Monday, 31 December 2007

Is NLP a load of rubbish?

A question that seems to be asked but never really answered. Ask anyone who practices NLP and the answer is obviously "it's really powerful stuff". I would guess I would say the same as I am writing a blog on NLP. Nothing is that black and white, good or bad. I would say that some NLP is a load of rubbish, because it makes claims it simply can not justify. To get to this point let us start at the beginning.

At the basics of NLP we have very simple communication skills. How to build rapport and how to make yourself understood and how to influence others. Body language skills, filters, mirroring, meta model of language, sleight of mouth patterns etc. This all good stuff and it definitely works. However, I think some people believe it will turn them in a Jedi Master and be able to convince anybody of anything. This is definitely not true, from my experience it is a bit like the Jedi mind trick as it won't work on the strong minded/stubborn. Some people just refuse point blank to change their minds or allow another opinion to take hold. Just like some people can't be hypnotised. The problem isn't with NLP but with peoples expectations of the skills and abilities it will give them. They see people who are master of NLP, like Darren Brown, creating magic with words. They hear of the works of the founders of NLP, Bandler and Grindler, and are amazed at the work they have done in therapy with people. They want to be able to the same kind of stuff. The people who perform these almost magically events with NLP, work at it full time, they have been studying it for many years and have years of experience. You can achieve this level of NLP, but you will need the same level of commitment and it will take years to truly master. The best most of can hope for is an improved set of communication skills to help us for our everyday lives.

So back to the question,"is NLP a load of rubbish". The answer is no, but people are expecting too much from it in a relative short space of time. Why? I believe it is because there are so many people out there selling NLP course with exaggerated claims. The NLP industry isn't regulated and has seem to attracted a lot of con men/women. I could set up a new NLP academy tomorrow and call it UNLP (Ultimate NLP) I could then certify myself as a master trainer in UNLP and start running courses out of my church hall for £1000 a day per person. I could just rehash all the existing NLP material and throw in some other material on influence, like the 6 laws of influence. Throw in a bit of extra psychology, mix it up and try and make it look slightly different to all the other NLP courses doing the rounds. There is nothing to stop me doing any of this, it is not illegal but very immoral.

So if you want to do a NLP course I could suggest you first of all get a few books on the subject as these courses are usually pretty expensive. Learn the basics and try it out. You my find the basics communication skills are enough for you. If you want to carry on look into the courses very carefully, try and find one carried out by a reputable trainer preferable some can traces their NLP back to the founders.

Sunday, 30 December 2007


Another of the 6 laws of influence. This one is the obvious one, if you like someone you are more likely to be influence by that person. NLP really comes to work here by using NLP to quickly build rapport with a person and thus getting them to like you.

Whenever you get door to door slaes med they often refer to you as mate or buddy even although you have just met as they are trying to make out you are some how friend already.

Tupperware parties and the like are great examples of how Liking law is used to sell products. You have a party and invite all your friends around and sell them stuff. As they are your friends and like you they are more easily influenced into purchasing the product from you. Or may be buying as to feel they are helping you out. Works especially well if a couple of people in the party buy items earlier on, as it will use the effect of social proof in combination with the liking law of influence.

This should be an easily one for all you NLP 'ers to use an also seen before can be combined with the other laws of influence in the right circumstances.

Social Proof

You will see examples of the use of social proof every day. Before we start with the discussion I will name some examples to wet your appetite.

A busker places in some money into their hat to give the impression others have already tipped him.

The advertisers tell us it that it is the fast selling and most popular product in the market.

The door to door sales man who tell you that your neighbors have all bought the product.

Some night clubs purposefully create long queues outside their night club in order to make it look popular and give the social proof to potential customers. Even when there may be plenty of space inside.

There are also some negative responses to social proof as well. There have been case where victims of violent crime have been ignored in the street. Why? because no one else is stopping so I won't either. Experiments have shown if one person stops then more people we also stop, as they have the proof of others it is the right thing to do.

So why does this law work. Basically we have learnt through experience we are less likely to make mistakes if we follow other people. In fact kids learn to do things by mimicry. So social proof is essentially mimicry on a more adult level. We have learnt the right thing to do by following the crowd and have seen that not following the crowd can be dangerous.

In the case of the injured victim, if no one else is helping him then may be the know something I don't about this situation. Surely if they did need help some one else would have stopped by now. Not if we all thought the same thing!! There is an assumption with social proof that other people know best so the right thing to do is follow them.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Commitment and Consistency

This is the second law of influence and another one you see every day but just don't realise it.
The idea behind this law is that every one tries to be consistent and keeps to their commitments.

The best example is the one from the book about Christmas presents. Nearly every year there is a must have child's Christmas present and nearly every year they run out of stock before Christmas. So you promise you buy them this X present, but it turns out you can't get in time and thus have to buy them something with the promise you will get them the other X present after Christmas when there is more stock. And there always seems to be loads more stock after Christmas! To keep your commitment to your child you you buy them a SECOND present after Christmas. It is well believed that this type of event is done on purpose by the toy manufacturers. You probably find where the X present is suppose to be, but sold out, are toys sold by the said manufacturer. They basically get to sell two presents to you at this time of year in order for you to appear to keep your commitment and appear consistent to your child.

There are also other laws of influence being used here on your child, social proof as every one wants one and scarcity, they are limited amounts available, thus having one for Christmas will make them special.

Same thing is done with surveys. You sign a survey or petition to say you are against 'Animal Cruelty' then when they later contact you to ask for money in order to prevent cruelty how can you say no without appearing inconsistent, and without backing out of the commitment you made on the survey. There is proof that if you get someone to write down their commitment they are more likely to keep to that commitment!! Powerful stuff!!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Communication Skills part 1

Upon looking deciding the skills that made up the perfect manager, communications came to mind almost instantly. So I decided to start investigating all the different realms of communications skills available. I started with the obvious body language skills, which led into language patterns due there being a book by the same author. Whilst viewing the book shelves at Waterstones I came across a book on NLP, which seemed to cover both body language and language patterns. Also more complex language patterns such as embedded language, hypnotic language. Plus it covered off some management techniques and psychology as well.

So here is my list of communications skills

Body language

- Body posture

- Facial expressions

- Eye accessing clues

Language patterns

- Embedded language

- hypnotic language

- Precision language

- Milton model

- Meta model

- Sleight of Mouth

- Military language patterns

- Vak, Visual, Audio and Kinesthetic

- Filters

- Metaphors

- Anchoring

Influencing techniques

- Psychology

- 6 laws of Influence

In face to face communications 80% of communication is non-verbal, I am sure you will have heard this before. Not sure I agree with this statement. Once you start to understand the complexities of language patterns there is much more going on than you realise. It’s not about what is said, but more about how it is said and what isn’t actually said. Not saying Body language isn’t important, it adds to the overall meta-message and came show up any incongruence in the message being delivered verbally.

Next steps of blog to cover of individual parts of the communication skills I have listed above.

Laws influence

Going to write a little bit on the 6 laws of influence and show some recent examples I have seen. Plus hope I can show the linkage into NLP as well.

A very famous book written by Robert Cialdini called "Influence: Science and Practice".
In this book he discusses study of various influence techniques used in sales and expands on them to the wider world.

He managed to break this down into 6 laws and influence.

1. Reciprocation
2. Commitment and Consistency
3. Social proof
4. Liking
5. Authority
6. Scarcity

Lets look at reciprocation. Very simply if someone does something for you you tend to feel obliged to return the favor. For example I buy you a drink you may feel you need to buy me a drink to restore the balance. Sales men try this one regularly

"You sign up today and I will give you £30 worth of gift vouchers". This is the power of reciprocation, the first law. They are trying to make you view the world as I give you £30 and in return as a favor you just need to sign the deal etc. The truth is always you are doing them the favor, don't let them forget that when they are trying to sell you something.

You could always try reverse reciprocation next time you have a door to door salesman.

"Let me do you a favor, I am 100% not interested and I would only be wasting your time. Now would you do me the favor in return by not giving me the hard sell and moving on".

They will probably still want to carry on, but according to the rules of reciprocation and consistency they must allow you to sell them something back. This will obviously disrupt their sales patter, which will most like be based on the 6 laws and some NLP. However, it will be scripted and any deviation off the script will throw their plans into chaos as it is unlikely they actually understand their sales scripts true workings and won't be able to improvise. If you haven't anything to sell then just start asking about their personal life or finances. Why not they are probably asking about yours in order to sell their product?

I will cover off each of the laws in following blogs.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Using NLP

Since doing the communications course at work I have been putting in
to practice more NLP than before.
Decided to review my NLP notes every morning to remind myself and
revise the subject before I start work. It has been working well as I
have started to profile people in meetings i.e. big chunk, mismatch,
options, visual. So I have worked out their filters and their
communication's styles for the future which will help me build rapport
with them on a on going basis. I have noticed with the people I work
with in a technical area it can be hard to always pick up on the clues
as they are always very factual and the information is very well
rehearsed so you don't get to see the eye accessing clues immediately.

I never mentioned on my CV or in interview that I have studied NLP and
using to influence and persuaded people. Management jobs often ask for
someone with good influence and persuasion skills. I think I have
mentioned it as I was worried what impression it may give or they may
find it geeky. Decided to change that have listed it on my CV and will
talk about it in interviews as well. I think it will show myself to
extremely strong persuasion skills as I know have studied it and can
show examples of how it works. I can use the NLP as a selling point,
part of my personal brand.

NLP blog why?

Most the sites on the internet are for businesses selling consultancy or over priced training course. I have written this blog based on my experiences and the studying I have carried out on the subject of management. My angle of management is one of an engineer owing to the fact it was my job leading into management. Some years ago and decided to take the engineering approach to the problem. If for example I had a technical problem or a new technology to learn as an engineer I would study books, go on the courses, practice and implement the knowledge to resolve my current issue. So I did the same for management, I decided what I would need to learn to be a good manager and researched, studied the books, did the course and practice at work. Firstly, I had to decided what skills a good manager would have.

1) Communication skills

2) Business strategy

3) Management skills – Admin, organisation, time management, presentation skills, coaching/mentoring, finance.

4) Politics – Like it or not politics are a huge part of modern day working. Best to have the knowledge and skills to at least prevent yourself falling foul of other people politics and dirty tricks.

Starting with communication skills and studied a number of different areas which mostly came under the banner of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).NLP covered body language, language patterns, hypnosis, embedded language, behaviour modelling, sensory patterns and other areas more closely linked to personal therapy. I also studied areas on Influence and persuasion, which is more to do with the psychology of human nature. This covers the 7 laws of influence and how they can be used.

Next, I studied Strategy in its many forms, but mostly it boiled down to military strategy that in recent years has been adapted for other areas such career, sales, marketing and business. I studied some of the most famous classical books of strategy such “Art of War”, by Sun Tzu. From here I read the books the Art of War is based on, “Master of the Demon valley” & “Master of the empty store house”. Also the “The book of Five Rings” By Miyamoto. These books led me on to read some modern interpretations and niche strategy books such as the Art of Career (based on the Art of War). The Art of the Advantage, Seven Strategic principles for managers and 7 gold keys to success. All these books had common themes that helped me focus my attention at work, helped me work more efficiently and plan out a career strategy. Plus bring strategic principles into the work I have done in the team I led.

I realised I need to have a greater grasp of the skills of my trade in management so I used the companies training schemes and resource libraries to study and train up on these keys areas. Coach and mentoring courses to help me develop the best from the team. This combined with my new communications skills and strategic understanding helped me get the best out of the team. Admin organisation, holidays, team meetings, sick leave, development plans, paper work etc. You must be able to perform this task efficiently as they are the main aspects and reasons you are employed. Learn to do them efficiently as it’s you core foundation, which you can build on with communication skills, politic and strategy.

Politics. I came to this area much later than the others, but I know realise it’s the missing key to linking into the other areas already discussed. Studied “The prince” and “Discourses” by Niccolo Machiavelli. Also read a number of office politics books that discuss modern day tricks and stratagems in office politics. As you probably guessed there is a strong link between politics and strategy. In strategy we talk about the environment, in war this will be the hills, mountains, lake, river that effect create the rules of engagement etc. In work it would be the culture of the company, it’s history and office politics as rising from it.

From all these areas I hope to make Grand Unified Theory of management/career progression. Many of the topics began to interlink creating a pattern of think and ideas. I will write this up as it happens during the course of constructing this blog.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


My weight hasn't changed since last post. Only managed to go walking a
couple of times last week. I have decided to step up the walking to
double the distance so I can get the same mileage each week in case I
don't get chance to take a lunch break and walk.

Went on a communication course last week, it was heavy NLP influenced.
It was very good to hear it from a person rather than read from a
book. We also did a number of practical exercise that helped cement
the learning. I also received some feedback from the group on my
communication style that was very interesting. I was perceived as a
nice guy, some one who would like to have a drink with!!. Not bad I
suppose. I have been using NLP a lot more since the course, it has
cleared up a few mis-understandings and re-ignited my passion for the
subject. I am going to try and spend half and hour a day revising NLP
subject as to keep it in the forefront of my mind. I hope this will
help encourage me to use it more.

Friday, 26 October 2007

More visibility

Put back on a couple of pounds from last week but I expected that as it was a bit of bounce back from losing 6 pounds due to illness.
Not being running this week but have taken a few walks at lunch time and done some weights. Plan to going running this weekend to start off again.

Had a brief 1 to 1 the other day. Everything going okay been told I need to get more visibility at work to the higher levels of management. I have a presentation pack on a piece of work I need to seen to my director. Will do this my the end of the day. Have been asked to get involved in presenting at the off site day to the entire directorate, about 200 people.

It has been mention thta other peers have a higher level of visibility as the are very out spoken especially at the management meetings. I was though they talked a load of rubbish and it was an obviously attention grabbing execrise. So far I have kept out of it. However, I could use the opporuntity to lock horns with them, try and use a few Sleight of Mouth and NLP skills to try and derail them in the meeting sna dget some of the lime light for myself. I will print a copy of the SOM patterns out and keep in my book for quick referal in the meetings.

I am on a communication course next week that should be interesting. There a re  plenty of practical sessions so I get a chance to try it all out with out fear of messing it up.

Added a nice touch to a email about a project yesterday. Recent financial results show the importance of a project we are working on I re-print it in a project email update. I was told by others that it was a nice touch to the email.

Need to keep track of how I use NLP and strategy every day. I think its becoming a unconscious competence!! Then again may be not.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Off sick

Well another week has passed. Lost some weight however it was mostly due to being ill all week. As I recover I am sure some will go back on we will see. Lost 6 pounds in a week long way off my target, but hopefully I can keep going now. Should have been 8 pounds my now and I am only on 6 pounds which has only happen in 1 week due to sickness.

As I said been ill most of the week so nothing really to report at all. Have been off work for 4 days plus weekend. Spent my time firstly looking after my daughter as she was ill, then I picked up the bug as was ill until today. Still feeling a bit weak.

Great weekend of Rugby with England into the World Cup Final. Some interesting psychology to be examined on how the England team have created such great team spirit. The same with some of the other teams as well. All Blacks who have the best squad in the world just can't create a team. So when the crunch comes the don't know how to react and choke.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Catch Up

haven't blogged in a while. Been very busy at home and work.
Firstly my diet was going well until I went on holiday and I now seem to be back to square one. I have started the process again so shall weigh my self on 17th Oct.

In terms of NLP I have been using it but can't think of anything to discuss specifically. Been getting into reading books on office politics recently. I have seen a number of similar themes in office politics and NLP, strategy & management techniques.

Been trying to take much more preventative action at work. When I see the problems occuring try and stop them before it becomes an issue. Before I would like to see it become an issue to see how well I could handle it using my NLP and Strategy skills. I realized that the best use of my skills is in a more preventative mode rather than letting it happen or even encouraging the issues to make it more of a challenge. Prevention is better than cure!!!!!!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Been keeping the running going. Been trying ton stick to my eating plan, but been a bit tricky recently due to Birthday parties and Rugby matches. Tried my best will find out tomorrow how good that has been!!!!!!

Decided to start work on some new web site ideas and think of new marketing strategies for my existing web sites.

Not much to report on the NLP or strategy front. As I said been busy not had the time really.

I have started to get in politics as well. I think its the missing piece of the jigsaw I have been looking for in my Grand Unified Theory of career development. recently read a book "21 dirty tricks at work". It really opened up my eyes to what is happening at work and showed my some great ways to combat being the victim of work place politics. Have previously read the "Prince", by Machiavelli and now reading the "Discourses" to gain great insight into politics of the work place. Will try and combine this with the knowledge from my strategy books and NLP into a definitive guide of how to Survive and progress in todays work place.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Weight loss on target

Hi there, Been a few days since I had a chance to blog. Was off ill on Wednesday, back to work Thursday and went running Thursday night. Weighed my self Thursday and lost 3 pounds so down to 15 stone 3 pounds. that makes up for putting a some on the other week. So far 3 weeks 3 pounds, 1 pound a week is my target so all going okay now. Been to a few lunch with work recently but have managed to stick to the salads, so pleased my will power and the mind strategies are working.


Watch a couple people with regards to NLP sensory information. My boss ia definite feelings person when he talks, lots of "lets wrap this up tight" and "need to take a hold of the situation". The other guy was very visual "lets make this clear" and "so far its been very unclear of the way forward". The discussion took a long time and were basically agreeing for most of it but were unaware due to the different language patterns.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Went running again over the weekend. Also had friends round for Friday nights opening game to the rugby world cup. So we had a few beers and Chinese again.

Watched the France vs Argentina game. Very interesting game in terms of strategy. Arg put France under constant pressure by doing up and unders and pinning them in their own half. The French as host, with the weight of expectation on them, found the pressure too much to handle and produce an number of un-forced errors. In the book Art of War it is said that you cannot force opportunities but must be ready to take them when they happen. This is exactly what Arg did and France didn't when they tried to force the game through the Arg defence and was intercepted.

England against the USA was a very dismal affair. Are they saving them selves and they to worried about Fridays game, I don't know but it was poor. The should have used the game to practice their running lines etc. In the Art of War he discusses ruthless destroy your opponents as a way of sending out a message of intent.

Talking to my Uncle this weekend and I noticed he looks the opposite way than you would expect for the eye accessing cues. Interestign I will have to remember that next time I see him and test it out again.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Walk then run

Still feel like I should off lost weight, but haven't.

Had friend round last night and we got a Chinese take way. I had the sizzling beef and steamed rice in an attempt to curb the calories.

Ran my first new regime of informal team meetings today and it all seemed to go okay. Ran the exercise of who we all thought the most powerful people in the company were. Very interesting results and a big variance in the types of people picked. We had the obvious board members and team singled out as they have power as they can stop everything from happening as their processes are so complicated and time consuming.

Decided on my NLP training to go back to basics. Been trying to get into the complex things to eraly on and have l;ost my way. Think I need to learn to do the NLP walk before I do the NLP run. So back to basics, eye accessing cue, frames of reference - visual/feelings/audio etc. Matching their preferences and build rapport.

Got a book about metaphors and NLP the other day. I think this is an example of me getting ahead of myself, will have to read in in the next few weeks as its a loan.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Good and Bad day

Weighed my self this morning and seemed to have put 2 pounds back on. Hmmmmm. Noticed before that on a new diet and execrise routine that things tend to rebound and level out on the 2nd to 3rd weeks. I think its my body getting use to less food and more execrise. Muscles have increased. So using NLP to model myself I will try and keep going for another 3 weeks before I panic and loss heart. Hopefully this is just an adjustment period.

Went running last night. As part of my new routine I am trying to go running 2-3 times a week, previously finding the time was difficult as I have a new baby. I am get my run in at 9pm now to fit it in, where as before I use to run at 6pm back couldn't anymore due to our new arrival.

Organised an informal team meeting for every Friday in the canteen. Like a coffee morning or mothers meeting!!!!
This week I have though of an interesting exercise in the meeting. I going to ask everyone to write down the 5 most powerful people we work with, not necessarily the one with the title but the people that can make things happen. Why? I have been reading a book on office politics and it suggest the power vacuum cause large amount of politics and team disharmony. Interested to know who we think from our different perspectives in the company has the real power.

Finished the changes to my web site yesterday Finished much quicker than I thought I would. My PHP is that bad plus I used only parts of only programs and code off the web to get it done. NLP would say I modeled my own and other people. They say there is nothing new under the Sun, therefore the road to success is to model the successful. Why waste your time going through that discovery period if someone else has done it for you.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Over the weekend

The diet has been going well I have managed to stick to my mission statement. This is basically to eat my set meals and cut out snacking. I have also managed to go running on Saturday and went for a couple of walks as well into town and round a friends(about 30mins in each direction). Did have a takeway Saturday, but didn't over order and didn't over eat. I will see on Wednesday how well its gone once I weigh in.

Cleaned up and organised some rooms in the house over the weekend. The house looks a lot better and has encouraged me to finish it off in the couple of months.

Started some changes as well to my web site as well. Hasn't taken as long as I thought it would.

I mention all this as part of strategy NLP as I have set myself some goals for the end of the year. Goal setting is an important part of NLP and Strategy, so I am going to use it in my life out side business as well.

- Lose 14 pounds by 1st Jan 2008
- Get offered a new Job by 1st Jan 2008
- Organise house, get rooms used for their function rather than a dumping ground. 1st Jan 2008
- make changes to website, new look and functions by 1st Jan 2008.

Was thinking about how to build the team at work over the weekend. After discussing with a success relative I have thought about a few ideas. This all comes under Character based leadership from Art of War and is an important part of strategy.

- Creating a team identity
- Showing them how the contribute to the profit of the company. Get this published.

Going to get team t-shirts for everyone. Organise a weekly Friday morning informal meeting over a cup of coffee in the canteen. This instead of the formal boring monthly meetings, which are difficult to get the whole team to attend due to project commitments and holidays.

Going to work out the monetary value of the work they do on projects and discuss this in the team meetings. Plus get it published to a wide audience to help promote team and positively reinforcement job role in the company.

Friday, 31 August 2007

What is the blog about?

First Post.

I have been studying NLP and classic business strategy to help develop my career. I have recently been listen to various NLP podcast and it has been suggested to keep a journal of events to help me with this career development using NLP and Strategy. The idea being you can look back on events to see what worked and what didn't work, thus can model your own life. So I started a few days ago and it occurred to me why not blog it instead. So this is it my journal/blog of the uses of NLP and Strategy in my day to day life.

This blog will mostly cover events at work and how I attempt to use NLP and Strategy. I may also cover other uses of NLP such as my attempt to use it in weight loss as well. I won't mention names or companies as I don't want to get into trouble with my employer.