(or alternatively…A Beginner’s Guide to NLP)
Mountains of material have been written about Neuro-Linguistic Programming or “NLP”; much of which has inadvertently created misunderstanding and cultivated myth. I’m frankly astonished at how many people know of it, yet really know nothing about it, all at the same time.
I suspect for some it’s simply a cool acronym to drop into conversation at the pub or in an interview in the hope of sounding interesting. Those that do so are however generally safe. In a majority of cases, nobody else involved wants to admit they are equally clueless. Thus, everyone nods along sagely, looking impressed but feeling none the wiser.
As you absorb this article, you’ll build enough knowledge to hold your own and perhaps even take the lead in such conversations. I suspect that for you however, it probably won’t stop there.
Like many, I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel a need to discover more; to really understand the concept, recognizing its potential to make your life easier and more successful. Whether you read it now or save it to read later at bedtime, you’ll probably find yourself re-reading this article a few times.
Maybe, just like me, you’ll experience a mounting curiosity to explore its potential for you. To seek out a way to make NLP a part of how you naturally operate.
Why should you care about NLP? How does it work and how might it be useful to you? Perhaps most intriguingly, is it really a way to subliminally influence or steer people’s thoughts, opinions and decisions…Jedi style?
Well, cool your jets and read on, for much to learn you still have.
As a formally qualified NLP Practitioner, I use NLP techniques daily in clinic as part of my Strategic Psychotherapy repertoire; helping clients achieve the personal changes they seek. If you think the possibilities with NLP sound impressive when used conversationally as described here, just imagine the amazing power it has when applied under hypnosis. The results I get using this combination are exponentially better.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. NLP is a powerful way to get the results you want in just about every part of your life. As fun and frivolous as the title of this article might seem, there’s actually a lot of truth to it.
In clinic, NLP is one of an array of techniques I apply to help and equip clients socially; to be more confident and successful in meeting and connecting with the opposite sex; to help them get along better with their partner or in-laws; even to get their kids to cheerfully do as they’re asked. To manage addictions, anxiety, fears and phobias, and even anger.
For the more career oriented, I apply and use NLP to help them achieve better success in their careers through performance enhancement, interpersonal relationships, conflict management, better focus, managing upwards and downwards, prioritisation, motivation, planning, goal setting, excelling in major presentations and “negotiating to win”.
Jedi mind tricks? Well, you could be forgiven for thinking so.
How Widespread Is NLP’s Use And How Successful Is It?
Spot quiz. Which of the following well known faces are advocates and regular users of NLP techniques?
That’s right…all of them.
What IS NLP?
NLP is firstly a way to know and understand yourself; how you think, feel and operate; a whole lot better. Importantly, it also allows you to better understand how others think, feel and operate…and therefore how to better connect with, relate to and yeseven influence their thoughts, feelings and decisions.
NLP starts with a sensory awareness of others; equipping you to read them better. It’s next a way of flexibly connecting with, appealing to and influencing others by “communicating on their wavelength”, while fostering rapport and trust with genuine integrity. It’s a way to help people see an alternative (ideally better) view of their reality, while guiding them towards the outcomes you seek.
According to Science Digest, “NLP could be the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communication to emerge since the sixties”. As you might therefore expect, to do the subject justice I’d need to go deep. This is a BLOG however; a mere primer to your curiosity; so I’ll resist that temptation.
Rather than delving into the deep physiological, neurological and psychological explanations that will have you asleep faster than counting sheep, let’s keep it simple. Think casual conversation or interview-level simple.
NLP is fundamentally the process of modelling the various aspects of human interaction. It’s based on four fundamental pillars:
1) Building rapport efficiently and effectively by reading, mirroring, pacing and leading the other person’s physical, visual and language patterns to fast track the establishment of trust and receptivity;
2) Turning on your sensory awareness of the other person’s spoken and unspoken signals, reactions and responses. By noticing such things as their patterns and preferences of communication, language cues, physiological responses and eye patterns, you can adjust the way you interact to more closely connect with and appeal to their perceptional and communicative frames;
3) Structuring and presenting your “process of communication” in “how we can”, goal or outcome-oriented terms, positioned from the perspective of “what’s in it for them”;
4) Maintaining your behavioral flexibility; noticing when the approach you’re attempting isn’t working and, after reading the other person, seamlessly adapting your approach to connect, communicate and influence in a way that works for them.
NLP further recommends certain verbal syntax and structure, tone, intonation and pace of delivery for best persuasive effect in a given situation. It advocates techniques such as asking correctly framed questions to allow the other person to arrive at the answer you seek. It examines the right physical signals to present in a given situation, including posture and physical attitude, head and hand gestures.
It is not only a set of guiding principles and techniques; it’s an attitude that operates both from within, as well as influencing how you project and present externally. It can enable you to remove self-imposed limits and achieve improved performance. It explores the relationship between how we think (Neuro), how we communicate both verbally and non-verbally (Linguistic) and our patterns of behavior and emotional states (Programming).
So…the next time you’re in one of those situations; such as when you’re negotiating a major contract or purchase, handling a prickly customer, you’re at emotional standoff with a family member or you’ve just been pulled over by the highway patrol and need to think fast, hopefully you’ll be better equipped to navigate through the process towards the outcome you desire …just the way the Jedi’s do it.
Paul Mullins is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Strategic Hypnotherapist and Certified NLP Practitioner based in Sydney Australia, and the founder of Targeted Hypnotherapy.
Check out his website: www.targetedhypnotherapy.com.au
Visit and Like his Targeted Hypnotherapy Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/principalclinician/
Watch his short video explaining what he does at https://wp.me/P9W95X-rq
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