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There is an old story of a boilermaker who was hired to fix a huge steamship boiler system that was not working well. After listening to the engineer’s description of the problems and asking a few questions, he went to the boiler room. He looked at the maze of twisting pipes, listened to the thump of the boiler and the hiss of the escaping steam for a few minutes, and felt some pipes with his hands. Then he hummed softly to himself, reached into his overalls and took out a small hammer, and tapped a bright red valve one time. Immediately, the entire system began working perfectly, and the boilermaker went home.

When the steamship owner received a bill for one thousand dollars, he became outraged and complained that the boilermaker had only been in the engine room for fifteen minutes and requested an itemized bill. So the boilermaker sent him a bill that reads as follows:
For tapping the valve: $.50
For knowing where to tap: $999.50
TOTAL: $1,000.00”

There are a lot of techniques in NLP like “Swish Pattern” or Anchoring and a lot of people come to NLP looking for a magic bullet that will solve peoples’ issues or make them master persuaders. And to be fair, the powerful techniques in the NLP curriculum will work for some people sometimes just by pulling them out of a book or watching a video.

That said, the techniques are based on skills that can only truly be learned from direct interaction with a great trainer who will bring not only teach the skills that make the techniques work consistently and at the same time optimize the individual’s attributes to take advantage of those skills across every situation.

Now, I’ve been fortunate to be able to attend Dr. Richard Bandler’s and John La Valle’s seminars and learning directly from them has made a vast improvement in areas such as tonality, timbre, rhythm, ambiguities and many other areas that take techniques from being a mechanical process to an interactive one. By fine tuning your calibration you’ll be able to know if your technique is having the desired effect or if you should shift to something else.

All too often we hear from clients who’ve worked with poorly trained NLP practitioners that “NLP doesn’t work” or even worse, NLP practitioners who say, “I use NLP on my clients and it works but it doesn’t work on me.” This is a sure sign that the practitioner is trying to use a process ON someone rather than taking someone THROUGH it, making it a hit or miss process. Remember, the quality of your communication is the answer you get.

So, build up the individual skills that give life to the techniques. It’s like getting in shape before playing a sport. It’ll be a lot easier and your performance will improve exponentially.