I was mulling over the post I threw together yesterday and asking myself, what would I offer to be different to any other trainers?

 One answer occurred to me. If my aim was to cause a total win/win for my clients and their employees, a win/win that positively impacted their whole business and lives, then that in itself would be an attraction.

Yet there is the good old fashioned sales pitch to consider. All this work, is a sale. All talking therapies are actually selling an idea, a way to change, a new view of the self and provoking the client to find a new way out. This is a hard sale is it not in many cases?

NLP, various brief therapies, hypnotherapy and other forms of intervention carry jargon and new labels with them. My new company would need to have one particular genius-can I use the best of various disciplines to help all clients, whilst using straightforward everyday terms?

To my mind, I need to have the skill and sensitivity to be able to sell my product to a 12 year old, to a mechanic, to an office worker, a doctor or a top executive.

So the seminar and training program needs to be alive for people, as does the individual coaching sessions. Alive with solid description that paints pictures, rings bells and gives people a complete solid grasp of applicable new concepts.

This may be more complex than my simply getting over a fear of public speaking or of creating a business out of inexperience. However, the company HAS to be unique and the best. Not just motivation, not just life coaching and/or NLP, but a solid concise commonsense program that creates a deep lasting impact for all concerned.

Right now, I’m at the beginning. I’m looking at the various skills needed and am a beginner. However, all journeys start with a step, and both writing my thoughts up and making the public speaking course happen are some beginning steps. I may well publish much of my creation online, freely available to all and sundry. What I will be selling is my ability to train people to use these skills in the real world.

Further book reviews will appear on the other blog shortly.

Apparently, putting things down on paper increases the chances that plans or commitment get to be put in motion and stuck to. Making commitments in public increases the odds again. Making a written public commitment is a double whammy. So I think its time to do some writing. I’m selling myself on the idea here-yet this may read as a sales pitch somewhat.

First a little bit of history, then the PITCH idea, then I ramble on about working with valueable staff members.

Remember, my brother says I think with my mouth*. He’s right. I do the same via a keyboard. A real sales page would be briefer and far far more professional :-). *Yeah, thanks for that Anthony-git, you are right.

I’ve been reading for the past two years many many books on NLP, brief therapy and other practical psychology books.

In the process I’ve had to throw away some crap, ignore some crap and identify common elements of anything effective. However, in all this reading and studying, there’s a big thing missing. The answer to the question of “why”.

I thought I was simply trying to understand myself, through the lens of various models of psychology.

I also thought I was trying to understand others, through the same lenses perhaps.

Actually, I was assembling a sort of toolkit. Something I could use, whereever I ended up. That assembly is far from complete however.

 My biggest weakness? Turning book + theory information into practical, free flowing and useful skills. Also I have the, “never knowing quite enough” trap as well.

The toolkit, as I view it, needs to include these:

– Memory,problem solving and  creativity skills
– Rapport skills,
– People reading,
– Influence and persuasion,
– Motivation and coaching skills, 
 -Selling and negotiation*,
– Speaking and writing skills.

This is a view of *my* practical toolkit, for my use, business and pleasure. Of course, selling and negotiation are partly built on the other skills listed. Some of these entries I wish they would teach at school however!

A good friend, if only rarely seen these days, has suggested I teach this stuff myself.

Immediately the excuses come: “I’ve never done selling” “I’ve not had any experience” “I’ve never done any presenting or teaching before” “I’m too damned scared” “I’m too beginner at this stuff (true-I believe” “There’s plenty more professionals out there”.

Then he asked the question-“How are you going to get out of the catch 22 then?”
Then I asked, as he owns a successful and fast growing company, “would you use me if I set this up then?” He said “Yes”.

I said, “I’ve got a head full of theory, and never applied this stuff.”
“You can still help folks with the theories” Was the reply.

It all boiled down to a few obstacles and I was scared. Damn right I was..well am actually. I’m 29, I’ve had a pretty patchy “career”. I left IT, and a pretty fine oppurtunity because I couldn’t stretch my comfort zone to match the role that was appearing there. My confidence in meeting new people isn’t a problem-on a casual basis. My confidence in the idea of ME being in business, well that’s a whole other issue.

However, yet I’ve started writing possible modules down. Things that, yes are available from other trainers and books, and things that should seem quite straightforward too. However, I would be selling me and my ability to use the material to help people, in business, sort out some fairly common issues.

Right now, I’ve some hazy notions of where this should go. Firstly I have to deal with a burning phobia :-). Stage fright. I’ve never presented successfully-instead I screwed up a sales interview at Listers by being unable to present my neighbour coherently to the group. So, the answer? I’m going on a course, for beginners, in the art of public speaking. Am I nervous? YES! I’m also looking forward to it.

Then what? One plan is to join Toastmasters and get practice. Another plan is to turn one of my hazy dreams into reality and actually build a modest 4-8 hour module that I can sell. In the process, perhaps I can turn all my learned theories into useful skills.

Here’s an outline of both a seminar, and how I could use my skills to work on a valuable but “problematic” staff member.

The acronym-PITCH

Perfect Rapport – Does mirroring and matching *really* work? Or would making your client the centre of your world for a short time naturally produce genuine “mirroring and matching”? How many people enjoy being TOTALLY listened too and made to feel as if they (to you) are the most important people right now?

Impact-Creating an impact. You’ve got rapport, can you give them an experience to remember? An experience of you, the company you represent and the products you are selling?

Thoughts and feelings-Self coaching and gaining control over your reactions and emotions. Using Rational Emotive Behavioural Techniques, you can learn how to dispute distorted thinking of all kinds and give yourself greater choice and flexibility in how you deal with difficult situations.

Creating relationships-People buy from people (thanks Garry). Building on rapport and impact, you can make a business friend first, and be sure to do business time after time as a result. Business having many meanings here.

Honing your feelings-Feelings *can* tell you a lot, and can be an ally. Building on the earlier work on thoughts and feelings, you can turn your feelings into useful allies, once you know what they are…and why they turn up at particular moments. All feelings are good, and they are information-from deeper parts of yourself as to what is happening. Sometimes it’s an instinctive reaction to false fear or other distortions, sometimes shifting feelings are genuinely telling you something to consider about the situation you are in. Questioning these quickly may help you turn the tide in a complex situation.

Of course, this is simply something I’ve put together on the back of a book, whilst anxiously deciding if and how to take action. I’ve never really taken much action, I could write a book on how to procrastinate like you wouldn’t believe. However, writing this now, and making it available to my good friend to read and others, will be something to help push me to actually develop this, take the training I need and give myself the skills to genuinely do this for people. I like win/win games. Kiyosaki appeals to me, he’s the right kind of greedy for me.

I do think that to be a “motivation” coach, I need to be firmly focussed on how to effectively bring about lasting change for each delegate who chooses to pay for my assistance. I won’t be looking to “hype” up a room of people, instead, I will be looking to give everyone in any room I teach effective ways to work with themselves and to work with their clients. In the process, they can easily learn to be as “hyped” up as they feel they wish to be :-).

A final part to this possibility however, is the tailered coaching work.

For example, company Z has one employee who goes “BANG” every time things don’t quite work out well. This employee, John I shall call him, then usually goes home early, comes back sometimes 2 days later and costs the company thousands in lost time. John on good days is worth many thousands of pounds. He’s their top sales executive or top problem solver. He earns them millions a year. Yet his tantrums are making life hard for his staff and causing problems with clients.

Company Z has some options. They fire him…and try hard to find a guy as good. Meanwhile, this new guy somehow has to estabilish relationships with John’s contacts, and Company Z find out that he’s not half as good.

They give him a good talking to. He backslides soon enough. He doesn’t know how to deal with his frustration or anger.

They offer him counselling. Out of pride, he refuses point blank to see a “shrink”.

They send him on a motivation seminar. It helps for a while, the peak and the enthusiasm is good for weeks.
However, for him, the seminar didn’t have all the tools he needed to learn to handle his frustration. He learnt great motivation skills, yet motivation wasnt’ the problem. The solution offered was the wrong tool for the job.

Finally, they hire a personal coach. This coach, namely me, tells them to organise for a handful of key staff members to be together for the coaching. He offers a full days’ course, covering the material mentioned earlier. He doesn’t poke and prod at any one staff member especially, instead trains them all equally. Sells them solidly on the PITCH techniques. Using good salesmanship and rapport, with each staff member, he is able (well I hope!) to identify individual frustrations without highlighting it to the group. Each staff member feels there is something they would like individual help with. The coach takes the group off individually, John perhaps in the middle, so that no-one appears targetted at all. Then, because John feels the coach is trustworthy, and is genuinely helping his colleagues, volunteers freely his problems at work to the coach. In all of this, the coach has avoided being a “shrink” or singling out someone with an “issue”.

Instead, casually and in the context of continuing the coaching they’ve all come for, he addresses the issues of frustration and rage. John relays the things that set him off. The coach, having various options to hand, may use a little NLP to demonstrate to John how to alter his feelings some. He doesn’t promise miracle “cures”, just elegantly demonstrates a few things John can try. He then adds a few rational techniques, where John can sense when the frustration is about to build.

John gets to listen to himself, and pay attention to the causes of the feelings. He can dispute them first. He can give himself some alternatives. He can take the time to decide if anger is at that point in a negotiation a useful tool or a dangerous weapon. He may use one of several techniques to gain the emotional space to control the situation. He is then taught a few more problem solving techniques appropriate to his work.
Perhaps for a bit of fun, if any memory or creativity issues are thrown up, a couple of these can be added-it depends of course on how the whole interview goes. The coach is constantly working out the whole time, what will work for John long term.

Of course, such an approach would mean a day for a seminar and a day for the individual staff sessions. A part of the cost would be the coach spending time in the company learning about the roles of the staff involved. This preliminary research would throw up various angles that the coach has to consider for the individual sessions.

The end cost to Company Z, on successful completion would be 2 days of the coach’s time, and just over a day of each member of staff’s time.

Laid out here, is literally, chucked onto paper, my first thoughts on the direction such a business could take should I personally take the right actions.

Should this work out, I still blame Andy :-).

As promised, here is the article. I may have to publish it elsewhere sometime. For now the WordPress site will do fine.Before I get to the main article, I’d like to pass some ideas to you. Take your time, see, feel, or hear where any of these statements may fit or could fit into future study and past studies. The notion that we are either visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners is often way too simplified.

The truth is we can use all of these modes at any time, and we simply have a preference as to which one we are most conscious of in different situations. Sometimes we are not aware of making a picture or of having a mental voice. Or even of feeling our way through a subject. However, remember the feeling of glass, wood or fur? Remember the colour of your front door? Who’s voice can you recall the best? See if the following statements add some new choices for you to perhaps slowly or quickly become aware of, if you want to.

You may find yourself learning new ways to teach yourself…or you may not and know this easily already or about to.
Have you ever talked your way through what it is you was trying to paint a picture of in order to grasp a new idea?Or did you draw a picture of what you needed to hear about in order to grasp it?Or perhaps as you felt your way through new ideas, you were able to make sense of them as the pictures became clearer whilst hearing a voice inside making the concepts easier to understand.

Ever connected up ideas in a framework that made a pattern that you could see and feel, whilst hearing how it all fitted together in order for you to tune into it?
What do you find easier to remember?
1) A list of words?
2) The rooms of your house?
3) Several chapters of a manual or textbook?
4) A walk through a place you enjoy visiting?If you are like me, the answers would be numbers 2 and 4. If so, then you may find this article useful. In it I describe how to turn a book, into a list of key phrases. From there, I then describe how to use our natural ability to remember places to memorise this list easily. The idea will also involve engage several of your senses at once, making it easier to create a good memory.

A key phrase is simply a short sentence that calls into mind a larger idea or memory. A good key phrase or word should pull into your mind the idea, heading or concept you’ve used it for. Think of the phrase as a hook for pulling up ideas. To give you an example, if I say “Rose” or “Sea” to you, what do you remember? Or perhaps “school”? Most people will have some memories pop out complete with images, words, ideas and feelings.

First, how to create your list of key phrases?
Most books are divided into chapters, subchapters or sections and headings. This is where we start our hunt for useful key phrases.
One method will need index cards or a notebook. One page per chapter is ideal. If the book is too long, you can tackle it in smaller sections making it far easier to work with.

Divide up each section, heading or subchapter into one-sentence ideas. A clear, brief and descriptive phrase is all you will need. Something very easy to remember. For the chapter itself, on the top of the index card or page, you want a memorable title. The chapter title will usually work fine.To create easy phrases to remember, you may at times have to rewrite a section in your own words to get inspiration for a decent key phrase.

Look at any repeated themes or ideas in the section, these are often a big clue and may be the simplest phrase to use.This is the first stage of memorising the framework of a book.A *memory palace or journey is the next stage. A memory palace is simply a place you remember well, that you can then put things you wish to remember into. The term palace is what I shall refer to from here on. You will create a palace to put the key phrases into; but you will walk, fly, run and otherwise journey through it.Here, I will describe how to apply this idea to a list once you have one.It is easier to use a memory of a real place. You make it as real as you can. See it, touch it even hear it.I use the a local place that I know well.Some pointers:

      1)A well known place is easier than an imaginary one, simply because you are halving the amount of work you have to do. You can add imaginary spaces to a real place if you wish.

     2) Any real place you use needs to feel good to you, or at least fairly neutral. You want to enjoy being there. Avoid places that have bad memories for you.

     3) Clear features and landmarks are important. Whether real or imaginary, each one used must be distinct and separate from other features.

    4) Use simple visual puns, wordplay and engage your senses. Make it a treat if you can, you will like using it more.

    5) Exaggeration and very silly images are not any more useful than vivid, more ordinary ones. They may not be quite so easy to remember if they don’t fit in well with your memory either. Play with this one, as success can vary.I create my palace by writing it out in Word, highlighting my key phrases. Two columns are used, one for the list of key phrases and a larger column for the description of the palace and where I have put things.

Writing it out this way does two things. First, you are able to work out the logic of the palace. Second, it is also a repetition of the material itself.Having written the description of the palace, I will then walk through it in my mind. At each key phrase location, I will deliberately draw, write, paint or otherwise construct a solid link between the feature I am using, and the item I am putting there.Walk around your palace, choosing distinct places to save your key phrases. Examples I’ve used myself are phrases:

  • painted across doors.
  • on big labels dangling off string.
  • graffitied on buildings/bridges/cars.
  • used on titles on books/envelopes.
  • on pub signs and adverts.
  • on billboards held by characters who also speak or perform actions.

I also use trails of objects leading from one place to another.You then travel through the palace in your mind, making it more real and taking the time to build solid reminders that you can touch and see clearly.Once you have completed this work, you can go through the palace a few times to get it clear and to reinforce the memory. Over the next few days, go through it again a few times.

Test yourself against a written copy of your key phrase list. As you do so, begin working on recalling the sections each key phrase is used for.What I have found is that I have my complete list and also know where my knowledge is weak. If I recall a particular phrase, I can get a grasp of how well I remember the section it comes from. This makes revision a lot easier as I only have to reread selected weak areas.

*The concept of a memory palace goes back to ancient Greece. Otherwise known by the fancy title, the Method of Loci, it simply means remembering things by placing them in specific locations in a building or other place.To test the idea, simply remember a room in your house. Try putting three items in there for me. An apple, a key and a bicycle for example. Make these items quite real, and deliberately put them in a place in the room. You will find that if you look back in your memory of the room later, you will remember the objects and their location easily.

The technique is mentioned in the latest two books by Thomas Harris, “Hannibal” and “The Rise of Hannibal”. There are further articles on the memory palace concept to be found online. A later version of this document will include links.**I’ve realised there is an argument over memorisation versus understanding. In this scenario, you have to understand the material in order to perform this task well. The constant work you put your mind under to make this function, will in itself boost understanding. The material itself still needs deliberate working with, analysis and use before it is truly understood.

This is only a short piece to allow me to develop some ideas regarding the essay on memorising a book that will be online very soon.

This post itself is not a fine example of edited and revised writing. It should be a nicely laid out, well written piece of work, however as usual I am shooting from the hip, and talking about what I’m thinking right this minute. At a later stage I may delete this post and have edited a proper version. Comments are welcome, just be aware I’ve only just memorised the 50 writing tools I mention elsewhere, and have to practice each one over time. The metaphor drawn below I hope will be of use to a few people. This work precedes the eventual posting of the more complete memory palace article.

Firstly I’ve had it mentioned memorising is not understanding. Secondly a few have said what is the point?

So for the sake of completeness I’ll cover these questions.

In order to apply the keywords system to a book and then memorise those in a memory palace, you have to have processed the information sufficiently to build relevant keywords. This processing alone is a major way to learn and understand new information.
The point of memorising a book, will vary from subject to subject and person to person. Some books don’t need memorising at all, just referring to; others are so boring that you will fall asleep in trying. My article applies only to those books you wish to actually memorise all or part of.

Preparing the ground for new knowledge and understand can be compared to gardening. You decide to plant some vegetables and flowers. You dig up the soil, break it up, add fertiliser and rake it over. You then plant your seeds or cuttings. You water them and generally look after them. With new knowledge you may apply a similar plan.

Firstly, skimming through a book or multiple books on a subject could be likened to digging up the soil. Checking out main areas within the subject, getting an overview and a general idea of where you will be going-again is preparation.

The raking of the ground, could be your first mindmap of the subject. Your first list of major keywords (subject headings, main titles, key areas). Placing these in major locations in a new memory palace could be seen as raking the ground, of your memory. A scaffolding image does occur to me, but for now I will stick with gardening.

Building keywords and phrases section by section could be seen as preparing the soil with fertiliser. Digging into the details of what each keyphrase represents could be seen as planting the seeds.

Finally, to water and take care of your plants, the habits of rehearsing the memory palace you’ve created, testing yourself and making inquiries of the knowledge will allow it to grow and make strong connections with prior knowledge.

This is something I’ve found for myself when I realised hypnosis, comedy, speech writing, writing and music all have patterns that you can relate to each other.

I have been very busy working on something other than screwing any cute vehicles in site. Namely the art of memory.

Shortly there will appear an article on one of my sites that will attempt to teach you how to do this. Note memorising a book will not confer complete understanding, rather you will have to understand much of the material to engage the process in the first place. You will also have a framework within which to hook smaller chunks of information.

I have so far used this with several books and am going to embark on several more larger challenges over the coming months. Currently I have used Hope and Resiliency, Cialdini’s Influence, The 50 Writing Tools and the art of dealing with Manipulative people-a shorter article off the Rickross website. Also the Meta Model set out by Bandler and Grinder has been memorised, along with Hall’s not completely useful extensions.

My future challenges include the memorisation of an engine, gearbox, torque convertor, running gear etc. Also Roger Penrose’s large work entitle the Road to Reality. These two challenges represent a huge mnemonic task, but no more so than ancient mnemonists who recall the bible, the Vedas and generations of stories. It takes roughly an hour to encode about 30 phrases into the memory palace permanently. It takes that long to generate the key phrases. The Penrose book has 34 main chapter headings, with 8-18 sebsections for each and of course each one is stuffed with concepts. Here is where the power of a solid tree and key imagery will be most needed.

The obvious questions asked are going to be “Why?”. This I will answer and ignore the other comments that might be more derogatory J.

Firstly it’s a challenge, and a self proof of concept. Secondly I subscribe to the idea the more you use it, the more you learn, the more you can learn-caveat, if organised properly!.

Thirdly at 29 years old, the variety of books that I intend to memorise will serve as a mental investment for the future. My only mild regret is I didn’t create this tool sooner*.

I may document online the exact procedure and images I use. We’ll see how my motivation holds up. It’s not a small challenge J.

*I didn’t create the memory palace, it well documented. Paul McKenna describes the tree card system which I adapt and conjoin to the palace/loci system. The peg systems that can be added on are also ancient and well known as is the Major system.

Coming soon is my main article on memorising a book via the use of both a memory palace and a tree system. However in the mean time, I wanted to briefly type out two things and leave them online as self reminders. This is a departure from the usual fetish and car sex them, that’s a good thing, especially for this blog.

Firstly how to memorise directions is an article I need to write. It is fairly simple. All you do, is imagine the journey, sketching in imaginary generic roads, adding landmarks where you are given them. Using the hands of a clock and similar as mnemonics for turn counts on roundabout etc will help. Feel the turns, see and feel the distances and deliberately build each landmark in imaginary form if you’ve never seen it. Clear lables and exaggerated features will help a lot here. Once that’s done, imagine an overlay map, semi transparent if you like, that shows again the directions, and feel the drive as you examine this map. Repeat several times, and verbally in your mind as you rerun the journey. Try it out, see how good you can be. Note, add outlying main road names, alternative routes to the road, surrounding info so that if you get “lost” you can hook your way back into the route easily.

Secondly this is a more personal self reminder. I’ve come up with the notion of fishing nets and hooks for memory. To trawl back past knowledge I’m to provoke a themed mind map covering people, events, courses, relationships, skills/topics and more. The aim, is to see what knowledge floats up and links into current areas of psychological study. The theory being all knowledge is retained, just not marked out in the brain.

http://www.freemind.com is useful for this.

Also check out wikiHOW on how to make a memory palace.

There may not be a picture this week because I’m trying out Word 2007’s blog feature. So it will be interesting to see how this actually turns out.

I’ve had a good week in general, I’ve a collection of photos to release onto a private account shortly. These feature me and a Suzuki 600 motorbike. It’s my first bike that I’ve had sex with. I’ve left my car alone this week however, as it’s been way too cold! Instead, I’ve worked on other people’s vehicles a little, studying memory skills-article to come, and installing Windows Vista. I’ll visit the blog later to put up another photo at some point J. I’ll probably feel like typing a lot more later on. Right now, I wish to see how well this really works.