By Gerry Murray. 24-01-2021
(Scroll down for a laugh)

“Don't pretend to be what you're not, instead, pretend to what you want to be, it is not pretence, it is a journey to self realisation.”  
~ Michael Bassey Johnson

Building on last week's post, the "as if" frame complements the Outcome Frame. I will apply it to a meeting context below. 

This frame enables you to project yourself into the future and "pretend" that you've achieved your desired outcome. 

It allows you to mentally rehearse an outcome. It can be used for creative problem-solving. It also allows you to access your intuition, which can be surprisingly reliable. 

Successful sportspeople and musicians use this technique to prepare for a match or a performance. 

You can think of this frame as a 'virtual reality' game. You know it's not true but you act 'as if' something is true. It enables you to explore how an outcome looks, sounds and feels. You get to try on the outcome, just as you do in a clothes shop. If it doesn't look right or seem to fit, you can put it back on the shelf or you can adapt your criteria and expectations. 

It, therefore, serves as a way to avoid disappointment and can help mitigate unintended consequences.  

In NLP the 'as if' frame is an important part of modelling excellence. When you've modelled someone you test out the model by acting 'as if' it were true. If you're not able to replicate the results of your exemplar then you work on refining your model. 

The opposite of the 'as if' frame is the helpless frame: If I don't know, then there's nothing I can do about it.  

How to use it for meetings

For your own meetings, you should certainly mentally rehearse the achievement of your outcomes. If you do this as part of a preparatory breathing or visualisation exercise, you'll be amazed at what you notice and how this helps you improve your meeting preparation

When I'm preparing for an important meeting (e.g. a negotiation) whilst doing a breathing exercise I focus on the meeting outcome and in the process, I end up running the meeting in my mind. It's surprising how many new facets of the meeting present themselves and this helps me enormously. 

You can also use the 'as if' frame to get your meeting participants to collectively define the criteria for the successful outcomes of your meeting. A simple question such as: 

"What do we see, hear or feel when we achieve our outcome?"

When you ask it in the present tense, answering this simple question is often sufficient to get everyone to act 'as if' they already have achieved the desired outcome. 

If you add in the question:

"When we have X (our outcome) what difference does this make?" then you have a powerful way to ensure that what is achieved during a meeting has meaning and impact. 

These simple exercises can save you a lot of time and reduce the potential for conflict. 

And, finally...

I'm pleased to announce that my new podcast is live. If you're wondering what it's all about, you can listen to the first short preview episode by clicking here

Please subscribe via one of the main podcasting services so you get notified when each episode drops and remember to also tell your friends and colleagues about it.

Enjoy your week...



Pretend you're in a jungle, what do you do if a tiger is chasing you and catching up to you?
Stop pretending.

I’ve spent the past few days pretending to be a Shetland pony, but I think I’m losing my voice.
I’m currently a little horse.

A leopard tried to sneak out of his enclosure by pretending to be a zebra.
But he was spotted.

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