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Communication workout planner

Practice one #nlp Communication technique every week in 2021

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Communication workout planner

  1. 1. Communication Workout 2 0 2 1 M o n t h l y P l a n n e r NLP Canada Training
  2. 2. Human beings make consistent cognitive errors. We believe the wrong things in reliable ways. One of those errors is to mistake insight for skill. We think that if we understand something, we should be able to do it. Understanding how to do something is only the first step (it doesn't even get you halfway). Practice is how we develop skill. We divide a task into components and we do those components mindfully, often and with feedback. Eventually we develop enough skill to begin combining components to move toward the results we want. This is a communication workbook, and the components it asks you to practice may surprise you. You are used to learning about how language works. Now it is time to learn how to use language better. That takes a different kind of practice, a practice that includes managing the "you" that communicates. You are used to steps on a path and steps in a process. Each month in this workout gives you a different kind of step. It's a dance step, a movement you can use to create many different patterns in the dance called communication. Your Communication Workout for 2021
  3. 3. NLP is a state-based model of performance. That means that your state will drive your choices and your choices will drive your results. Language is not the foundation of your communication: state is. Before you think about what you want to say, you need to clear your state: you need to invite your bigger self and your conscious self to work as one to get a result. Before you decide what you want to say or why you want to say it, take the time to find the state you want to drive your communication. Communication Workout J a n u a r y 2 0 2 1 C l e a r Y o u r H e a d J a n u a r y 3 J a n u a r y 1 0 J a n u a r y 1 7 J a n u a r y 2 4 J a n u a r y 3 1 Begin with your breath. Not just one deep breath, but several. Before you connect to others, connect to your breath. Feel it moving in you and through you. As you release it, focus on that column of air that is your centre. Your state combines your feelings, your thoughts and your physiology. The fastest way to clear it is to move your body. Walk, stretch or sit quietly and focus on tensing and releasing one part of your body at a time. What if your state doesn't release? Some states are strong in breath and body. What useful state shares some of the physiology of this state that won't be cleared? Practice moving to this useful state by thinking about a time you experienced it strongly. Who do you know who is good at walking into a situation with a clear state? Focus on this person as if they were with you now. Allow yourself to step into their shoes and notice what changes as you breathe the way they breathe, hold their posture, and observe with their eyes and ears. Have you ever looked out of an airplane window and watched as the ground becomes farther away? From the air you see patterns in the landscape that you miss on the ground. Take a few moments and allow yourself to experience the feeling of watching the landscape from the air.
  4. 4. Communication Workout F e b r u a r y 2 0 2 1 L i s t e n I n t e n t l y F e b r u a r y 7 F e b r u a r y 1 4 F e b r u a r y 2 1 F e b r u a r y 2 8 Some people call it deep listening or active listening. Neither of those names really tells you how to do it. A better way to think of it is this: you must be so clear in your intention that you can move all of your attention to getting in sync with a person or group. This includes allowing yourself to pick up emotion, expression, motivation, reasoning and rhythms. You can’t manage it all consciously, but your brain has evolved to allow you to intend a connection and make the adjustments necessary so that connection forms. If you want to send a message, you start by preparing the connection that will carry it. Matching and mirroring builds rapport. Make small changes in muscle tension, postures and movement so that you are more like what you observe in the other person. You can notice how your state changes and they will notice evidence that you are paying attention to them. The most powerful information about state comes through the breath. If you’re at work, mirror someone’s breath by picking up its rhythm (tap your finger or your foot). Mirroring breath directly is so powerful that it is invasive. But if you’re home with someone you love, you can safely share each other’s breath. You think you should show attention with eye contact. Sometimes, that’s true. But people making eye contact seem to be looking for something, not open to all that is being said. Instead, turn your head slightly, so you are tilting your ear toward the speaker. They’ll see you listening. Repeat back phrasing someone just said, word-for-word, as if you want to know more. Repeating exactly allows you to pay as much attention to how something was said as you do to what was said. You’ll hear more words and pick up the state that drives them.
  5. 5. Communication Workout M a r c h 2 0 2 1 S e e R e a s o n M a r c h 7 M a r c h 1 4 M a r c h 2 1 M a r c h 2 8 Have you ever been sucked in by someone else’s strong feelings? You might not even realize the feelings are not yours: you can amplify energy and intensify focus just by paying attention to them. It seems like you are seeing clearly when you are really seeing emotionally. To find a better way, you begin by reaching for a wider perspective. You can’t get someone else to see reason if your own focus is on one tiny point. You have to pull back to create the conditions where logic and reason can identify new patterns and new pathways. Here are four questions to practice. When have you faced a problem like this before? This question can elicit forgotten strengths or reveal patterns. It always pulls a person back to search through all of their experience. It takes a time frame of moments and pulls it into a time frame of years. Who do you know who has been in this kind of situation? This question uses our social wiring to uncover options. And it causes the responder to widen the frame to include not just the people in this situation, but all the people in similar situations across time and space. What will you notice when you look back on this five years from now? This question opens up a wider time frame. It also presupposes that the problem will not be fatal and puts the situation in the category of ‘memories’ which is so much larger than the category of ‘present.’ What else? It takes a clear state and strong connection to harness the power of these two small words. They transform feelings into information and presuppose that the frame is always wider than it seems. They force the attention away from the pull of what feels true so that you can scan the context.
  6. 6. Communication Workout A p r i l 2 0 2 1 K n o w W h a t Y o u W a n t A p r i l 4 A p r i l 1 1 A p r i l 1 8 A p r i l 2 5 For every communication, there is feedback. Good communicators shape what they say and do so that they get the feedback they want. This means knowing when you have time to plan, and knowing when you are in a situation that changes moment by moment. Knowing what you want requires that you hold your intention while you cycle your attention through what is changing in your relationship and what is possible in your situation. Like any complex skill, knowing what you want requires practicing the individual components so that they become available as fluid automatic processing when you need them. What will convince you that spring has arrived? Will it be a date in the calendar or the colour of the ground as the first tiny flowers appear? Showing is always more powerful than telling. To show people what you want, you must be able to first imagine the signs that what you want has happened. Wanting is never simple: it is always a network of feelings, opportunities, facts, connections and behaviours. To communicate what you want, you need to know the whole fabric: the changes you want in fact, in behaviour, in feeling and in relationship. Don’t start with a snapshot: start with a map of the outcome you want. What do you want most? Communication is a simplified version of connection. Knowing what you want means understanding that you get a limited number of asks. Don’t waste your relationship budget by asking for little things at the expense of the important ones. Leverage starts with understanding the weight of what you want most. The heart of communication is the desire for further connection. Respect that desire by seeing what you want from other points of view. When you appreciate what it will cost someone else to understand or agree, you won’t lose focus. You’ll widen the frame and gain permission to continue to communicate.
  7. 7. Every connection contains information, states, strengths, skills and strategies which could be useful to you. Great communicators actively look for whatever will help them get the results they want. This doesn’t mean they look for what they can take from someone else: it means they amplify the possibilities in a connection so that everyone in it becomes more resourceful. Obstacles, resistance and argument can all be mesmerizing. The alternative is to stay focused on making a connection with something you can use. Communication Workout M a y 2 0 2 1 R e c o g n i z e W h a t Y o u C a n U s e M a y 2 M a y 9 M a y 1 6 M a y 2 3 M a y 3 0 The most important information you are receiving from someone else is almost always about the state they are in, not the facts they are offering. Use your body, ears and eyes to catch states that are useful and mirror them. The primary purpose of communication is to become stronger and adapt better. Instead of being distracted by words, listen for the strengths in a connection that you can grow in yourself to move toward the things you want. Do you need information? You don’t need to respond to state if what you really need is clear information to slot into a puzzle you want to solve or a task you want to complete. Practice clearing your state so you can pick the facts you need out of the layers of communication you receive. Chunking down can help you see something useful in resistance. You might think that being resisted is all bad, but resistance requires energy, engagement, and perspective. Mirror what you can use and let the rest fade. People often lose track of their own abilities. When you are clear that you recognized a resource in them in the past, you can bring it into the present where it can make a difference.Label the strength, skill or strategy that you want someone else to bring into your conversation.
  8. 8. Communication Workout J u n e 2 0 2 1 C h o o s e W o r d s T h a t C h a n g e S t a t e s J u n e 6 J u n e 1 3 J u n e 2 0 J u n e 2 7 If the meaning of communication is the feedback it gets, then the meaning of language is the state it creates in the receiver. Words with similar dictionary meanings provoke different responses in different situations. This is obvious at the extremes. What is not obvious is that expert communicators focus less on the dictionary meanings of words and more on the states that the words are creating in both senders and receivers. Does this seem too complicated for you to learn and apply? You already do this when you choose words that are anchored to strong experiences. As you become more intentional, you will also become more effective in using words for the states they bring into being. Think of a strong, positive memory of being part of a group. What word or phrase comes to mind? You can also find words and phrases that are anchored to strong experiences in your life. Some of these might be linked to a song or a slogan. The states associated with these words are personal and powerful. As you think of someone you want to influence with your communication, think of times when they have experienced useful states, states that would be helpful in the situation. What words might signal them to go back to those experiences to revisit those states? These words might be anchors to something that was part of the experience. This week, think about the word “light” and the way it can mean something profound (like light in the darkness) or something trivial (making light of something). Words often mean two different things. How do people decide which meaning to apply and how to change state as they apply it? Many words that represent achievement elicit mixed states. Think of graduation: a happy ending but also an ending. When you want to talk about an outcome, you need to think about whether you want people to imagine an ending or a pause in a process that continues.
  9. 9. Communication Workout J u l y 2 0 2 1 T e l l a S t o r y J u l y 4 J u l y 1 1 J u l y 1 8 J u l y 2 5 The shortest distance to your communication goal is almost always a story. The story structure is so wired into how we think that some scientists believe it is wired into our brains too. But most people get stuck when they are asked to tell a story. They try to be clever or funny; they get frustrated; and they end up blurting out a rough description of whatever they are thinking. Stories are important because they move teller and listener through a series of states that motivate change and create a result. You’ve been telling them since you began to speak.Here are four questions that will help you practice telling your story. What will be different? The answer to this is always a story: it always involves starting in one state and moving through changes in relationships, behaviours or situations. If your story is true, the road between start and finish is never straight. If you want your story to sound true, allow yourself to include obstacles, resistance or surprises. Does this remind you of anything? Human brains work by comparing new information to stored experience and looking for the best fit. Every memory happened in a sequence, and includes what came before and what came after. Practice changing where the memory starts and finishes to change the states you communicate through the memory. When have you leapt to the wrong conclusion? The answer is always a story: it naturally involves something that was desired, an error, tension and a recognition that releases the tension. It's a great pattern for reminding people to step back and see a bigger picture. Have you ever made a plan that didn't work and been successful anyway? This is the kind of story that depends on interrupting the expectation that plans are necessary to get results. It's a great kind of story for encouraging people to think about goals, strengths and relationships.
  10. 10. Construct your communication as if it were a shared story. You'll build a shared experience with the listener or reader in which you go through a series of states and ideas together. You don't have to tell a story: you can make your presentation or conversation work like a story. The advantage of using these five narrative stepping stones is that you will build connection and engagement and you’ll help your listeners remember the key pieces of information that will anchor what they learn from you. Communication Workout A u g u s t 2 0 2 1 C o n n e c t t h e S t e p s A u g u s t 1 A u g u s t 8 A u g u s t 1 5 A u g u s t 2 2 A u g u s t 2 9 Your first step needs to be rooted in time and place and a state that offers more energy, strength, or confidence. Beginnings need to interrupt the thoughts that are already running in your audience’s head and direct them to something they want. Now take the audience to the reason they are blocked. This is where you reveal a problem, obstacle or weakness that stands between your audience and the thing they want. If there were no obstacle, they would already it. When you communicate, introducing a bump makes your message more memorable and more realistic than simply laying out steps in a process. Your audience changes states as if they were encountering and adapting to a problem with you. This makes it feel like you're on the same team. Stories are always about states (like focus or competence) and the connections to people, relationships and situations that make it easier to hold those states. Wire your information more securely by connecting it to states and relationships that your audience knows and values. Stories must come to an end, but the characters inside them live happily ever after. Good communications end by pointing to what happens next. They are always "to be continued" in the life of the listener.
  11. 11. Communication Workout S e p t e m b e r 2 0 2 1 F o l l o w t h e G r a m m a r S e p t e m b e r 5 S e p t e m b e r 1 2 S e p t e m b e r 1 9 S e p t e m b e r 2 6 Grammar scares most people. They are sure that errors are inevitable and that errors will make them look bad. They hate having to follow complicated rules. All of this is nonsense. Grammar is not a set of hard-to-understand rules. It is a set of guiding principles for making it more likely that communication will support connection and collaboration. These four principles don’t look like grammar, but they are the motivation for most of the rules about how to make language work better. Begin by listening for them in the communication of other people. Every pattern you recognize becomes available as a pattern to use in your own communication. One thing at a time. “Complete thoughts” do not exist in reality: each thought is connected to many other things. In language, we have to use only one word at a time and they have to be spoken or written one sentence at a time. A complete thought is “someone does something.” To improve your sentences, make them simpler. Who is doing what? Actions don’t just happen. Someone has to do them. Many rules of grammar insist that you make it clear who is doing the action. If you aren’t sure or you don’t want to acknowledge that every action is done by someone, then your grammar will be muddled and your message will only communicate that you are hiding something or that you are hiding from something. People need time to respond. That’s why periods and paragraphs are so important. People unconsciously recognize patterns in your communication, but their conscious minds are following more slowly. Building pauses into your communication helps people recognize patterns consciously. The full stops give people a moment to pull themselves together and think. Life happens in a context. We are always in a particular where and when. Language is detached from context: we can talk or write about things that are not present. We need to put in enough background so that we can make a mental image of how information connects to its environment. Mental pictures help us understand and remember.
  12. 12. Human beings run in rhythms: our blinks, breath, heartbeat, movement and language are just some of the ways that our bodies keep time. Rhythm is a key to how we isolate meaning in the endless flow of stimuli that flow in us and around us. People who are in sync with us seem to be organized like us. Rhythm can support state or change it. The basic principle is simple: when you are in sync, people pay attention to your message. When you are out of sync, people pay attention to that disconnect. Communication Workout O c t o b e r 2 0 2 1 F i n d t h e B e a t O c t o b e r 3 O c t o b e r 1 0 O c t o b e r 1 7 O c t o b e r 2 4 O c t o b e r 3 1 Walk for 5 minutes without checking a clock. How close can you come to stopping at exactly 5 minutes? It's hard to connect with other people's rhythms until you become aware of your own sense of time. Slow down to speed up. When you're rushing, your head is in the future and the rest of you is trying to catch up. Bring all of you into the present. Sit absolutely still for one minute and you will learn how much time is available in just 60 seconds. Practice the art of the pause. When you run out of words, just do a full stop. No ums and no excuses. Take a few intentional breaths and look at the people you are trying to reach. Then start again at a pace that feels right to you. You’ll have their attention and they’ll respond to the pace you set. Until they share your rhythm, people find it hard to understand your message. Begin by listening with your body: tap your finger, nod your head or move your foot in the rhythm of another person's voice or the movements of a group. Only change pace after you have attention and connection. A sudden change of pace interrupts a pattern. In some circumstances, the change allows people to respond directly to clear, active messages. In other circumstances, the change can be used to guide people into a shift of state so that they are better prepared to hear the details of the message.
  13. 13. Communication Workout N o v e m b e r 2 0 2 1 M e e t H a l f w a y N o v e m b e r 7 N o v e m b e r 1 4 N o v e m b e r 2 1 N o v e m b e r 2 8 Most communication advice is designed to help you connect with someone else so you can walk them across a bridge to share your point of view. But sometimes the goal of your communication is not to send a clear message. It’s to meet halfway and build on one another’s ideas. This is actually what language does best: it keeps ideas rough enough around the edges to invite others to add to them. There are three keys to communicating to collaborate: stay connected; stay committed to a shared goal; and say “yes” more often than you say “no.” It also helps to make active use of your sense of humour. Think about the best conversations you have experienced, conversations where you had ideas together that you would not have had separately. As you remember, become curious about the matching and mirroring, the sound of the voices, and the rhythm of the conversation. What have you learned that surprises you about the give-and-take of collaboration? What is the shared reason that you are in a conversation? The clearer the shared purpose, the more resilient the conversation when you differ. Difference is necessary, but it is never comfortable. You need to remind yourself and your partner that there's something you want enough to be a little uncomfortable in pursuing it. We say no when other people describe the world in a way that doesn’t match what we have storied in our brains This allows us to recognize our own thoughts, but it doesn’t build shared understanding. “Yes” does not always signal agreement: it can signal that you understand that you have different perspectives and both can be true. Practice saying yes more often. When we say something is funny we can mean that it is unfamiliar or that it makes us smile. Go into collaboration ready to smile about your differences. This does not mean making jokes. Communicate that your collaboration is a safe place to notice funny points of view and surprising twists of thought. When in doubt, smile.
  14. 14. Communication Workout D e c e m b e r 2 0 2 1 K n o w H o w T r u t h F e e l s D e c e m b e r 5 D e c e m b e r 1 2 D e c e m b e r 1 9 D e c e m b e r 2 6 Is truth a fact or a feeling? We think of facts as true and the truth as something real that exists whether or not we understand or agree. It’s possible that’s the case, but that’s not a useful basis for communicating. In communicating, it helps to understand that truth is a feeling that people have about information. If you can’t get them to experience that feeling, then they won’t be able to understand what you say as being true. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to base what you say on facts. It means that facts have impact when they land with a feeling of truth. If you don’t make sure they connect with that feeling, you won’t be satisfied with your results. Think of something that you know to be true. This is a fact: water freezes below zero degrees Celsius. Summer is warmer than winter in the northern hemisphere. Scan through your perceptions as you focus on this fact. Where do you get signals that this fact is true? Some people see truth and some get a feeling in their balance, breath or gut. Your body is always part of your experience. Truth is easier to recognize when it is accessible to the senses. Which of your senses perceive the truth you want to communicate? What is the background to that truth, the context that makes it feel like a part of your lived experience and not an abstract idea? What do you believe now that you didn’t believe ten years ago? Explore the facts, connections and states that allowed you to move from an old belief to a new one. How were you able to recognize a new truth? What needed to be true for you to accept it? Learn the feeling that allows you to make change, and use that feeling when you want to motivate others to see change as possible. Life is full of complexity that cannot be adequately held in words. Pay attention to those moments when a few words capture a big idea. You might notice an anchor or symbol for a shared experience. You might notice a moment that seems bigger than the seconds it contains. Recognize the feeling you have when language stretches to contain a really big idea.
  15. 15. If you're new to NLP Canada Training, please visit us at https://www.nlpcanada.com. You'll find many ways to learn more about how people perceive, process and make the choices that make their lives work better. There are no routes to satisfaction and success that do not involve two kinds of communication: one is the interaction of your conscious mind and the powerful brain/body system from which it emerges and the other is the communication that supports and shapes your social network. To get better at one, you need to be mindful of the other. Communication is a skill and skills only improve with deliberate practice. We hope this workbook encourages you to join us in our ongoing exploration of how to be more intentional and more effective in connecting through your words and actions. Linda Ferguson, Chief Education Officer NLP Canada Training