NLP Emotional State-Chaining Skills - NLP Article by Jonathan Altfeld

I have decided to begin focusing more significantly, thematically speaking, on helping NLP students develop their skills with State Chaining. I hope this NLP article helps you to learn more about this under-appreciated NLP Skill-set.

Certainly I have a range of different seminars planned, and each course delivers on their relevant topics as a primary focus. It is also easy to blend certain themes or focuses into those courses, thanks to how we train at both process (method) and content (information) levels.

If you were to ask me 'what area of NLP skills do I think is centrally important to most of our dealings using NLP, and is also not as well developed/trained as it should be, in many of the NLP students that I meet?' I would have to say "State-Chaining."

In essence, this is about developing a High EQ (Emotional Quotient).

In any good NLP training, students raise their EQ. They develop a higher emotional quotient, by learning about states, and state-management, and how to influence states, and elicit states, and change states (both with themselves, and with others). However, one of the problems I see "out there," are EQ's that aren't at the levels where they should be.

I have certain expectations of skill-levels achieved when someone tells me they're a Practitioner or Master Practitioner or Trainer. Those 'labels' should mean something, they should mean a student has acquired a certain sufficient level of competence in a particular range of subjects. Why, then, am I increasingly disappointed in recent years by the prior levels of training students have had when those students tell me the levels of training they say they achieved?

This is not a new complaint on my part. Some say it's the nature of the marketplace, with so many new trainers popping up who have little or no experience, who are delivering shorter & shorter certification courses, etc. It seems inevitable that people are becoming Practitioners or Master Practitioners but not getting the level of skills that many have achieved, in the past, when taking longer courses.

Most of these people I've talked with seem happy with their trainers, which presumably means the trainers are doing at least something right, during whatever time they have available. But if people are leaving with a 'false sense of completeness' then perhaps they're not consciously aware that they truly shouldn't label themselves as having achieved those levels. If they can't effectively chain states in either themselves or others, for example, I can't justify calling them a Practitioner. It's amazing though, I regularly see even new NLP trainers at my Holographic Communication course who understand State-Chaining at an intellectual level, but still haven't worked out the proper timing of doing the process onstage, or, still have trouble using both their output (speaking) skills at the same time as their input (observing) skills.

So perhaps you read that and wonder, "OK, but so what?" And the answer to that is -- it's polluted the field of NLP with rampant incompetency. A field which reaches not just for excellence but for astronomical levels of skill the general public usually couldn't even fathom, is now being filled up with people who think they've got it, but haven't come even close. And some of those people are attempting changework or therapy with others and aren't remotely prepared for it. Some of those people are offering workshops where afterwards, students don't have a real clue as to what they've learned. That's bad for all of us. It's not just sad -- it's really detrimental on a grand scale. The bar has dropped significantly and we all need to take steps to raise it back up.

This is a pervasive problem I can do something to solve.

State-Chaining is so important because whenever we would like to influence ourselves to do something in our lives differently, better... or move other people to take certain actions in their lives, differently, better, etc... we have to first learn how to move them effectively. We have to learn how to move people away from wherever they're at, or to move ourselves away from wherever we're at, towards what's better, more optimal. Whether with self or with others, we have to learn how to move people, typically from one state, into another (& sometime then another, & another, etc).

State-Chaining is used not only to move ourselves or someone one time, but to begin to build new emotional pathways, new neural circuitry, so to speak, that then helps us move ourselves or someone else along that same new pathway, again, faster, the next time. It helps us to help ourselves or others build new more useful habits. How Very Useful!

Now, if you only want or need to be able to make quick sales, you don't need to spend time practicing state-chains. Just learn to sequence someone out of a current state into a better one, one time. Great, well done. That's part of the larger state-chaining process, but requires no repetition or NLP anchoring.

But if you want that person to always go into a buying state the next time they see you, you'd better learn how to do state-chaining well. If you want someone to desire you every time they see you, you'd better learn how to do state-chaining well. If you want someone to brighten up into a really happy & hopeful state every time they speak with you, no matter how down or fearful they were before you began talking, you really need to be able to chain states.

State-Chaining is a high-level skill, with
lots of critical components. Miss any components,
and the bigger skill fails.

This central skill area requires a lot of other good skills in NLP.

  • good sensory acuity
  • good pacing & leading skills
  • good state elicitation skills
  • good NLP anchoring skills (precision, & timing!)
  • good strategy planning & implementation
  • good trance (Milton Model) language
  • good calibration skills
  • & more!

And when I see people attempting to work with someone, and fail to chain states when they're intending to do so, I typically notice big gaps in any number of the above specific areas.

Fill in the gaps, strengthen those areas that need work, validate the correctness/effectiveness of the skills one thinks one already has, and then the overall skill set gels more, becomes more effective, more consistent. More magical.

And if the skill doesn't work, PLEASE don't blame NLP. it's NOT that NLP doesn't work, it's that whatever skill level one has achieved so far, isn't consistent, effective, practiced, or smooth enough. It's yet another artifact of minimalist training seminars where the focus is on finishing in minimum time. It's unfortunate, but if you can't state-chain like a wizard yet, and you ostensibly completed Practitioner training, your skills are probably lacking. I hate to be the messenger on that one, but it's absolutely true. "Short duration" of certification courses is one of the worst criteria you could possibly use.

Now, granted, I teach this skill set thoroughly in my Holographic Communication training, and I test to make sure everyone's got it. I also teach state-sequencing (with less time/emphasis on actually chaining) in my Linguistic Wizardry course. I also taught a bit of auditory or verbal state-chaining in my "Irresistible Voice 2" audio set. So I know that in my shorter applied NLP courses, I make sure people get good at these areas.

But I'm also going to aim to write more articles on this subject this coming year, and I'm going to be coming out with a home-study program on the topic as well, soon.

Let's begin from the beginning, so to speak. Build Your Foundations Well.

In this article, I'll focus on some foundational ideas behind state-chaining. Some basic concepts for you to mull over in the coming weeks.

One of the foundational things to consider is that all human behaviors are potentially available to us in one or more specific emotional states.

E.g., the act of being able to open a door by turning a handle is a behavior that is highly generalized; we can effectively perform that behavior across a vast array of different emotional states.

Yet how many men or women can calmly say "I'm sorry" in an emotional state of "Betrayal" or "Indignant?" How many people can smile a real ear to ear grin, when they're in a state of "deep depression?" Hopefully you get the point. We can accomplish/do some things in any setting, in any emotional state. Other things can only be done within certain specific emotional states.

Many of the things we as NLP enthusiasts would like to do ourselves, or to get others to do, can only be done in more energized & motivated states.

  • How many buying decisions are made in states of deep doubt?
  • How many dates begin from states of zero attraction?
  • How many negotiations are concluded successfully amongst deep distrust?
  • How many changes can a client create while feeling numb & disinterested?

(The answer is obvious to all of the above: Not many!)

In order to create the opportunity for these behaviors/choices to happen... we have to move people from their less-useful states, towards more positive and useful states. We have to learn to move people from 'present states' to 'desired states.'

Some refer to 'present states' as 'Inhibitory states', and 'desired states' as 'Excitatory states.'

I tend to refer to these as 'origin & destination' states. We meet people regularly in origin states, and people typically need to be in destination states, to take clear & positive action in their lives without hesitation.

If you think about it... if you think long & hard while scanning through your own life experiences... you will know these comments above to be true.

And without leveling personal judgment over/of people, without having to address the *reasons* people are so often stuck in their Inhibitory states, NLP helps us to learn how to work at a process level, at the emotional level, without personal judgment getting in the way. In doing so we learn more effectively how to invite people into their more Excitatory states. We build new pathways, create new options.

This is very powerful stuff. And there is always more we can learn on this topic! If you'd like to become absolutely masterful with this material... I invite you to invest in my Audio Program on State-Chaining for Influence... Creating the Automatic Yes. The "Automatic Yes" CDs are entirely about Emotional State-Chaining!

Thanks for reading and learning with us!

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