Content Communication Excellence serves as a manual for fostering productive, supportive relationships among people and it teaches readers how to fine-hone their interpersonal communication skills. The book is presented as a ten-day course for a hypothetical company called Whizzitt’s Ltd. The text is a dialog between the instructor (Ian McLerin---an NLP trainer) and 11 personnel from the fictitious company. The course attendees represent a cross-section of the corporate staff, from the Chairman, to the directors and managers, to the human resources person, to the secretary. Each chapter in the book is one day of the ten- day course. With a bit of imagination, each reader can pretend to be on the staff of Whizzitt’s Ltd., and a silent participant in the training course. Day One: Understanding Yourself, introduces basic concepts of understanding thought patterns (internal maps). This chapter also sets the stage for the remainder of the book by defining terms such as corporate communications, pacing skills, state (doing, thinking, and feeling), perceiving from various points of view (perceptual shifts), time lines and well-formed outcomes. The author notes that the environment, behavior, cognitions, and feelings are the focal points for change. Day Two: Making Their Moves, covers rapport skills, including calibrating (visual and auditory), pacing, leading, matching, and mirroring. These are the essential skills for establishing an atmosphere for effective communications between self and others. Day Three: Hearing Their Words, tunes in on ways to sharpen one’s listening skills. With effective listening, one can determine where people are in the learning process, or detect congruence, verbal predicates, language patterns, and presuppositions. This chapter teaches reflective listening. Interestingly, the author’s model of internal experience has six representations systems, Visual, Auditory (external), Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory, and Digital (words about the experience at hand—internal dialog). I found the additional distinction (Digital) very useful, because it reminds us that the internal dialog is the interpretive part of experience, that is often overlooked. Day Four: Valuing Their Emotions, is all about states and values. The author treats us to a discussion on how to elicit, calibrate, and anchor useful states, such as curiosity and excellence. This chapter also addresses how to listen for and elicit values, and how to recognize value hierarchies. McLaren points out that rapport involves matching not only voice, but state and values as well. Day Five: Patterns of Behavior, focuses on calibrating and pacing non-verbal information, such as strategies and habits. This chapter looks at eye-accessing cues and the TOTE model. It explores decision strategies, buying strategies, and the concept of positive intentions. The author offers six-step reframing as a method for changing a habit. Day Six: Structures of Language, explains how miscommunication occurs. This is a chapter on gathering information and coaching. It opens with the Meta Model. Here we also find John McWhirters’s Basic Fractal Language Model, a system similar to the Meta Model, which examines the filtering processes that people use to recover information that has been deleted or distorted, generalized, or presupposed. Readers will also learn about belief detection patterns that identify modal operators, universal quantifiers, comparatives, complex equivalents, and presuppositions. Day Seven: Sets of Values, presents a discussion of understanding others by pacing their values; those things that shape internal states. The author describes the role of beliefs, values, triggers, anchors, and processing preferences (meta-programs), as they pertain to internal states. Day Eight: Directing Behavior, takes us to leading and influencing others. Here we find well-formed outcomes, the Disney Creativity Pattern (by Robert Dilts), and leadership skills for coaching, teaching, and setting rules. The author also delivers a discussion on how to direct and influence others, and how to lead conversations. Day Nine, Imparting Information provides approaches for changing beliefs, effective teaching skills, verbal reframing, and future rehearsal. These skills are a vital part of change management. McLerin tells the group: We are here to learn how to lead people to believe and value different things. The changes we are making are usually at the margin of their map of the world---getting them to know or feel something that wasn’t part of their experience, or to look at what they do know or feel in different way. Day Ten: Boosting Feelings, tells us how to help people access resourceful internal states. Here we learn methods for helping people get into the right mood for learning or for completing a task. This chapter teaches us how to instill values and meaning in others’ thinking, and how to motivate and inspire others. These skills make up the essentials of leadership. The Author
Ian McLaren is a registered NLP trainer with INLPTA. His background is in financial and general management. He holds a BSc in Economics and Accounting and an MSc in Operational Research from the University of Hull. As a Investment Controller and Planner the Canada Life Assurance Company, he worked in London, New York, and Toronto, in the 1990s, gaining a wide range of senior management experience. He has also been a finance director, consultant, author, business coach, and trainer. He currently lives in the U.K. Evaluation
Communication Excellence is a book about getting rapport with others, and about influence and leadership. Experienced NLP practitioners will find familiar material in this book, and the content will not seem particularly new or enlightening. The value of this book, however, is that it presents a model of how to teach NLP to others who are not familiar with NLP. NLP covers a broad range of human communication behavior and there is a challenge in organizing that information in a sensible manner. McLeran has met that challenge astutely. NLP practitioners who are conducting corporate training programs (or who want to become corporate trainers and consultants) can find a wealth of good ideas in this book, especially in how to define the many aspects of communication and conduct group exercises with practical applications in NLP. This book is easy to read and puts NLP concepts into plain, simple language. The examples are from everyday corporate life---problems nearly everyone encounters when dealing with co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, and customers. McLeran gives credit where it’s due to NLP developers and innovators, and makes NLP easy to understand. These words best sum up the basic idea of the book: Just remember that people are generally happier when they can agree with you. You can reduce the gap between you by quoting their words back to them. Get into rapport and match well before you even try to pace for further information. Have an outcome for leading before you do it. Lead into agreement, and if you don’t get it, go back and match and pace some more.