by Luigi Odello

Interview with Luigi Odello, Professor of sensory analysis.
Self-hypnosis is an instrument that improves self-consciousness and helps to detect and use one’s own resources in the best possible way. However, being this a personal experience, we wanted to present the experience of a student of the Milton Erickson Institute of Turin, Prof. Luigi Odello, professor of Sensory Analysis in many Italian (Piacenza, Padua, Verona and Udine) and foreign (Sao Paulo, Brazil) Universities.
Prof. Odello, along with academic activity, holds many roles: he is president of the “Centro Studi Assaggiatori” of Brescia, the most advanced and complete sensory analysis unit in Italy, he is member of many boards of directors of Italian and foreign societies in the field of sensory analysis and technological advancement in food industry, he is director of the magazine “L’assaggio”, he is author of many books and occasionally writes on national newspapers.
Professor, it must be quite hard to manage all of your activities, this first question is therefore mandatory: How do you do it?
Actually I have the feeling that my activities are managing me. I am more and more convinced that my decisions are taken at an unconscious level, and, subsequently, the conscious mind rationalizes them and gives them meaning. Actually I am aware of following internal orders which do not respond to my practical needs of working a lot, but, instead, to my script.
I know that you often travel by plane for long routes: have you found at last the right weapon to overcome jet-lag?
I never suffered because of jet-lag, but the fact of being able to use self-hypnosis to isolate from the environment, to sleep when I want to (it is harder not to sleep when I’m tired), certainly offers me an important advantage. Being less dependent on the environment (meaning also not being bothered by noises or people talking, air conditioning and so on) greatly increases my personal freedom.
Indeed, it may often occur to you to speak in public, inside and outside universities. In such occasions, fatigue or lack of concentration can really become obstacles. How do you face them?
When I teach it isn’t difficult to get inside the character and being able to conduct good lessons even in critical conditions. At the end of August I got off the plane in Brazil at 5:00 am and at 8.30 I arrived at the university. I led an 8-hours class and then attended to a meeting during which I had to discuss delicate matters.
It is possible to face situations like these and to achieve good results if goals and strategies are clear, otherwise fatigue can play nasty tricks. Firstly, reducing tension is crucial, and to do that, Ericksonian Techniques do work.
And what about the relationships with your students? Did something change?
Certainly. I think I am now more empathic, less authoritative and thus I think I lead the group more serenely. Maybe I even entertain them more and by playing one can learn better.
Let’s go back to your passion: sensory analysis. Such discipline goes beyond the mere listing of organoleptic properties of a food or a drink. It is a true science that researches how and why a product, wether food or not, is appreciated by customers.
Behind every project, every analysis, there is therefore a lot of listening, al lot of attention to the individual. Has deepening the knowledge of Ericksonian techniques offered you food for thought?
I am convinced that Ericksonian methods will greatly help trained professionals to lead groups: we need sensitive people and people are sensitive if they are free of any worry.
We need motivated people and people are motivated if they achieve the goals they desire. Personally I plan on teaching in depth the application of self-hypnosis to those who lead assessment groups. Some experiences I have made were very effective. One occurred in critical conditions: the group rebelled to the proposal of testing the last series of samples.
I explained them the reasons why it was important to complete that last task and how everyone of them could recover resources by subliminally inviting them to a challenge with themselves. I concluded allowing everyone to decide wether accepting it or not. Of 27 people, just one refused. The other ones who were working with me, are still debating on how that could happen.