EYESHey, I’ve been looking forward to putting out this blog and can’t wait any longer.

If you remember, in Part 1, we started to look into a fav area of mine, EYE ACCESSING CUES. We looked at internal representation, the lead representational system as well as a load of other good stuff.  I left you hanging with the promise that I’d explain the picture of the face and the strange set of letters that were strategically placed around the face (the more observant of you would have noticed that there’s something different about this face…can’t quite put your finger on what it is?…..I might tell you later…but first let’s get back into EYE ACCESSING CUES).

OK, so let’s start with a little exercise to emphasise the learning point here.  You’ll need to sit in front of a mirror.  When you’re properly focused and have stopped noticing spots and pimples that just weren’t there yesterday (where do they come from?), look at your face (particularly your eyes) and ask yourself the following questions:

1. How many windows does your house have?

2. What would your car look like in 15 years if you never washed it?

3. What does your favourite song sound like?

4. What would your voice sound like if you were Donald Duck?

5. What does it feel like to take a warm bath or shower?

6. What does your voice sound like when you talk to yourself?

Done that?  OK, now do it again, but this time noticing which direction(s) your eyes move as you think of the answers.

(Before you get too excited, this exercise is just to notice that your eyes are moving; normally we only notice and identify eye patterns in others.)

Sowhat’s happening?  My eyes are moving, but how does this relate to that other face and those letters you’ve shown us?

Well…I’m glad you asked…

…Each of those questions above caused you to either access a memory or mentally construct some experience. If your eyes did not move, you may have looked in a particular direction for only a nanosecond, or perhaps defocused looking out in front of yourself. This is generally considered either visual or auditory remembered as the memory is in your present awareness.

Now ask someone else these same questions using the face picture as your reference.   You’ll have to face them directly and remember the chart is normally organised. It may be helpful to jot down your findings as you watch their eyes so you can review them later.

What happens when people’s eyes move?

Please note: The following eye movements are as you watch someone’s eyes and  when we refer to a location, this is your left or right as if the person is in front of you.

Visual Construct (Vc) – Up and to your left would be accessing an image they need to construct a picture of because they either have not seen it before, or because the picture has been stored in the past and not the immediate recall zone.  It’s nearly impossible to tell if someone is lying from eye patterns alone. Be careful if assuming that people are lying or making things up just because their eyes move to Visual Construct. It could be that they just don’t have the information readily available. For example, what did you wear two days ago? When you find the answer to this question, you may have to construct what clothes you have, use internal dialogue to ask yourself the question, you may have to remember what you did that day and even construct what you might have looked like in a certain outfit that day. So, your eyes may go more to construct although you’re not making it up. To identify if someone is lying, you would need to calibrate the whole person – physiology, eyes, tonality, etc.

Visual Recall (Vr) – Up and to your right would elicit an image they have seen or imagined before.

Auditory Construct (Ac) – Lateral and to your left would be accessing something they have not heard before, or they have to construct a sound or conversation.

Auditory Recall (Ar) – Lateral and to your right would be eliciting something they have heard before. This could be a conversation or sound, and it could be of themselves or someone else.

Kinesthetic (K) – Eyes down and to your left would access a person’s feelings internally (e.g. emotions) or externally (e.g. tactile feel of velvet or a cat’s tongue).

Internal Dialogue (Id) – Eyes down and to your right would access the person’s self talk or internal dialogue.

Practice makes understanding eye accessing cues easy. You can learn by observing people’s eyes as you ask them questions in normal conversations; start noticing how different people use their eyes, but be careful not to freak them out! Notice how some make big and obvious movements, while others make minimal moves. Reality TV shows, talk shows and unscripted interviews are great to use as a learning tool as they are usually spontaneous. Turn the volume down on the TV for a while and just identify where the person’s eyes move. This is a great way to become unconsciously skilled at making meaning of eye patterns.

There are many practical uses of eye accessing cues, too many to list here.  However, here are a few pointers that I have learned along the way in the Learning & Development world and would also be useful in any face to face client based circumstance.

Incorporating Eye Patterns into Life

Using eye accessing enables us to communicate in a way that more effectively matches another person’s current thinking style. This would enable you to respond by matching their eye movement with your words. When you do this, you will have more useful questions and replies and so build a closer rapport.

Vr – Looking up to their right; it would be a clue to use more visual words and questions. Use visual aids; show them examples, slides, brochures, pictures, diagrams but be careful of ‘Death by PowerPoint’.

K – Looking down to the left; it’s a clue to use feeling words and questions. Let your students touch things or try them on or something they can thumb through; get them doing stuff.

Id – Looking down to the right; to use more logical, thinking, analytical words and questions. Use graphs, charts and statistics, you could use management theory models and hard facts and figures.

Ar – Looking laterally to the right; use more auditory questions and examples. Explain and tell them about it. Use and refer to sounds, conversations and ask what they’ve heard.

Now, this is a skill you can practice and get good at in quite a short space of time (it only took me 20+years LoL).  If you don’t use it in a professional context or to build your communication skills…it makes a fantastic party trick!


Beautiful woman lying and sleep on the snowy bedGuess what, sleep is hugely important to your body. Sure, we all love that well-rested and alert feeling, but there’s plenty of stuff happening behind the scenes too, from repairing damaged skin cells to flushing out toxins that build up in your brain. If you notice one of these signs, it’s time to start thinking about your quantity and quality of sleep. Luckily, most of the time, these issues are reversible with a concerted effort to catch more ZZzzz’s.

Turns out we could all use a little more shut eye; too many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep per night…Oh, and if you’ve heard that you must get 7 hours or 8 hours or whatever, then it’s pseudo science I’m afraid, sleep doesn’t work like that.  Anyway, as a result, we’re pretty familiar with the signs that our bodies need more rest: endless yawns, heavy eyes, and sleeping in on the weekends.  But, when you go from a few restless nights to more chronic sleep deprivation, where sleep debt accumulates over weeks, you tend to not realise how tired you are.  Luckily there are some subtle (and slightly bizarre) signs that reveal when we’re truly sleep deprived. Read More →

Hey everyone.

I thought I’d bash out another blog on an area of NLP that never ceases to fascinate me – EYE ACCESSING CUES.  It’s been around since as early as 1890 when James Williams an American Psychologist examined it closely in his book Principles of Psychologybut the book is well boring to be honest! LoL

When people access their memories, their eyes move in quite specific and observable directions. These movements are called eye accessing cues and they correspond to the neural pathways in the brain that store and process sensory details.  Everything has a place to be stored and this is how people access stored information.

The eyes play a big part in how a person lives their lives (Yes, I meant to write ‘lives’). As much as a quarter of your brain is devoted to vision and our optic nerves are directly wired to the brain.  A person’s eyes tell a story as the eyes move involuntarily and in conjunction with whatever is being thought or felt.

Why is this useful though Shaun?

Well…I’m glad you asked…

… This information can be useful to enhance rapport and communicate more effectively by only asking applicable questions and to build understanding.  It allows you to communicate to people in their own language as you match it back.

Here’s the science bit…

….In the early days of NLP, both Grinder and Bandler (You should know who these guys are) believed they had identified a pattern of relationships between the sensory based language people use in general conversation and corresponding eye movement.  Jury is out on whether they had actually discovered anything new at all.  However, in 1976, Robert Dilts conducted a study at Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco to find out if this had relevance. Using electrodes, he tracked both eye movement and brain wave characteristics of people who were asked questions relating to various senses that involved both memory and mental construction. As a result of these studies, eye movement patterns or EYE ACCESSING CUES were identified.

I remember a long time ago I watched a TV crime drama where the suspect was being interviewed under caution.  Behind the mirror stood a Criminal Psychologist (not a real one…an actor silly) who seemed able to state categorically when the suspect was lying and when he was telling the truth.  This sort of stuff has seeped into urban myth and it seems almost everyone out there thinks they can tell what you’re thinking just by looking into your eyes…wooOOO00 Spooky!

If only everyone could do this sort of stuff, the world would be a better place.  Everyone would know when they are causing offence, when they’re not being listened to and lots of other things too.  This is where NLP jumps in with both feet.  If everyone learnt at least this area of NLP I’d be:

a) A lot richer because of all the extra training I’d be doing and

b) Calmer because I wouldn’t have to listen to some people dribbling on.

OK, so, what I thought I’d do is tackle EYE ACCESSING CUES in this blog so that I could pass on enough knowledge to allow you to practice this skill for yourself.  As with my other blogs, I’ll try and dispel the myth and secrecy surrounding this subject and simply tell you how it is.

I’ll have to do this in 2 parts or the blog will be soooo long it might as well have been an eBook (now there’s an idea).

When I went to my very first NLP event decades ago, I was excited to learn that people’s eye movements had some kind of meaning and weren’t just random.  I couldn’t wait to learn how it all worked.  This area of NLP has become a fav of mine over the years and it now filters into my everyday life of hypnotherapy, training, coaching, communicating and thinking.

Everyone has their own model of the world, but memories of it can be very different.  It all depends on how somebody filters an experience. The memories of events are stored as a picture, sound, feeling or thought (this is known in the NLP world as an Internal Representation).

So then, each of our memories is stored as a specific set of images, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes and this is how we distinguish one set of memories from another. We mentally recreate and recall our experiences (memories) with these stored pictures, words, sounds and physical feelings as we do the thinking bit.

(There…I think I explained that quite well…even if I do say so myself).

All this stuff gives us some meaty information that provides us with clues as to whether the person is thinking in pictures, sounds, feelings or simply talking to themselves (I feel like I do that a lot). A skilled NLP Practitioner (like me) will be on the lookout for the sequencing of eye patterns.

Now…before you get excited…this isn’t going to make you a mind reader, but it will give you some decent information to help discover the way the other person is thinking. (This is known in the NLP world as a Lead Representational System).

There’s a load of writing there.  I’m a big fan of pictures so I think it’s about time I included one.

Let me explain this picture a little.

First of all..it’s not me!  

This chart is read as you look at another person’s face straight on (This is known in the NLP world as Normally Organised).  I can honestly say that I’ve never been described as ‘Normally Organised’ haha.  Some people are reverse organised and the eye pattern chart is flipped and opposite.  Some left-handed people are reverse organised (but not all) and a few right-handed people are reverse organised. But, generally, the normally organised patterns are fairly consistent across all races, with the possible exception of the Basques in Spain, who seem to have some exceptions to the rule.  I’ve spoken to a lot of Basque people and very quickly realised I had no idea what they were on about (Not just because I don’t speak Basque before I get any wise cracks).

However, NEVER ASSUME, ask questions and watch the eyes to find how the person stores information, this is called Calibrating.

So what do all those letters mean Shaun?

Well…I’m glad you asked….

But….my dinner is ready and this blog is already too long.  FIND OUT MORE IN PART 2

As someone who studies behaviour I notice the little things in language and actions. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in recent times almost everyone claims to have OCD. It seems to me that this is a much misused term. Being neat and tidy doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD. All joking aside, I’ve written a little ditto to help explain a bit. If you also work with people I thought it might help you to notice the little things too…it’s not tool long, you never know, it might be useful. Read More →

beliefs-wordleThe thing about your head is that it’s usually attached to your body. If you’re lucky it’s been attached all your life. Now, here’s the funny bit…why then do we take more notice of our feet (or any other body part for that matter) than what’s in our head? Sounds crazy? The truth is often weirder than fiction.
Unfortunately, most of us have very little idea of what’s going on in there and even worse, very little idea of why we keep doing things. That’s good news for therapists such as me but generally bad news for mankind I reckon. So let’s look at how, “coz it’s always been like that” has become my least favourite excuse.

What do you do?First look at what drives your behaviour…and then change it.

Read More →

Hypnocoaching and NLP offers many things to its followers and practitioners.  It’s all about expanding choices; wouldn’t you like to have more choices?

One way to expand thinking and to reveal other choices that might have been previously hidden from you is to think ‘differently’.  The process of reframing can be as complicated as you like, but essentially it’s about looking at things in a different way, it’s about taking yourself out and looking back into a situation as an observer…to be honest, it’s about lots of things that I’ll hopefully get around to writing about one day (hopefully).bank

Here’s a little metaphorical tool that I came across a long time ago and have used to great effect in many situations.  You will have read my past posts on the use of metaphors and you already know how powerful they can be.  This one is a metaphor that helps to reframe thinking and provide motivation.  Feel free to use it with your clients.  It works especially well for those who are stuck in a rut or require a kick start to examine their options…ALL of their options.  Read More →

BABY-IN-WOMBWe hear it all the time “Doh, I’m well out of my comfort zone” and “Oh my gosh, I can’t do that”. Do you know where your comfort zone is? How do you know? Truth is…you don’t know about them all… your comfort zones exists in a continual state of ‘bendiness’.

Pahaha, I can hear you all now, “Bendiness? That’s a new word, Shaun’s finally tipped over the edge”.

I thought I’d explain a few things about comfort zones, as I understand them. Those trainers out there can use this explanation when setting out your ground rules at the start of your sessions. Those Hypnotherapists out there can really watch for areas that clients might not be committing to quite as much as they might be telling you, the Hypnocoaches out there can use this information to safely stretch your clients and those Psychologists out there can…well…analyse it and write about it later? Read More →

Your guide to visualisationHey everyone, I trust you’re all well.  A bit of visualisation for you this time; the other day, as I was driving home from a particularly upbeat training session, I got to thinking about how important imagery was to us…well, come on….there’s not much else to think about whilst driving on the motorway is there?  It’s all around us – imagery I mean (not boring motorways), and IMHO we can’t live without it.  Even words, if you think about it, are a form of imagery.  Where would my blogging be if I couldn’t fall back on images in the form of words and pictures?

It’s because imagery is so important to us that we can use it very effectively in the Hypnocoaching world.  Imagery and visualising images is such an important tool that I can’t believe I haven’t written on it until now…Ooops!  I aim to remedy that right now with this blog, I hope you find it interesting…as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to discuss further – very competitive rates!  LoL. Read More →