What is the best way to learn NLP…

For many people school learning sets the standard by which they assess all future educational opportunities.

In school we engaged in a fairly passive process of absorbing information from the teacher and from books and then proving our ability to retain this information by regurgitating it once again at an examination!

Learning NLP is, or should be, different.


Because NLP is not about amassing information – it’s about having skill! It’s about being able to do things- it is about what you can do rather than what you know.

Can you learn NLP from books or online courses?

Skill with NLP is quite different to knowledge about NLP. You could read dozens of books and still not be able to skilfully use NLP. (I know. I tried it for a few years once I first came across NLP in 1979).

Let’s say you wish to become a skilful horse rider.

Well, there are lots of books available on the subject and you could read them without ever even meeting a horse. And within a few days or weeks become very knowledgeable about horse riding. You’d probably amass more information about horse-riding than many people who have been riding all their lives!

But an hour on a horse and with a skilled riding coach would provide you with more skill in riding that all of your reading or online study.

Learn NLP ‘live’ and interactively

NLP is a set of insights and skills with which you can actively use your mind + your emotions + your body to run your own life more successfullyand to communicate with other people with extraordinary effectiveness.

Learning NLP is an active personal and professional development experience.  Everything you learn needs to be 

  • Explained to you
  • Explored and practised by you and with others in live training sessions
  • Reviewed and discussed with other people to learn from their experience in the practical sessions
  • Developed through on-going coaching from a professionally trained and Certified NLP Trainer who will enable you to develop your own style of NLP – a style that matches your personality.

And, because you are a thinking and discriminating adult learner, everything needs to be discussed and questioned with the trainer and your fellow learners – rather than meekly accepted because it comes from an ‘expert’.

Do books have any value?

If you know absolutely nothing about NLP they can be valuable. That said, there are online NLP sites, such as this our own, which provide free and in-depth information about NLP to enable you to decide if it’s something that will be or interest and of value to you.

If you decide that you’d like to take your NLP journey further it’s time to stop reading and begin doing – by attending a good NLP course. We have 7 tips for selecting an NLP course here.

Many people, mysel;f includes, first encounter NLP through books. Nevertheless about 1 in 3 of those attending our own NLP courses have not even read an NLP book before attending. When asked by would-be participants we suggest that they first attend the workshop to get the hands-on experience and then do some reading afterwards. The books will be more valuable and will make a lot more sense a live workshop.

If I cannot attend a live workshop…?

If you do not currently have the opportunity to attend a live training then using books and audio recordings can be better than nothing – if you adopt a proactive approach:


Select books which offer lots of examples and practical exercises since these will keep you actively involved.

Do the practical exercises!

Avoid the temptation to keep quickly flipping through the pages looking for more and more knowledge! Use the examples to engage your imagination and the practical exercises to develop the skills.

And avoid NLP-indigestion!

It’s a great and exciting subject – with a virtually unlimited range of applications. So the tendency is often to rush out (or to your keyboard) and buy more and more books. Don’t!

Be thorough

Read a little about a topic  – then try it out with a few different people – then re-read it to deepen your grasp. It is better to stick to two or three pieces and to practise what you encounter in these.

Take a few days on each subject. Say three or four days practising Rapport then three or four on Representational Systems. Then some days on recognising commonly occurring Anchors. And so on.

Learning NLP on a course

Here in the UK you have is a huge, even bewildering, selection of NLP training courses and workshops. This raises the question of what type of training to select.

Here at Pegasus NLP we have explored running them all. And they each have their benefits:

Short introductory workshops

These are usually of one or two days. They offer a brief glimpse of the potential and you do not have to commit a lot of time and money.

The disadvantage is that they may not be very good value for money sine they frequently include lots of tantalising pieces but allow no time to go into things in depth.  This is because you can do little more than skip lightly along the surface of the material in a day or so.

Application workshops

Here you discover NLP through applying simple concepts in a particular area such as managing stress, feeling more confident, or communicating more effectively. They can be excellent and provide you with some specific tools to begin applying right away.

One down-side is that they have to be quite technique-oriented to achieve the advertised result but many of the more sophisticated NLP techniques only work really well if you have in-depth training in the core essentials such as sensory acuity, calibration, rapport, etc. That said, they can work really well – especially if you have already had at least some grounding in the core techniques.

Longer introductory workshops

Having experimented with running short workshops as introductory courses we designed NLP Core Skills to provide the ideal immersion in the essentials of NLP.   We have now been running this course since 1999.  

In NLP Core Skills training you experience 5 days of thorough, fun-filled, hands-on training and coaching in the essentials of NLP as well as some of the more sophisticated techniques. Importantly, you don’t have to commit yourself – because we offer money-back guarantee. This means that if the training is not right for you you get a full no-questions-asked refund – and you have until the end of the second day of the course to make up your mind!  And you can read what participants have said here.



With our NLP Core Skills course you get a two-day money-back guarantee.

If you are not convinced that the course will benefit you we will give you your money back. Just let us know any time up to the end of the second day and we will refund your course fee – plus accommodation fee if you’ve stayed on site. And we will do this promptly, in full, and without question.


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More information about NLP

NLP – what’s in it for me?

How to learn NLP

7 tips for choosing an NLP training provider

NLP Core Skills – our course in the New Forest

What people have said about our courses


By Reg Connolly, Director of Training, Pegasus NLP