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NLP is a large subject, and for a beginner there is no obvious starting point. Also, people come at NLP with different goals - some people want to improve themselves, others want to learn to work with other people, and some want to just solve a particular problem.
The purpose of this article is to arrange the articles on PlanetNLP.com into a free NLP course that you can use to structure your NLP learning.
Many people become frustrated trying to use NLP on themselves because they struggle to become conscious of there internal processes, and if you can't comprehend your own mental constructs you have little chance changing yourself or building the skills to work with others.
The foundations you really need to lay are around understanding your own mental processes and internal submodalities which are the basis of many NLP exercises you can use on yourself and with others.
Once you have got the hang of these, then move onto the NLP exercises and experiment with any that seem interesting. Perhaps you're interested in timelines, or maybe you have a specific issue you want to deal with, such as a phobia or compulsion. All of these exercises can be used with other people and the more you work with them, the easier it will be for you to use NLP in a more freeform manner. Playing with these exercises is a great way to develop and deepen your understanding of NLP and your own mind so don't skimp here. Spend time and have fun.
Once you have got the hang of working with your own mind you can move onto working with others. It's one thing being able to talk someone through the various NLP exercises I have provided, but the NLP techniques on this site provide many of the skills you need to work with people in a more fluid and more hypnotic manner.
A good place to start is to develop your Sensory Acuity through learning skills such as eye accessing You can begin to develop these skills when you run through the described NLP exercises by simply watching what your client does in response to your instructions. It should be obvious if the client is doing as you expect. For instance if you ask someone to remember a time when they were happy then you would expect them to look upwards. You should be able to get a good idea of how their timeline runs too.
Certain exercises, such as the confidence building exercises, need other skills if you're planning to work with others. You need to be able to anchor strong states, and doing this when running through the exercises yourself is one thing, but it's a whole new level working with someone else. You'll need to develop your rapport and anchoring skills to use these kinds of skills.
The great thing about learning language skills once you are already able to use the NLP exercises with clients is that you can use the language patterns within the exercises and practice them over time rather than learning them all and trying to hypnotize someone. The exercises give you a structure and methodology to your work that allow you to add more skills and techniques over time.
Once you're using the language patterns fairly easily then you may wish to try a more formal hypnosis session. There is plenty of information on HypnoticPlanet.com about developing these skills further and some example scripts if that is something you want to get into, though many people find script based hypnosis rather dull once they've got some experience using language patterns on the fly.
As you continue to practice working with others you may find the standard exercises become boring, but you have developed the basic skills so maybe it's time to play a little. How about modeling a skill someone you admire has and then installing it in someone else? The articles on NLP Modeling and Motivation Strategy Installation cover this skill.
There are many more areas of NLP to explore - Modeling is a huge area once you start delving into it. Then there are techniques such as Deep Trance Identification and Kinesthetic Lead, and related subjects such as Richard Bandlers' NHR and DHE.
Hopefully this free NLP course will help guide your learning. The key with NLP is to keep practicing - and remember, you can learn something from every client.