Contrary to some beliefs about NLP, it is not quite the magic tool of manipulation that some of us might like it to be. Making another person feel a certain way without their cooperation is difficult, if not impossible. That’s why we use tools like anchoring with NLP – to help people help themselves.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of working with someone who was determined to prove that hypnosis or NLP will NOT work for them – but their lack of participation and cooperation can make your job a lot harder.
On the other hand, get them working WITH you, engaging in the process, and NLP can work wonders for them. This is one of the reasons we often emphasize the importance of rapport.
One of many ways to begin to establish rapport is to set a “feel good” anchor with NLP, associated with seeing YOU. In other words – help them like you.
Make Someone Happy!!!
At the heart of NLP, we are seeking to influence feelings and behaviors – our own, and other people’s. While we have a great deal of control over our own feelings, we have both more and less control over another person’s feelings than we often think. On the one hand, each individual is completely responsible for their own feelings, and THEY make their feelings by their own internal responses to stimuli. Which means without influencing that internal response, we have absolutely no control over how someone else is feeling.
On the other hand, purposefully (and successfully) trigger an internal response in someone else by using anchoring, and you have effectively influenced how they are feeling in that moment.
Whether working on becoming more comfortable socially, making a relationship more positive, or creating a positive therapeutic experience, you can set the stage for success by anchoring with NLP to create positive feelings associate with your presence. You can help your clients learn to be positive anchors for their loved ones, and you can use these same techniques in your own professional and personal life.
In NLP, setting an anchor can seem a somewhat pedantic process – at least, I thought so at the beginning. It felt a bit clunky to me, and I was never entirely comfortable with the “press the same spot on the arm” process of setting an anchor. I MUCH preferred setting what I consider “soft” anchors (verbal, visual, and environmental). I learned to incorporate and use physical anchors more naturally as my skills developed, but especially in a client setting when physical touch is not always appropriate, other forms of anchoring can be highly effective and very subtle.
Setting the Stage for Success –
5 Tips for Anchoring With NLP To Create Positive Feelings
- Greet the person with a genuine smile – communicating without words that YOU are happy to see THEM. Seems like a no brainer, I know, but the brain has a lot to do with this. Your smile (if it’s real) sends little happy signals to your brain…and most people will return that smile, sending signals to their own brains. With or without an accompanying handshake or hug (when appropriate), you have already begun the process of anchoring yourself to positive feelings in the other person.
- Offer them something within the first few moments – water, a cup of tea, a pillow to make their seat more comfortable, a blanket, food, a flower, a pen and paper…the list of what you could “give” is endless, and depends in large part on the relationship. A kiss and a Scotch may be inappropriate for your client, but was a perfect offering from a wife for her husband in my parents’ era. When you offer someone something, they will usually take it – and then begin associating gratitude and receiving something good with seeing you.
- Be attentive – notice them, notice their needs. Is the light too bright for them or the seat too soft? Don’t hover or be overly ingratiating, but do pay attention. If this is someone with whom you are familiar, is there anything new about them? With a new client or acquaintance, notice anything that you genuinely like – and let them know with a simple and genuine compliment. The colors of their tie, their earrings, the shoes they are wearing, even the color of their eyes. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is genuine. You are simply showing that you are paying attention – that you see and notice them. Some people may think this is JUST about giving a compliment (which is a good thing, when it is genuine, and a good fall back if nothing else is evident). However, the important element here is that you are creating a feeling of being noticed and “attended to” – they matter to you. So when this person sees YOU, they have yet another positive feeling to stack on the pile of goodness that they have associated with you.
- Ask them a question guaranteed to generate a positive response – This one might sound tough, but it can be very simple, and gets easier with practice. A positive response simply means you want to generate a feeling that you WANT them to feel. That might be achieved with humor, with asking about a known quantity (i.e. asking a grandmother to brag about her grandchildren for a moment, or a known football fan about their team’s latest win). If you are meeting a client for the first time, you can keep it very simple. Ask them if they’d like to have a seat, while gesturing to the seat you’d like them to take. Not only are you beginning the therapeutic process by eliciting cooperation with your suggestions, but they will almost always agree, which adds one more layer to your stack.
- Be very purposeful in your anchoring technique – ensure that all of these good feelings point to YOU. That’s right – point at yourself while they are feeling good. This can be done in a number of ways. If you notice that you’ve stacked up a pile of good feelings in them – gesture at yourself! Or perhaps you have a piece of jewelry that you wear all of the time that you could touch every time they smile. Work on something subtle that you can feel comfortable with, and then do it as often as you can and ONLY when they are feeling good. As long as you keep it subtle, they will not be consciously aware of the gesture, but their unconscious mind will associate YOU with the good feelings they are feeling.
I’ve kept these tips geared toward how, as a professional, you can use anchoring in a respectful way to help your clients (and possibly colleagues) have positive emotions anchored to your presence. Consider, however, how many negative anchors may be playing a role in your clients’ relationships. You can help just by teaching them about anchors, and how they can use them to their own advantage. Remember that anchors are all around us – in the smells of spring, the taste of a favorite beverage, the color of someone’s hair, the sound of church bells or the feel of a certain fabric. Each person can be a very strong anchor for someone else (whether positive or negative), and by being aware and purposeful we can help people feel good just by being around us.
PS: Working with anchors is a core skill in NLP. Keith has a great FREE program where you can learn more in NLP Core Skills.