Well at the beginning of this week I had a communication from one of my publishers telling me that the very first book I ever co-authored, ‘Principles of NLP’ is virtually ready in its second edition to be launched onto a new world indeed in a new millennium even. It was very striking for me because it is as if what was the beginning is still incredibly relevant. They were very excited at being able to get the rights to be able to publish it again. And so the principles that are at the heart of NLP remain the very same principles from when I first started writing. But of course the difference now is that we have the potential of demonstrating from the neuroscience just why those principles really matter and what it is that makes them so incredibly effective when you have ‘how-to’ techniques and the technology that goes with those ideas. Really simple things like the classic example, ‘the meaning of the communication is the response it elicits’. Now what does that even mean? Most people think the meaning of what they say is what they decided it means. Well yes, except that if you really want to know what you think you said, you want to find out what other people think it is that you have just said because whatever they think it is you have just said is actually what the meaning is as far as they’re concerned. So you have this really curious paradox which is the true meaning of what a communication really is is what the receivers of that communication make of it.
This has got unbelievable implications. I can remember some years ago being involved in some earnest discussions with Civil Defence Authorities about emergency communications and how very frequently they just didn’t seem to get it when a communication was issued in a test for for instance in a fire, earthquake or what have you and this was in the context of Italian Civil Defence and people just didn’t pay attention. The curious thing was that the authorities in question, decided that that just meant they weren’t paying attention as opposed to saying ‘No, the meaning of our communication is a response it elicits’. If it doesn’t produce a response we want, namely ‘leave now to stay alive!’ then we need to change the way we’re communicating.
Now that is true at a general level for a large population for potentially a life and death matter but it is equally true in our own lives, in businesses where we change what we want to say so that other people can get it so that we say it in a way that makes sense to them. What we now have is an understanding at the level of Neuroscience about why does this matter? What is going on in the brain? And so for me there is enormous excitement about the fact that we’ve got this technology, we’ve tested it over many years and now we can actually demonstrate increasingly why it works and have a cognitive understanding of what is going on in the brain which of course is why I get excited about the next practitioner starting in a couple of days.
This new programme that we’ve created, whereby people both learn the tools and techniques of NLP but then have the Neuroscience input which gives them an understanding of what is going on in the brain and allows them to speak with authority I think about their new learning. This is proving to be a very successful synergy and the new synthesis is incredibly stimulating certainly for both myself and my colleague, Professor Patricia Riddell with whom I co-train this material. So we have in a sense what has been developed over many years and which is there in that very first book I wrote, ‘Principles of NLP’ has now been revised, developed further, new generation of techniques and tools have been added to it and now we have the neuroscience to make sense of it in a way we really couldn’t when we began.
So for me it is just a fabulous opportunity to build on our learning and see this coming together across disciplines really, promoting a new understanding of practical tools that we can use in our daily lives that change what we can do professionally and enhance our lives personally. I can’t wait and I know Trish is looking forward to it as well. So, until the next time.