NLP 101: Calibrate Your Decisions

What’s more powerful than calibrating other people’s states? Calibrating your own!

I’m sure you’ve made some good decisions in the past. I’m also sure you’ve made some not-so-good decisions. The second best thing about those not-so-good decisions is that they are in the past. The best thing is that you can learn from all of your decisions — good, bad, or ugly.

Here is a 2 minute technique that lets you leverage all that hard earned learning in order to make better decisions in the future.

Step 1. Pick a not-so-good decision you made. Either the most recent or a bigger decision that didn’t turn out so well.

Step 2. Calibrate against the not-so-good decision. Replay the situation when you were making that decision. You can watch it like a movie and fast forward or rewind to get to that spot in time when you were making the decision. Once you’ve got that spot ready, you’re going to step back into the situation and calibrate against how you feel, physically and emotionally, just before you make that not-so-good decision.

Step 3. Shake it off. Come back to the room and literally shake it off.

Step 4. Pick a good decision you made. Again, either a recent or bigger decision you made, but this time it is going to be a decision you made that turned out well, maybe even super awesome.

Step 5. Calibrate against the good decision. Replay the situation when you were making that decision. Once you find the spot where you were actually making the decision, step into the situation and calibrate against how you feel physically and emotionally just before you make that good decision.

Step 6. (Optional and recommended) Anchor that state. If you know enough NLP, you’ll want to make this state easily accessible by anchoring it to a touch, an image, a word, a sound, etc. Then you can bring that state up, make a decision, and know that it will be a good one — no matter which way you were leaning before you fired that anchor!

Step 7. Check your calibration. Go back to a random decision, check out how you feel in that situation, identify which of the states you calibrated against is being played out. Fast forward and confirm your calibration. If you’re not sure or if you’re getting them wrong more than once in four or five, then you need to start back at step 1 and recalibrate.

At this point, you’ve got a nice little “black box” that can tell you when you’re about to make a good decision or not. I’ll bet that could come in handy, don’t you. In fact, I trust this little technique enough that I recommend you read more about NLP Monthly, decide to give it a chance to build more great skills like this, and then double check that your “black box” is telling you that you’re making a good decision. Go test it now!

NLP 101: Recalibrate Often

People are constantly changing. Our clothes, our hair, our state of mind. We may hold on to 90% of what we did yesterday, but over time we still change. This is what we do — we change. (Ask me for the Nature of Change presentation a la T.Falcon Napier if you want the whole spiel against the old saw of “people are resistant to change.”)

So what does that mean for our calibration?

That means what you calibrated against may be the best distinctions possible today and complete twaddle tomorrow. Or, the distinctions could hold for the next 20 years. It’s hard to say.

The safest bet is to recalibrate often.

If you need the information about which of the states a person is in for a situation, it is worth investing a few minutes of calibration during the conversation leading into the situations. And often, that’s really all it takes — a few minutes.

You may even find yourself automagically recalibrating during conversations. (There are a lot of NLP techniques I do without thinking about them. There are two factors to that: 1. Everyone uses the patterns that NLP models, we just don’t necessarily do them well, and 2. Lots and lots of conscious practice.)

Seriously, how hard is it to interject into a conversation with “oh, hey, what was the name of that guy you dumped for being such a jerk?” When they go into that state you observe and calibrate. You might follow up with “I thought that was the guy you absolutely adored in high school” and observe their new state. You could even test with “wait, which one had the dark hair?” and watch their state until they settle on one of the two — you should be able to answer your own question before they open their mouth!

Then you can always continue the conversation with something like “sorry for the random distraction, let’s get back to you sharing your plans for world domination!”

Yes, you’ll want to practice each of the skills involved. You might even want some coaching to improve your progress. That’s where NLP Monthly comes in. Check it out.

NLP 101: You’ve got to see it to see it

Calibration requires sensory acuity. Without being able to actually see what is there, you can never calibrate against it.

The more we see what is actually there through artists eyes, the more we can begin to tell two states apart. As we tell states apart, we can start using that information to make better decisions.

If you calibrate against like and dislike in an acquaintance, you can read their attitudes about yourself and others. But you’d never want that sort of information from bosses or spouses or business contacts, now would you…

The same idea holds for any pair of states. Good decision, poor decision; fattening food, slimming food; etc. It all relies on first seeing a difference, then deciding between the possibilities.

So, the obvious questions include whether you are seeing/hearing/feeling and whether that sensory acuity serves you well enough to distinguish states. If you’ve got those both down pat, keep up the good work. If not, it is time to change that. Of the options, I definitely recommend NLP Monthly and I’m sure you will too once you see more of what is in store for you!

NLP 101: Calibration! What Is It?

One of the most underutilized skills we have as humans is that of calibration. This is where we look at a person over time and, without labeling the emotions, are able to identify different “internal states” by looking at the external cues.

People are great pattern matchers. We are so used to matching the patterns for various emotional states that we want to extend some of those cues into channels that don’t play well at communicating body language and tonal qualities. Know what I mean? 😉 LOL <G>

Calibration is different than looking at someone and saying “they look sad” or “they look happy” — it is working without emotional labels. We may still need to refer to those states, so we just do it without emotional labels by using identifiers like A and B.

One way to practice calibration is to have someone sit where you can see them and have them think of a person, we’ll call them person A. Once you think you’ve seen enough to be able to distinguish what physiology goes with person A, then, break their state, clear their “palette”, and then have them think of a different person, call them person B. Once you’ve got your impression of their person B state, the real fun begins.

Here is where you start asking them questions where the answer will be one or the other of the two people. You might ask which of them lives closer or which one is taller. They get to think of their answer without saying it out loud and you get to observe their physiology and say whether you think it is person A or person B. Now they get to confirm or deny your answer and you ask another question.

What does playing this game do for you? It gives you a chance to calibrate and be able to identify a given state without any expectations or preconceived notions about what that state “means.” Once you’ve practiced this in a safe environment, you can take those same skills out into the “real world” and apply them.

So, when would you like to be able to tell two different internal state apart? Maybe every time you’re wanting to influence someone’s decision for the better. If you’re selling something or dating someone (which is a form of salesmanship!), you could calibrate between good and poor decisions that other person has made in the past, then know which way they are currently thinking about decisions with *you*!

Of course, you can’t put them in a chair where you can see their reactions and ask them to “think of a good decision you made in the past” while sketching notes down on paper. Or can you? Isn’t that the sort of thing we do all the time and call it “small talk”?! And notice it wouldn’t take much to make that question work in casual conversation.

For more practical exercises like this one and to boost your ability to calibrate, get started with NLP Monthly now.

NLP 101: Techniques 2 Times

It turns out NLP “techniques” are only really run as written at two times – when teaching the technique and when learning the technique. Otherwise you do what needs to be done.

For example, even doing something as simple as helping a friend remove the negative emotions from his past while keeping the positive lessons went strangely awry. I noticed he didn’t really want to use a particular timeline technique, even though he could go back and look at the ugly version, he didn’t want to clean it up.

I suggested a new approach and my friend “sub-contracted” the clean up. Everything was great until he went to look at the cleaned up timeline and all of a sudden he was physically avoiding looking in that direction. I’m entirely perplexed, but we made the needed changes in a completely different way and, in his words, he “woke up a new man.”

I discovered later that it was an ecology issue around a promise he had made to himself year before. I never would have discovered this and been able to address that no-longer-useful belief if I had not had the flexibility to work with whatever was there in front of me.

So, when someone hires me with the request to “teach me NLP techniques” I have to laugh and offer their money back. Techniques are rarely what they need, and if they are just looking for that “magic pill” or “secret button” or “ancient technique” that will just make things better, I have to be honest and say there ain’t no such thing.

What I can be hired for is to either use techniques as a natural extension of the NLP mindset I’ve developed over the years, or to teach them how to develop that NLP mindset in their own future. Neither of those are instant fixes, but they are both solid solutions to some rather tricky problems.

These days, even if I’m hired to teach the NLP mindset, methodology, and techniques, the first thing I do is have them get started with the NLP Monthly materials. They are a solid course in NLP and a great scaffolding to develop that mindset. Check it out and find out if you are ready for a more lasting solution than the “bandaids” offered by others.

NLP 101: POV 1-2-3

Point of view is another area in which we can exhibit flexibility and gain control of a situation. There are three basic “positions” you might wish to take to start expanding your flexibility when it comes to point of view.

First position is looking at the situation from your own point of view. Most people are more or less stuck in this perspective. They may occasionally look at situations from a different perspective, but this is their “meat and potatoes” when it comes to explaining the world.

The benefits of first position include the ease of access and therefore the universal adoption. The down-sides to first position include self-centered perspective and often a lack of ecology.

Second position is looking at the situation from the other person’s point of view. This is especially helpful when having a disagreement or misunderstanding.

The benefits of second position include increased empathy and understanding of why the other person may be reacting the way they have been. The down-side to second position is that it makes us see ourselves as others see us, and not everyone is ready, willing, and able to do that.

Third position is looking at the situation from a neutral position. Whether this is from the point of view of a third party that isn’t directly involved in the situation or just as a “fly on the wall,” third position gives yet another perspective on a situation.

The benefits of third position include distancing yourself from the emotional content of a situation and allowing us to see other unintended consequences of our behavior. The downside to third position is that there are many, many third parties we could choose to view the situation as.

Again, whether you’re any good at taking these different points of view or not, the mere fact that you are willing and able to do it at all gives you the benefits of additional flexibility in point of view. Remember, the most flexible “wins” by keeping control of the situation.

Gain control of a spot in NLP Monthly for more specifics of how to work with these perspectives and how to apply that flexibility.