Influence your audience with NLP stage anchors

I’ve been using NLP training techniques since 1995. They’re still my favourite techniques because they are versatile, engaging and effective. Some trainers define NLP as ‘the difference that makes the difference’. I like that definition because NLP has impacted my own training style in many positive ways.

So what makes it so special? Basically, NLP codifies the skills associated with excellent performance. It gives you ‘recipes’ for doing things well. In training contexts, for example, you can use these recipes to:

  • Use language patterns that help people learn
  • Tell great stories
  • Move with purpose and impact on stage
  • Structure each section of your session to enhance unconscious learning

This list is just a starting point. In my trainers’ retreats I cover 20 NLP techniques. My favourite, though, is stage anchoring. It is versatile and fun.


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In NLP, anchoring involves deliberately creating a connection between a stimulus and a response. It’s a great way to influence the way your audience responds to different types of content. For example, if I’m working with a potentially hostile audience, I record their objections or complaints on a whiteboard. Then I cross to the other side of the room and stand in front of a strategically placed flipchart. I ask the group to suggest solutions to all their ‘problems’. The ideas are recorded on the flipchart, which is then stuck on the wall. Next, I wipe the whiteboard clear of complaints and move centre stage to wrap up.

This sequence of movements looks ‘spontaneous’ but is carefully staged to anchor the key stages of solution focused thinking. The group soon picks up the habit of being positive and solution oriented whenever I stand in front of the flipchart: which is exactly what I want. This is just one way that anchoring can be used to influence group dynamics and enhance learning. I love experimenting with anchors and I am sure you will, too.


About the author: Eleanor Shakiba

Eleanor specialises in positive psychology and NLP. She works with HR and L&D teams create vibrant organisational cultures, by delivering training that makes a difference. Eleanor’s qualifications include degrees and diplomas in Social Anthropology, Positive Psychology, Counselling, Coaching, Adult Education and Neuro Linguistic Programming. Her passion is fostering the success of ‘positive deviants’ in the workplace. Download a copy of Eleanor’s free ebook Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D Practitioners .