Optimising NLP Demonstrations

October 29, 2016

Optimising NLP Demonstrations

In the NLP Academy Trainers Training, led by John Grinder, Carmen Bostic St Clair and myself, we share with our participants an 8 Step format to teach NLP Patterning to provide a layered learning method, providing unconscious assimilation and explicit understanding of what is being taught. In my opinion,

The Grinder 8 Step teaching format has many advantages over the 4 Mat system used by many NLP Trainers, namely inductive learning.

The fourth step in the 8 Step format is the ‘NLP Demonstration’ which is a key part of the teaching process giving learners a transparent model of how to carry out the pattern being taught. In this article, I will lay out the key factors for conducting successful NLP demonstrations in the context of NLP Training courses.

Demonstration Subject Selection

For a new trainer who has less experience in working with difficult demonstration subjects, the person selected for the demo is an essential part of the process. It’s quite simple in the framing of the demonstration to select a person who will match the criteria for the format you are teaching. ]

For example, if 6 Step Reframing is being demonstrated, in the framing you will ask for a person who already has established involuntary signals. If a trainer is demonstrating a Swish or Visual/Kinesthetic

Disassociation, it’s important in the frame to ask for a person who visualises. I recommend to pay attention to the group members eye patterns, so when you ask for the demonstration volunteer for eye accessing cues you will pick someone who is ‘normally organised’ with very obvious eye movements.

For anchoring, again it is important for the trainer to scan the whole group, to select a person who is expressive with non-verbal behaviour when entering state, this is particularly important in collapsing anchors demonstrations so the audience can clearly see the integration when the two states collapse.

So in the framing of the demonstration, when the trainer sets the criteria, one is sorting for optimal demonstration subjects. A more experienced trainer may sort less as he/she will have practical experience in how to manage the many variables that can occur in a training demonstration.

Calibration of client/calibration of audience

The demonstration of an NLP technique in a course is of a higher logical level than carrying out that same technique in a coaching session. When conducting a coaching session, calibration of the client is an obvious factor and the coach’s attention is primarily on the subject. In a training demonstration, the trainer has a wider level of calibration, as he/she is calibrating the client as well as the audiences response to the demonstration.

There is also two levels of rapport, rapport with the demo subject who has volunteered in most cases to experience a change, and rapport with the audience who are learning the pattern. The standard mirroring techniques will be deployed with the demo subject as the trainer is not only demonstrating the pattern he/she is also demonstrating how to be an NLP Practitioner. A good teaching demonstration will include the audience; the trainer will make eye contact with group members throughout the demo and will indicate where important shifts have occurred with the client usually in non verbal behaviour.So a training demo is a three way interaction, trainer, subject and audience.

Trainer State

The state of the trainer is crucial to successful demos. It is important that a trainer is congruent with the pattern being demonstrated and congruent with their own skill level. If a trainer is incongruent with the pattern or self, this will be communicated non verbally to the demo subject and the class and the learnings will not be as deep. The Trainer State for the demo will be different than other parts of the teaching session.

The optimal state includes a high level of presence, so the trainer can be fully there for the subject as well as teaching the key points to the audience. In addition the trainer will have a high level of self-awareness, so he/she is tuned into any body signals that come from their unconscious mind to pay attention to the subject, as the conscious awareness of the trainer may not be seeing or hearing an important non-verbal shift in the subject.

Transparency of the demonstration

It is important the trainer is transparent throughout the key steps of the demo. People new to NLP will not be aware of the subtleties present in NLP Patterning. An experienced trainer has the skill to conduct NLP formats covertly, and a new audience may not have the awareness to calibrate what is happening in the demonstration.

So particularly with newer classes it’s important the trainer is explicit behaviourally in the key steps of the demonstration. The greater the skill level of the class the more subtle a trainer can be in the demonstration as for an advanced class the trainer is teaching how to execute NLP Patterning covertly.

Contexts of Discovery & Well Structured Exercise

Once the demonstration has been successfully completed, the next stage is to unpack what has been demonstrated so the class will have explicit reference points for the pattern being taught. An effective way to this is through group discovery, where the group members say what they observed, the trainer provides the additional information so the steps are clear.

My method for contexts of discovers is to elicit from the group the key steps and I write these steps on the board. After the contexts of discovery, the next step is wells structured exercise, the steps in the manual should correlate with the contexts of discovery steps and the key elements in the live demonstration.

The more experience a trainer has with the patterning the more skilled they will be with their demos. Experience comes only through practice. Many people become NLP Trainers without using the patterning in the context the patterns were developed for, that is change work with clients.

I urge Trainers to ensure they have total proficiency with all the NLP patterns in the coaching frame, that is to have used the techniques many many times with lots of different challenges. Not only does this give the trainer robust experience on what to do, it also gives knowledge of contraindications to certain NLP patterns in certain contexts.

To summarise, I suggest trainers make their demonstrations the centre piece of the training session it is highly useful for new trainers to frame their demos to sort for a good demo subject for the pattern being taught. Training demos are of a higher logical level than a coaching session, and the trainer is building rapport and calibrating both the subject and audience, trainer state and self congruence will bring credibility to the demonstration and will add to the convincer factors for the audience.

A transparent demonstrationmakes all the steps clear to the audience so the demo leads cleanly into the contexts of discovery and the well structured exercise.

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