Monday, April 27, 2009

Motivation, Anchoring and Metaphors

Some more NLP tips:

Ensure Motivation: It is almost impossible to make the subconcious do something it really doesn't want to do. More than 80% of the physical operations you undertake every day are handled by the subconcious. Which is to say that when you decide to get a drink of water, you aren't carefully considering each and every step. Learning requires that the subconsious see some immediate benefit from learning. In some cases you can motivate students with the promise of praise "You'll be so happy when you can do this" and sometimes with a promise of freedom "You'll be glad when this is over". Don't try to work with a student who is not motivated to succeed at the task of learning what you have to teach. You actually do more harm than good. Talk to them until you can find out some immediate benefit they can derive from learning what you have to teach on a given day.

Set an Anchor: In NLP an anchor is a movement, motion, touch or word you use when someone is in a desired emotional state. To set one, you can talk to a student until he is relaxed and attentive, then tap his arm, or pat him on the back, or use a signature phrase. If you repeatedly reinforce this anchor, from session to session, you will find that you can use the anchor to move the student into that state from other states at the beginning of a training session. The student, with subsequent successes, will then be reinforcing that anchor. A pat on the back from the coach, a warm smile from a beloved teacher, a "Great Job" from a demaning parent. We all have anchors we love. It is very possible to anchor an entire class, and in fact many instructors do this when they mandate a protocol for students entering a class. An art teacher who makes everyone sketch for the first ten minutes of class may be setting an anchor, as may be a math teacher who offers a daily quiz.

One word of warning. It is very possible to create an anchor such that students who walk into a given class start out rattled and stay rattled for the entire class. Work hard not to to do that.

Make the Right Kind of Suggestions: Some people are very literal, others are very intuitive. The kinds of hypnotic suggestions they accept well varies dramatically. Figure out what works with each student, then stick with it. If you tell a very indirect, resistant or intuitive student to "Practice that for a while" you may find that is the one thing on earth he won't do. Issuing the same suggestion as "I wonder how you can see if that really works for you" might work much better. A more direct or literal student will just want to hear what he has to do next.
The most difficult aspect of making suggestions is figuring out how what a student benefits most from. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that every student learns as you learn. Teachers, trainers and instructors are usually good students and so what works for you isn't likely to work with your students.

Try Metaphors: A final technique to use in training is to use auditory, visual and kinetic metaphors to help people step past cognitive roadblocks. That is a technique that most teachers use very frequently, but for someone suffering from a learning block, conciously use one or more metaphors very methodically to get them past it. You may want to draw pictures or build models when the ideas you are trying to communicate are very complex.

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