Summary of “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre: this is a very comprehensive manual that will take you to the heart of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). It invites readers to perform a large number of useful exercises for their personal and professional development.
By Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre, 2010, 458 p.
Chronicle and summary of “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre
This book is divided into five main parts.
- Setting up your NLP journey
- Connecting with the world
- Honing your NLP toolkit
- Riding the communications escalator
- The part of tens
The last section is a mandatory part of the “For Dummies” collection. It summarises the concepts and offers very practical advice in ten key points. The other parts examine:
- The awareness behind the choice to read this book or this chronicle (part 1);
- Learning the main rules and principles of NLP that make changes possible (part 2);
- The tools used by NLP to implement personal and interpersonal changes (part 3);
- The magic of words and techniques to communicate in a more positive manner.
Are you ready to take a dive with me into the captivating world of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)? Let’s go!
First Part: Setting up your NLP journey
Chapter 1: where are you right now?
There are so many reasons why you may to want to read this book or this chronicle:
- Curiosity (well, why not?)
- Indecision faced with a life choice
- Discouragement faced with a difficulty
- Desire for a more animated and varied life
- Or a desire for more tranquillity
Whatever led you here, learning NLP will take you further along the path of your personal or professional reflections, sometimes both. You will have the opportunity to change your mental map to see the world in a new light.
Open your mind to the concepts of NLP and learn to observe your thought processes. As you will see, NLP relies on one central idea: your thoughts are related to the sensory experiments you carry out. Little by little, you will become able to recognise and eventually change your thought patterns by relying on your senses.
Lining up at the starting block
The first stage, therefore, consists of asking yourself what attracts you and what you are looking for as you read these lines. Ask yourself:
- What is your motivation?
- What do you want to get out of reading this workbook?
- Is there a specific event affecting your life at the moment?
- What concrete changes do you hope to achieve?
- In which areas of your life do you want to apply NLP?
Define at least one intention, a general aim (less specific than a goal). For example, “achieve a calm sense of focus”, and an idea that sums up this intention: “perspective”.
Once you have done this, adopt the manner you want to achieve this learning. Remember moments in which you enjoyed learning something successfully. Use this memory to perceive your operating methods.
Noting the nuggets as you go
Use this book (or this chronicle) like a genuinely practical workbook. The one true advantage of this book is that you can write in it, photocopy the exercises, scribble in the margins: you can take ownership of the content in a very comprehensive way. At the very least, you can use a notebook to jot down the exercises, ideas and phrases that appear interesting to you.
Another key point is to enjoy reading the book and doing the exercises. Do not make it a fastidious chore. NLP delights in play and humour. You will learn better if you approach it this way!
Chapter 2: Getting your mindset right with NLP
How can you change your mental patterns to see the world differently? That is the question. Let’s simplify things and ask ourselves how we react to events. In NLP, we take about “cause” and “effect”. What does that mean?
- At Cause = you are in command (you consider yourself to be the cause of your actions);
- At Effect = you are a passive observer (you have the impression that you are at the mercy of things and events that are not of your making).
When faced with a situation, you can either be at cause, or at effect. NLP tries to place you at cause in as many situations as possible. Certain signals will allow you to detect which mode you are in.
For example, if you feel stressed in a particular environment, or you have the impression that other people are controlling your actions or words, these are signs of being at effect mode. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable and you feel that you have freedom, you are undoubtedly at cause mode.
Learning to decipher the underlying meaning of what you say will reveal the mode in which you operate in a given situation. There are worksheets in the book that offer examples and help you complete exercises related to these questions.
Examining internal dialogue
You live in a world of conversations with others and in a world of internal dialogue. It has good intentions: it is seeking to hold onto your identity. But it can become an exhausting problem when you repeat the same negative things all the time!
Thank your internal dialogue for its hard work, but analyse the content mercilessly. Are you in an at cause or at effect pattern? Some activities can be very useful to become aware of, and then change, your internal dialogue. Meditation can be helpful, and so can keeping a diary for example.
Think about certain complicated situations in which you react in at effect mode. Write down three sentences describing what you might say or do. Now change them so that they become affirmations in at cause mode. Observe the effect of this change on yourself.
Revisiting the NLP presuppositions
The authors offer a brief reminder of the main rules, theories and practices of NLP. For a more comprehensive panorama, you can also visit my chronicle of the book “Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies”, written by the same specialists.
- “The map is not the territory […] ;
- People respond according to their map of the territory […] ;
- There’s no failure, only feedback […] ;
- The meaning of the message is the response it draws out […] ;
- If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different […] ;
- The person with the most flexibility influences the outcome of any interaction […] ;
- You cannot not communicate […] ;
- You have all the resources you need to achieve your desired outcomes […] ;
- Every behaviour has a positive intent […] ;
- People are much more than their behaviour […] ;
- The body and the mind are interlinked and affect each other […] ;
- Having choice is better than not having choice […] ;
- Modelling successful performance leads to excellence […].” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, 53- 57).
Charting the maps
The words you use are limited representations of the world. They arouse images inside you that are a blend of sensations, emotions, mental reconstructions and factual elements.
To train with this, think, for example, of all the associations that come to mind when you think of the word “ball”. If possible, compare your answers with someone else (exercise 2-6).
Learn to use the words in the same way you would create and use a map. For example, start with a sentence, then try to make it more complete, zoom in on the blurry parts and specify the thought. Try to genuinely express the territory with the word chart!
Changing focus through your projections
“Much of NLP is about holding up the mirror closely to yourself and looking at your own thoughts and behaviours.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p63)
Have you ever noticed that you sometimes blame other people for things that you yourself expect or want? It is almost certainly a need that you don’t really know how to express or manage.
For example you want to gain recognition and esteem from another person, but you complain to your colleagues that your boss does not like you and belittles your work.
In doing this, you project a need that comes from inside you into reality. There is nothing to say that you objectively suffer from a lack of consideration (although this could of course be the case). Also, you will find it easier to reach your goal if you announce your need in a positive way (in cause mode). Romilla Ready and Kate Burton suggest several exercises on this topic in the book.
Picking your mindset
You can choose the mindset that helps you to be the best you can be. For example, if you notice that you lack inquisitiveness, write this in your notebook: “Be curious”. You can also keep a personal diary to help you achieve your goals.
First You can create a daily goal. You may need an inspirational quote, an image or an object to get in touch with the mindset you seek over the course of the day. Make a note of your impressions and the effects of your mindset at the end of the day: how do you feel? What difficulties did you encounter? What can you improve to anchor this mindset inside you moving forward?
Chapter 3: Planning your roadmap
Mapping your life journey
Let’s take a metaphor: you are taking a trip. For the trip to be a success, you need several things:
- A map;
- An itinerary;
- A means of transport;
- A certain speed or pace;
- Travel companions;
- Entertainment and gems you find along the way;
Do you understand the metaphor? Try to perceive the order in which these elements appear in your life at the moment, and what you can change to make the journey more pleasant and help you to get where you want to go. Where are you now on your trip?
Assembling your wheel of life
Gerri’s wheel of life will help you to keep certain elements that are important to you in mind as you move along your path. Sometimes, when you want to improve a specific point, you can lose sight of the others (or make them worse, which is not the goal).
For example, you want to take the following into account in your life:
- Leisure activities;
You can name anything you want, but stay under nine items in number (the conscious brain cannot process more than 9 pieces of information).
Once you have made your list, draw a wheel. Divide the different elements inside it in a balanced way. Note each segment from one to ten (you can colour each wedge depending on the importance of the level of accomplishment).
Observing this wheel allows you to take stock of the situation – are you travelling along a bumpy road? Is your wheel “aligned” or not? Where can you take action?
To launch the change, use the power of “as if”. Act “as if” you already have everything aligned and in order. Make yourself virtually present in the hoped-for situation in order to make it come true. (See exercise 3- 6-of Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p.83).
Checking for smarter than SMART goals and well-formed outcomes
SMART goals are well known in the world of business. In NLP, we generally talk about “outcomes” to qualify the answers to the question “What do you want?” In NLP, an outcome refers to a goal.
There are seven criteria to correctly formulate an outcome (these 7 steps correspond to the requirements of SMART goals).
- Positive formulation;
- Personal initiative;
- Appropriate context;
- Describe the evidence procedure;
- Identify the resources needed;
- Check if your goal is ecological;
- What is the first step?
You can also question your goals in “cartesian style” (see page 97).
Staying on track
As the specialist Stephen Covey says, (as quoted by the authors), “Begin with the end in view”. This helps you to stay on track and make what you want reality. For this, NLP uses the senses and emotions. How?
Here is a summary of the stages proposed by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton:
- Go to the desired state as if the outcome is already achieved (enjoy it in your imagination);
- Come back to the present (with the right feelings);
- Go to the mid-point of project completion (see how you feel in that moment);
- Go to the point of 3/4 project completion (the same idea);
- Take the first step today and analyse your needs.
Rolling smoothly along
To enjoy the journey, consider creating a sort of travel diary in which you write down, draw, collate items from the stages of your project. Create a specific section in which you write down the most important results “as if” you have already achieved them.
In other words, write a short summary of the outcome and include all your feelings and emotions. Write this in the present tense.
If you stray off track and forget to keep your map in your head or forget to keep your diary up to date, don’t worry! Spend a few minutes to motivate yourself by performing the following ritual before sleeping:
“Spend a few minutes savouring your dream diary and your dreams. Make a note of five actions that you’re going to take tomorrow to stay on track. As you’re dropping off, invite your unconscious to help you with your dreams and outcomes.”(Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 104)
Chapter 4: Working with your unconscious mind
Recognising conscious and unconscious behaviours
Most of our actions or thought processes are unconscious. The unconscious mind spontaneously protects us and protects what we have already acquired.
It looks after satisfying our needs, as well as maintaining habits acquired in childhood or later. Because you write every day, you write without thinking about how to do it. So, in NLP, the unconscious mind is everything that we do or think without reflecting on it.
When they become a problem, it is useful to be able to bring unconscious habits into the conscious mind. This is even more important when some of your conscious and important projects are being sabotaged by your unconscious mind.
If you want to lose weight or find a new job, the two parts of your mind need to be aligned. This takes place through analysis, and then reprogramming. It is not about making every part of your mind conscious, but about reframing the things that are causing problems. Trust your unconscious mind to help you move in the desired direction.
The unconscious mind can be the refuge for fears that you cannot see, but that have an influence on your life and how you make decisions. Learn to communicate with it!
The different “parts” of yourself often come into conflict in the unconscious mind. How can you help them to get along? If you personalise the different parts, you can help them to express their interests in a conscious manner. The full process is available on page 118, as well as exercises 4-6 and 4-7.
NLP draws inspiration from meditation to access the unconscious area and facilitate problem solving. Here is a summary of the procedure proposed by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton in the book:
- “Decide where and when you are going to set aside time for meditation.
- Think about an issue you’re wrestling with.
- Choose a statement that expresses the result you want. Say it in the positive, as if you have already achieved the result.
- If you don’t have any issues at the moment and are generally happy and content, thank your unconscious mind or speak about something for which you’re grateful.
- Get your ritual going for settling down and feeling comfortable.
- Take a breath in through the nose. As you breathe out softly from the mouth, speak your statement. Repeat this step for the length of your meditation time.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, 125-126)
Chapter 5: Recognising how you filter your thinking
Understanding the NLP communication model
The brain is inundated with a huge amount of information that it processes by filtering, classifying and simplifying. The end result of these external stimuli is called an internal representation in NLP. Internal representation is not a match for external reality. It is more like a personal representation that is partial and distorted. Knowing this can help you to communicate better.
The NLP communication model is characterised by 5 steps:
- The five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) gather sensory information about something (an event, such as being kissed, for example);
- Your internal filters (metaprograms, values, beliefs, decisions, memories) process the information you receive;
- Your brain composes an internal representation based on this filtering;
- You feel that you are in a particular state further to this internal representation;
- You act physically in one way or another (return the kiss, hold out your hand, slap the person…);
Learn to rule out deletions to lose less information along the way (exercise 5-1, page 133)!
It is also possible to recognise and isolate distortions created over the course of the process of representation. A distortion is a false representation or interpretation. It is created to match your own desires or beliefs. In NLP, a little reflection generally leads to awareness and the ability to change them (exercise 5-2, p. 134)
The same thing applies to generalisations. You may have a tendency to “put everything under one heading”, or use words with -isms. This type of representation is practical and economical (you avoid going into reality in detail), but it can prevent us from entering into a relationship with others (to work on generalisations, visit pages 137-138).
Transmitting for reception
Remember that successful communication relies on a three-fold process:
- Recognising the filters of another person;
- Recognising your own filters;
- Adapting your language to reflect the other person’s filters.
Looking in and out of the internal/external metaprogram
To highlight the importance of metaprograms, the authors look at the question of the relationship to another person when making decisions. We say that a metaprogram is more “external” if you need to get the opinion of various people to make a decision. On the other hand, it is more “internal” if you tend to rely on yourself.
Both types of behaviour have their advantages and disadvantages. What is your metaprogram? What are the pros and cons of this system?
Note that it is perfectly possible for you to change depending on the situation. For example, it is more common to act in “external” mode in a learning situation, and in “internal” mode if you are an expert. Take context into account when performing your analysis (exercises 5-5 to 5-9).
Discovering your values
Values are other filters that you can learn to recognise and manipulate. They are what matters to you; your values influence your world view of what is right and wrong, good and evil. For example, you can value courage and hate (put down) cowardice.
Values are very useful for direction, but they can create distortions, generalisations or deletions. To better control them, and give yourself greater freedom of action, you can practice this reflexive exercise:
- “Think of an area of life you want to improve;
- Make a list of what is important to you in this context;
- List your values in order of importance”. (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 148)
This simple method can also be completed with the following: list the values related to the various aspects of your life, then organise them in relation to their importance for you.
Recognising blocked filters
Some decisions made in the past (recent or distant), as well as certain beliefs, can be limiting. This means that they prevent you from seeing certain possibilities that may present themselves to you. Once again, a detailed analysis will help you to overcome the ones that are spoiling your life (see exercises 5-13 and 5-14).
Here is an example given by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton:
Tara believes that because obesity runs in her family, she has no hope of being a normal size. When she hears about success stories of weight loss, she dismisses them (deletion) because she doesn’t believe they’ll work for her. Her distortion is that her genetic makeup predisposes her to be fat and her generalisation is that diets don’t work for her. Because she sees lifestyle changes as diets, she deletes these as well.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 155-156).
Memories affect (filter) your current reality. They make you think that you do or do not have the ability to do certain things, or that you prefer one thing over another, for example. Once again, it is possible to act according to the same principles of analysis mentioned previously (taking context into account, analysing deletions, etc.).
Second Part: Connecting with the world
Chapter 6: Seeing, hearing, feeling
Uncovering your VAK preferences
The philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius recommended mastering thought to achieve happiness. But where do these thoughts come from, if not from sensory experiences.
NLP calls each person’s system of sensory representations VAK preferences.
- V for visual;
- A for auditory;
- K for kinaesthetic (touch, along with impressions related to movements).
Taste and smell count too, of course. However, most often people tend to anchor their perceptions in one of the three main channels given above.
Try the experience for yourself. If you have to remember a busy public place, what will you remember first? Use all your senses to try to make as complete an image as possible. Once you are finished, ask which of the senses had the most effect for you (if you have the book, you can do the test on page 165, exercise 6-2).
The way you talk is coloured by the concepts and expressions related to your preferred VAK. For example, if you are a visual person, you will be more inclined to say “Let’s see” or “Let me take a look.”. When you know this, you can adapt what you say to your audience. When you can act and speak according to different preferences, you will become more interesting and convincing!
Looking at language preferences
You will find a detailed, but non exhaustive list of VAK words and expressions on page 168 of this book by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton. Learn to spot them in other people. Why not listen to the radio and take notes (exercise 6-4)!
In which situation do you feel you have the best chance of being understood if you use an “auditory” vocabulary? Once again, the better you can handle the VAK preference (in written documents too), the more success you will have in your communication.
Match and play with VAK preferences.
Matching is being able to recognise and get in tune with another person’s VAK preferences. You do it spontaneously in love, for example, when you want to seduce someone or reassure them.
But this also works in a more general way. To get into a rapport, you have to match by sending feedback that shows the other person that you are “on the same wavelength”.
To have perfect control over the level of connection or disconnection of an interaction, you can amplify the use of the same preference, or create a diversion or combine this preference with other ones. You can create imbalance (which can be useful if you want to end a conversation or check a preference).
You can do the same thing with your problems! What does that mean? Well, if you are conscious that you use a particular preference when you are faced with a problem situation, you can seek to desensitise yourself by moving from one sensory preference to another.
For example, if your noisy neighbours are driving you crazy, try to desensitise by performing actions that use visual markers. You will reduce the excessive focus on hearing. This can also apply to more abstract or practical problems. Detect your VAL preferences associated with a particular problem and modulate them (exercises 6-6 and 6-7).
Turning up the passion
When you are passionate about a subject, you will have a natural tendency to use a rich and varied vocabulary when it comes to sensory representations. In NLP, words or expressions that refer to VAK preferences are called “predicates”. Here are some tips from the authors on how to make a speech more passionate:
- “Draft a few introductory sentences for your speech;
- Rewrite the introductory paragraph using a stronger mix of predicates, making sure you cover at least visual, auditory and kinaesthetic words;
- Write and develop the rest of your speech using what you have found out about VAK language so that the speech is engaging.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 176)
One of the concepts of NLP is about eye accessing cues. In other words, eye movements that can detect the VAK preferences of the person you are talking to. Refer to “Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies” for more on this!
In this book, you will find a reminder of the concept, but most importantly, some exercises to perform. Begin by observing the people around you, then establish a communication plan in relation to their respective preferences (exercises 6-10 and 6-11). This will increase your listening, attention and empathy skills; and you will feel better understood!
Chapter 7: Developing rapport
Your key people
To improve your relationships you can use VAK preferences (chapter 6). But who are your people?
To get a good picture, draw a relationship map that is similar to a mind mapping exercise. Place your name in the centre of a piece of paper and draw your relationships by creating branches, and then sub-branches by name, family or sector, etc. (exercises 7-1 and 7-2).
Matching and mirroring
We talked about matching earlier. It is not about imitating everything about the other person. Do not imitate gestures and voice, or you will give a very bad impression, especially in a professional setting!
However, you can use discreet mirroring (also called matching cross-over) by choosing one or two anchor points in the person you want to match. Here are some characteristics you can play with:
- Rhythm, volume or tonality of voice;
- Movements, breathing patterns;
- Energy and excitement levels (fast movements, etc.);
- Frequency or intensity of visual contact or gestures; in other words, body language.
Do a test in your local coffee shop and match the server! Practice this slowly, with a lot of observation. Note the characteristics if necessary (exercises 7-3 and 7-4) and gradually apply these techniques to other parts of your life.
Pacing and leading
Pacing is the time process of matching. You need some time to establish effective rapport with the other person using discreet mirroring. Conflicts are useful opportunities to draw lessons about this.
Think about a conflict (loss of rapport) and the problems the incident led to. What happened? How can you change your behaviour to achieve a desired outcome (remember to use feelings and images)? What concrete action can you take in the future to achieve this state? (Exercise 7-5).
There are different ways to break rapport. There are ways that are voluntary and relatively elegant (leading to peace or conflict, but also to forgetting or relatively unpleasant memories).
If you to break rapport elegantly, remember to say what you feel and to express your needs. Use short sentences that express gratitude while outlining your reasons. For example: “I need to preserve family time, so I won’t be able to accept your invitation.”
Other techniques exist too (see page 200). Learn how to use non-verbal language, which according to the authors accounts for 93% of communication! Progressively learn how to manage these different techniques and adapt the gentle/firm level of the break.
Stepping into the other person’s shoes
Here is an exercise that will help you improve your capacity for empathy. Do it alone by imagining a person with whom you would like to improve your relationship. Place three sheets of paper on the floor or on three chairs set up in a triangle.
- “In the first position, simply be yourself and look (in your imagination) at the person in the second position with whom you’d like greater rapport.”
- Notice your impressions. Now break this state and change sheets or chairs to move to the second position.
- “In the second position, imagine being the other person and look (in your imagination) back at yourself from this perspective.”
- Notice your impressions. Now break this state and change sheets or chairs to move to the third position.
- “In the third position, imagine being an impartial observer.
- Go back to the first position. Ask yourself: ‘How is this different now?’
- Plan action. The most important stage is to take action. Ask yourself: ‘What is the first practical step that I need to take?” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 204-205)
N.B.: The concept of breaking state means exiting the state in which you were, for example through physical or mental action (moving or thinking about something completely different).
Chapter 8: Influencing with metaprograms
Listening for metaprograms and discovering filters
As a person, you play several roles: partner, parent, co-worker, etc. For each of these roles, you have certain ways of acting and reasoning. The ways you act and think are related to what NLP calls metaprograms. Note that:
- Your preferred metaprograms differ in relation to the roles you play;
- Each metaprogram is used by you in varying degrees.
We are all different, and we behave differently depending on real life situations and the people we encounter. It is important to see metaprograms as mobile and dynamic.
Metaprograms are like filters used to direct our attention. Here are 4 frequently used filters as presented by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton in Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies:
- The direction filter = going “toward” or “away from”;
- Chunk size filter = general/specific;
- Reason filter = Options (ends) / procedures (means);
- Primary interest filter = differences between people, places, things, activities and information.
In the same way as VAK preferences, these filters are expressed through language, as well as the behaviour or individuals. You can notice them in other people and analyse them in yourself. The book suggests exercises for each of the metaprograms, with examples of words or expressions that are associated with them (exercises 8-1 to 8-8).
Some combinations are winners. Once you have mastered the method, you can seek to associate certain filters by moving the cursors (further away, associated with a less specific direction, for example).
Each profession can be characterised based on these filters. A teacher or a marketing executive will have varying degrees associated with each filter. More generally, you can learn to characterise all your roles in relation to metaprograms and seek to improve your performance. Over to you!
Putting metaprograms to use
You can also use filters to communicate more effectively. If you have time to prepare, you can even invent scripts that include (in addition to VAK preferences) a language that can be specific, or distant or more procedure-focused, etc.
Think of a desired outcome and write a script that is specially designed for the chosen opposite party. For example, write a script to convince your girlfriend to marry you (exercises 8-9 and 8-10)!
Third Part: Honing your NLP toolkit
Chapter 9: Managing your emotions
Appreciating the abilities of anchors
“An anchor is a trigger that links to an action or emotional state. The process of anchoring works by associating one experience with a particular state, thereby producing that state in you.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 234).
You can learn to recognise and use your anchors, whether they are:
- Positive, helping you to act and to feel good;
- Or negative.
Some negative anchors, associated with a distance filter, can be useful. For example, if you want to stop smoking, it may be a good idea to place a picture of a cancerous lung in a visible location. The anchor (photo) will encourage you to steer clear of cigarettes.
You can define anchors to help you complete projects that are important to you (such as quitting smoking). When you have to face a stressful situation (speaking in public, a crisis, etc.) you can use the circle of excellence technique. This technique and its exercises are on pages 239-240.
Note that the circle of excellence will help you to define a large number of personal anchors. As an example: using this technique, it is possible to return to a positive mental state with a small hand gesture (anchor), as long as you can associate it with the memory of a previous pleasant feeling (exercises 9-2 and 9-3).
Little by little, with practice, you will become able to better capture the positive moments and use them to face all the challenges in your daily life.
Breaking the chains that bind
Yes, some anchors give us a hard time. You see something and it reminds you of a painful moment, and you become sad. Or you may find yourself unable to resist the temptation of a slice of cake with your cup of tea despite your resolution to lose weight.
You can manipulate these negative anchors that are ruining your life. How? Using the NLP method of neutralising anchors. Here is the method:
- “Begin by defining the two contrasting emotional states: the first is the one that gives you a problem and is associated with a negative state, while the second is positive;
- Set a negative anchor by recalling your problem state for yourself, and as you do so hold it down firmly with the flat of your hand just above one knee;
- Now set the positive anchor (such as calm) by remembering a pleasant and positive memory. As you recall that much better experience, anchor it to the same place on the other knee.
- Now think of a time coming up for which you want to be in a positive state, yet the problem memory might get in the way. As you imagine that situation, fire both the positive and negative anchors off at the same time by pressing firmly on both knees. Gradually let go of the problem anchor on the one knee while holding firm with the positive one on the other.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 249-250)
Become more and more attentive to anchors, in other words, the things that trigger your actions or emotions. You can also spend a day analysing and writing down the succession of positive and negative states you experience, and what generates them (exercise 9-7).
Dealing with criticism
To start, remember this: criticism is related to the role you play in a given situation. It does not affect you as a whole person. To put this more radically, it does not concern you personally.
Once you understand this, the key is to take what is justified in the criticism and implement positive change instead of focussing on the negative. In other words, turn it into constructive feedback.
The method invented by NLP calls this dissociation. We already saw a version of it in chapter 7. It involves a succession of 3 positions:
- That of the other person;
- That of a neutral observer;
You can adapt the exercise in Chapter 7 or refer to the method proposed by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton, as well as exercise 9-8 (p. 256-257).
Chapter 10: Taking charge of your experiences
Recording your memory
This requires a little vocabulary. In NLP:
- Modalities are the impressions that come from our senses (see the VAK preferences in chapter 6);
- Sub-modalities are more precise modalities that can be related to particular senses.
For example, take a neutral memory, one that is not too happy and not too sad (exercises 10-1 to 10-4). Take some time to describe it. First, you have sensations related to the five senses: these are the modalities. But if you dig a little deeper, you can make out the details thanks to:
- Visual sub-modalities = luminosity, size, distance, precision, framing, colour, etc.;
- And auditory sub-modalities = source, timbre, volume, duration, speed, rhythm, etc.;
- And kinaesthetic sub-modalities = intensity, duration, source, mobility, size, temperature.
How does this serve you? Well, you can dive back into your memories and manipulate them in order to better accept them. How? By modifying the sub-modalities like a film director or a sound and picture engineer. Of course, this requires some preparation and you should do it in a calm place (exercises 10-5 to 10-9).
Mending memory lane
It is quite possible to learn how to transform your limiting beliefs, to create internal resources for a project or to overcome difficulties by relying on your power to change past experience.
Let’s take the example of limiting beliefs. Here is a specific example: “I am a bad speller and I always will be”. This is a belief inherited from the past that can prevent you from learning and mastering language. It’s a pity! How can you remedy this problem?
Here is the procedure proposed in the book:
- “Think of a limiting belief you have and make a note of the picture that comes to mind.
- Think of a belief that you no longer find true;
- Think of a belief that, for you, is an absolute certainty;
- Think of a belief you would rather have than the limiting belief you picture in Step 1;
- Change the submodalities of the limiting belief from Step 1 into those of the belief that is no longer true for you in Step 2;
- Change the submodalities of the belief you would rather have from Step 4 into those of the belief of which you are absolutely certain from Step 3.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 277-278)
Refer to exercises 10-11 to 10-13 to act on resources and difficult moments.
Chapter 11: Aligning yourself with your purpose
Looking at the logical levels
Robert Dilts, a famous coach who specialises in NLP, designed logical levels to be a tool for self-understanding and to help with change. What are logical levels?
- Goal (what purpose and why);
- Identity (who);
- Beliefs and values (why);
- Capabilities and skills (how);
- Behaviour (what);
- Environment (where, when and with whom).
Each level has its own characteristics, possibilities and limits. Let’s take a very simple example: you want to work in Spain, but you are in France. Therefore, you have to question the logical level of the environment and ask what changes you can make at this level.
You can also start with a key area (for example, family relationships), and then run through all the logical levels starting with environment. For each of them, think of positive sentences that highlight your action in this area (exercises 11-1 to 11-3).
This work can also be done as a team, using chairs or sheets of paper on the floor to represent the different logical levels (for the full procedure see page 290).
Focusing on your identity, values and beliefs
It is especially important to work on the three logical levels of identity, values and beliefs, because they condition the success of your goal (ultimate level).
Here are some questions you can ask to work on your identity (exercise 11-5).
- What names do I give the different roles in my life?
- What role includes all the other roles?
- What is the view of the situation from the viewpoint of each of these roles?
When it comes to values, you can work on this area by asking the following questions (exercises 11-6 and 11-7):
- What are my fundamental values?
- In which order?
- How can I align my values with the new situation?
- In other words: what is the relationship (cause/consequence) between these values and this situation?
Analysing and modifying your beliefs (what you believe to be true) involves the following thought process (exercises 11-8 and 11-9):
- What is my most problematic belief (the one holding me back)?
- What beliefs give me energy (push me in the right direction)?
- What empowering belief could replace this limiting belief?
Perhaps you don’t know what professional path to take? Rely on the analysis of your fundamental professional values and on the study of your past professional experiences (exercises 11-10 and 11-11).
Flowing through the levels for a purposeful life
Is your purpose unclear? Have you discovered what brings you most satisfaction? In “The Psychology of Optimal Experience”, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly talks about the flow or the optimal experience, the state in which you take advantage of achieving something.
NLP can enlighten you on this point. Perform this two-part exercise:
- Start by writing your personal story (in the present tense), starting with the environment;
- Now write a second story, this time starting with the goal.
“The logical levels can help you understand the flow of your feelings, thoughts, and actions so that your life finally has a sense of purpose and you’re motivated and inspired. In the NLP world, the word congruence describes that sense of power you have when you’re acting in accordance with what feels right at all the levels.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 303).
Chapter 12: Changing strategies for success
Describing and assessing strategies
In NLP, a strategy is a habit. It can be efficient or inefficient. If you do not get good results, it can be useful to change. When you have an efficient strategy or a good habit, you can try to transfer it to other areas of life. Or you can imitate people who have encountered success in the areas in which you are having difficulties. Strategies are models that can be imitated.
How can you sort through good and bad habits? In short, how can you assess a strategy? To do this, you should:
- Describe it;
- Give it a label – efficient or inefficient – and explain your choice;
- Get the opinion (real or imaginary) of other people who can evaluate your strategy and ask them why they consider it to be efficient or not;
- Identify the result you get from your strategy and consider its value (good or bad);
- Deconstruct the strategy and look to where you can carry out a change;
- Perhaps you can find someone to imitate to get better results.
Discovering someone’s strategy
It’s not easy! Once again, you can use the help of eye cues. A word of warning – this analysis changes in relation to whether the person is right-handed (NLP calls this “normally organised”) or left-handed. Don’t worry, in the book you will also find a strategy for how to find out whether the person you are talking to is right- or left-handed. Ask them the time!
Studying the eyes (in depth with exercises 12-4, 12-5 and 12-6) allows access to certain thought processes in other people, in particular their strategies. To find out more about the theory, once again I suggest reading the other book by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton: Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies.
Creating new patterns
Thanks to NLP, you can adopt new habits. Return to them, day after day, repeating the desired outcome (see chapter 3), and anchoring your resolution in images, sounds and gestures.
Do not neglect the power of relaxation and breathing exercises inspired by meditation. This is a very effective strategy for finding relaxation on a daily basis!
Chapter 13: Working with your time line
Discovering your time line
We all organise the world around us according to time structures – past, present and future. But perhaps you have a different way of referring to these structures than your best friend or your co-worker. To discover your time line, take some time to analyse the language you use.
This is one of the pre-suppositions of NLP that you are beginning to understand: your language says a lot about your unconscious, habitual patterns. Listening to yourself, and listening to others, helps you become able to detect them.
Begin therefore, by noticing expressions that you use and that other people use that refer to time. Write them down in a table (exercise 13-1).
Now, in your imagination, think of:
- An event in the past;
- An upcoming event;
- And the situation that you consider to be “now”.
Pay attention to them. When you project into the future or remember an event in your imagination, you can create an imaginary time line and position yourself in relation to it.
NLP considers that you have one of these approaches:
- An “in time” time line if it goes straight through you;
- A “though time” time line if it is beside you.
Check that this matches some of your habits by completing table 13-1 (page 337). For example, if you are an “in time” person, you live in the moment and you are not necessarily very punctual. This is hell for “through time” people!
Putting your time line to work for you
One piece of good news is that you can work on your time line and learn to have an in time/through time approach that does not come spontaneously. This will help you to improve, to get some perspective and to understand other people more easily.
You can also go back to the root causes, the events in your past that generated a particular kind of behaviour, a specific way of relating to someone or something.
In other words, you can perform exercises to remove the limiting decisions of the past, remove negative emotions and live more fully in the moment (exercises 13-4 to 13-9).
Overcoming anxiety about a future event
If you can act on the negative emotions of the past, you can also act on the emotions related to the future! By controlling your time line, you can move in your imagination to the moment that is causing you anxiety and change your perception.
To summarise and illustrate the process, if you need to take an examination that is causing you stress, picture yourself as being relaxed and in full knowledge of your subject. Use modalities and sub-modalities to enrich your perception and convince yourself. Back in the present, the event causing you anxiety will appear to easier to tackle (exercises 13-10 to 13-12).
Using similar techniques, you can also set more sustainable goals and regain confidence in your internal resources (exercises 13-13 to 13-15).
Fourth Part: Riding the communications escalator
Chapter 14: Adapting language with the meta model
Getting to the heart of NLP
“The Meta Model addresses the three key processes of natural communication that you first encountered in Chapter 5 and read about in the NLP Communications Model – the ways in which you and those around you delete, distort, and generalise in everyday language.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 365).
For example, you can decipher what people are saying by calling on the following three categories of generalisation:
- Modal operators of possibility – as in I can’t.
- Modal operators of necessity – as in I have to, I should.
- Universal quantifiers – as in everything, everybody, always, never.
When you take this path in language, you generally arrive at a dead end. Why? Because these negative modal operators act like barriers that limit our actions and our thoughts.
But you can use an alternative mode! How? By starting with “What if…”! Or, and this amounts to the same thing, by asking yourself questions such as:
- “What is stopping me from making this possible?” (possibility);
- “What would happen if I did not fulfil this obligation?” (necessity);
- “Is this systematically the case?” What if I find an example that contradicts my statement? (universal quantifier)
Think about this, make notes, imagine what success would look like, and then take the first step.
Reading the distorted patterns
According to a similar programme of action (see exercises 14-6 and 14-7), you can learn to recognise and overcome distortions, or false interpretations of events experienced. Romilla Ready and Kate Burton give three examples of distortion by way of illustration:
- Complex equivalence (linking two experiences that have no direct relationship);
- Mind reading (assuming you know what someone is thinking);
- Cause and effect (see chapter 2).
Some distortions are positive (for example, being in cause mode is more positive than being in effect mode). The most important thing is to know that we change reality through our representations, and therefore are able to separate the facts from their interpretations.
Deleting the missing parts
The most common deletions involve:
- Simple deletions = when you say you are scared, what are you scared of?
- Unspecified verbs = if you say someone beat you, how did they beat you? With whom/what?
- Terms of comparison = when you say that someone is better than you at something, what does that mean? In relation to what?
- Judgements = if something doesn’t matter, why does it not matter? What exactly do you not care about?
- Nominalisations = do you find that communication is difficult? Difficult with whom? What topics are difficult?
Learning to be specific about your thoughts is one of the keys to successful communication!
Chapter 15: Adapting language with the Milton model
Distinguishing between direct and indirect hypnosis
People can be suspicious of hypnosis. NLP invites you to change your point of view, in particular through the world of Milton Erikson, who helped to make hypnosis a respected form of medical therapy.
He mainly used indirect hypnosis, which involves placing the other person into a light trance by using appropriate language.
It is different to direct hypnosis, in which the therapist has complete control over the patient.
Recognising everyday trances
When we daydream, when we are on “auto pilot” or we are “caught up’” in a conversation, we experience reality in light trances and our state of consciousness is altered.
Think about this: in those moments you are completely absorbed. You are less sensitive and focussed on a particular point. You are performing hypnosis without realising it!
There are also negative trances. During these, when you crystallise the negative and start to “spiral” or “go into a tailspin”, you repeat the same tortuous mantra over and over and shut yourself off from the world around you.
How can you get out of this? Actively focus on a positive aspect of the situation. Using your imagination, dive into a positive moment or perform a breathing exercise.
To lead you gently into a positive trance, use peripheral vision. The method appears in Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p 387).
Captivating your audience with the Milton model
The rule is easy to understand if you have read the above carefully. To put somebody into a state of everyday trance, you need to get their attention by allowing them to refer to their own sensory experiences.
In other words, you have to use language that does not employ information that is too specific, but that is very appropriate to the context. Table 15-1 (p. 391-395) gives the structures of the Milton language model. They are tools that you can use to adapt to each situation.
Turning to key patterns
The goal here is to influence. That is why the Milton model uses some of the operations seen in chapter 14. Deletions, judgements, etc. give power to language by creating areas that are open to interpretation. When you want to speak to the unconscious rather than the analytical and rational part of your being, these tools can be very useful.
The authors offer several exercises to help you to master these linguistic tools. The following are studied in the book:
- Lost performatives;
- Mind reading;
- Pacing current experience;
The relationship between the metamodel operators and the Milton methods is analysed in depth in the book. To put it briefly, the Milton model is considered to be a violation of the metamodel.
You will become true experts in NLP when you succeed in mastering both the metamodel (that can enlighten situations of misunderstanding by revealing errors of interpretation) and the Milton model (for which the goal is to convince by creating areas of interpretation).
Chapter 16: Storytelling magic
Looking at your life in storytelling
Storytelling is one of the tools used by NLP to develop rapport. “With your knowledge and experience of life, you have a natural ability for storytelling. So, every time you hear a story, you discover something new that adds richness and meaning to your life.” (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, p. 413).
In fact, once you communicate a memory, passion or project to another person, you generally do so in some form of storytelling. So why not create stories that awaken the senses of your audience? You can do this too!
In order to succeed, you may need to think about it more than you usually would (at first). Exercise 16-1 is there to help you master the structure and ingredients to add to your life stories. Remember to listen to the way other people tell stories and put it to good use in your own.
Looking at your life in storytelling
Romilla Ready and Kate Burton offer an additional exercise for people who think that they have no talent for storytelling (exercises 16-2 and 16-3). Make a list of your life experiences or tick the proposals on page 417. For example:
- Being shocked by something;
- Taking a train journey;
- Meeting a strange or eccentric person;
One of these things has surely already happened to you! And many more besides. Take an event and turn it into a story. Add passion to it. Think of strong emotions you have felt: they will help you establish rapport with your audience.
Another exercise (16-4) consists of writing a story in seven minutes. Without pressure on content, and only pressure on time, you will write down whatever comes into your head! Afterwards, you can hone your story, incorporate a conversation or a broader story, etc.
Following the formula for creating stories
Here’s a list of tried and tested points for you to take into account so that your readers or listeners are fully engaged in your story. Ask yourself, ‘Does my story: Connect with emotions;
- Introduce different characters;
- Develop a storyline;
- Raise issues and offer resolutions;
- Introduce details;
- Enable the listener or reader to make connections.”
- (Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, pages 420-421).
Exercises 16-5 to 16-17 will help you create your story and take you through the different steps. Gradually, you will develop your storytelling talents. It is time to set up a new healthy habit: writing
Here are a few tips:
- Find an attractive notebook (or good word processing software);
- Find a time and a place where you are happy to write;
- Collect stories that you like (ones you heard or read about);
- Share the stories by deciding to whom (when and how) you want to tell them;
- Faced with a difficulty, ask yourself what is the story and what lesson you can draw from it;
- Find stories to share to offer advice or by way of illustration;
- Use your voice and body as part of the storytelling, where possible.
Plotting your own story
Building your own story is one of the keys to improving self-confidence. Discover which part of your life unleashes the most passion, what key event you can talk about or transform.
You can also ask yourself what heritage you want to leave behind. What do you want people to say about you after your death? This can help you find the path to follow to write your own, singular story.
This story is of course bound to your core values. It is not necessarily intended to be published, but it can simply recreate a dialogue between you and your loved ones.
Fifth Part: The part of tens
This last part of Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies summaries the main points of the other parts by focussing attention on one specific area. In chapter 17, the workplace is in under inspection; in chapter 18, the authors offer ten tips to stay on top using NLP! Here are the ten points highlighted in the book. For the rest, it’s up to you!
Chapter 17: Ten ways of bringing NLP into the workplace
- Define your business strategy:
- Start with yourself – be an example;
- Unpack the tough stuff (perspective);
- Step into your colleagues’ shoes;
- Create your own workplace culture;
- Build rapport with stakeholders;
- Own your career development;
- Awaken your senses;
- Marketing with metaprograms;
- Find the difference that makes the difference. (Source: Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies)
Chapter 18: Ten (or so) ways of keeping your NLP skills alive
- Setting your intent;
- Keeping an NLP diary;
- Going back to basics;
- Staying curious;
- Handling the NLP tools;
- Looking for NLP in everyday situations;
- Checking your habits;
- Scripting your communications;
- Teaching others;
- Choosing a model of excellence;
- Joining a practice group. (Source: Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies)
Conclusion to “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre:
A workbook you can read with a pencil in your hand and, if possible, a NLP diary ready to go!
With this Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies, prepare to get writer’s cramp and to give your brain cells a workout. If you take it seriously, you will find many hours of activities here.
What’s the point? Well, you will learn about who you are and aim for improvement. Not for glory, at least not necessarily, but to improve yourself and your inner well-being. Whatever your values, this book will teach you to recognise, accept them and make use of them. You can also find meaning in what you do if this is lacking.
You can also, and this is on the back cover, change your thought patterns to communicate better. Whether in your personal or professional life, it is good to:
- Clarify your thoughts and outline them precisely;
- Convince and win over your audience;
Using the theoretical parts of NLP and the exercises offered in the book, you will have everything you need to succeed.
What to take away from “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies”
The principle of NLP that is most often repeated in Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies is the following:
“The map is not the territory.”
In other words, how you interpret things is not the reality. Knowing this is a very important step.
Learning to use this for yourself is also an important step. Controlling your own representations helps you to manage change. Its gives you strength and self-confidence.
Becoming capable of influencing or creating interpretations in other people, if this is used for positive ends, is another dimension to NLP that you can explore or discover in this book.
- A wide range of exercises, tables and first-hand accounts;
- A reminder of the main theoretical elements of NLP;
- Complete immersion, with true life stories from the coaching experience of the authors.
- A real coffee table book – big and heavy!
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Practical guide to “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre
The five main parts to Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies:
First Part: Setting up your NLP journey
Second Part: Connecting with the world
Third Part: Honing your NLP toolkit
Forth Part: Riding the communications escalator
Fifth Part: The part of tens
FAQs about Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies:
1 – What was the public reaction to “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre?
Published on 21 January 2010 by First editions, the book “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” was very well received by the public with many positive comments on Amazon.
2 – What was the impact of “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies by Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre?
This book had a significant impact on readers, allowing them to better understand neuro-linguistic programming through practical exercises for their personal and professional development.
3 – Who is “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” for?
This is a book for the general public, particularly anyone who is interested in neuro-linguistic programming.
4- According to the authors, what brings people to read this book?
According to Romilla Ready, Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre, there are so many reasons why you would want to read this book or this chronicle:
- Curiosity (well, why not?).
- Indecision faced with a life choice
- Discouragement faced with a difficulty
- Desire for a more animated and varied life
- Or a desire for more tranquillity
5 – What are the filters used when exercising neuro-linguistic programming according to the authors?
The authors say that there are four main filters generally used:
1. The direction filter = going “toward” or “away from”;
2. Chunk size filter = general/specific;
3. Reason filter = Options (ends) / procedures (means);
4. Primary interest filter = differences between people, places, things, activities and information.
The strategies for success versus strategies for failure
|Strategies for success
|Strategies for failure
|Adopt good habits
|Adopt bad habits
|Transpose good habits to other areas of life
|Practice bad habits in other areas of life
|Imitate people who have encountered success in the areas in which you are having difficulties
|Don’t have a mentor
|Have very good results
|Have poor results
Who is Romilla Ready?
Romilla Ready is an English master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). She is a professional coach and gives conferences. She has written many books, including “Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies”, with Kate Burton and Béatrice Millêtre.
Who is Kate Burton?
Born on 10 September 1957 in Geneva, Kate Burton is mother to two children, Morgan and Charlotte. She studied in the United States and earned a doctorate from Brown University in 2005. She has written several books, and co-authored “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” with Romilla Ready and Béatrice Millêtre.
Who is Béatrice Millêtre?
A French national, Béatrice Millêtre was born in Paris in 1965. She has a doctorate in psychology and specialises in brain function and neuroscience. Béatrice has written several books. Apart from “Neuro-linguistic Programming Workbook for Dummies” which she co-wrote with Romilla Ready and Kate Burton, she is also the author in French of the “Petit guide à l’usage des gens intelligents qui ne se trouvent pas très doués’’, “L’enfant précoce au quotidien’’, “Petit atelier du mieux-être au travail’’, etc.