Intern Jonty’s first day in Happy Brain HQ had gone well. He had quickly proven himself bright, communicative, polite, and capable of learning fast. And as he put his coat on to leave, he said to me “I hope I haven’t been too much of a drain on you today…”
“Woah, Jonty” I said, never missing an opportunity to shine a light on someone’s chance to feel happier, “what picture have you just painted inside my mind?”
“Huh?” His face was blank because of course, he knew nothing about NLP and how our thoughts are perceived as pictures and sounds. Nor did he know how words influence those pictures and sounds and therefore trigger feelings.
“Jonty, you’ve just asked me to consider whether or not you have drained me today … look, how did you feel when you said that?”
“Well, a little nervous to be honest.”
“And when you say to me ‘I hope I’ve been helpful today’ how does this feel?”
“Oh, quite good actually” he replied standing more upright.
“And by using these words, you see yourself having been useful?”
“Now isn’t that a nicer self-image? And don’t you now feel more motivated to come back?”
“Well for me too! Now I can go home thinking about you being helpful, which you were, and that helps me look forward to working with you again.”
Do you know how influencing your words can be?
Learn more about the power of words in our upcoming Happy Brain and NLP workshops and trainings – 2022 schedule being finalised (contact us if you’re interested).
Throughout history, across the world, mirrors have been used to deflect bad spirits and direct lightness into the environment.
I use imaginary mirrors and mind-magic experiments to help children deal with bullies or situations that feel threatening. The key to this success is engaging a richness of sensory-based imagination. I’ve been using this technique for years with clients of all ages, and for myself. It works, try it!
Here’s how to do it:
Invite your child to imagine they are surrounded by a bright yellow cloud or mist. Any colour is ok if it feels powerful, I suggest yellow as a colour commonly associated with inner power.
Have your child visualise this yellow mist swirling around their body in a clockwise direction growing up from underfoot and making a swirl-knot overhead. The mist is quite faint, is see-through, has a cooling taste, smells lemony and sounds sparkly.
The more associated to sensations, the stronger the influence. Have them experiment with swirling faster or slower – which swirl speed helps them feel strongest? Become genuinely curious about the effects of this mind experiment.
Ask them to take a big, deep breath in through their nostrils inhaling lemony mist flowing down deeply inside the lungs and when they breathe out, let the long, slow out-breath gently expand the size of the yellow cloud surrounding them.
After mastering the art of an expanding, swirling yellow mist, they are ready to add the outer layer of magic mirrors – all facing outwards. Some people see mirrors of the same size and shape, while others see different sizes and shapes. Experiment with the design of the mirrored ‘shield’ perhaps hearing them clicking into place.
Now inside this space, feel the new distance from mean words or feelings. Some people find it quite fun to visualise hurtful words or feelings bouncing off the outward facing mirrors into the air, before disappearing.
Top Tip! Invite your child to identify where in their body they feel most confident when doing this. That’s a hypnotic suggestion by the way!
Have you ever found yourself saying to a colleague, something like ‘please read this report’ when what you really want to say is, ‘just read the (damn) report!’
You added the ‘please’ because you’re trying to find that balance between politeness and authority, but it still sounds like a request when you’d rather it was an instruction.
Adding the word please certainly keeps you in the polite zone, but it may not succinctly influence the receiver or truly enhance the effectiveness of your communication.
So how can you remain polite while sounding more authoritative?
Here are three quick wins for maximising face-to-face influence:
- Breathing from the diaphragm instantly makes you sound more confident by lower your vocal pitch.
- Ensure each message ends in a commanding downward inflection
- Use clear, illustrative gestures that mimic the request
Combine these to stack the odds of your influence, in your favour. And add this gem which quite literally has you minding your Ps and Qs by replacing ‘could you please read this report’ with ‘could you read this report (pause) thank you’.
By adding a ‘thank you’ at the end of that request, you’ve already got them thinking about having completed the polite request! Saying ‘thank you’ is a mind trick that suggests to the listening ear, completion is a certainty.
Top tip! It’s a playground out there, have fun experimenting with these skills for more effective communication!
September always feels to me like a fresh start, a throwback to new socks, shoes and pencil cases and a renewed enthusiasm for structure after the carefree summer holidays, do you know what I mean?
This September I found a renewed enthusiasm for social media and a decision to do less, yet be more precise, with a clearer purpose of why I want to be engaging with strangers. But that world is a mire! A maelstrom of emotions driving each platform’s algorithms! And an omnipresent pressure to be popular (school day thinking again) through dramas, chaos, and vanity posts. It’s got me wondering about the challenges to stay in integrity and post with clear purpose.
Purpose is a word I like to add to my daily life anyway and encourage my clients to do the same. Great questions soon habituate such as ‘what’s the purpose of that post’?
- You want to be liked and have lots of (virtual) friends?
- You like the feel-good sense of validation when people (often strangers) agree with you?
- You are focused on driving a sales funnel?
- You get to be that ‘popular’ person?
I ask my clients:
“Who are you trying to influence and why?”
“Who is trying to influence you, and why?”
I like making new connections through social media. The world is full of interesting people doing fascinating things, but I loathe the mindless blitz of inbox pitches that arrive seconds after each new connection, especially on the business platforms.
Mostly I ignore the inbox bombardment but earlier in the month I ‘actually’ responded to an unsolicited pitch. Why? Because that person and I had previously established a business rapport through another social group that clarified our respective interests which for me, co-created permission to attempt to influence each other on said topic.
But, being connected or ‘friends’ is not a free pass and I’m staggered by the number of ‘marketing experts’ who bombard by scattergun … thus selling themselves (to me at least) as a brand of little integrity. Worse still so many blanket offers don’t even fit my world, playing some law of averages in that game ‘you’ll do’ ….
Our social media personas define our brands, and whether we like it or not, we live in a marketing web. I’m looking for authenticity and integrity, are you?
In NLP for Business, John La Valle (President of the Society of NLP) calls out ‘earning the right to influence’ and that works for me – have I earned the right to try to influence this person/these people – are we on an agreeable wavelength? Are we in rapport?’
In our Work Well model, we coach Clarity of rational thought and conscious decisions that drive the rest of the brain (emotions and actions).
So, this month’s Clarity Tip is to contemplate this key question: What are you trying to convince the world of, and are you pushing on an open door?