From: L. Michael Hall
January 16, 2024


We have just completed the 2024 NLP Leadership Summit held in Santa Cruz, California. This was the first time we held it in the USA, every other time was in London England and in Alicante Spain. While we had 84 in attendance in 2020 prior to the Pandemic, we had a smaller group of 41 this time, leaders from 15 or more countries (Greece, Netherlands, France, Germany, UK, Mexico, Spain, USA, Brazil, Australia, Austria, Canada, Egypt, Columbia, Switzerland). Many in England and in Europe did not make the jump across the pond, but we had many more from the Americas this time.

Just as national leaders come together from time to time in a Summit to talk about mutual interests or mutual problems to address, so the leaders from many NLP communities come together in similar to have a conversation about the state of affairs and if we can do anything together. Now the goal of the Summit is very simple: we come together to associate with each other. It is not an Association, but an associating. The Summit has no official status or organization, it is essentially an event that occurs from time to time. And what we have found in the 2-hour Summits in London and the 2 to 3 days Summits in Alicante is that “Yes indeed, there are things we can do together.”

Amazing isn’t it? We have learned that we can collaborate if only we will have the conversations. Conversely, without the conversation, we remain isolated and separated. Then it it is so much more likely that we mis-read each other’s intentions and motivations, and not know each other as persons, only through limited exposure and the gossip that gets around the community. How different to be with someone for 3 days! And especially when there is a guided conversation that enables us to speak about the things we really care about.

That was the purpose of calling Leaders together in a colloquium—“a guided conversation.” So instead of a Conference, instead of a Training, instead of a Retreat, we gather to encounter each other and our shared visions and values. If we had a conference, we would want to have “Speakers”and “Presenters” then there would be the issue of, “Who gets to be on stage?” But with Summit as a colloquium—we are all equals, we are all colleagues, and so there is no one “in charge.” There are only roles. The guided questions we used this time were:
∙ What are you doing as a leader in NLP that’s leading the minds and hearts of people into NLP?
∙ What do you consider essential (or foundational) in NLP that we need to hold on to as we envision the future?
∙ How can we mentor the next generation of leaders so NLP is not over-simplified or watered-down and lose its distinctiveness?
∙ How can we maintain the experiential nature of NLP in this age of zoom?

The role that I took from the beginning, and the role that Heidi and I are now taking, is not to be the speaker or presenter. It is the role of helping/ facilitating everyone to have a voice. Ours is just the organizing of the details so as to make the Summit of Leaders to be as smooth an event as possible. And so we facilitate the others to speak and to be heard. There are other roles—especially leading a committee or being a part of a committee.

This was the 4th extended Summit. Previously we met in Alicante Spain for 2 or 3 days in 2016, 2018, and 2020. And since the beginning we have created a website— and have come to an agreement about what NLP is, its values, ethics, etc. As of today more than150 leaders in the field with more than 15 years experience as a leader have become participants in the Summit. There are also people from 15 NLP Associations. This year in Santa Cruz we experienced a once in a lifetime experience as Robert Dilts and Judith DeLozier took us on a trip down memory lane. In a caravan of eight cars, Robert and Judith shared memories as they pointed out places where significant events occurred. They took us up to the Colleges of the University of California, Santa Cruz, to Stevenson College and Kresge College.

Slowly but surely we are coming together, building more trust and respect for each other so that we have more of a unified voice. And this unified voice will allows us to speak with more authority to those who are degrading NLP, cheapening it, and contaminating it and making it less professional. Since the beginning we have created numerous ad hoc committees and several permanent committees—an ethics committee, standards, media response committee, global body, mentoring, health and aging, marginalized communities, trauma, etc.

Worldwide there are many NLP communities, most are National Associations. Some are associations around a particular model or process— Lab Profile group (meta-programs), Mental Imagery group, etc. Via the Summit, we can stay more in touch with what’s going on, who is doing what, and where we since the future developments of NLP.

From the Neuro-Semantic community, we have eight trainers present: Pascal Gambardella, Omar Salom, Mohamed Tarek, Maira Larangeira, Geraldine Hall, Jason Schneider, Francisco Dallmeier, and myself. We have tentatively planned for the next Summit for January 9-11, 2026 and with it possibly being in France or Crete. This will be determined by the Summit participants later this year.