|How did you come to work in the field you’re in? About 9 years ago when I was still farming full time I went to a personal development weekend seminar by Tony Robbins who is one of the big names in NLP. After 5 or 6 hours on stage Tony had about 12,000 people of all kinds, from grandmothers to young teenagers and everyone in between walking over a bed of hot coals in our bare feet. It was an incredible feeling and after that weekend I knew I just had to train in NLP so I found a practitioner course in Dun Laoghaire, signed up and just loved everything about it so I kept training in NLP and working as a practitioner and then as a trainer using the tools to help people in various ways.
What do you enjoy best about your work? I just love sharing what I have learned with people and to witness them having experiences that proves to them, beyond question, the awesome power of their unconscious minds. Once you get those kind of experiences, life changes as you start to realise just how much more potential lies within your self and each human being.
Who do you admire most in your industry and why? I have recently had the pleasure of training with Frank Pucelik who is one of the co-founders of NLP. He didn’t write the early NLP books or put his name on much so he is less well known than the other co-founders but he is a fantastic trainer. He has given me the right to be myself like no-one else I have trained with and he has an amazing ability to reach into you and pull your strengths and true nature to the surface. He is also hilarious and a fabulous story teller.
How important is body language to everyday communication? Our body language is hugely important for everyday communication. The way I like to explain this is that the human body we have all inherited (apologies if you are reading this and you are not human) has gotten on absolutely fine for millions of years before the spoken word came along! Before we invented verbal language, body language was king and we are still very much hardwired to interpret and respond to body language but usually at an unconscious level. It’s fun to try this out to see if it’s real or not – next time you are walking down a crowded street temporarily assume very different postures and see what kind of reactions you get! I will take this opportunity to say I do not take responsibility for the readers actions or any reactions from the public!
Irish people talk a lot… do we listen? We do listen, but usually only when we really have to! Normally when there is a great conversation going on we are just inhaling and waiting for a break in the chat so we can come out with whatever words we have just thought of and really want to say. On a more serious note I think that really listening is a very powerful form of communication and a hugely valuable skill. It is something I have had to practice and learn to do much better as a coach. It is really incredible what can happen when you really listen to someone and give them the chance to say what they really want to. The Native Americans have a great quote that I often think of: ‘ Great Spirit gave us two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that order
Is there one thing Irish people do that’s really counter-productive to getting what they want? Ah sure, that’d be saying now, wouldn’t it. Yes! We can be unbelievably vague and ambiguous when it comes to saying what we really want. It doesn’t seem to be culturally acceptable to just say things the way they are or the way we want them. This mindset has resulted in many wonderfully poetic and funny sayings and colloquialisms but I believe it is best to know how to switch off the flowery language at certain times or in certain situations, especially in business, and just get to the point.
One quick way to get someone’s attention? This would depend on the context but in general use your eyes. Look at that someone in the eyes and when you have their attention be ready with a non-verbal expression that you have practised and are comfortable with. Facial expressions can be wonderful and can say a LOT without ever speaking.
Shane will speak at the next IMAGE Networking Breakfast with Claire Byrne and Kathy Sheridan in the Marker Hotel at 7.30am on Thursday, March 12. Tickets are just €45 and are available here. For more information, email [email protected] or call 01 271 9653.