The NLP subtle skills: Voice

Voice: one of the NLP ‘subtle skills’ One theme, which comes up again and again during our courses is the importance of the ‘subtle skills’. These are the skills which make the NLP Techniques work well and pretty consistently – rather than in a hit and miss manner. There are many subtle skills and they…

Read More

You’re not paid by the word!

The ‘people helpers’ who talk too much! One phenomenon that’s always fascinated me is the tendency for “people helpers” to talk too much… People helpers? Managers Trainers Coaches, counsellors Teachers Inspirational speakers HR people Mentors. They seem to think that if they’re not talking, and telling people what to do, they are not earning their…

Read More

“Do not be content!”

Those ‘be discontent’ messages Have you ever stepped back and looked at the range of messages-to-be-discontent that we receive daily? That we are bombarded with, in fact?. Messages designed to make you aware that other people are better, happier, more successful, and have more things than you? Quick let’s put these holiday photos on social…

Read More

A litmus test for friendship?

Think about a few recent conversations… Who, not what, did you talk about? About them? About you? Or a fair mix of each. More precisely, how much interest did they show in you and your life. Were they genuinely interested in your thoughts, your interests, your feelings, your concerns, your aspirations? A further test of…

Read More

“The Archers” – Jill’s wisdom!

I am prepared to admit that my favourite, and only, soap opera is The Archers on BBC Radio 4. (The programme has been on air since January 1951 though I’ve only been a fan since the mid-seventies!) Nearly 30 years ago Jill Archer, the matriarch of the family, was advising one of her troubled offspring…

Read More

Listen to voices!

It was a BBC Radio 4 programme, announced as a comedy show – and within 60 seconds I had to switch it off. Had to switch off? Yes, the quick-fire, raspy, edgy voice of the presenter grated on my nerves. It was physically uncomfortable. He has a great voice… for a writer. I’d recently been…

Read More

Use Free Writing to clear your thoughts

Free Writing 2

Get it out of your head – and on to paper! Sometimes life can be confusing. Or overwhelming. Like when you have too much happening – lots of changes to cope with – lots of decisions to make. Or you’ve got a vague, uneasy, or unpleasant feeling that you can’t get to the bottom of.…

Read More

Are you getting the ‘not interested’ treatment!

receiving the not-interested treatment

How those ‘not interested’ messages work There are lots of subtle messages hidden in everyday conversations – even in seemingly light-hearted chit-chat! Some of these are verbal. Some, most even, are non verbal and these can be powerful. They can dismiss the value of your contribution. They can undermine your standing in the relationship –…

Read More

When our ‘good habits’ trap us!

Habits can be useful and efficient

Habits can be useful and efficient… traps I like a cup of instant coffee first thing in the morning. Every morning, without fail. For as long as I remember. And I always add a spoon of CoffeeMate, a coffee whitener, after making the coffee.  Always. Now, first thing in the morning is the time of…

Read More

Do you encourage them – or not?

try to do this

‘Try’ undermines your impact and influence I was doing some research for an article on stress and depression yesterday. So, I web-searched on a few terms. And I couldn’t believe how sloppy is the language used by so many people who should know better; doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors and, apparently well-respected PhD’s, using phrases along…

Read More

Is your ladder leaning against the right wall?

Right ladder, right motivation, right wall

Before you climb it, ensure your ladder is against the right wall? For years I’ve quoted Stephen Covey’s great metaphor: “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” I actually paraphrased Covey: There’s little point in energetically and enthusiastically climbing that…

Read More

Children just say what they think

We just looked at one another I was walking along the local high street.  And I was approaching and about to pass a woman walking with her daughter of about 6 or 7… Daughter: Mum, what age is Carol? Mum: She’s nearly 18, dear (…longish pause…) Daughter: Emmm, Mum? Mum: Yes, dear. Daughter: Will you…

Read More

How close to someone do you stand?

(This article was originally posted on 13 June 2019 just over 9 months before our first pandemic lockdown here in the UK. I’m reposting it here because, in the light of the past two years, the ideas about social distancing seem so dated. Almost quaint, in fact. Oh, and I’m also reposting it because the…

Read More

Positive thinking or Lazy Thinking?

Positive thinking or just lazy thinking? Have you noticed that much of what’s promoted as ‘positive thinking’ is really lazy thinking or even, let’s face it, daft thinking? It’s something that’s bothered me ever since I was got caught up in my own fuzzy buzzy phase a few decades ago. Yes, I fell for that Group…

Read More

Are you planning for healthy ageing… or decrepitude?

healthy ageing or decrepitude

A challenging question? On some of our courses, we introduce our Design Your Future exercise. It’s a way of creating a practical action plan to create your ideal future over the next few years. When introducing the exercise I ask people to consider “where do you want to be with your life in 5 or…

Read More

Simple advice for a healthy life…

A 600-yr old tip! Have you ever noticed the great resolutions that we make when we’re unwell… You know, the promises such as: Once I’m feeling better again I’ll exercise more, eat better, have a better work-life balance, etc. Well twas ever thus. Asked for his advice for a happy life, Sigismund, the Holy Roman…

Read More

That ‘look at me when I’m speaking to you’ rule

They need to look away to think In conversation, lots of people need look away to think. On the other hand, lots of other people get upset if their speaking partner doesn’t maintain continuous eye contact during a conversation! This thing about who looks at whom can cause a fair bit of confusion. I can’t…

Read More

Those NLP anchors did work – before NLP!

NLP Anchors worked – even before NLP! Back in the late 1700’s the Scottish novelist-to-be, Walter Scott, was a student at Edinburgh High School. And he was always runner-up to the more articulate and quick-witted boy who invariably came top of the class. One day, as his rival was speaking in class, Scott noticed that…

Read More

How long to develop a new habit?

“How long will it take me to get into the habit of doing this?” Well, the usual answer is 21 days and this is one of those myths-which-became-truth because it is so widely and unquestioningly quoted (including by myself in the distant past). It’s based on a 1960’s observation by Maxwell Maltz, the positive thinking…

Read More

Walking for your health!

Walking – less fashionable than running, BUT… In recent years enlightened GPs around the UK have been setting up walking groups for patients in their practices – with good results in reducing requests for prescriptions and in building self esteem and social connections. Walking doesn’t get the same kind of press attention as jogging or…

Read More

The Nocebo – beliefs can harm our health

The amazing Nocebo Effect The Nocebo is what happens when we receive scary news which results in physical symptoms.  The Nocebo is the opposite of the Placebo. With the Placebo, which means ‘I will heal’, we get well because we believe something is good for us – the kindly doctor or therapist who listens and…

Read More

Time for a break from the News

Time for a break from The (Bad) News! Social-Distancing? Yep, got it! So, now how about ‘News-Distancing?” As I sat down to have my lunch one day last week, there was a ‘coming up’ announcement for the BBC Radio 4 World at One news programme which proudly announced “Covid Virus – the latest on who’s…

Read More

“Stay safe!”

Wishing them well?? Shortly after the arrival of Covid-19 in the UK we began wishing each other well with “Stay Safe!” comments. It is a well-intended comment.  Yet, in communication, and as we know from NLP, it’s not our intention when communicating that matters.  What matters are the results of our communicating – our impact on…

Read More

Covid-19: The end of the beginning?

The end of Lockdown in the UK Today is VE Day – Friday 8 May 2020. It’s when we celebrate the day World War II ended in Europe 75 years ago on 8 May 1945. Almost exactly half-way through the war, in November 1942, Churchill cautiously forecast a successful end to World War II with…

Read More

Aggressive agreement!

Conversational power tactic #2 The “aggressive agree-ers” seem to be on your side. After all, they agree with you! But they do it a bit too enthusiastically; so much so that you quickly lose your train of thought. How do they do it? As you are speaking, they maintain a steady flow of “yes, yes,…

Read More

Using silence to control you

Conversational power tactic #1 People who use silence as a weapon in conversation want an audience. But they don’t like to be the audience. So, they’ll discourage you from making your own contributions to the conversation or interrupting their flow. How? Each time you attempt to contribute, they respond with… silence. This is usually accompanied…

Read More

The repeated lie is believed

the-repeated-lie-becomes-the-truth

The repeated lie is believed The 3rd Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year… according to many British newspapers. This ‘scientific claim’ is the invention of a PR company and a part-time lecturer. It was created back in 2004 to get people to book their annual summer holidays earlier and is,…

Read More

Better than a ‘Cookie Jar’

Share those good moments It was on a Core Skills course a few years back. And we were chatting around the kitchen table during one of the course breaks. I think it was during a lunch time. (These informal round-the-table chats are when we often come up with fascinating ways of applying, and wiring in,…

Read More

Plan to have a great time – alone!

Do you plan for good times – alone! It changed my life. The advice to plan for good times even when alone – in fact, especially when alone. This was some years ago. When it seemed to me that happy times were the prerogative of couples and families. That’s when it dawned on me, sometime…

Read More

Sulking: getting the silent treatment

Sulking: the silent treatment

Sulking: getting the Silent Treatment! Oh, he’s just having one of his sulks – best to ignore him. If she doesn’t get what she wants she goes into a sulk – forever! There’s no point in trying to talk with them – they’re in a sulk! Living, or working closely, with a sulker isn’t much…

Read More