Thursday, August 01, 2013

Setting the frame for a great NLP training

There are many reasons why training at NLP Canada Training is a special experience. Two that get lots of attention are the home-baked banana bread and the good chocolate. People are often surprised at how much they enjoy both, even if they do not eat the sweets. They notice, unconsciously, the frame that we set, test it against their experience, and settle in to do the work more comfortably and more effectively.

I am sure it's possible to set the tone for a great NLP training without greeting people with good coffee, assorted teas, and fresh baked banana bread.  But it works for us. The home baking is like taking out a billboard that says "this is a safe place." Almost before they have chosen a seat, our clients feel good about what will unfold. What kind of person has fresh, home-baked goods waiting for you when you arrive? A mom. A friend. Someone who is willing to welcome you into their home.  Nothing says "I care for you in a socially appropriate way" like home baked banana bread.

Does this sound manipulative?  It might be if this were not exactly the kind of atmosphere we build and maintain throughout the training. The promises made by the banana bread hold true. It's immensely important to us that people feel safe enough to focus on the work they came to do. We practice NLP because we can protect their privacy and still help them to overcome personal issues and progress towards both skills and goals.  Safety is crucial to the process. The banana bread signals it, but it's the methodology and the professionalism that follow through on the promise. By the end of the course, the banana bread is an anchor to the safety of the training room.

The good chocolate appears a little later, after the lunch break. It is also a frame and an anchor. As a frame, it says, "you can expect treats" and "there's something really delicious going on here." Sometimes we are nurtured by pleasure as much as we are nurtured by vitamins.  The pleasure is also an essential ingredient in doing the hard work of the training. People who are fully engaged in something they enjoy will work with intensity and handle any stress or fatigue with good humour. The days fly by when you are doing something you enjoy. The good chocolate after the lunch break tells people "we're going to have so much fun you'll be surprised at how good you feel as the day goes on."

We train nine-hour days. When people first hear that, they want to know when we are really going to finish.  I tell them that after nine hours, people will linger, and finally after another fifteen or twenty minutes I will push them out the door so I can prepare for the next day. It's hard to believe, but the good chocolate after lunch is a clue that it might be true. It's always true. Again, the important thing is not that the chocolate uses an anchor that already exists to set up expectations. The important thing is that we deliver on those expectations and the chocolate comes to anchor the surprising amount of enjoyment people feel while learning fast and addressing some serious issues.

There are lots of ways to set the frame so that people "learn" unconsciously that the work of NLP is nurturing, safe, and enjoyable. We just choose to do it with banana bread and good chocolate.

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