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Is this off-topic?
2

Is this off-topic?

Is this off-topic?

(OP)
This issue touches on NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).  NLP involves how the words we use affect people.  So, given that...
"This forum is for light-hearted discussions on words, word usage, grammar, and related topics to improve our ability to communicate effectively and to help project the right image."
... I suspect it is relevant.  If not, I'll happily withdraw the question.

Here is the situation:

I will shortly be participating in a "Speedovation" event at work.  The basic idea is that:

There are five topics.
Each participant spends 3 minutes with a facilitator on each topic.
During those 3 minutes the facilitator briefly outlines the topic then encourages the participant to brainstorm ideas and suggestions relating to the topic.  
The facilitator then captures those ideas and the participant moves on to the next facilitator who deals with the next topic, and a new participant moves in to work with this facilitator.

It is like an idea production line.

Most of the ideas will be repeats, or impractical, or irrelevant etc.  However, it is hoped that a few will be new and worthwhile - thus making the event worth the effort.

My question is this - as a facilitator, can I use any NLP techniques in my very brief intro to the topic, to stimulate the participant into a more useful frame of mind - e.g. one in which his ideas flow more freely, or he is more creative etc?

I am aware of NLP, but I've not really studied it, and I don't have the time to do so before the event.  Is there anyone on the forum who is sufficiently au fait with NLP to suggest a few key words or phrases which I might work into the intro which could get their mental juices flowing?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?




Trigger words.  Like a vector.  Where there is amplitude and direction.

Skip,

glassesJust traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!tongue

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Skip, would you care to elaborate at all?

Are you suggesting the key thing is the words (in which case which would you suggest?) or the method of delivery?  

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

The question if fine for MAI.  The key to NLP, as I understand it, is to understand your audience and to identify the triggers that work for them.  Based on your description, you have very little time to get to know the participant, so you have very little time to build any kind of rapport that will allow you to get into their comfort zone, if you will, so that you can communicate with them on their terms.

In three minutes, I would think your best technique would be to use positive reinforcement body language to spur additional ideas.  After the first participant gives the first idea, purposefully respond with some specific type of body language response that you believes gives the impression that you think that's a great idea.  If the participant then responds with another idea, keep it going.  If not, then try a different response to the next idea.  Each time, note how the participant responds to your body language and continue to refine that response to keep the participant involved and the ideas flowing.  Understand, however, that with the next participant, you need to start over, as that participant may read your body language differently.

Again from my perspective, the key to NLP is to recognize that you're not trying to program your audience to communicate with you so they'll respond appropriately to you.  NLP is about programming yourself to use to the right words and triggers so that you communicate with your audience so they'll respond appropriately to you.  That takes time and interaction and will be a challenge in just three minutes.

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RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
CC - thanks for the comment.  My (very) limited understanding of NLP would indicate you are right about it being more about conditioning oneself rather than the other person.  I certainly intend to try the kind of thing which you suggest.  

Additionally, given that this is a 3-minute exercise, and hopefully the bulk of that 3 minutes will be given over to them not me, I was hoping for some quick'n'dirty verbal "tricks" which might be inserted into my opening script to maximise the participants' initial creativity, confidence & openness.  

I know that I have read some NLP stuff which has talked about how to generate "scripts" for certain purposes, with a view to empowering the recipient to respond in certain ways, by means of specific key words and phrases.  Unfortunately, my memory being what it is nowadays, I'm blowed if I can remember much about it, or even where I read it.

To be really honest, I'm not entirely convinced that NLP (at least some aspects of it) is any more than smoke'n'mirrors.  However, as long as the script I use is not actively detrimental to the process, it seems I'd lose nothing by giving it a go.

So, for now what I think I need is some suitable keywords/phrases etc.

Any suggestions?

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?



I was trying to paint a brief word picture that came to me, reading your intro.

This seemed to me like TRIGGER words would be needed.  LOADED words, that, like a vector, point in a certain direction with a strong or weak value.  In this case, you want to craft and present words with STRONG value, that evoke or trigger a response TOWARD, in the direction of, the desired results.

Do you know any of these people?  Analyogies, pictures, figures of speach, illustrations are among the techniques to get the juices flowing in a brief moment.

Skip,

glassesJust traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!tongue

RE: Is this off-topic?

I would be very interested in know how this all turns out. Was it productive, humorous, nerve racking, a fiasco, etc., etc., etc.? I've never heard of NLP and would like to know more from some one who has used it.


 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Maybe it would help if I give a bit more background.

This is a session organised by our Innovation Office.  That is less grand than it sounds, in that, while the IO has about a hundred or so trained facilitators, they all have "day jobs".  The IO itself usually has only a handful of permanent staff - and even they all have other responsibilities.

The session will take place over an extended lunchtime in a temporary area set up for it off the canteen lounge area.  Workers will be invited to drop in to participate for 15 mins each (5 topics, 3 minutes each).  One facilitators will be stationed at each of 5 topic areas.  Every 3 minutes, each worker will cycle from one topic to the next until they have done all 5.

The workers are mostly engineers, but there will also (hopefully) be some secretaries and folks from admin, facilities, security, legal etc.

At the end of the session, the ideas will be collected and analysed in slower time to work the good seeds into suitable proposals.

The purpose of the exercise is to generate ideas to: save money, improve working conditions, boost morale, reduce costs, invest wisely, etc...

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
2ffat - a pilot session has already taken place at one of our other sites.  Less than 50 participants took part, but that was mostly limited by the number of facilitators available, rather than a lack of volunteers.  

Several hundred ideas were generated in one lunchtime session, though it has to be said that many of them were identical.  Maybe a fifth of them represented truly unique proposals.

The analysis and assessment process is still ongoing, but some have already been accepted and either implemented, or steps are in progress to implement them.  No metrics are yet available for how much money is likely to be saved, and other goals - such as impact on morale - are fairly intangible and hard to measure.

The scheme is nothing to do with NLP per se.  I just thought it might be a useful tool I could use to craft a script which boosts the chances of getting good ideas.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?




This is akin to the fact that giving a 3 minute speech can be much more challenging than a 20 minute speech.

You must give much prior thought to focus and distill and hone your points for the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.

Skip,

glassesJust traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!tongue

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Skip - I agree with you.  That is why I was wondering if I could start by sculpting the script around keywords which are generally considered to be freighted with maximum impact to generate the mindset I want to engender in the participants.  Hence the NLP question.

By the way, I probably was not clear before - the 3 minutes is for the whole interview.  Most of that should be taken up by the participant giving his ideas.  My "speech" is intended to be a very brief intro - say 30s or so?

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?



Yes, I totally understand.

Skip,

glassesJust traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!tongue

RE: Is this off-topic?

==> I've never heard of NLP and would like to know more from some one who has used it.
NLP has its history in therapy.  What the therapist would do is get to know the patient by learning what words and phrases the patient finds comforting and those words and phrases which the patient finds frightening.  That can be done by listening to the words the patient uses to describe bad things and what words are used to described good things.  As therapy continues, the therapist uses fewer and fewer of the 'bad' words and more and more of the 'good' words.

From time to time in these forums, we've discussed word connotations and word denotations.  NLP is concerned about learning each individual's word connotations and what role that word plays in that person's perception of reality.  The next step is then for the therapist to program him/herself to use those words which have the proper connotation in the listener's view of reality.

In other words, the theory behind NLP is that I want to communicate effectively with you, and perhaps get you to change in some manner, then I need to program myself to use words based not on what I think they mean, but rather, based on what you think they mean.  Before I can do that, I need to first learn the words that are meaningful to you, and what you believe that meaning is.  That's not something you know going into a relationship, but something that is learned over time from within a relationship and the therapist has to make a concerted effort to get into that frame of reference.  That takes time and interaction.  Again, its history is in primarily therapeutic applications.

It is coming up more and more in the business world simply for the purposes of effective communications, but it requires the speaker to adapt to the listener's frame of reference.  If you're in sales, and you want to close the deal, then it's probably a good idea for you to be able to program yourself to talk effectively in the buyer's frame of reference.

Again, in this situation it's going to be a real challenge from an NLP standpoint, because you don't have the opportunity to learn anything about the participant beforehand.  One thing you can do is control your body language responses as ideas are being presented to hopefully convey positive reinforcement so the ideas keep coming.  As far as using trigger words in the intro, you're really guessing because you know nothing about the participant.  For one participant, you could say 'we're looking for creative ideas' and their response is, 'not again, this is a waste of time because this company is clueless about creativity'.  For another person, that same intro, 'we're looking for creative ideas' could generate a 'finally, now I have a chance to show them I can think outside the box'.  In either case, the single word 'creative' triggers opposite responses.  The challenge for N1GHTEYES is to start with the phrase 'we're looking for creative ideas', immediately judge the participants reaction to see which camp they (might) fall in, and then finish the sentence with either 'but I think you're far more able to provide traditional ideas' or 'and you're just the one to help think outside the box'.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Is this off-topic?

==> So, for now what I think I need is some suitable keywords/phrases etc.
Suppose you're going to hear management speak and you decide to play buzzword bingo.  Based on your corporate culture, what are the 24 words that would go on the bingo card?  I would avoid everyone one of those words.

Think back over the various staff meetings that you've attended.  When someone said something that got the staff excited, what words did they use?  Those are words that I would consider trying to use.  You want to try to use words that have positive connotations in your corporate culture.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
CC - your suggestions on word selection sound like an excellent idea.  Conveniently, the company recently ran a competition to select the 5 key words which represent it best.  I guess there were probably about 24 or so in the list we had to choose from...

From my limited exposure to NLP (purely from reading - no personal experience) I think your take on it, and how it would apply in this case, seems pretty much spot on - at least for the Jedi version - and I will have a try.  Given the short time I have, both to give the speech and to prep for it, I was hoping to also make a brief foray into "the dark side".

So, the kind of thing I had in mind was to use "embedded commands", possibly preceded by a phrase to induce cognitive dissonance to aid reception and acceptance.  I vaguely understand that process - at least in principle - but I have no idea how to go about it in practice.  I intend to try to ferret out the required info before the session, and give it a go.  It will be interesting to see if it actually has any effect (which, to an extent at least, could be judged by the relative proportion of the total suggestions which come from "my" topic).

Even then, however, it would still make sense to tailor the specific command words to the recipient, so I guess a useful thing to do between now and then is - as you suggest - sharpen my visual acuity so as be able to pick up on their cues.

Tony

 

RE: Is this off-topic?

"So, the kind of thing I had in mind was to use "embedded commands", possibly preceded by a phrase to induce cognitive dissonance to aid reception and acceptance."

This sounds dangerous to me. Trying to get into someone's mind to understand how they think so they can be brainwashed comes to mind. I would think one would need years of training to do this effectively.  

I keep trying to do something about my procrastination but I keep putting it off until tomorrow.

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
tcsbiz: I'd seriously doubt that anything I might say in a quick 30s intro to a topic could possibly be "dangerous".  Especially as the effect I would be trying to produce would simply be to get them into a more creative frame of mind.

To do this well, and to be sure of achieving it (if it is possible at all) probably does take years of practice.  But, if, with a bit of research and a bit of planning, the words I use in the intro can slightly improve the likelihood that some of the participants might think of a few more creative ideas, then it is probably worth the effort.

"Getting into someone's mind", "understanding how they think" and "brainwashing" really don't come into it.  All I'm trying to do is borrow some of the same techniques that advertisers, the church, politicians and PR companies use on a daily basis - and to which we are all constantly subjected.  Much as you may hate the effects that the manipulations of these groups may have on society, I don't suppose you feel that they leave you mentally scarred.

Manipulation is merely a tool.  Using it to coerce, for example, old and vulnerable people to send their life savings off to some religious nutter, or some dumb kid to go and blow themselves up in a shopping centre is evil.  On the other hand, using it to make it easier for somebody to quit smoking is not.

If a participant is sitting in front of me at this event, he has decided to be their because he wants to take part in a process which might improve the company in which he works.  My job, in this instance, is to help him do so.  My employers have the expectation that I will do my job as well as I can.  So do I.  So, if I can do my job better by using words which enable him to feel more creative, then that is what I should do.

Tony

 

RE: Is this off-topic?

==> Given the short time I have, both to give the speech and to prep for it, I was hoping to also make a brief foray into "the dark side".
What do you mean by "the dark side"?
 

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Is this off-topic?

This is a very interesting exercise you are participating in. It sounds a lot like the "brainstorming" sessions we used to have back when we had a Quality Program here.

I think more important than trying to use LNP to evoke good responses, is to not judge the ideas as you collect them, no matter how ridiculous or impractical they may be. Even an absurd idea may plant a seed that becomes a great idea. In a group setting, someone making a silly suggestion with the intent of getting a laugh out of the group, would often trigger someone else to really think outside the box and come up with a truly unique and insightful idea.

So, during the "brainstorming" part, where you are collecting the ideas, your response should be all positive. "Great idea!", "That's awesome." Anything negative, like "Everyone says that one", or "That wouldn't work", will shut down their flow. If you shut down the flow at idea #2 or #3, you may not get to hear idea #5 which might be the gem that you are looking for.

Treat all ideas with equal merit while collecting them. Then, later, you can sift through and separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
CC - just a passing tongue-in-cheek reference to Star Wars.  Being a Jedi is all goodness and light, but takes massive mental discipline and lots of hard training.  The dark side is tempting because it is quicker and easier...

All I meant was that, whilst NLP (when fully applied as part of a full therapy process) might be able to do wonderful things for someone's mental health, all I wanted to do was borrow a few techniques which might have a very minor, but quick, general effect in this particular instance.

Darth Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Sam: yes, it should be interesting - I'm looking forward to it.  You are right, it is a bit brainstorm-y.  And yes, there will be a very strong emphasis on "no idea is a bad idea".  That is a fundamental tenet of brainstorming and certainly applies here.

I had already taken it as read that I ought to be encouraging about all ideas supplied, and should avoid any appearance of censure.  However, in the heat of the moment, when I'm probably going to be a bit tense and maybe a bit nervous, I might forget, so thanks for reminding me.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
tcsbiz:  I've just reread my reply and I think it comes across as a bit bombastic.  It was not meant to be quite so strong.

You raised a perfectly valid concern and it looks like I "shouted" at you.  Sorry.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

Quote:

Most of the ideas will be repeats, or impractical, or irrelevant etc. However, it is hoped that a few will be new and worthwhile - thus making the event worth the effort.

If you interview 100 people and 99 of them have the same idea maybe you you should focus on that idea, not the single unique one.  

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
mintjulep: True, and hopefully, ideas that obvious are already being addressed under this particular initiative.  One of the major, potential advantages to working with large groups is that the more people you have the more likely it becomes that they will come up with ideas which any one person, working on their own, would simply not have thought of.  That is the primary purpose of the event.

However, a useful secondary purpose is to gauge the strength of support on the issues raised, as measured by the number of people who suggest it.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

"All I'm trying to do is borrow some of the same techniques that advertisers, the church, politicians and PR companies use on a daily basis "

I tend to think of those as brainwashing and sometimes evil. Sometimes I allow myself to be party to it such as church or a political rally.

As long as the participants know the techniques you are using going in, and they did volunteer, then it's fine.

One can do a great deal of damage in 30 seconds to someone's psyche. Ask anyone who has been verbally attacked and bullied. It only takes a couple of seconds. It's exactly the kind of techniques you are discussing that can be used to cause mental harm. Of course, only being subjected to it once is likely to not cause a problem.

This is a very interesting discussion and good luck on it.

One question; why not simply ask people for suggestions instead of trying to play mental tricks?

I keep trying to do something about my procrastination but I keep putting it off until tomorrow.

RE: Is this off-topic?

Quote (tcsbiz):

One question; why not simply ask people for suggestions instead of trying to play mental tricks?

Where's the fun in that?!?   bigsmile

 

RE: Is this off-topic?

==> why not simply ask people for suggestions instead of trying to play mental tricks?
The simple answer is motivation.  It's not simply a matter of asking the participants to play along; it's trying to motivate the participants to give their best efforts.  It's an attempt to put people in the right frame of mind so they give their best effort.

Coaches motivate their players; project managers motivate their team members; teacher motivate their students.  In all of these cases, what you say and how you say it can make all the difference in how the team performs and in helping the players reach their potential.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Is this off-topic?

Quote:

project managers motivate their team members

This isn't April 1st is it winky smile

The internet - allowing those who don't know what they're talking about to have their say.

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
tcsbiz is right, this is getting interesting, but way beyond what I'd envisage in my original question.

I'm really not out to create an army of zombie Tony-clones, marching across the world to do my evil will.  I can do my own evil will thank you very much. winky smile

And I'm really not out to manipulate people as such, any more than when you smile at someone you are more likely to "manipulate" them to be disposed to you than if you frown at them.

I just want to see if there is any way to improve the chances that they are in a creative frame of mind during the event.  

I asked the question here because the forum is filled with clever people with a wide range of interests and I thought that, since we are talking about words, if anyone had done "NLP 101" they might just have been able to point me to some simple, well-known (among NLPers) quick verbal shortcuts to promote creativity.

We seem however to be diverging into the ethics of mind manipulation and thought control - which bears about as much relationship to what I'm talking about as a man flapping his arms does to a jumbo jet.

Still, it is an interesting topic.  I look forward to seeing where it goes...

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
So, you are suggesting, I take it, that we induce them to supply good ideas by offering free copies of "The Elements of the Common Law of England", or "The New Atlantis"?

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

This is why I love being allowed to be a member of MAI.  The second tier satire on top of the humorous posts, classic.

how much longer do we have to wait to know how this turns out?  Hopefully not long because you have my interest peaked!

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
The event is scheduled to take place on 8/2/12.  I'm not sure exactly what metrics I might use to report "how it turns out" as such, but if, before then, I do come up with a specific NLP influenced script, I'll let you know.

Glad you liked the comment.  Hopefully, "peaking" your interest will not be the summit of my achievements this year.

Googling works by Bacon was annoyingly easy.  Otherwise I could have claimed it was a bit of a PIG.

Feel free to groan.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

Wouldn't that be piqued?

bigsmile

 

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Hence the quotes...

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

New I was going to get hammered for that one.  I put it in the twin words thread for good measure.

Now to sulk in shame....

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Is this off-topic?

"Knew" before I get called out on that "spelling" error too. :(

"You don't know what you got, till its gone..
80's hair band Cinderella or ode to data backups???"

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
A new use for the word "new"!

I feel another twin-word entry coming on...

Do you want to or shall I?

(chuckles quietly in the corner for a bit)

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Looks like you just beat me to it.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

It's interesting to see the different responses triggered by the term "embedded command".  I think that if one were to think objectively about the various responses, one might recognize that there is nothing inherently wrong with the technique.  As is the case with many tools and techniques, it's not the tool or technique that's evil, or good for that matter, it's how and why the tool is applied.

--------------
Good Luck
To get the most from your Tek-Tips experience, please read
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Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
CC - that is pretty much the point I was trying to make earlier.  

There are also examples of "neutral" uses.  For instance, have any LPs seen Derren Brown's (somewhat more advanced!) demo's of such methods?  There was one classic case where he used the tannoy system in a shopping mall to make most of the customers all raise their arms at the same moment without realising they were doing so.  The puzzled looks on their faces, when they noticed that not only had they done it, but most of the people around them had too, were priceless.

I guess you could say that was not strictly neutral, but it was fairly harmless.

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
'Merkins don't eat bacon - at least not in my experience.  That hard frazzled stuff they eat is not bacon.  The only valid way in which the words "crispy" and "bacon" should appear in the same sentence is as follows:

"Anyone who turns bacon into brown shrapnel should be fried until they are crispy."

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

Not that we are completely off-topic . . . Bacon is a geek thing.
 

James P. Cottingham
I'm number 1,229!
I'm number 1,229!

RE: Is this off-topic?

Mmmmmm ... bacon!

(_8(|)


 

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Thanks to everyone who suggested ideas for this.  We have now had the event and, as some of you requested feedback, here is a quick report.

The event ran over the whole of the lunch period (12:00-14:00).  Each participant spent 3 minutes at each of 5 stations where they suggested ideas relating to the particular topic for that station.  One facilitator remained at each station to encourage them and record their ideas.  I was the facilitator at the first station.  The participants all went through in the same order.

Given the above set-up, the maximum number of participants we could handle, if we had a constant flow of participants, every transition was on time and everybody stayed to the end, and it generally went perfectly was 35.  We managed to get through 33.  So, 94% of max possible capacity.

I don't have the consolidated results yet, but I'd say, on average, each facilitator recorded ~2–3 ideas from each participant.  So I'd guess we had a total of  >400 ideas.

Obviously, some of those would have been repeats, but that is useful info in itself as someone pointed out earlier in the thread.  If one person says it is too cold, they may need to wear a thicker sweater, but if they all do, then maybe we should crank up the thermostat!

I was mainly asking in this thread for suggestions on using NLP to shape the "spiel" I gave at the start to "my" participants.  As it happens, since I ran the first station, it also meant that any mood I engendered was likely to affect the whole shebang.  Consequently, I also tried to use it to set them up in general to be creative and confident about their contribution, not just get ideas from them about "my" topic.

The script I used was:

while standing and shaking hands...  

Quote:

Hi, my name is Tony.  And you are?  What dept do you work in?

Please sit down.

adjust my posture to mirror theirs as they sit to build as much rapport as possible, as quickly as possible...

Quote:

Shall I tell you what we do at this section?

You work here, you see what happens around you, you experience your working environment every day, you have good ideas. Those things that don't let you be really effective are bad for everyone. So now you can be creative, you can say where we need to spend money to save money, and to let you be at your best.  You can relax, and let the ideas flow and I will do the writing.

In a few cases the participant knew what it was all about and so I did not give the final paragraph.

I learned the above off by heart the night before, so I could deliver it in a natural style.  The embedded commands (bold) were all said with a low tone (the same as or very slightly lower than the rest) and a slight downward inflection.  

The above took ~20s, so they then had just over 2 ½ minutes to come up with ideas.  During that time I ad-libbed appropriate prompts, suggestions etc to help them, and gave encouragement to keep them at ease.

The logic of the script was as follows:
1    Getting them to say their name and dept both starts to build rapport and also means that they have already spoken when they start to say their ideas.  This avoids the situation where the first words out of their mouths are also their first idea – which would otherwise have added a slight, but unnecessary stress.  Continuing to speak is easier than starting to.
2    Getting them to agree to a sequence of statements makes them more receptive to subsequent ideas, including embedded commands which follow.  This is especially true if the agreement is reinforced by action as well.
So, start by asking them to sit down – and they comply
Shall I tell what we do at this station? - they say yes
You work here – they agree
you see what happens around you – they agree
you experience your working environment every day – they agree
you have good ideas – this is both an embedded command and bolsters their confidence.
3    The low, descending tone used for the commands sounds like an instruction (as opposed to questions, which are delivered with a rising tone), and so subconsciously are accepted as such.
4    The commands are actually embedded – i.e. have non-command phrases before and after them.  This accords with general NLP policy when delivering embedded commands.


To be honest, I have no idea if the above made any difference or not – after all, it was not exactly a controlled experiment.  Even if, when the results are collated, I got more ideas than any of the other facilitators, it means nothing because it may simply reflect the preference of people for giving ideas on "my" topic, or the fact they gave all their good ideas at the first station, then ran out.  Conversely, I intended to put them in the right frame of mind in general, not just for my topic, so I would not necessarily expect more for my topic.  So it would seem difficult to obtain any meaningful metrics on the effectiveness of the technique.  

However, I can say I was surprised at how many ideas people did come up with and how many were clearly generated while at the table (in many cases it was obvious these were not "prepared" ideas).  Certainly, all the participants seemed to enjoy the experience.  And - to put at ease the minds of those who were afraid I might be causing irreparable harm to the psyches of these poor victims by my mental machiavellianism - there seemed to be a noticeable absence of brainless zombie-robots staggering around afterwards :)

I also took on board the suggestions about taking note of the repeated suggestions and the importance of body language.  The person who is collating the results will now specifically be counting repeats to obtain a measure of the strength of feeling on common topics.

Once again, thanks for all the ideas.

Tony
 

RE: Is this off-topic?

Tony, it sounds like you utilized several NLP techniques as part of a well thought out approach.  You were well prepared and followed through with great execution.  Nicely done.
 

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RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
Thanks CC.  Actually, it felt more like I cobbled together a fairly ad-hoc process based on a very quick bit of top-level research.  But it seems to me that the process does offer promises of significant effect if studied in more depth.

My appetite is certainly whetted...

Tony

RE: Is this off-topic?

N1ghteyes,

I believe we MAI-ers would be fascinated to know what the conclusions are that you and your colleagues draw about this technique...would this be a useful technique in rapidly gathering ideas for use in Business-opportunity identification, Product design, Marketing, et cetera.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
"People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

RE: Is this off-topic?

(OP)
OK, just to clarify to avoid any confusion...
The whole event was somebody else's idea.  My participation was twofold:
1  I acted as the facilitator at one particular topic station,
2  I suggested we use NLP to influence the wording of the spiel

As it happened only one person in the team had any background in NLP & he saw it more as a therapeutic tool, rather than something which was useful in this circumstance.  So I cobbled togetheer an ad-hoc script based on what I could glean from a quick bit of googling.

The process itself however was quite well organised.  Though, it has to be said, from the number of people to whom I talked afterwards who said, "what event?", I suspect it could have been better advertised!

Santa: I'm sure it would be a very useful and effective tool for PART of one of the steps needed to come up with solutions to the kinds of issues you mentioned.  What I mean by that is that we generally consider most such problems should be dealt with in 3 phases - explore the issue, generate ideas, implement an action plan.  In each of the above steps (especially 1 & 2) it is very useful to use feedback, i.e. repeatedly iterate between a brainstorming phase and a considering / filtering phase.  This technique sort of jumps straight into doing the brainstorming part of step 2.  Used on it's own, it would leave you drowning in a sea of unconnected - possibly contradictory - ideas of varying merit all the way from terrible to OK with a few brilliant nuggets hidden in there.  However, if the output is then used as the feedstock for a step 1 activity with a smaller group - i.e. a bunch of folks get round and categorise the suggestions and figure out what it is all saying about the problem at hand, this gives you a good grasp of the REAL problem which needs to be solved.  This is not necessarily the problem you THOUGHT you had.

The suggestions can then be viewed in the light of the issues you have identified as key to see if any of them provide, or lead on the path to, solutions to those problems.

So, yes, I think it is a good idea for generating a whole slew of ideas, but a sensible approach to problem solving would explicitly use this as just one step of a larger process.

Gosh, I'm even more long-winded than usual this morning.  Back to the grind...

Tony

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