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Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People

I first heard about Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) while I was reading The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. I thought that it sounded like an interesting subject, because I spend a good deal of my time dealing with people and trying to learn new things. If you're interested in trying to become a better communicator or you are interested in trying to find out what your preferred way of learning is, this book will probably help!

Below are some of the things that I learned straight from the book.

The Four Stages of Learning

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've got. If what you are doing is not working, do something else.

Communication is so much more than the words we say. These form only a small part of our expressiveness as human beings. Research shows that in a presentation before a group of people, 55 per cent of the impact is determined by your body language - posture, gestures and eye contact - 38 per cent by your tone of voice, and only 7 per cent by the content of your presentation.

We move our eyes in different directions in a systematic way depending on how we are thinking. Neurological studies have shown that eye movement both laterally and vertically seem to be associated with activating different parts of the brain.

Movements and gestures will also tell you how a person is thinking. Many people will point to the sense organ that they are using internally: they will point to their ears while listening to sounds inside their head, point to the yes if visualizing, or to the abdomen if they are feeling something strongly. These signs will not tell you what a person is thinking about, only how he or she is thinking it. This is body language at a much more refined and subtle level than it is normally interpreted.

Beliefs can be a matter of choice. You can drop beliefs that limit you and build beliefs that will make your life more fun and more successful. Positive beliefs allow you to find out what could be true and how capable you are. They are permissions to explore and play in the world of possibility.

Towards people are energized by goals and rewards. Away people are motivated to avoid problems and punishment. Arguing which is best in general is futile.

It is easy to recognize this pattern from a person's language. Does she talk about what she wants, achieves or gains? Or does she tell you about the situation she wants to avoid and the problems to steer clear of? Towards people are best employed in goal-getting. Away from people are excellent at finding errors and work well in a job like quality control. Art critics usually have a strong away orientation as many a performing artist can testify!

A good teacher will be able to create an environment, so her students learn for themselves how to get the results.

Learning to learn is the most important skill in education, and needs to be taught from reception class onwards. The educational system concentrates mostly on what is taught, the curriculum and omits the learning process. This has two consequences. First, many students have difficulty picking up the information. Secondly, even if they do learn it, it has little meaning for them, because it has been taken out of context.

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