What is NLP?

Achieve excellence with NLP [1]

Each day you will interact with people by what you say, by what you do and by your body language, even if this is only in a facial reaction or smile. The contact may be face to face, on the telephone or over email. The interaction influences how you feel, how you may react to a certain situation and the effect you may have on others. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (‘NLP’) provides the tools and techniques to help you at home and in the work place to:

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Act consistently with congruence and integrity
  • Motivate yourself and others
  • See solutions rather than problems
  • Create actions to make a real difference

The tools will help you understand how you and other people work, and provide you with skills to help achieve excellence in your personal and professional life.

What is NLP?

NLP is described as the study of human excellence and demonstrates how to communicate effectively and influence others. It was developed in the 1970s by a group of psychologists who were studying successful people. Since then NLP has been developed further, providing a much greater understanding of thought processes, language patterns and human behaviour. It is now a widely used, main
stream approach to achieving deeply positive, transformational change for individuals and organisations. It offers a process to help interpret human experiences, and to understand how people think, feel and react.

  • Neuro – relates to the brain and what happens in the mind
  • Linguistic – relates to language and how you may use it
  • Programming – relates to patterns of behaviour

Who is NLP for?

NLP can be used at a personal development level and throughout the workplace, whether you work for a small organisation or a government
department. The skills are useful in communication, managing teams, project management, dealing with challenging situations and on any occasion when your work involves interacting with people. NLP can be used during all stages of
life. The tools will help you can in-depth understanding of behaviour patternscand how you and individuals may respond in a variety of situations, and they will help you work more efficiently and effectively.

How NLP can help?

In the work place the challenges are numerous and varied. For example
here are some challenges and how you could incorporate NLP:

  • Communicating, for example learning to create rapport with others;
  • Setting clear outcomes and achievement, for example visualising success, modelling
    excellence, project management and effective planning and managing time;
  • Maintaining an internal state which is deeply congruent with your values
  • Dealing with change, for example flexibility and sensitivity, being aware of different perspectives
    and bringing a values based, ethical approach of respect and tolerance to all
    that we do.

The key principles of NLP

  • Rapport – rapport with yourself – feeling at ease with your actions and your life journey; building rapport in conversations and in interactions with others; body language and the speed or pace of communication; creating an understanding of situations from the other person’s perspective;
  • Outcomes – focusing on the outcomes you want; your intention, your goals in business and your personal life;
  • Senses – actively using all your senses: vision and sight, hearing and sound, feelings and touch, smell and aroma and taste
  • Sensitivity and flexibility – being sensitive and flexible in your approach to situations, to create new perspective; Understanding why others may interpret situations in a differently
  • Respect – being tuned into yourself and others to bring respect, sensitivity and kindness into all that we do, tolerance of differences and appreciation for diversity.

Why it works

NLP helps you to unravel and interpret situations and to clarify your feelings and thoughts. It provides building blocks to move forward proactively and positively. Initially we need to understand how patterns of thoughts and behaviour are created and how we develop habits and mental programmes over time. We can then consider ways to configure our minds and create new neurological pathways to achieve the outcomes we really aspire to.

You store information in your mind based on your experiences and senses. The information is associated with certain people, places and situations and may be positive or negative. Understanding how to use the positive experiences to develop a resource bank is important, as is dealing with the negative situations in order to stop repeating old habits.

Transformational NLP techniques – some examples (and there are many others…)

Modelling – modelling excellence involves finding out how someone does something well and replicating that excellence.  For example, in sport, you may model how a tennis player holds his racquet for maximum impact, or in the work place you may model how a very organised person does their pre-meeting planning, how an excellent presenter manages to create an inspiring presentation or how a supervisor manages to consistently motivate his/her staff and build a culture of openness and respect.

Standing in other people’s
– this technique helps you provide a different perspective on challenging situations at the work place or personally. It involves being able to experience the situation or event in a different way, literally as if you were standing in someone else’s shoes and involves experiencing a situation from your perspective, from another person’s perspective and from a ‘fly on the wall’ 3rd position perspective to identify the greater learning opportunity for yourself.

Beliefs of excellence – underpinning NLP is a series of presuppositions which we all develop during our lives based on
practical experiences. When you are consciously aware of the beliefs you hold, you can decide if you believe they are true or not, and how they may help you, or limit you with a particular situation. Some examples include:

  • My mental map of the world is different to yours (hence encouraging respect for and tolerance of other people’s views)
  • You have within you all the resources you need to achieve what you want
  • There is no failure, only feedback, every experience is a learning opportunity
  • There is a solution to every problem
  • Ubuntu – orienting your actions in a way that is inspired by this African belief that ‘I am because we are’
  • Developing a genuine curiosity for others and all situations increases your options, flexibility and possibilities for success.

How you think – the thoughts
within your brain determine your reaction to situations and how you may communicate with someone or interpret a particular event. Rewiring your thinking is a valuable tool to help create new pathways and new habits. For example:

  • Gaining a new perspective
  • Trying something new
  • Exchanging limiting thoughts with enabling thoughts
  • Altering old habits
  • Developing new approaches to situations

Language patterns – what you say and how you say it affects yourself and other people. Style of language often occurs unconsciously and communication can be much more impactful and influential if language is thoughtfully used. Identifying language patterns in others is an excellent tool that increases your ability to create rapport with them and develop congruent thinking.

Logical levels of change – these identify specific categories of information used during communication and include the environment, behaviour, capabilities, beliefs and values, identify and purpose. This tool can help you clarify how you perceive a situation, highlight at what level work needs to be done to achieve change and identify where a problem may come from to help find a solution to move forward. Logical levels can be used in a variety of work situations to help create change:

Circles of excellence – a powerful way of mentally rehearsing a future situation. It helps you to access resources you will need and to imagine stepping into the experience before it occurs.

Anchoring – an anchor is a stimulus (e.g. putting your first two fingers together) which reminds you of events and can create a
positive state. You can create a more resourceful state by triggering anchors in your mind and body. You can also create positive anchors for a future situation which is causing your concern.

The Time Line process – a Time Line shows how a person organises time. This technique can be used for creating goals,
accessing positive resources from your past and creating a set of future outcomes that you can experience in advance to proactively release your hidden potential.

Feedback and appreciation – learning to give and receive feedback is at the heart of positive transformational change for
yourself and others. By focusing on what you notice and using specific language patterns you create a new dimension in your rapport with others and your effectiveness in learning positive change processes for the people you live and work with.

Please contact Charles Ainslie, charles@thetrustconnection.co.za or on his mobile, +27(0) 791 611 061 for further information.

[1] ‘NLP Pocketbook’ – Gillian Burn