I’ve had a week since the International NLP Conference, excellently organised and hosted by the ANLP – and I’ve found a moment to reflect on the three days we spent in London. This blog is partly so I can consolidate my thoughts, partly so my current NLP Practitioner cohort can get a taste of the Conference (as I encourage them to attend next year) and partly so those of you who are unfamiliar with this event can consider attending too.
So, over three days last month a large number of NLP enthusiasts, some novices, some qualified, some trainers, a significant group of eminent NLP leaders and a host of experts in their own NLP and NLP-related fields all rocked up to share, learn, network and present. We were also all there to enjoy each others’ company and to feel a common bond through NLP. Some were coaches or therapists (and frequently both), academics, business people from all sectors, trainers, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists…..and, remarkably, from pretty much every corner of the globe. (In the opening few minutes, we lost count of the number of countries, cultures and nationalities being represented. This Conference was a truly international affair).
The first and overriding impression I had was a harmonious feeling of unity and oneness; this was because of (not despite) our differences. While this may sound contradictory, the fact was that these NLP-ers were all driven by curiosity to meet, blend and share with each other – without judgement or prejudice. One of NLP’s ‘baseline’ states is curiosity and the notion that we can only be genuinely intrigued when the largest part of our ego is asleep. At the Conference, I met loads of people whose egos had been left at home dozing peacefully on the couch while their highest and best selves went looking for connection with others. It was this non-judgemental curiosity that brought us together in this sense of unity. We were all so difference – which makes us all the same!
The Conference was packed with diverse workshops and presentations – something for everyone with topics including relationships, critical thinking, parenting, bereavement, personal transformation and lots more. The Friday was given over to Robert Dilts and Ian McDermott running a workshop on how to ‘catalyse the possibilities of intentional fellowship’…meaning, how to optimise relationships to co-create something that is both in service of that relationship and in service of something bigger. Through explaining to us how they have collaborated over many years, we in turn explored what “fellowship” could mean, how to harness our intentionality, our purpose, how to be brave, how to unleash the power of the ‘know-nothing’ state and whether there was a person (or people) in our lives that could turn out to be that special ‘other’ for our own intentional fellowship.
For the rest of the weekend, we were treated to a plethora of options, organised in six streams: Practical Applications of NLP, Personal Empowerment, Advanced NLP, NLP Extensions, Working with Others and Research. One of the most challenging things was deciding which workshops and presentations I wanted to attend! In the end, I was drawn to some because of the topic and some because of the speaker.
A few highlights for me:
- the ever-brilliant Michael Hall on Critical Thinking – a session looking at the meta-level of thinking about thinking, learning the how to of high quality thinking;
- Melody and Joe Cheal, the clever, funny and engaging Master NLP Trainers on a session about the Relationship Dance
- Lisa de Rijk, updating us on the sterling work of the Research & Recognition Project and the efforts to gather compelling data on the efficacy of NLP
- Mark Woodhouse’s compact and whirlwind session on Evidence Based Coaching
- Jeremy Lazarus’s elegant presentation and workshop on Conversational Belief Change
- Patricia Riddell (Prof of Applied Neuroscience) & Ian McDermott’s session on the links between NLP and Neuroscience
……and the networking with friends, new and old.
Oh, and the food was amazing!
The ANLP crew were equally amazing….attentive, well organised, professional, polite and helpful. A big thank you to Karen and the team.
And the key themes that emerged for me which are now filtering gracefully through my mind and informing my practice and occupying my time:
- how important it is to unify the worldwide NLP community and work together to create agreed standards, definitions and shared goals (see the work of the NLP Leadership Summit)
- the importance of rigorous, properly researched NLP (see the work of the Research & Recognition Project)
- to keep connected to the joy and beauty of our shared humanity and the grace we need to walk through the world with compassion towards all living things
- to keep our NLP practice sharp! To constantly challenge what we think we know and to always go beyond….