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THE WORLD WE LIVE IN Tuesday, 15 October 2013



Wouldn’t it be fabulous if everything were done as you ask? Wouldn’t it be splendid if people always agreed with you? How great would it be if decisions were simple? Wouldn’t you want to know how this could happen for you? Well look what they’ve done to my dreams!

The world we live in is complex enough without seeking confrontation with others, so why do they always seek it with you, why can’t they leave you be in your world, to live your way, you know, one person, one gaol, one mission. Leave me alone and I’ll be alright Jack!

You’ve heard it said, “This is my world, I just let you live in it”. Well it isn’t. Outside of your head there really is only one world, it’s the world we (all) live in and it’s the world we all meet in and do business in and it’s the world in which we all have to get along in if we want to make life simpler.

Your real world (in your head with all your thoughts and ideas, prejudices and preconceived notions of the way things are and the way things ought to be) is not the real world. The real world is the world in which you are allowed to live in, that is the worlds of other people, the worlds of our colleagues, the worlds of our suppliers and the worlds of our customers. You better forget living in your world, at least whilst you’re at work and get used to the ideas that people want you, temporarily to be living in their world, that’s where they feel secure, in control, familiar and powerful, that’s where they do business and that is where you’ll need to be.

So the world in which we live is the world in which each one of is living in and I know this, very few people are adept at living in two worlds, especially when those two worlds seem far apart, alien or hostile at first, but this is negotiation, this is often sales, this is occasionally business.

What I do at Spectrum Linguistics & Performance Development is allow you to first of all notice the world in which others live, show you how you can enter that world and influence others as to the existence of yours

It’s a strange old world made complex by the knowledge that’s there’s nout so queer as folk. It’s a challenging old world too and with development you can bring them, excitedly into a brave new world, yours!

There is nothing so powerful in business as knowing people, not in the sense of who you know, but in the sense of being able to know the people you meet, the people you work with, the people you manage and the people you do business with: It saves us time, it saves us money, it saves us energy, it saves us frustrated emotions, it saves us stress, and that is something we all strive towards, it’s the world in which we live!.

If you would like to find out more about the world in which we live and how to live in other worlds let’s connect @frank smethers (Twitter) for details of training for your staff, let’s talk. I’m happy to come over to your world! Give me a call 07791748800
COMMUNICATION!  Monday, 25 February 2013



With special thanks to Nick Clegg and my friends from OMD

Communication:It's the art of being understood, or is it? Do you often wonder at the use some people make of language, the wonderfull, sensory experience which it is? Or are you in the camp of the eloquent orchestral manoeuvres in the dark so loved by many in times of trouble?

Talking loud and clear is obviously not in the interests of some: Too much detail, too much knowledge, everything left in the state of artful vagueness! This seems to me, to be just the desired level of our politicians, it reminds me of the comical "Yes Prime Minister" theatre of gently passing the blame two or three degrees removed, swept under the carpet in the hope that there really isn't anyone out there remotely clever enough to recognise the real meaning of what is being said.

"Yes, I knew something! and yes I did little on the face of it, but now! Oh! If I knew then what problems this indirect and non-specific conversation was going to cause in the future. Of course I would have dealt with things differently. Wouln't I?

We may well have become conditioned to this form of communication from our politicians but what of business? What do we expect from our business leaders, our boards, their managers and supervisors? What communication is expected?
It is not indirect, nor is it non-specific! That way lies yet more failed companies who have struggled to hear the message from on high, the message from management and that way lies further hard work in re-communicating messages that were in our minds all the time. People like to be direct and specific, what people do not like is the conflict of emotions our direct and very specific messages around productivity, sales, cost control and marketing can invoke in others. No! far better to remain as indirect and non-specific as possible.

My message is direct and very specific: Learn to deal with the emotions you create in management, learn to recognise your own and have those direct and specific conversations with your staff .Help them to deal with the emotions in business and unlock your people's potential, else, there is a By- Election very soon. Anyone interested?
TREADMILLS Wednesday, 20 February 2013



It's just a thought! but treadmills do not work if you get off!

"Very droll!" "How can I get off?""It isn't a physical machine and anyway, if I don't tread it, some other mad bugger will! and then I won't even have the tiresome tediousy of talking to others about my treadmill!"

Quite honestly, yours isn't the only treadmill I have heard talk of, so a little less conversation isn't going to change the world for me, but for you, what would you do if you stood off? I bet you haven'tgiven that much thought, seriously, have you?

I'm not suggesting you get off and never step back on. What I am saying is that you only need to step off for a short period of time to reflect upon what you are doing and why you're doing it. If you don't like reflecting, then project, why would you get back on? What is your motivation to progress? What are you doing the treadmill for?

Forget those windmills, we all know the treadmill is in our minds! Look, see, what does yours look like. I bet you can even hear yourself on it and I bet most of you can even feel the effort you are putting in. It's tiring, isn't it?   Well, step off, readjust the imagery you're holding, think of your treadmill as your power supply to your business, you don't need to be on it all day, just enough to charge your energy, just enough for one more call, one more meeting, one more sale!

If you think of your treadmill as your power source, you will be inclined to get back on it, if your treadmill were your road to what you value doing in life, if it were the source of your energy, committment, motivation, encouragement and your determination then wouldn't that be a treadmill you don't want to step off. Then again, if you don't really want to step off, you're not really on a treadmill are you! So please don't call it one.

The power of thought is hugely important, it is what drives our feelings and when we feel fine, we act fine and when we act fine, all manner of things fall into line. Your only concern then, is do you take a step off to pick them up. I can assure you that others do from time to time! Join them!  
CLOSER TO BETTER Monday, 1 October 2012


It seemed a rather curious thing to say when asked “How are you doing?”

“We’re getting closer to better thank you!” and it set me wondering.

Closer than who? Better than what? I wasn’t left with an impression that the gentleman knew the answer to either question and he wasn’t pursued by his inquirer who may well have been asking himself those very questions. The conversation ended shortly after this and I suspect without much thought returning to the matter.

Was this an attempt to rid himself of an inquisitive mind, to sidestep the real issue of detail or was this quite simply an honest response from somebody who not only knew what ‘better’ was but also knew the steps involved to get him ‘closer’ to that better.

The reason I started wondering was because I come across this type of communication often, I see the somewhat bemused look on the face of the enquirer, the frowning squint as if checking for clarity, ready to ask further then remembering they work together! Shouldn’t everyone understand the company goals? Shouldn’t better be understood and wouldn’t closer be obvious then?

I would never advocate the use of such language in business, it is far too vague, carries too much omission and assumption likely to end up making the proverbial ass of someone.

And so the moment passed, one without the detail and one just pleased that the awkward moment had passed. Far better to have said “I am two thirds of the way to hitting my target of 200 sales by the month end” or “we are only 40% of the way toward our target of £60,000 this month and we have just 2 weeks left” It lets everyone, yes including people like me who overhear, know exactly what the state of play is.

Smart goals were the buzz of business, still are in many environments but it is necessary to go beyond being smart and learn to be clever, you need to live the goals, be able to see, hear and feel what achieving them will get you.  Smart won’t help you on its own.

“Closer to better” belongs in a ‘Winnie the pooh’ story, not in business. So the next time you hear such a response as “we are getting closer to better” rise above being smart and ask “How so, tell me more” or “How will you know when we’re better”

“You are braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think” ―
A.A. Milne

And if I don’t know what you believe, I’ll never know how strong you seem and you will remain as smart as you think you are and no more.  F.Smethers
The Moment is Now! Monday, 10 September 2012




The Olympics and Paralympics are over now, so what did you take from these spectacles of sporting achievement. Memories? For sure we will all have memories. What else? A sense of achievement? How so, did you perform the sporting spectacle? Pride? In watching others perform at their best? Determination? To do what? When?

There has been much talk of inspiring a generation, of the spirit of the gamesmakers, of legacy. So when does inspiration kick in? Are you going to be a gamesmaker for your business and when does legacy start? The moment is now!

As someone who can become immersed in all things Neuro Linguistic and listening for terminology from the field (and track, and velodrome and aquatic centre) I have been fascinated by the many references to NLP, from both the Olympics and Paralympics, some openly, some just in passing, some from the athletes themselves and some from the coaching staff.

Familiar words to everyone, “modelling” “strategy” “visioning” but what do they really mean? As well as many phrases and gestures from the athletes themselves around the games people play in their minds and the games other competitors try to make you play in yours!

There has also been many references to ”Drive Phase” and “Execute” from across the disciplines, a terminology I’m familiar with from association with a software provider to the rowing industry from where the origins can be traced.

Could it be that the success shown in rowing from the early 90’s has migrated to other sports, cycling and the track? Is it at all possible that success was copied?

The references to modeling (essentially copying and adapting techniques, then introducing individual elements) Strategy (essentially understanding how you will execute your game plan, physically, psychologically and emotionally) and visioning (the exact execution in detail down to all your senses, it really is possible to smell success and taste the reward!) are direct techniques taken from the body of work which is NLP. What started back in the late seventies and early eighties in an attempt to understand the human mind by watching therapy sessions has been successfully adapted into sport and business and continues to reap the benefits today.

For me, the legacy for these games will come: it is, in my opinion, undoubted. The past 5 or 6 weeks will inevitably have inspired many able bodied and disabled people alike to perform. Here is to their continued success!

As for business, the same could be true but I suspect it will take a little longer for some in business to show the same steely determination, effort, sweat, pain, endurance, failures, early starts, late nights, setbacks, injuries, blood, tiredness, did I mention pain? In essence sheer bloddy hard work and training to get to be a true champion worthy of such an acclaim as our Olympians and paralympians.

What did I take from the games, I was fortunate enough to be inside the Olympic stadium the night David Weir (The weir wolf) took his first of 4 gold medals in the 5000m- I found myself rising off my chair for the last 400 metres, not because I thought I should but because there was an undeniable force lifting me up, making me stand to cheer on to the point of losing my voice and I could not do a thing about it. There was some presence wanting the legacy to start in that moment. Some legacy that said “Now Let’sPerform! “ Not just to me but all 80 thousand in that stadium>
The Valley Thursday, 6 September 2012


The Valley

Deep within the valley, when the valley is deep within

It is time to remember that the valley is where things grow,

Amidst the dark of foliage and the dank of misty dew

We soaked the water in, it was all we knew.


Up upon the valley slopes we dare not even glimpse

The thought of sliding back again, too much to bear

Up beyond the valley tops we cannot even see

That there above the valley, the eagles glide and tear

Through bright blue skies and look down upon us low.


The water though does feed us and brings us knowledge too

That all we ever needed was within us through and through.

We grow, we learn we lift our heads and drink some more

Then from nowhere, behold! A golden door


And through we walk our bodies, alighting of the stairs

The stairs that just a moment back were not even there.

There is more than one moment to climb the valley slopes

But this much I can show

You cannot climb a valley from the lofty tops you know

  You do not need the deepest valley to be at a valleys’ low

What you do need is the water to make your courage grow

Take heart and this remember as you climb those momentary stairs

Reach down and hold the hope out, if others only saw

If one, then why not many, their own and special door

To lift them high above their own deepest valley floor.


So do not fear the valley, nor the dark and covered view

There is always so much more above and so much more to do

When even lifting your head upwards is more than you can give

And all seems rather tiresome, shall I die or shall I live

Then just look round about the places which you are

Your door will soon be obvious, your stairs to climbing far

Above the valley floor now, ascending to your high.

Above the valley floor now, increasing warmth and dry


But please be sure to visit me I like it in the valley

I know how well to get here, without the toil and tarry

You do not have to stay long, do not have to dally

 In this green and wondrous place which is my valley

I can always show you exits- that is what I do

But do not think you can’t return and think that I won’t miss you

It is just that I have found my peace and wish to share it with you.


The valley is indeed a welcome and wondrous place

More wondrous because of your wondrous face

And all about and out of here there is so much more to see

Now that I have the secret and the door which needs no key

I come and go at leisure ‘cos that is what I choose

And this you can do also

 Choose to be at leisure and not on your valley floor.

Choose to be at peace with me and knock upon that door

Choose to be at one and take the valley in your stride

Choose to be at cause and bring me to your side


The valley is but all you thought and nothing like peace

Unless you know to handle it

So stay strong reach up and inspire

You never know who is with you or what they might aspire

To oneday



I am often asked....what is NLP, Why it is effective? Friday, 13 July 2012


It is effective because:
It’s focused, fast and at times Furious and infuriating at the same time depending where you are sat.

It is results oriented

It deals with the here and now, the past and the future in a combination which fuses time together It is unique to you: It uncovers beliefs and values, the harmful and the helpful

It allows you to see others for who they really are and who they really might be if you hadn’t prejudged them

It’s cathartic, forgiving and yet honest and direct, It’s brutally, to the point and wonderfully implying at the same time

Did I mention its effective, sports people use it, politicians use it, down and outs use it, businesses use it, government use it, lots more could do with using it

It’s adaptive, flexible and controllable when you start, once it leaves you, it’s adaptive flexible and out of your control

It’s nothing new, certainly nothing old, it is a little part of everything that works, it kicks out what doesn’t work and adapts for you what does

It is clear, directive, supremely enlightening and I love it 

It helps you deal with the everyday sh1t that will continue to happen in your life and when you’re competent with all it has to offer it will help you help others deal with the sh1t which will continue to happen in their lives, some of which, in business, you might have given them

 Oh! It’s humorous and I guarantee this, it will make you suddenly aware, that time is both your enemy and your friend, a kind of friendemy!

In business, it will help from start ups ( visioning) goal setting and planning sales and negotiation, meetings through to performance concerns, attendance issues, appraisals and picking up the pieces when things go wrong. It will change your perspective, your attitude, your beliefs and values and just when you think it cannot offer any more it will say,

 Now let’s progress!

It’s a mirror reflecting back a cacophony of thought with the tools to unpick them

It’s your memory, your thought and your strategy too. It is all the parts of everyone you interact with

It’s those you hate, those you admire, those you detest and those you inspire, it is part of you already (Please don’t even get me started on parts integration)

It is blunt, it makes you kind

It’s the kick up the *rse they’ve always needed

It’s the hand around the sholder you always thought you’d find.

It is scary, nightmareish and full of joy. It is gentle, daydream like…a new toy

Play with it, test it, share it ,use it with good intent and just when you think it cannot possible show you any more, it will say

Now let’s progress. NLP, where it ought to be, with you not against you, do with people not do to!

Now if you want to know specifics come and talk—I would say talk to frank but that has different images altogether.