I was sipping on freshly squeezed orange juice when, suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks…
It became obvious. And the thing is, this distinction goes way beyond NLP. I’m sure you’ll realize this applies to any field you pretend on mastering. This explains why school is so hard.
Fortunately, we can use NLP itself to solve the problem.
Here’s the big secret: most of the works available for studying NLP are actually reference works, or works designed for learning.
This is huge. Let’s look at the actual pattern this distinction uncovers:
There’s a big (no, make that huge) difference between
writing reference material and writing material for learners.
The layout has to be different. The text has to be different. The content must be mapped out differently.
Here are three keys to teaching NLP (or anything, for that matter of fact) more effectively.
1. Engage your students personally.
If you’re writing for students, especially beginning students, what word do you think should constantly come up in your text? “You” should. That’s right, “you” have to use the word “you” frequently. Why is that? Because when “you” use the word “you”, “you” engage your reader into the subject matter. Think about the subjects in school that “you” most disliked or had the hardest time learning. I’ll bet “you” the word “you” wasn’t used to often during the presentation of the material. And if you weren’t able to create ties between “you” and the subject matter, the class was a drag.
Learn from this and engage your audience personally. Use the word “you”. Often.
2. Weave a learning tapestry.
Reference works don’t really need to be sequenced in any particular way. In reference works, the categories really matter. You need to put the right material in the right chapter. Kind of like a container.
When you’re writing learning materials, the sequence in which you introduce the material (and the key word here is “introduce”) is critical. You have to stack the material correctly and progressively make it unfold for your reader. You must turn it into a journey.
3. Lace your text with examples and references.
Can you remember the last time you read a book that discussed a brand new topic to you, and for some reason the author successfully captivated your attention? As surprising as it might sound, he probably leveraged this third tip.
The key to making your reader comfortable and confident that he can learn from you is to build references from which he can understand the key concepts you present. Lead with examples and only after presenting three or four of them introduce the concept that unifies them. And, preferably, integrate this tip with tip #1: use examples that your reader will be able to connect to personally. Engage her.
Incidentally, the three tips you just read will serve you well in a number of endeavors besides teaching. Motivating your kids, persuading your boss, selling to a client, presenting a new vacation idea to your husband or wife, and so on. Start applying them today and notice the new results you get. And let us know what happens!