The Learning Trust (TLT) has been running Neuro-Linguistic Programming workshops and courses for its grantees for several years. Charles Ainslie, former director of TLT, together with Christine Downton, the TLT chair and founder, are now setting up a trust to run these types of programmes in order to strengthen the nonprofit space, and provide opportunities for personal development and growth. Dawn Wilson and Alonzo Naude attended a recent week-long NLP workshop organised by the new trust, and the following was Dawn’s response.


Mignon invited Alonzo and I to attend a NLP training workshop from 8 to 12 April 2019. She had previously attended a course and felt that we would benefit by it. We happily accepted and went along not knowing what it was about, bar the fact that it had something to do with the brain and language.

The venue was Zeekoevlei Yacht Club and what a beautiful and serene place it was. Just perfect for the reflection and discussion needed.

NLP is described as the study of human excellence and demonstrates how to communicate effectively and influence others. It was developed in the 1970s by a group of psychologists who were studying successful people. Since then it has developed further, providing a much greater understanding of thought processes, language patterns and human behaviour. It is now a widely used, main-stream approach to achieving deeply positive, transformational change for individuals and organisations. It offers a process to help interpret human experiences, and to understand how people think, feel and react.
– Neuro – relates to the brain and what happens in the mind
– Linguistic – relates to language and how you may use it
– Programming – relates to patterns of behaviour which you learn and repeat

The key principles of NLP are:
– Rapport – rapport with yourself – feeling at ease with your actions and your life journey; building rapport in conversations and in interactions with others; body language and the speed or pace of communication, creating an understanding of situations from the other person’s perspective;
– Outcomes – focusing on the outcomes you want, your intention, your goals and your personal life;
– Senses – actively using all your senses; vision and sight, hearing and sound, feelings and touch, smell and taste
– Flexibility – being flexible in your approach to situations, to create new perspectives; understanding why many interpret situations in a different way to other people
– Respect – being tuned into yourself and others to bring respect, sensitivity and kindness into all that we do, tolerance of differences and appreciation for diversity

Throughout the week we interacted with our peers on these principles. This is the first workshop that I have ever attended where I did not once have to write notes. The training was very interactive and communication was key. It was immensely powerful and meaningful. Having earlier attended workshops on non-violent communication and values, this workshop proved to be the cherry on the top of the cake as it brought all our learnings together.

Alonzo said: “It was one of the best workshops I’ve ever attended. The venue was beautiful and peaceful. It was a fun group to work with, everyone was friendly and I made new friends for life. Tristan was a great facilitator and I just wish it could’ve been a bit longer because I learnt so much.”

Thanks to Tristan, Charles and Christine for bringing this training to us and to Mignon for suggesting that we attend.