Thursday, September 04, 2008

NLP Centres CANADA on Youtube

NLP works!

Although I did this a few years back, the other day I was playing with some video capture hardware and tested it out on the old videotape (check out the young bearded Comerford...) and it came out quite nicely.

So I thought I'd put it up on Youtube to show how NLP is done when NLPworks.

Follow ze link here, and if you have any feedback let me know!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Selling with NLP

Is it tough? You decide

n the months of July and August, we have put on 4 Introduction to NLP Courses.

The feedback has been incredible! Some testimonials have been put out on the website at, and I'll share a couple with you here below. Unattributed because those who have sent me these messages haven't let me know how they want to be attributed yet.

Here's one from one of the participants this past weekend:

"Hey Hugh. Just wanted to thank you for making such a big heartfelt impact in my life. There was one moment of the seminar that trully touched my heart and almost brought me into tears. Thank you for dreaming about me, it changed my life forever."

Here's another more formal one from someone who tested out some NLP I taught him in real life after the class:

"I am an MBA and a Molecular Biology major, thus I am generally quite reticent to try of adopt something that does not seem like a formal science at first glance . Therefore, I must admit, I was quite green to NLP before the session with Hugh. Hugh's approach to NLP was very engaging; he peeled away its layers so well that by the time I was done I only began to fathom what I had actually absorbed. This knowledge honestly and truly works on a very practical level!"

These are the only testimonials I have from the last session. More about that below.

More good news: I've been asked back to present at the Toronto Power Group meeting on September 9th at Metro Hall in downtown Toronto. Information is here

...and I've left the bad news for last. At the very last minute of the last class I walked over to my Macbook that had been diligently recording the entire session through Garageband and noticed it wasn't working. I rebooted to find it no longer rebooted.

I found out today that it had coughed up the hard drive on Sunday. What that means is if you have contacted me in the last while for a consultation or training, I may no longer have the e-mail. I do have my data and all the training manuals and ideas for more training (more on that in the future) I've lost some of my e-mail...and that might be forever!

So if you've contacted me for training or coaching in the last while and I haven't gotten back to you, please accept my apologies and e-mail me again.

If you're interested in Introduction to NLP (and NLP Dojo) courses in Montreal or Toronto, let me know. I'm building the training models right now as I reinstall programs...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"...and then I'm gonna slam his ass into trance..."

Subtitled, "Why NLP often has such a crappy reputation..."

The title of this post is a quote from someone who was in my Introduction to NLP course in Montreal this past weekend. One of the participants was a clinical psychologist who told the following story:

"A few years back I had a client come to see me. For various reasons what I was doing with him wasn't producing results, and I was getting a bit desperate. The client wasn't eating and I was worried he was going to die. Now, I happened to be acquaintances with an 'NLP guy' who was in town for a seminar. I asked him if he'd be willing to work with my client.

He listened to the story of the client and said, "No problem. I can fix anything. I'm gonna slam his ass into trance, blast him through a couple of processes and he'll be all fixed up.."

Then he mentioned that he billed $3,000 per day.

I agreed to pay his rate if he could help my client.

I asked and my client agreed to see him, so my client, the 'NLP guy' and I sat down for an intense 2 1/2 hour NLP session. At the end of the session, the NLP guy pulled me aside and said, "Sorry man - your client is too resistant. He's pretty screwed up..."

This after he told me he could fix anything..."

So he got the impression that NLP Practitioners are a bunch of blustering arrogant aggressive BS-artists.

In this instance he was right.

But not in all instances.

I was pleased and gratified that this psychologist watched how we do NLP at NLP Centres CANADA and, along with the rest of the group wants me to go back to Montreal for one day every month so they keep learning!

So if you have a negative impression of NLP because you once came across some arrogant or incompetent NLP person, take heart. There are some ethical and skilled NLP Practitioners out there...

Head over here to learn more

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Daily NLP

Last week I was out of the country doing some work for a client, working to assist a company rebrand their product line.

The challenge in these sorts of situations is to get people to shift perspective from the one they may have been living inside for years!

Sometimes you need help to shift perspective - to see things differently.

In fact today I was working on a complicated spreadsheet that I had developed for a different client to help them connect their employees to their business goals. I had become way too close to the spreadsheet and couldn't see the forest for the trees anymore. So I sat down with Jennifer, walked her through the logic and wham - she caught the error.

Sometimes if you can't drag your own brain out of the trenches it helps to have an accountant as a wife!

So with the rebranding exercise, the fun for me was helping the clients to see the world differently - to see their product and brand as if they were consumers...or maybe experts from other industries!

Once I had done the 'work' I had been hired for (it took about 15 minutes), I spent the rest of my time being creative. In the end, the group had thought up hundreds of ways to revitalize the product and brand, it was a fantastic experience.

Now - other than helping people see their situations in different ways, where was the NLP in this?

Here's how: every night just before I went to sleep, I went through the day that had just passed and thought about the resources I needed that would have made things even better. Then I played through the 'movie in my mind' as if I had had that resource.

Then I thought about the next day's agenda and 'installed' the resources I wanted to be able to draw upon the next morning or afternoon.

It worked out perfectly. Just doing this simple exercise, installing the resources into the past and future where I wanted or needed them most, I was able to be fully present for the client, help them through their business challenges, help them ( when they occasionally) slipped back into thinking, " like when do we start selling this already?" and rely on my usual spontaneous creative streak that I always have so much fun with.

SO - there's nothing like a bit of reflection and anticipation. When you have something that may not have gone your way, just before you go to sleep, think about what resources you may have needed to make that situation work great. Then you can StateShift(tm) (jargon for current and former students) into the resource and notice how your memories become better....

AND when you have something coming up, the same exercise applies but toward the future.

Remember - the brain always thinks it's 'now' if you're thinking about the present, past or future, and it reacts as if everything's true.

For a great NLP sales course in Toronto, check out

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Using NLP for Business Success - Neurolinguistic Programing

Using NLP for Business Success - Neurolinguistic Programing
By Ellen Dunnigan

Business professionals face challenging people and events everyday. They may ask how they can better relate to their client(s), give a more dynamic presentation or simply, get better results. The answer is clear: Neurolinguistic Programming. Here’s how it works:

Neuro refers to the brain and neural network that feeds into the brain. Neurons or nerve cells are the working units used by the nervous system to send, receive, and store signals that add up to information.

Linguistic refers to the content, both verbal and non-verbal, that moves across and through these pathways.

Programming is the way the content or signal is manipulated to convert it into useful information. The brain may direct the signal, sequence it, change it based on our prior experience, or connect it to some other experience we have stored in our brain to convert it into thinking patterns and behaviors that are the essence of our experience of life.

Our experiences and feelings affect the way we react to external stimuli. Let me illustrate. I am afraid of snakes. The impulse I get if I see a snake or even hear a sound close to resembling that of a snake is a feeling of total fright. This is because I was a city girl and no one in our family was fond of snakes. One day in Arkansas, a man in my office brought in his pet snake. He wanted to show it off. He was holding it like we hold a puppy. For him it was a pet and gave him lot of joy to hold. To me, it gave an anxiety attack!

My colleagues and I saw the same thing. The same signal was passed to our brains. It was the picture of a snake. However, our brains interpreted the implications of the snake entirely differently. In processing the information, our brains used our experiences (good and bad), our biases, our opinions, our value systems, etc. to convert it into useful information that we can use.

Neurolinguistic programming (NLP for short) was developed in the early 1970s by an information scientist and a linguist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. They had observed that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre. They wanted to know the secrets of effective people. What makes them perform and accomplish so much. They were especially interested in the possibility of being able to duplicate the behavior, and therefore the competence, of these highly effective individuals. It was the golden era of modeling and simulation. They decided to model human excellence. They looked at factors such as education, business and therapy. They then zeroed in on the communication aspect. They started studying how successful people communicated (verbal language, body language, eye movements, and others). By modeling their behavior, John Grinder and Richard Bandler were able to make out patterns of thinking that assisted in the subject's success. The two theorized that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors and that this would bring about positive physical and emotional effects. What emerged from their work came to be known as Neurolinguistic Programming.

One of the basic tenets of neurolinguistic programming is the impact of the senses during communication (for both the speaker and the listener). As each person develops, their five senses (visual, auditory, touch/emotion, taste, and smell) are shaped by both environment and genetics. As we go through life experiences, we store newly learned (and reconfirmed) information through our senses. In other words, our reality is stored information which becomes memorable through the senses. We either see pictures or symbolic images, hear voices or sounds, or feel sensations, energy, and emotion. We recall this information literally in the words we use. These words are called predicates and are nouns, verbs and adverbs. Each statement represents what a person is subjectively experiencing.

Consider these three different ways of giving the same message:
“I am out of step with my boss.” (Kinesthetic)
“We are not seeing eye to eye.” (Visual)
“We are singing different tunes.”(Auditory)

Let’s review an example: A manager I worked with said to his subordinates, "I want you to jump on it." His employee responded "I will take a look at it as soon as possible." My client felt that his employee did not understand the criticalness of the situation. If the subordinate had replied, “I’m going to stomp the fire out,” this manager would have felt that his message had gotten across.

Another example shows a manager and director who were not working well together. After learning about predicates the director realized that she is visual and the manager is auditory. The director wanted to see everything in charts and graphs and the manager was always telling her the information. After this recognition the manager was sure to paint pictures for the director as he spoke. The director also attempted to comment about the information, in order to satisfy the manager's needs.

Do you have a boss? How does your boss “talk” about sales or business results? In pictures? In words? Likes sports analogies?

How do you give your boss info about sales or business results? How can you gain her/his attention? Be seen as valuable? Use the boss’ style!

Beware of categorizing or labeling someone visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc. No one is purely one style. Often it is contextual. For example, when describing a communication snafu one client of mine primarily used kinesthetic predicates. Words like, “felt”, “confused”, “grasp”, “handle”, “connection”. When she spoke of her vacation she used all visual words

i.e., “vistas”, “colors”, “bright”, “light”, “see”, “vantage point”. And when she described a successful event in her life she primarily used auditory words,

i.e. “heard”, “clicked”, “snap”, “tell”, “spoke”, “listened”, “harmonize”. Rather than pinning her down as a kinesthetic from the first interview it was important to pay attention to her words and be flexible in each of the other scenarios.

When you meet someone for the first time, listen for the predicates and match the system. If you meet them a second time, beware of the labeling tendency. Make sure you give them an opportunity to speak – then, respond to them at the moment using the appropriate sensory mode.

Sometimes people do not use predicates in their language. Now can we label them "difficult people?" No, of course not. These people are using unspecified words.

For example, “awareness”, “understand”, “experience”, “comprehend”, “appreciate”, “think”. When you are in conversation with an unspecified speaker simply ask a clarifying question.

For example, "Well what do you appreciate about your employees?" The response should be more specific with sensory information; “I am so grateful that they see the big picture” (visual).

In business, people generally use three senses in making decisions about buying a product or service; visual (sight), auditory (hearing), and kinesthetic (touch and emotion). And more often than not, they rely on one sense more than the other two. In building rapport and bonding with your prospect or client, your job is to figure out which one is more dominant.

It’s your lucky day! We can help you “get a read” on your prospects and clients. In addition to having a clue as to how this person perceives the world, your ability to match the style of your prospect or client is a great technique for establishing rapport. When you enter the other person's model of the world they feel understood. You’ve gained their attention and their trust. You have a greater opportunity to influence their actions and make the sale!

For more information or to schedule a voice assessment with Ellen Dunnigan, call (317) 843-2983 or visit

Accent On Business founder and CEO Ellen Dunnigan is a nationally-recognized and proven coach with specialized training in voice, speech, and English improvement. She holds a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and has been certified as clinically competent by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

In addition, she has spent several years in corporate settings as an operations leader and strategist. Ms. Dunnigan has devoted 17 years to helping people improve their personal and professional voice and speaking skills. For more information go to:

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

How to Sell a Feeling

How to Sell a Feeling
By John Sheridan

To be totally in tune with the needs of your customers or prospective customers you have to listen to them. Listen to them – it sounds easy enough to do but not everybody gets it right. What you must always bear in mind when you are selling something is that you are not selling an item or object – you are selling a feeling.

I was taught this particular lesson whilst working for a friend who was very much into NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which studies the structure of how humans think and experience the world. One small part of this vast subject centred on how people can be persuaded to relax and immediately place their trust in you if you use the language they want to hear; how do you know what they want to hear? It’s simple, they will supply the clue, and as I stated previously – you just have to listen to them.

The method is simple; there are some people that are audio dominant and will react to what you say to them; there are others that are visually dominant and will respond more to what they see. The crucial point is that you have to get the language right to get either of these two groups wanting to buy from you. The following examples illustrate how this is done.

Imagine you are working in a store that sells music systems and your first potential customer walks in and says to you, “I would like to look at a CD player please.”

The use of the word ‘look’ suggests that they are visually dominant so your reply must be in the same vein by using ‘sight’ words such as; “Ok sir/madam, let me ‘show’ you this one.” or “Could you ‘see’ this in your lounge?” or “The finish on this model ‘looks’ great.”

The person may not even switch it on but could still end up buying it because it looks good. Using these types of expressions will create a comfortable feeling in the buyer because they perceive you to be on their wavelength; the probability of them buying from you should increase significantly.

For the audio dominant person, the same technique is applied but this time using ‘sound’ words. This time a person walks in and says, “I would like to listen to a CD player please.” “Ok sir/madam how does this one ‘sound’ to you?” or “Can you ‘hear’ the difference between this one and the other?” Again, listen to what they are saying and tailor your conversation to suit.
If you use ‘sight’ words with an audio dominant person, it will create an uncomfortable feeling for them that will possibly result in them leaving the store without a purchase. The same obviously applies to using ‘sound’ words with a visually dominant person; it causes conflicting feelings because the language doesn’t feel right to them. This takes us back to the earlier point that you are selling a feeling and not an object.

It is worth noting that a vast number of people worldwide regard the use of NLP in business as essential but equally there are those who are not entirely convinced of its effectiveness. I have seen and indeed occasionally used the language technique myself but with only a moderate degree of success. I am sure there are far superior and experienced NLP practitioners out there who cannot only close a sale at nearly every attempt, but make it look easy at the same time.
Give it a try and see if it works for you. You may not get any results or you could be a roaring success. Either way, it should be interesting, and with a bit of effort and persistence – who knows?

John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments. He can be contacted at:


This article is the property of the author and may only be reproduced in its original form.
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Monday, July 31, 2006

Psychology of the Sales Professional

Psychology of the Sales ProfessionalBy Kurt Mortensen

A direct relationship exists between self-image and sales performance. If you don’t already, try to get a handle on how your reps perceive themselves. What kind of self-talk plays in their brains all day long? You and your team will never experience exponential success if it is not something they can mentally conceive of first. And the major precursor to vivid envisioning of success in the workplace is vivid envisioning of success in oneself and one’s abilities. How can you, as a sales manager, cultivate healthy, solid self-confidence and self-belief? One of the easiest ways to do so is to offer sincere praise. Ra1ph Waldo Emerson said, “Every man is entitled to be valued by his best moments.” There is no need to fear that you will create an egomaniac by giving someone simple but honest praise and appreciation for good, hard work.
Often, it is more effective to praise the specific act rather than the person. This way, your praise is attached to something distinct and concrete. Praise is harder to be interpreted as flattery or favoritism when there is a specific and concrete thing being praised. General compliments may produce a temporary effect, but they can incite jealousy in others and create even more insecurity in the recipient if the specific activity that merited the compliment remains unknown. Then there is a new pressure to live up to this higher standard, even though the praised individual is not sure how s/he set it. Even more insecurity is bred if the praised individual fears you will retract your praise. That’s because in not knowing concretely how s/he earned it, s/he doesn’t know how to keep it. One single person feeling this kind of anxiety or insecurity can really cause your entire teambuilding effort to backfire. Have you ever witnessed (or experienced) coworkers who huddled together to complain after a “pep rally” with the boss? Instead of feeling inspired and motivated, all they could do was gripe. Unfortunately, it only takes one person’s bad attitude to drag down the rest.
We know that when a specific behavior is praised, that behavior will increase. At a small college in Virginia, 24 students in a psychology course decided to see whether they could use compliments to change the way women on campus dressed. For a while, they complimented all the female students who were wearing blue. The percentage of the female student population wearing blue then rose from 25 percent to 38 percent. The researchers then switched to complimenting any woman who wore red. This shift in the color being praised caused the appearance of red on campus to double from 11 percent to 22 percent. Praise is a simple but often overlooked concept. If you want to use this technique to your best advantage, be sure you give honest and sincere praise.
Closely related to praise is acceptance. We all long for acceptance. We want to feel like our actions and contributions help an effort or cause. We all want to be noticed by others. We also all want to be someone of significance who is held in high regard. Knowledge of this common craving from acceptance can help you motivate your team. If you can make them feel that their help is appreciated, that they are personally accepted and that their contributions are essential, they will be more inspired to perform. When your team members feel accepted unconditionally, with no strings attached, their doubts, fears and inadequacies will go out the window. One way to make your team feel accepted is to offer them genuine thanks. Seek to make a conscientious and deliberate effort to thank people in all aspects of your professional life. Don’t assume your team members know you care about and appreciate them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a paycheck is thanks enough. One of the main reasons why people are dissatisfied with their sales job is because they are never thanked or given any recognition for their efforts.
Often, individuals increase their feelings of acceptance by building their association with certain people, places or things. This sense of identification has been referred to as the Social Identity Theory. For example, a sports fan may enhance his sense of belonging by plastering his walls with his favorite team’s sports paraphernalia. Even though no one on that team has any clue who he is, he feels better about himself anyway, just because of the association and identity he has created for himself with that team.
Are there ways in which you can use the Social Identity Theory to your advantage? Think of ways to create strong team association. These methods should be things that are unique to the team and that help team members individually feel like they are “insiders.” Maybe your team needs a mascot, a mission statement or even a theme song. I once knew a sales team that played the theme music from Rocky over the loud speaker every time someone closed a sale. Things like this might seem silly, but they really build team spirit and morale. If you worry that things like this will be distracting or disruptive to your particular workplace, look for ways to adapt. The energy that grows from each team member feeling accepted is worth the effort.
Goal setting is another powerful way of keeping sales psychology on the up-and-up. We all know that goals dictate future performance by giving team members a sense of purpose and direction. I can think of nothing less motivating than not knowing why I’ve been asked to do something. Instill in your team members what the end objective is and explain to them the necessary steps to get there. It is much easier to put forth the effort when we can answer who, what, where, when, why and how. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable, but lofty enough that they are inspiring.
It is a general rule of thumb that greater or more difficult goals actually increase performance. The reason for this tendency is that loftier goals or objectives set higher expectations, and expectations in turn strongly influence behavior. The power of effective goal setting or setting a target can be seen in the following example: In a particular production plant, workers with little experience were divided into two groups. One group was told to simply observe the experienced workers and try to be able to perform at a skilled level themselves within twelve weeks. The second group received specific weekly goals that were progressively more and more demanding. Needless to say, the second group fared much better. Similarly, Yale University once conducted a striking twenty-year study that found that the 3 percent of students who put their goals in writing had significantly higher incomes than those who did not—in fact, higher incomes than the other 97 percent of students combined. From these examples, it is obvious that proper goal setting goes a long way toward promoting sound sales psychology amongst your team members.
Years of observation and study have produced personality profiles of what are considered to be outstanding salespeople. Perhaps the most recognized of these profiles is the model that was developed by Gallup Management Consulting Group. Gallup has spent more than two decades interviewing hundreds of thousands of top salespeople to help corporate clients form and develop their own sales teams. Its findings suggest that the top four qualities of top-tier producers are: 1) solid persuasion and closing skills; 2) self-motivation; 3) strong work ethic and 4) excellent people and relationship skills.
Why do I highlight these findings? It is likely that as a sales manager, you already look for these skills when you hire someone anyway. But how do you enhance these essential sales characteristics after your recruits are on board so that your team can become even better? My hope is that by giving you four key concentration areas, you can streamline your efforts into getting the greatest results with the most focused effort. When you are trying to draw out any one of these characteristics, or any characteristic for that matter, it is helpful to assess the kind of personalities you’re dealing with. For some, a strong drive to close a sale exists just because they possess a need to “win.” Whether that “win” translates into financial rewards, recognition, the glory of being at the top or whatever, some individuals just have an almost instinctive need to win. This need is compelling enough that they are not deterred by long hours, rejection or time away from their family.
For others, it is not just about winning in and of itself. Beyond that, some individuals have a competitive edge that relishes the defeat of others—even their own colleagues. Half of the victory for these types of people is seeing others left in the dust. I believe that some competition can be a good thing, but you’ve got to be on your toes to buffer this type of personality. If you think pitting your team members against each other might actually create unhealthy rivalries and negative feelings, then you’ve got to have a way to counteract those negative effects.
Next, there are those personalities who are very ego-driven. They aren’t motivated by a need to conquer others. Rather, they want success solely for their own personal satisfaction. This is the type of person who is constantly out to beat her/his own previous records. In other words, these types of individuals compete with themselves. Moreover, they are very focused on being experts. While this competitive orientation has significant strong points, its main downside is that it is too self-focused—even in a well-intended way—and not conscious enough of the team element. The self-motivated person is the one you want to be sure you can draw into the team so you have the best that both approaches have to offer.
Then you have those individuals who seem to get the most satisfaction out of seeing their customers happy. They don’t really have the burning desire to win or compete, but they are very much into relationship building. These people are naturally gifted at being empathetic, caring and good listeners. They are the ones who are much more inclined to stay in touch with clients after the sale has come and gone.
As you step back and evaluate what kind of team member mix you have, realize that no one is purely one temperament or another. We tend to be a combination of at least two of these different types of producers. However, we are usually dominated much more by one area than the others. Your job is to get a grip on what you have to work with and figure out how to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit together so your team solidly represents all of the best qualities of top sales producers.
In closing this section, I wanted to touch on the topic of working with a rep who has hit a plateau. Why? Because it’s a very real obstacle that sometimes happens even to the very best. The most typical cause for a plateau is simply feeling burned out. In this case, a very obvious solution would be to lighten the stalled rep’s responsibilities or even give her/him some time off. On the other hand, it may be that the rep is burned out with doing the “same old thing.” If that’s the case, simply changing her/his responsibilities would provide the necessary stimulation to get her/him moving again. New responsibilities could be things like training, forecasting or recruiting. Even performing the same tasks with new prospects or in a different community may alleviate boredom and present exciting, new challenges.
Sometimes it works to have reps come up with their own solutions. They may be more apt to pursue something they feel they’ve come up with on their own than something that is imposed. Furthermore, this way they really know what’s at the heart of the issue and would, therefore, likely know the best remedy better than anyone else. Lastly, review the possibility of how bonuses and other forms of recognition might spur renewed motivation. This approach is especially effective when your team members’ financial needs are already being met and they’re looking for reward and acknowledgment in other forms. In the next section, we’ll discuss what kinds of rewards and incentives work the best.
Kurt W. Mortensen is one of America's leading authorities on persuasion, motivation and influence. Kurt spent 15 years researching personal development and motivational psychology and is currently a professor on the university level. He offers his speaking, training, and consulting programs nationwide, helping thousands achieve unprecedented success in business and personal endeavors. Kurt is author of Maximum Influence a bestseller and is endorsed by Stephen R. Covey, Brian Tracy, Robert Allen, and Mark Victor Hansen. Go to to find out where you rank in your ability to persuade or email
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