It's always a slippery slope to try to dissect a great leader of anything, because it brings out the fight in people, but I couldn’t resist replying to a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) forum post on whether Richard Bandler could be modeled. Here is my irreverent reply:
Richard's Irreverence and Mystique First
From what I can tell, Richard Bandler is an irreverent guy (at times when it serves), and that is precisely the aspect of the man that I would want to model the most, precisely because that indomitable attitude comes in handy at times when speaking and acting like Richard gets results in my own contexts.
I love Richard most for his attitude, and my (limited) observations tell me that he does not want to be "figured out"... (Think about it… why would he want you or me to actually have the formula to his secret sauce?) He admittedly takes delight in targeting and confounding people that try to track his patterns. If one were to publicly try, he could slice you up with sleight of mouth, or drop an F-bomb as a pattern interrupt, or remind you that he invented NLP, or tell you a side-splittingly funny story about himself or your mother, all while putting you into a trance as his tapping foot paces to your blinking. Then, watch out! He's already dropped a post-hypnotic suggestion when you weren't paying attention, but he was!
One thing is for sure, Richard is the Michael Jordan of persuasion. As long as he is in the game, you are not going to beat him in a 1-on-1. It's just not in the realm of possibilities for him. He leads with his attitude, and wants you to know it, and he’ll take it to the mat if he has to.
Richard speaks with his hands, but he marks out space and time unlike most other persuaders. There may or may not be a conscious structure to this, but there is certainly something unconscious going on there. One might start by examining the effect it seems to have on an audience. Try using your hands the same way as Richard, and then turn it on and off, and notice whether your message is enhanced by it. (I would be interested to know your results... mine have been interesting).
Call it anchoring if you want, but an important part of Richard's character and communication is self-reference, and lots of it! He's not only a man, he's a celebrity and a brand. Just take out a pencil and tally up the number of times he says "I" in a typical page or minute of training. Compare that tally to any other writer or speaker. The results will speak for themselves… speak up to promote your brand. Problem is, not too many people can get away with that much self adulation. Richard, Tony and Donald can. It alienates some people to be sure, but on balance, it is a key to his overall success in getting his message out there. His followers depend on him to be their champion.
In the structure of his stories, you might notice that he masterfully brings to your awareness all his observations that hitherto have been hiding in plain sight, that hitherto "everyone else has missed". He is a sharp observer, yes a genius even, and he wants you to never forget that. By virtue of the little pre-supposition that everyone else misses those observations makes him a leader, and everyone else a follower.
Bandler’s Force and Power
It’s not just the information Richard is conveying about NLP, it’s also how he conveys it. You can get information on NLP anywhere, but going to a Bandler event is going to trance-form you.
Notice Richard’s powerful intentionality and directionality. He does not waste time moving you from where you are to where he wants you to go. However he does it (using a variety of tools at his disposal), he can get you moving in that direction, and if one way does not work, he will switch to another, and another, until ultimately you show up at his destination. For example, he does not waste a lot of time doing formal inductions anymore when just asking you to close your eyes and go deeper, and deeper still is working.
To sum it up, you're not gonna be Richard, but if you wanna be like him, you gotta believe you are a 40-foot puma, and not be shy about using your repertoire of stealth, teeth and claws.
Richard is a great model of the expression of "NLP is an attitude (first) that leaves a trail of techniques (second)".
What are your thoughts?