Libraries, the universe and everything

NLP and learning styles
May 31, 2012, 17:01
Filed under: CPD, Events | Tags: , , ,

On May 3rd I attended a LISNetwork session about NLP, presented by Master Practitioner Jill Duffin. Entitled “Friend, foe, or just getting along”, the event promised to help attendees “find out how NLP can help you communicate more effectively, be more self-aware, manage successful teams, deal with change or feel more confident”.

Jill began the session by describing NLP as ‘advanced common sense’, and gave us a few brief details about how it was founded and developed. I made the following brief notes, which probably won’t make complete sense out of context but they are a useful aide memoire for me!

  • NLP has lots of different applications, and is learned more from experiences than from books
  • How you can be what you want to be, gives you tools to change things
  • We have 100% responsibility for both our actions and our feelings
  • Are you visual, auditory or kinesthetic? Know your own type and understand others. Try to respond to people of other types using their own language.
  • Understand what type of language is effective for you in self-motivating, and use it when you need to get on with things
  • Lessen the power of your inner critic by visualising it coming from somewhere external, preferably some distance away from you. Try changing its tone of voice too.
  • Try saying positive things aloud, this can be much more powerful than just thinking them
  • Visualise yourself achieving your goals

I was a little bit unsure what to make of NLP to begin with, especially as I had heard one or two negative comments about it prior to the session. I’m still not sure exactly how all this relates NLP, but it was a useful and enjoyable evening, and as well as learning about something new I met some interesting people too.

I must admit that the strongest thing I took away emerged from a short exercise we did on identifying your learning style. Jill read out three sentences, which contained effectively the same information presented in ways which would appeal to visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners respectively. I had a moment of revelation here, and realised that I am actually a visual person. This is quite significant as I would never have though of myself as visual – I’m not at all artistic, or terribly bothered about using pictures in day-to-day life – but the more I think about it the more it explains why I engage (or fail to) in all sorts of situations.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve been learning about all sorts of different things over the past couple of years, and if truth be told it isn’t that long ago that I would have been tempted to dismiss a lot of this kind of stuff as a species of managementspeak. These days I am completely enchanted by how much everything from teaching and learning to motivation and engagement can be affected by the language people use. As a voracious reader and English Literature graduate I already understood the power of language, but it somehow feels like this latest tool was the piece of the jigsaw I needed to place in order to see what the picture actually was.

I’m not sure I can bring this to any kind of neat conclusion (though if you’re reading this and one leaps off the page at you do please let me know in the comments!). I’m on the verge of taking a big step into the unknown, in both life and career terms, of which more another day, but I’m really looking forward to practising some of this along the way.

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