Learning NLP From NLP Books?

This NLP article examines why some people believe that you can learn NLP from NLP books.

Learn NLP books.Granted, NLP books contain a great deal of “information” that may be useful. In my opinion NLP books delete most of the message and leave the author and reader with no feedback about the reader’s understanding of the subject.

During my 30 year career in sales I (Steve Boyley) have trained hundreds of direct salespeople. The most common problem I had to deal with was breaking ineffective sales habits. The so called “self taught” salespeople had read something in a book or article and practiced it incorrectly, until they were very good at not getting great results. “Why are you doing that?”….. “I read it in a book.”

Many sources generalize that most people communicate their ideas using 50% visual communication, 40% tonal and only 10% words. In my opinion that’s all that most NLP books contain of the original message, 10%.

Guru I am not. Although it’s surprising how easily people attach that tag to someone who has taught them something that’s really helping their life. Here’s how I approached learning the NLP I am using. In the spring of 1987 I read Tony Robbins NLP book Unlimited Power. “Way cool” I thought, “I want to know this”.

I was not about to make the same mistake I have seen so many times and start believing that I had learned enough to begin applying everything that I could read about. Then rush out to start doing it ineffectively. I decided not to read any more NLP books until I had an opportunity to learn NLP. I knew what I knew and would have to use that well. My philosophy was (still is) that using flexibility, understanding, communication skills, focusing on those you are communicating with and helping them get satisfaction, will achieve your goals.

I couldn’t fly off for a training somewhere (both my kids were small babies at the time), so I called to hire Tony. He couldn’t accommodate the dates I wanted and recommended several other NLP trainers. I selected Shaun Erb (now retired) and soon had 25 people to share the expense of flying the NLP Trainer to us! The NLP training focused on NLP attitudes, methods and skills for enhancing our effectiveness in business!  That intensive training continues to have positive consequences in my life as well as the lives of attendees I have kept in contact with. Many of us had had training with Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, etc. They were good, but did not have the impact on results that NLP did. Shaun made it perfectly clear to us that what we had learned was by no stretch of the imagination a complete NLP training. It was a beginning.

An opportunity for me to learn more from someone who knows more came in 1997 when I attended the Master Practitioner training by John La Valle and Richard Bandler. The results I experienced are an accelerated rate of achievement ever since. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much Shaun Erb had taught us ten years earlier, and how similar the training style was;  Focusing on ability, understanding and results, not on memorizing name tags for this and that.

I immediately set up a private practice, a few clients a week, while continuing to run my industrial supply company (since 1992). The clients continue to come from referrals and a yellow pages listing under hypnotherapy. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the positive results single NLP sessions have achieved with people who have “serious problems” (I like pleasant surprises).

In 1998 I attended Trainers training with Richard Bandler and John La Valle and have been providing NLP Practitioner training each year since then. I teach what I know and do whatever it takes (wit) to make sure the students “get it”. I haven’t read all the NLP books. My training style is close to that of my teachers. My students get the attitude, understanding and abilities to get results using “NLP techniques” or creating what is needed on the spot. My experiences of using NLP while working with “troubled” and “successful” people, teaching, selling, public speaking, entrepreneuring and living, are the insights I bring to the training.

My experience of learning is that the more I learn, the more I understand that there is a lot more to learn. I am no more than a man with a passion to teach others what I know works. In my opinion books are great to introduce people to what is possible and to instruct those who are willing to test what they learn and check the results.

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