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Calibration, Sensory Acuity and Lie Detection

07 Jan 15
Daniel Smith
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It’s really hard to tell whether someone is lying to you.

You might know someone that has a characteristic ‘tell’ – a mannerism that lets you know that they are lying. Or you’ve heard about changes in the amount of eye contact that people make when they lie. Or you’ve been really studying hard to pick the different emotions through microexpressions (a la Lie to Me/ Paul Ekman). Or you’ve learned about how the direction someone looks can indicate how someone is thinking as Bandler and Grinder noticed back in the 1970s. Or you figure, “just give them a polygraph” (which is better than most people but still far from perfect). Maybe you’ve tried Liespotting or learning about What Every BODY is Saying, but let’s face it: in real time, it’s still really really hard!

One question that seemed to be taken for granted: Do people actually move differently when they lie?

Our friends at Cambridge were wondering the same thing. And so they figured they would test it out. Using full body motion capture suits!

Researchers used those fancy (and expensive) suits – like they use in the movies for special effects – to take away codifying inherently subjective interpretations from human observers (upon which other methods rely) and trade it in for objective, conclusive evidence of how people behave when lying. The findings were pretty clear: The sum of joint displacements indicates lying 75% of the time. Better still, this related to guilt and was independent of anxiety, cognitive load or cultural background, so the researchers guess they can get it up to 82% with some extra refinements.

It’s great to have this validate the calibration drills and exercises in our Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming!

Can I defer the training fees?

21 May 14
Daniel Smith

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Taking professional standard NLP training is a serious commitment of time. And money. Considering that you get focused attention from trainers with 18+ years experience working with NLP for 40 days, it is currently $337.50 per day. Which you might recognise as being excellent value! But I know it is still money. When I started working with NLP, I was an undergraduate student, and the thought of spending money on anything that wasn’t absolutely essential was pretty pretty scary! The first time I attended a training with an ‘international trainer’ I had to save for weeks for the “huge investment” of a few hundred dollars. Which is why I’m so grateful and proud that we can do things differently.

From 1974 until 1989 it was free to go to university. From 1989 students were required to pay something towards their fees, initially in the form of HECS (later PELS and FEE-HELP). This meant that the fees would be paid to the education provider by the government, and students could repay that amount through a higher marginal rate of tax once they were earning a particular amount of income.

The envy of the world, this meant that you could study whatever you wanted, knowing that you will only have to pay for the tuition fees once you are earning more than an minimum amount.

So FEE-HELP means that you can undertake a course of study or training, have the fees paid for by the government, and only repay that amount if and when your income exceeds about $50,000pa, and even then only as a small (starting at 4%) increase to your marginal tax rate.

We have worked very hard to ensure that the Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the best NLP training in the world. One of the benefits of this pursuit of excellence has been that the training has been recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework at “Graduate Certificate” level. Another benefit is that we have been able to make the training eligible for FEE-HELP so you can defer the upfront costs of study, just as you might for university.

Whether you are a fresh graduate, in the middle of your career, or retired, now you can afford to learn NLP with the very best!

For more details, please do see the detailed page here.

21 May, 2014 update: VET FEE-HELP has been unaffected by the recent Federal Budget, and our fees have not been changed.

Well-Formed Outcomes: Getting Beyond SMART!

31 Dec 13
Daniel Smith
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New Year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we want to go next. Many people will set ‘new years resolutions’. That they will break within weeks. If not days. There are many tips (eg here) on how to get better results. Here I want to focus on how we can use NLP in this context.

  1. What do you want, specifically? When?
    Make sure you state the outcome as something that you want (rather than something that you don’t want). If you’re striving to eliminate something – whether it’s sugar, smoking or success – phrase the outcome as something that you want. For example, “Consistently enjoy coffee without sugar” or “To be free from the habit of smoking” or “To earn $x000 in 2014”. Big goals are great here – provided you feel you can reach them or at least can act as if you can.
  2. How will you know when you’ve got it?
    Make it measurable: What’s your evidence procedure for reaching your outcome? What will you see? What will you hear? What will you feel, smell or taste? Do you want to go for a week without sugar in your coffee? Do you want to go for 30 days (or more) without smoking? Will you have a work contract for earning that amount – or will the money be in your account? If you want to have a better relationship, how specifically will you know?
  3. Can it be done?
    Setting big goals is a great thing. The bigger the goal, the more inspiring it can be, and the harder you are likely to work. Provided you believe that it can actually be done. I like to talk about making things here possible on two levels: Objectively and subjectively. Objectively achievable means that it is physically possible for that to be done. Subjectively achievable means that you believe that you can do it. While there are few things as inspiring as a big goal, there are few things as disinspiring as an impossible one.
  4. What resources do I have?
    What would I like to have? What could make this easier/ more enjoyable/ more congruent with the rest of what I’m doing?
  5. When, specifically, do you want to reach your outcome?
    And once you’ve set that date, what are the steps to take working back to today?
  6. What do I want that for?
    What is my intention for being/ having/ doing/ experiencing that? While a goal can be a good thing, they often point to things that are even more important – and that sometimes can be even easier to enjoy.
  7. How does it impact your life as a whole?
    Does this outcome take into account the need for balance? Is it aligned with what you really want? What are your highest intentions – and how will they be impacted? Connect with your intuition: When you think about having this outcome, how do you feel? Does having that outcome make you feel excited, passionate and thrilled? Or anxious, scared and nervous?
  8. Is it worth it?
    Consider the costs and benefits. Short term and long term. For yourself and for those around you. When all is said and done, is it worth it?

We talk more about this in the context of building Well-Formed Outcomes but hopefully this will help you for now.


Merry Christmas!

24 Dec 13
Daniel Smith
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Thank you for your interest in China NLP. We have been working hard to bring world class NLP trainings to China, with events in Shanghai, Beijing and across Greater China and the Asia-Pacific region, and are pleased to welcome our new Practitioners and Master Practitioners.

As a simple gift for this Christmas, I’d like to mention to you something related to the concept of framing. Like the subject line of an email, framing sets the context, expectations and biases for communication. One of Bandler and Grinder’s earliest books, Reframing, focused on how we can change the meaning of something by changing its frame. After all, what meaning does something have, other than the meaning that we give it?

In framing, we often talk about “Outcome frames” (What is my outcome here?), “Evidence frames” (How would I know if I got it?), “Backtrack frames” (Let’s just review: So far we’ve talked about what you want and how you would know if you got it.) and a few others. These framing devices shift our attention and direct our focus. It’s simple. We do it almost continually. But how well are you doing it?

Here is a simple frame for you to consider:

What do you feel grateful for right now?

And if it’s hard for you to answer that question for whatever reason (and we’ve all got reasons), maybe you could try this one:

What could you feel grateful for right now?

It’s a simple question (or questions). But I bet if you take just one minute to answer these questions you’ll experience something interesting. Come on: What do you (or could you feel) grateful for right now?

Christmas means many things to all of us. Growing up in sunny Australia, Christmas means big lunches, hot sunshine and a game of cricket in the backyard and Mum and Dad’s. Having lived in China for most of the past decade, it’s taken on more meanings again. Last night I drove my four-year-old son around to look at the neighbourhood Christmas lights – which is a very different experience again! Through it all, I’m noticing how much there is to feel grateful for right now.

Although our trainings are on hold until after Spring Festival, we are still having regular practice sessions over the winter. These are designed as practice sessions for those familiar with NLP but please let us know if you’d like to join us.

NLP for increasing your Influence Quotient

25 Mar 13
Daniel Smith
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Last Friday a small group of us were exploring how NLP can be used for influence. While the language patterns of the Meta Model, Milton Model and even Metaphor Model can be easily applied to increase your “Influence Quotient”, we were exploring this topic more comprehensively.

The first way that NLP can help increase your Influence Quotient is to help you focus on your intention. Influential communicators are powerful and congruent; they have found a way to get all their butterflies flying in formation so that their words, their tonality and their gestures are aligned to communicate a single message. For some people, this sort of alignment comes naturally; they say what they deeply mean and deeply mean whatever they say. For the rest of us, our own doubts – about ourselves or about what we are communicating – can come through even about something that we feel passionate about. By identifying, understanding and aligning with the intention of our message, we can immediately become more influential.

An easy way to do this is through Grinder’s Outcome, Intention, Consequences pattern. Augmenting this with the Core States process (covered in our trainings) can turn this elegant framework into a transformative process.

Another way to amplify your Influence Quotient is to work on your state. As a communicator, whether you are making a sales presentation, negotiating with your boss, speaking with your spouse or even your child, your state might be the biggest predictor of your ability to influence those around you. One of our recent participants told of how when he was on the ATP Tour (men’s professional tennis), a very young Boris Becker walked into the dressing room. This was before Becker had established himself by being the youngest ever Wimbledon Champion, and despite being surrounded by greats including Ivan Lendl, Becker’s “presence” so totally filled the room that everybody went silent. When you are communicating and want to be more influential, check your state! Take an inventory:

  • How are you breathing?
  • What is your posture?
  • What are you focusing upon?
  • What are you saying – to yourself, and to those around you?

But how can we change our state? Other than changing your physiology as I mentioned just before, changing your submodalities can have a powerful impact. By changing submodalities, one of my clients moved a negative, nagging, annoying voice that was leaving him immobilized with fear into a supportive, seductive reminder of the important risks for which he needed to prepare.

What are these magical submodalities? In the last example, the location of the voice and the sound quality are both examples of submodalities. For example, if you could imagine a beautiful picture, and really look at it, where do you see it? Straight in front of you? Up to the right? How far away is it? Is it in vivid colour or black and white? These are all examples of submodalities.

When I was a university student, I remember how through the semester the assignments and exams felt a long way away yet the day before an assignment was due or the night before an exam, the reality of that deadline would creep up on me and be straight in front or even on top of me! By pushing that internal representation of the assignment or exam away, I could relax and focus even amid intense pressure.

As a student of influence, notice how you are using submodalities to internally represent your message. How attractive does your message seem to you? How could you make it even more attractive or even seductive? What could you do to communicate that to your audience?

Intention, State and Submodalities are powerful tools for increasing our ability to influence those around us. Another tool that we can use to increase our Influence Quotient is that of Perceptual Positions. Merely recognizing that there are multiple perspectives at all can help us better frame and transfer our thoughts and feelings; the Perceptual Positions exercise (what we refer to as “Moving Chairs”) of moving from 3rd to 1st to 2nd to 3rd for a specific context, observing from a non-attached 3rd Position and a congruent 2nd Position, and recognizing that 1st Position is, while immensely valuable and important, just one perspective, can be very helpful. Try it out for yourself – notice how much your Influence Quotient lifts when you deliberately shift perceptual positions.

There is a lot that NLP can do to help you become more influential. In the two hours that we had to play with, exploring Intention, State, Submodalities, and Perceptual Positions was pretty ambitious… but good fun.

Making Couples Happy :)

22 Feb 13
Daniel Smith
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Last night I stumbled across the ABC television show, Making Couples Happy, which explores: “What are the secrets to a happy relationship? Great sex? Never arguing? Keeping peace with the in-laws?”

From the first moment, I was struck by the similarities between what was being offered to these couples and what we explore in NLP. Some of the aspects that stood out to me:

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Vale Frank Farrelly, author of Provocative Therapy

12 Feb 13
Daniel Smith
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Frank Farrelly, author of Provocative TherapyFed up with uncooperative patients, Frank Farrelly developed a method of challenge and provocation for jolting clients out of their existing mindset, and yielding significant ongoing change.

While confronting for many, the results were clear enough to secure the attention of Bandler and Grinder; he is considered by many to be one of the original models of NLP along with Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. His influence can be identified explicitly in books including Whispering in the Wind and implicitly elsewhere.

Frank passed away on 10 February, 2013.

The work of Provocative Therapy appears set to be continued through individuals who worked with and studied Frank, notably including Nick Kemp. Nick will be coming to Asia again to offer a series of workshops later this year.

From balls into cats

18 Jan 13
Daniel Smith
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Free yourself: Your job is to convert people from balls into cats. John Grinder

Many of us are trapped in our thinking. We allow other people to “make” us angry (or happy or sad). We respond predictably when people push our buttons. We fixate upon specific internal representations of events and people. A primary focus for the application of NLP patterns is to restore the freedom, choice and flexibility that allows us to respond differently.

Language can trap us. If I was to say that my son makes me angry I sacrifice my flexibility and give away my power and ability to choose an appropriate response. Yet so many of us do it. The Meta Model, Precision Model and Verbal Package offer direct ways of challenging these distortions of reality – in this case, by recognizing that nobody can make me, or anyone else, angry.

Conditioning can trap us too. When I start to make myself a cup of coffee, I pour in a sugar or two, without even evaluating how much sugar would taste best. And, in reality, different coffee demands different amounts of sugar! If a grave is just a rut with the ends kicked out, we can recognize that while habits and conditioned responses help streamline our experiences, it is so easy to trap ourselves in this conditioning. Collapsing anchors and setting up new anchors are fast and remarkably easy ways of regaining that choice.

When I think about broccoli, I imagine a piece that is dark green, glistening with water droplets, that looks so fresh that it could have just come from the garden. I can smell the freshness and health, and want to eat it. If instead I imagine a piece that looks like it’s spent the past hour in a steamer – so it’s floppy, the colours are washed out, and without smell or texture, it feels much less appealing. Submodalities help us become aware of how we use our internal representations to affect us – in this case, by changing my internal representations of broccoli from washed out to full of colour, I went from hating eating broccoli to loving it overnight.

The laws that apply to inorganic systems are different from the laws that apply to organic systems. Kicking a ball has reasonably predictable outcomes. Kicking a cat of the same weight will have vastly different and inherently unpredictable responses. NLP patterns are all about restoring freedom: Converting people from balls into cats.

For more on this, feel free to watch John Grinder on this YouTube clip or below if your browser permits.

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Respect their Model of the World

11 Jan 13
Daniel Smith
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My son politely asked me to feed him. Being very adorable, I’ve tended to agree to such requests; Though as he is almost ready to start kindergarten I figure it’s about time that he fed himself more and relied upon me less. I had just been pointing out the names of the different fingers and this time, his mother suggested that he ask his fingers to feed him.
Much to my surprise, he did. And “they” did!
Trying to persuade him that he “should” feed himself could have been painful and frustrating, yet by respecting his model of the world, we got our outcome easily and quickly.

You never know where Presuppositions of NLP can manifest!

Happy New Year!

01 Jan 13
Daniel Smith

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You probably have your own way of bringing in the new year. Maybe you watch the fireworks, or a movie, or get together with friends. Some people like to set “resolutions”. I find the notion of re-solution as being a bit too close to repeatedly solving something, but I do like to prepare for the new year. Below is outlined what I’ve used in reviewing the year that has been and preparing for the year ahead, consisting of a series of states and corresponding questions. I hope that it’s useful for you:

State 1: Clarity
What happened in the past year?

  • What were the magic moments; these are those amazing times, the experiences that you want to remember because they were wonderful.
  • What did you accomplish in the past year? What are you most proud of?
  • What were any other big events? Anything else that was strongly positive that you want to repeat or negative that you would want to avoid.
  • What were your best decisions of the past year?

State 2: Certainty
Identify anything in your life that was once a dream. Think about any goals that you have accomplished, experiences that you made happen, physical objects that you once desired; You are after a state of certainty and confidence.

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