I recently took a ballroom dancing exam. Dance has been my hobby – on and off – for over ten years and I've taken quite a lot of exams. Having had a break and become rather rusty, last year I went back several grades to regain my confidence (and ability) so I'm currently repeating some exams I've already done. This is partly because the marking scheme has changed since I last did these particular tests and partly out of solidarity with the rest of my class, who are mostly doing them for the first time.
Inevitably, as the exams get closer, people start to get anxious. On the day, some were positively panic-stricken!
That's when I remembered a trick I used years ago with a dance partner who was crippled with nerves and almost decided not to do the exam: It's a simple NLP technique called the Circle of Excellence.
If you've done NLP Practitioner training you've almost certainly learned this technique (unless you were on a VERY concise programme). It involves anchoring resources to an imaginary circle on the floor and then stepping into the circle to anchor it to a specific event – like a dance exam.
One of the apsects of NLP I love is the possibility of tailoring a particular technique to the exact needs of a client. So when I used the Circle of Excellence with my old balloom partner, I didn't just ask him to step into the circle; I stepped into his arms, took hold and asked him to dance into the circle!
By getting him into the physiology of the context in which he needed the resources – that is, in ballroom hold – I was able to create a much stronger anchor. That meant that when we stood up to dance in the exam, the resources were immediately available. It also meant that he danced better than I'd ever known him to dance in an exam and got excellent marks.
Just another example of the significance of context!