Is there are an NLP technique to become a better listener? There is now. And one of my NLP Training students designed it!
Zaid Alfa is one of my former students. He is a highly gifted NLP weight loss coach who understands that weight loss is mostly about managing your mind, emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. He originally trained with me in NLP in Los Angeles live but as he tasks his mastery & craft seriously decided to re-do the NLP training online.
In my opinion, new coaches and coaches who study NLP with me focus too much on wanting to have the sexy language patterns a person uses for both motivation, dealing with significant emotional events in someone’s past, reaching goals, changing behaviors, etc. In comparison, few people ask me the question as to how to become a great listener. While in coaching, listening is far more critical than speaking!!! If you can not listen, you won’t be communicating the most effectively. You won’t be asking the right questions, you won’t be able to be an effective coach, and you won’t be able to get the results you are after. You may even end up trying to fix something that isn’t even broken. Set goals a client doesn’t want or need.
For the online NLP training, Zaid studied how a person truly listens to another person effectively. He decided to study his girlfriend “Angie” who has truly superior listening skills. Side note, millennials refer to their girlfriends as “BAE.” I had to ask what a BEA was. I love my millennial NLP training students, I always learn new things from them. And I am tickled to be their NLP teacher and mentor.
Zaid found that the values and beliefs a great listener has are:
- Be genuinely curious about what others have to say
- Have a desire to let people know their thoughts and feelings matter
- View people/adults as children who need help and in need of guidance
- Understand you never know what people are going through, and listening is the only way to know and understand them
- Compassion towards others leads to compassion towards one’s self (win-win situation)
- Remember vividly what it feels like to heard, felt, and understood by parents or someone else when going through a problem. The positive feelings this gives you.
- What it feels like to match someone else’s emotion and match their emotion within yourself.
- How effective empathy statements are: “I hear you”, “I’m sorry to hear that…” Etc.
- Care more about the person’s needs than the tasks at hand/system/timeline
- Stop what you’re doing/any distractions and fully listen and watch them. Make eye contact
- Listen specifically to their words.
- Ask them a lot of questions about the details of what happened and how it made them feel
As a result of his research, Zaid created the following pattern, which he calls…..
Angie’s NLP Pattern – NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Note: I am almost directly copying and pasting Zaids’ words but will change some jargon so this can be easily understood by someone who has not taken NLP training yet.
Step 1 NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Imagine a time when you were going through a difficult situation. Maybe you felt frustrated, upset, stuck, or overwhelmed. Look through your own eyes, hear through your ears, and notice how you feel in your body.
Step 2 NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Now imagine this negative emotion building up so much that you HAVE to talk to someone about it, or you will burst. You find your best friend, therapist, or partner. You’re vividly seeing them in front of you in your mind’s eye. You can hear your voice as you vent to them and ask for their help. They are looking right into your eyes, nodding their head. They empathize with you by telling you they’re sorry about your struggle, and they validate how you feel. You feel seen, heard, felt, and understood. A weight is lifted off your chest. They gave you no advice but you longer feel overwhelmed or alone. You feel relieved and ready for whatever comes next.
Step 3 NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Come back to the present moment, and float your awareness out of your own body (break state.) Leave the emotions inside your body, and become an observer of yourself. In NLP-based coaching, we call this the 3rd perceptual position.
Now we will review that visualization in the 3rd person, watching both yourself and the other person from the outside. Observe your body language, your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and notice theirs. How they match your tone, expressions, and emotion. What else do you notice from this detached viewpoint? What can you learn?
Step 4 NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Come back to the present moment and break state (step out of the emotion. You can do this by thinking about something neutral, like your phone number.)
Now, float your awareness into the shoes of the other person. We call this in NLP the second perceptual position.
We will review that visualization through the 2nd position, and you will see and hear yourself vent to this person. You are looking at yourself as you are talking about this challenging situation. Notice what you feel now, assuming this person’s perspective, who cares deeply about what you say and how you feel. How much love and compassion does this person have for you? How does this come through in their words and the undivided attention they give you. Sit with this emotion and absorb the warm fuzzy love you have received from this person as you watch and listen to yourself.
Step 5 NLP Technique to Become a Better Listener
Come back to the present moment and break state again. Float your awareness back into your own shoes. So you can train your brain to be a better listener as a result of doing this technique. And the learnings the visualizations brought you.
Now imagine a time in the future when someone comes to you for help, and they ask you to listen to a problem they have, and you hold space for them. You feel curious about what they are going through, knowing that by helping them and being compassionate towards them, you foster self-compassion. You see them sitting across from you and you notice their facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. You feel their emotions as they arise, and you validate them by saying things like “mhm, i hear you, keep going, that sounds tough…etc.”
You ask them questions to better understand their situation and listen to the answer without interruption. You don’t give any advice or suggestions unless they specifically ask for it. You sit with this person as their stress and overwhelm begins to fade away, they feel more at ease, and you see relief spark in their eyes. Being in so much rapport with them, you feel that relief and ease as well, with warmth and compassion washing over you knowing you have held space for someone through a difficult time, and created more compassion within yourself.
Come back to the present moment and break state. Check your work!
Who is Zaid Alfa?
Zaid is an NLP Weight Loss Coach at his company, Fit Alfa. He is currently updating his website. But feel free to contact us, and we can connect you to him.
Thank you, Zaid, for this beautiful NLP technique that teaches us a lot about how to become a better listener. And of course, you successfully completed your assignment for the online NLP training for NLP Practitioner – Foundation.