UK Royal Marines Personal Communication Course
I was approached by a Royal Marines officer to give training in communication skills to a group of his fellow officers. The unit was involved in information gathering and reporting directly to Royal Marine Command. Although I am sure they were already versed in advanced communication skills, reserved for officers and special units, my job was to teach them skills and techniques derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP™.
Part of the brief was for them to be able to communicate complex vital information, very precisely and briefly to very senior officers. However I suspect it might also have been to be able to negotiate in particularly difficult situations.
I devised an intensive part day programme which included
- Reframing how they thought about people they had to communicate with—more as fellow human beings, often with complementary roles and responsibilities, whether on their own side or another.
- Though they probably didn’t need them, I taught NLP confidence techniques based on visualisation, physiology and internal voice tone.
- Conscious detachment techniques for calmness, objectivity and greater clarity
- Effective communication language patterns to clarify meaning—known in NLP as the Meta Model.
- And recognising and using hypnotic language patterns, that we all use unwittingly every day, so that they could be immune to them and also (hopefully) use them for good—known in NLP as the Milton Model, after the famous American hypnotist Dr. Milton H. Erickson.
- How to more objectively see win-win situations.
- How to most effectively sense what is going on with another person.
- And based on this, how to deduce the best way to phrase things to them.
We recognise that the Marines of any country are among the elite in their forces, with the UK Royal Marines being among the most respected in the World. In fact, in the UK, if someone has something a bit far fetched, possibly false to say, we tell the person “Go tell it to The Marines!” In other words, they have seen and heard just about everything and are not easily fooled. However, this group of officers engaged very fully with all the material and seemed to get a lot of value from it.
UK Royal Marines, Viking amphibious craft boarding HMS Bulwark.
Wikimedia. Open Government licence OGL v1.0
Header picture: Royal Marines’ Rigid Raider exercise in Scotland. Wkimedia. Public domain.