John La Valle
NLP™ Master Trainer
Having just returned last week from Orlando, where we had another Great 3 Seminars with Richard Bandler, I’m was reminded time and time again about the importance of keeping things as easy as possible. I received many questions, but one that keeps coming up again and again. And even though I have a article addressing this on my site, I thought it a good idea to write about it briefly here this month.
The question I get again and again from people is: “What have you learned, John, that helped the most with being able to use NLP the way you do?”
Like many people, I had a yearning for learning what works, “how” to “do” things more effectively. And this yearning was long before NLP™. And when I discovered NLP, I, of course, was in awe of the technology. But as I started reading more and more, I just had to get to a seminar. So to broaden my knowledge base I did exactly that. When I first trained with the people I trained with, I learned a lot. I was both fascinated and thrilled to have such fine teachers. Early in my training I met Richard Bandler. Before I met him, I was told by many people, “You’re crazy if you go to see him.” “He’s a mad man.” “He’s this.” And “He’s that . . .” I’m sure you get the picture. I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to see one of the cofounders and so I went. When I first saw him in the training, I also noticed that many others seemed somewhat cautious, yet exhilarated. I found this to be an interesting combination of states. I noticed immediately that Richard was able to keep them at the edge of their seats. I also noticed that before he gave out instructions, he was doing other things that had to do with the instructions. It did take me a while to notice this, but a good part of my manufacturing training was in trouble shooting: backtracking to process control points that had already occurred in time, and finding out where to make the next change in the process to correct a mistake that had already been made, and without jeopardizing the operation, its financial integrity, product quality, etc.
So, when I noticed that Richard was able to help people change as quickly as he was, I was very curious about that. Now take this and couple it with my early childhood fascination with language, grammar, and the structure of language, I started paying attention to how Richard was doing what he was doing.
At his recommendation, I also trained with others so I could learn different *styles*. But it wasn’t different styles I was learning. I was also learning that there were two kinds of *trainers* in the field: The ones who could get the result consistently, and the ones that couldn’t. And as I refined my own observations, I made another distinction about trainers: there are those that can *do*, and those that can’t. And by *do*, I mean that they can influence people *just by talking to them*. Isn’t that what the basis of NLP was to begin with? I think the middle name “Linguistic” is there for a reason that many people have forgotten. I knew about this ability intuitively from a very young age: that there are people who are just influential by how they say what they say, and by how they don’t say what they don’t say (non verbal communication). Because my focus was, and still is, in the business arena, I was more impressed by people who could help others get their own result through exquisite communication (verbally and nonverbally).
And I also learned that there were all kinds of people *teaching* NLP that many companies in the U.S. were sadly turned off by it. And this was mostly the effect of badly taught representations of NLP. Another realization of mine was that companies aren’t (at least in the US) interested in some new training buzz word, some newfangled something to make people feel good. They want results and want it yesterday!! So how to do this?
While training with various trainers in the field, I didn’t expect any of them to be cookie cutter robots of either of the cofounders, but I did expect some degree of continuity in the basic information, which I didn’t find, except for those who trained personally with Richard and John in the early days. What I found was that there was so much information that I had difficulty applying what I was learning a lot of the time. And so I thought perhaps others were, too. And so I asked around and found pretty much the same thing.
I wanted some consistency in my own training and so I decided to train more with Richard, since by that time, Richard and John had gone their separate ways and I had already become acquainted with Richard. Later, I listened to audio tapes, watched videos of others, and to this day, I’m glad I made the decision I made.
After doing a fair amount of training with Richard, I realized that what was lacking in the field, although it was right there all the time, was to make an explicit distinction for people learning NLP so they could use it more fully, more elegantly, and more completely than they may have been. The distinction I made is so powerful for so many, that I’ve called the first part: Pure NLP™. The distinction I made is simple. The technology has two identifiable parts: Skills and the Applications of those skills.
Most of whatever is out there are applications of the basic technology. It seems that people have confused the two together. The phobia cure, for example, is an application, a technique.
Some of the best people out there in the world, those that are most successful, most effective, may be *using* NLP, that is, the skills. They are great at anchoring, they are elegant with language, they have super tonality, etc. They understand how to be influential and persuasive, and some are the tops at helping others to change without using *techniques*, or even giving instructions as in a technique. These are the people who I admire for their skills.
The core essence of the technology is about *experience*, not going meta to it, not dissociating from it. This just causes more generalizations of the experience and oftentimes not in a most useful way for the client. When processes are named, they become generalized. While using different perceptual positions is useful at times, it is useful just to give the client a different perspective, not to live their lives that way. How will they learn to experience their own lives “more fully”? Remembering the names of various applications, techniques, etc. is not the most useful use of what they are capable of *doing*.
It’s like if I were to teach you how to make a chocolate cake, you’d be able make one excellent chocolate cake. And if someone came to you and wanted a chocolate cake, you’d be able to make one for them. But as soon as someone asked you to make them an angel food cake, chances are you wouldn’t know how because you weren’t taught that one. But you could learn that if you want to then go to the “Angel Food Cake Seminar”.
And so, if we teach you the basic ingredients first, how they work, what effect temperature, humidity, and time have on these ingredients, and then teach you how to combine them with a few “sample” recipes, like that chocolate cake, then you’ll know how to make not only the chocolate cake, but also will be in a better position to be able to make that angel food cake because you understand how the basic ingredients can work in combination together to make new recipes!
This has been the basic misunderstanding about the applications of NLP. Many people think it’s about therapy, when it is not. So, how can you learn to enjoy “YOUR LIFE” more fully? By learning first the basic skills, and then to apply them in those areas of YOUR LIFE where they are applicable. That is how we prefer to teach it. You like to do change work with people? Come learn those applications from us. You want to apply them in business? Come learn those applications from us. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s exciting!
And another note worth mentioning is that I use everything I know to facilitate change conversationally and with nonverbal additions. I don’t often take the opportunity to give instructions for changing submodalities, for example, so I must use my own verbal and nonverbal abilities to effect them. My experience is that this is what most people appreciate and want to learn to do. We do what we can to help them to learn this.
©2006 John La Valle