a "redundancy" or a "pattern" if the aggregate can be divided in any way by a "slash mark" such that an observer perceiving only what is on one side of the slash mark can guess with better than random success, what is on the other side of the slash mark.... Or, again from the point of view of a cybernetic observer, the information available on one side of the slash will restrain) i.e. reduce the probability of) wrong guessing.
This simply means that when you can predict from one piece of behavior what will happen next, you have detected a pattern. For example, let's say you notice that every time your uncle comes home, he immediately heads to the kitchen to have a cup of tea. You observe this behavior once, twice, three times and yet again. The next time your uncle arrives at home, you predict he will head to the kitchen to have a cup of tea - and he does! Congratulations! You have detected a pattern.
Now you must apply this skill to detecting the patterns of excellence of outstanding performers.
The quality of the information you can gather directly correlates to the quality of question you ask. Work on your questioning skills constantly? How can you become more precise? How can you become more involving? What specifically does the other person mean when she says "just feel the beat"? The Meta-Model offers simple and useful tools that will assist you in beefing up your questioning skills. I'll talk about the Meta-Model in greater detail soon.
5. Reading eye accessing cues
If you haven't yet come across information on eye accessing cues, do a search on Google for the phrase "eye accessing cues." I believe that only NLP uses such terminology to describe this skill. Once you master reading eye accessing cues, you'll effectively track the thinking process of those you interact with. You'll be able to understand whether they're accessing their visual, auditory or kinesthetic channel.
Of course these aren't the only skills you must exercise to develop your NLP skills. These five answers offer a solid pointer as to where you should focus your attention.
Practice! Every day!