NLP Anchoring_The Basics

NLP Anchoring – The Basics


By IntellTeacher

Part 1


As indicated in the title, what follows is a multi part article focused on “Anchoring” as held within the discipline of NLP.  A quick caveat:  NLP is a “living system” and this means that it is made manifest, and of real use, in “doing” or in real application if you prefer.  All the academic knowledge of NLP will amount to nothing unless a person applies the processes, systems, and techniques on a regular basis.  By “regular” I mean daily practice – use.  


A simple, clean, and direct way to meet the requirement for routine use of NLP is to dedicate 1 hour per day to operating in NLP mode.  The setting or time of day really does not matter; it is purely a matter of engaging in the activity thereby creating and capturing an increasingly large number of experiences in terms of NLP directed action(s) and feedback from the person with whom you are interacting.  The responses you get are what forms the foundation and working with the responses, of whatever nature, is the vehicle through which a person develops real skill and ultimately, mastery, of NLP.


In this article an “Anchor” is defined as anything that serves as “trigger” accessing some desired mental state. At least in the initial phases this article is going to move forward through the use of simple, direct, and easy to use examples. It is suggested that readers “do the drill” and convert the words on paper example into a real life experience.


In the near future a series of articles will be posted based on NLP Anchoring tied into the Creative Problem Solving and Accelerated Learning techniques of Dr. Win Wenger.  Additionally, how the afore-mentioned Accelerated Learning and Creative Problem Solving techniques as well as NLP can be successfully used by classroom teachers will be examined on this Blog.


Scenario 1:


You are facing a situation in which the next day you need to be “on” which is defined as operating at maximum or near maximal efficiency. Specifically, you are to present a project – program update at tomorrow’s scheduled meeting. You have done your homework and know your piece of the presentation … for our purposes we will refer to your preparation up to this point as meeting the needs of the mental side of house.


It has been repeatedly noted that performing for our peers is one of the most things to do well. The many reasons for the “truth” in this assertion is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that when we are before our peers or colleagues, we have a mutual history … they “know” us and we know them. What is relevant in this instance is that emotional state is a major player in how we perform and this emotional state is going to be our entry into NLP Anchoring.


As previously stated, it is the day before you are scheduled to present. Go to the local “Dollar Store” and check out the various fragrance satchels you will find in the candle and incense section. You want to select a fragrance that appeals to you and it is suggested you try out lavender, vanilla, ocean mist, fresh spring, and rain. The reason for the suggested list will become obvious a bit later in the article.


About 45 – 60 minutes before you retire for the night take out your presentation notes and scan through them. You do not want to read the notes word for word as you would in study mode … simply scan through them and then set them aside. Have your fragrance satchel of choice in a zip lock bag next to you. Turn the room lights down or off, and focus on deep, relaxed breathing for a few minutes. Then, gently bring to mind a time when you were really “on” … this situation or setting do not matter and it certainly doesn’t have to be anything like a previous presentation you gave. Allow the full memory to form completely of its own accord, do not force it; simply allow it to happen. Now, shift your awareness to how you felt during your time “starring down”. Allow your mind to explore all the different feelings that arise in response to this good memory. Once you are deeply into the memory secure your satchel, remove it from the baggy and take a good whiff … really get the smell. It is important that you stay in the memory not so much in terms of “facts” associated with it as the “feelings” that occur in response to bringing the memory to mind.


Allow your mind to drift as it will for a few moments and then repeat the steps noted in the preceding paragraph.  Once again allow your mind to drift a bit at the end of the second bout. Repeat the steps for a third and final time and then end the session. You have just created a powerful Anchor.


Next: Setting and testing the Anchor.


@intellteacher 2009


Anchoring – Introduction

Anchoring: The NLP Way

By IntellTeacher

Although not unique to NLP, anchoring is among the most powerful of techniques employed in NLP. Anchoring operates on an other than conscious level and can be used to solicit the responses desired by the astute and skilled NLP practitioner.

In general terms, the “short answer” to the question of what is anchoring is as follows:  Anchoring is a process in which stimulus input of whatever nature is associated with some pre-existing thought, feeling, or belief. The easiest and perhaps best known example of anchoring, albeit in very crude form, is to found in Pavlov’s experiment wherein a bell sounded and a dog salivated. The sound of the bell had been effectively “anchored” to the event of food being made available.

With regard to NLP, anchoring is a process that occurs outside of normal conscious awareness and is regarded as very much naturally occurring. The process of anchoring is natural in that we do it all the time. A snippet of a song from our past, the smell of fresh cut grass, a cool breeze that gently wafts across our skin, any and all of these things that trigger a memory are examples of everyday anchoring.

As with much of NLP, the key to anchoring is to found in developing a heightened, and more refined, sense of awareness. Win Wenger, Ph.D., makes frequent reference to “awarenesses” which might be defined as acuity of perception in multiple awareness modalities. “Awarenesses” is a set piece in developing skills in accelerated learning protocols as well as creative problem solving methodology. With regard to NLP, a highly developed sense of awareness is part of the foundation that allows the adept to move more effectively and efficiently through this World.

In spite of anchoring being a natural and common occurrence what in one sense defines NLP is that the practitioner consciously engages in anchoring for one of two purposes. The first is to form an association with some response in another person that can be repeatedly accessed at will. The second is to remove or install anchors in the Self in order to move with lessened internal resistance toward a goal or desire.

With regard to interacting with another person the “best practice” of NLP dictates that we maintain an awareness of what anchors are being created – activated (for pre-existing anchors) and the response(s) we are getting. This awareness and internal tracking of anchors and responses allows us to move forward in pursuit of productive outcomes. It needs to be stated that the process of anchoring carries the implicit understanding that the outcomes sought are devoid of “bad” intent and mutually beneficial.

What follows is a simple and straight forward example of proper anchoring in a hypothetical classroom setting from the perspective of a teacher. A student has just experienced a break through moment in which a chunk of newly presented material has integrated … an “Aha” experience ensues. The teacher goes to the student, congratulates the student … and as the words of praise registers with the student the teacher reaches out and gently, yet firmly, touches the student on the left shoulder with their hand. The teacher has just anchored a sense of accomplishment in the student and can obtain this same response by repeating the shoulder touch.

It is noteworthy that NLP frequently anchors a desired response by way of sensory input different from the experience itself. In the example above, the student was experiencing personal satisfaction at grasping newly presented material, a mental activity, and the teacher anchored this sensation by way of touch.

The main value in becoming effective at anchoring is to elicit favourable and productive responses as part of being an effective communicator. One of the primary and unseen barriers to effective communication is the mental – emotional – psychological state of the person being addressed. Anchoring is a way of “clearing the way” when speaking with another person so that your idea(s) or presentation is received rather than resisted or outright ignored. Dr. Wenger has created several accelerated learning techniques, which can be found in his seminal work “Dynamic Teaching” which has an element he refers to as “clearing the channels”. Clearing the channels is analogous to what we do in NLP when we anchor a desired positive outcome … we clear away negativity and  install something useful.

In the near future an article dealing with some drills which will assist readers in becoming skilled in anchoring will be posted up.

©2009 IntellTeacher




NLP in ACTION – How to …

By IntellTeacher

Find a time when you have 15 – 20 minutes “free” and are in a place that is comfortable to you … make sure you won’t be disturbed, e.g., the phone is turned off, those you are responsible for are accounted for or otherwise properly engaged – entertained and assume a comfortable body position. Gently think, this time is yours and yours alone; don’t force it, just say to yourself “This time is all mine.” and calmly repeat it until you are convinced. Now, bring to mind a specific goal for yourself and in the early goings select a small goal, e.g., one that you all ready have a good chance of meeting, and write it down.


Then exactly follow the script below:


Step 1. Close your eyes, breathe deeply in a relaxed manner, and verbally, out loud, say the goal you have chosen for this moment.


Step 2. Allow the feelings associated with you now completely stated goal arise on their own accord; don’t force anything and don’t repress anything that comes to mind. You want your “inner talk” to operate freely and speak to you as it will. Stay in this mode until the “voices in your head” have had their say.


Step 3. Now, slowly open your eyes, don’t rush it, and write down the words that describe all the thoughts that came to you in Step 2 above.  Your Mind spoke to you using specific words and these are the words you want to capture on paper. Set this sheet of paper to the side, where you can easily see it, but it is not in your way and put a clean sheet of paper in front of you.


Step 4. Bring to Mind a past goal that you were successful in achieving; one that gave you a good feeling once obtained. Don’t concern yourself is the past met goal is in no fashion related to the goal you have selected for this exercise. What is important are the feelings – impressions – sensations – memories of the achieved goal, specifically, the feeling associated with meeting the goal.


Step 5. On the clean sheet of paper before you write down the goal met in the past and then write down all the feelings that accompanied meeting that goal. Quick Point: Focus on bringing feelings to conscious awareness and record them. Your sentences should contain feel words, e.g., kinesthetic based words and not contain words such as “think”.


Step 6. Now, put your two (2) sheets of paper side by side and read aloud each in turn. It really doesn’t matter which you read first; the key is to read each in turn and read them out loud with your full attention in play.




Final Step: Sit quietly and calmly while breathing relaxed and easy. Bring to Mind the differences in the recorded two (2) goal events. What do you find? For many, if not most, of us, our inner and ongoing dialogue slants toward the negative or what some would refer to as a “defeatist” attitude. Do you find a richness of positive affirmations in the past goal all ready achieved document, yet your future goal contains dark hints of doubt, potential problems, and possibly even failure as the ultimate outcome?


It seems the majority of the Human Condition goes through life unaware, or only occasionally – peripherally aware of the steady stream of chatter that goes on inside our head. In Buddhist Doctrine this is referred to as “Monkey Mind” and calming, then quieting, and finally rehabilitating the Monkey to speak in positive terms is a key to progress as a fully actualized Human Being.


This particular exercise can assist you in replacing the Negative Speakers with voices that are positive, affirming, and success orientated. First, really get a good understanding of the speakers that generally follow you around on a daily basis … identify and know them all, e.g., the “You aren’t good enough” Speaker. Then, one by one, swap out the voices of doubt with a voice derived from a past success, e.g., “You did it!”. The ultimate goal is to go through the day with “people on your side” speaking to you and jettison all the “harsh critics”. Routinely using this technique will aid you in engaging in creative problem solving as well as accelerated learning applications. It’s far more easy and effective to operate near your full potential when not dragging around a lot of negative baggage so get rid of the “speed bumps on the road to progress” and travel with good company at all times!


Future articles will include NLP techniques in concert with the Accelerated Learning and Creative Problem  Solving systems of Dr. Win Wenger.  Journey well.

©2009 IntellTeacher


NLP and the Classroom

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) first burst upon the psychological therapy scene in 1975 with the release of Richard Bandler and John Grinder’s written work, The Structure of Magic. At the time, Grinder was mostly involved in transformational grammar which was created by Noam Chomsky during the 1960s, and Richard Bandler was heavily involved in the study of mathematics with special attention to statistics. Transformational grammar is a systemic approach to uncovering the “deeper” meanings of communication by way of creating models of how grammatical knowledge is both represented and eventually processed by the brain prior to being articulated.


What Bandler and Grinder did was to apply their separate disciplines to the psychological counseling techniques of Fitz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson.  For those not in the know, Fitz, Virginia and Erickson are absolute Titans in the field of talk therapy. The ultimate outcome of Bandler and Grinder’s efforts is that they were able to identify and quantify the specific patterns present in the practices of Perls, Satir and Erickson. Arguably for the first time, the mastery of psychological counseling was revealed in a very exacting and distinct series of concrete processes … the “how do they do that” puzzle was solved.


Okay, now that your eyes are glazed over from having read the above I suppose you are saying to yourself “Gee, Frank, that’s just swell, but what does any of this have to do with my being a successful classroom teacher?” I’m absolutely delighted you asked that question, gentle readers, and the answer begins below.


In the present form, NLP provides a highly refined matrix by which a person can capture the sensory input preference(s) of any individual. Huh? Okay, try this, we have all heard and probably read a great deal about “learning styles” and the importance of employing classroom instructional techniques that take into account a student’s preferred way of learning. When we say “learning style” we are actually addressing the preferred process, and not the content proper. We can know how a person is processing information but we cannot know the actual content, e.g., we cannot read their mind. One of the major criticisms, and justifiably so, that is leveled at proponents of learning styles is that the data substantiating claims of learning style are derived from self report forms. With NLP, we avoid the whole controversy by way of directly observing a person (student) process information … we ask them nothing and they tell us everything.


There are several ways, or active systems, for identifying how a person is processing information with regard to sensory input channel selection, e.g., up inside their head making pictures (Visual Learner), listening to their inner voice run a monologue (Auditory Learning), and so on. Please keep the context of NLP’s birth and development in mind as it is crucial to understanding what you can and what you cannot use in the NLP tool box. For example, while conversing with a person I can observe their breathing and have a decent understanding of what sensory channels they are engaging at that moment. That’s all well and fine in certain settings, however, a classroom filled with students and a busy schedule to maintain is not the right time or place for such a thing.  Ideally, we would all have the opportunity to create our capture – identify matrix out of several observation systems. The truth of the matter is we as teachers do not have that luxury. So what is our best course of action given that we want to add NLP to our teaching repertoire? We go with auditory cues and by this I mean we engage in active listening with a very specific purpose.


To get a feel for how NLP might benefit you as a teacher try the following experiment for an hour or so every day for the next 3 days. Listen carefully to the person you are conversing with and keep a mental tally of the times they used words like “feel” “hear” and “see”. You are listening for patterns to emerge and here is a hypothetical conversation taking place in which you are the listener as an example: “You know, I feel real bad about the state of the economy today. I mean, it hurts me to think of all the people who lost their jobs right before the holidays. I can’t begin to imagine how painful it must have been for them to tell their Children that the holidays were going to be slim this year. Whenever I think of this mess we are in I just feel so bad inside …” Okay, now I know you are all quick studies, have all ready analyzed the hypothetical above, and properly concluded … “Aha, Kinesthetic Learner!”  Congratulations, without any fuss or muss you have just correctly identified the imaginary person’s sensory input preference and you immediately converted this knowledge into a learning style label. What is more important is that you did it without them even knowing and you did it without subjecting them to some “fill in the bubble” questionnaire. You actively listened, and they told you everything you need to know in order to quickly and deeply connect with them, namely, you frame your part of the continuing conversation by using words that are kinesthetic in nature.


There are some interesting visual and auditory cues that tend to present in all sensory input preference systems.  A such consideration is that of mental processing intervals. One of the really “nice” things about KLs is they will tell you when they are actively processing and when they have completed processing.


Let’s take the example of the ever present pen or pencil. KLs don’t just hold the writing instrument; they are near constantly manipulating it in some fashion. If we key in on their prop during instruction we find that the speed – tempo and magnitude of twirling (example) changes frequently. What we are seeing is a metronome of sorts and it defines (can) where the KL is with regard to mental processing.


What we want to do is watch for the lulls in manipulation and the times where the rhythm and speed of movement slips into a leisurely, even cadence. That tells us the student has absorbed what was presented and processed the newly acquired information to some degree. This is a key time to ask a follow on question or do something that leads them to use what they have processed in order to create deeper – further understanding.


I hope you not only enjoyed the post, but come away with at least a glimpse of what could be a useful tool to you in teaching.