NLP….Buzzword or highly effective technique? David Snyder comments

I always like to begin with a clear definition of terms. What is NLP? What is Neuro-linguistic programming?

David Snyder: NLP is the study of the structure of subjective human experience. In other words, it’s the study of how human beings create meaning in their own minds, and in their own neurologies, and how they use that to navigate the universe inside of themselves and outside.

If you were to ask Richard Bandler the founder of NLP he would say:

“NLP is the study of superior thinking” – Richard Bandler

NLP is about how human beings create their map of the world both internally and externally, how they relate to it, how it controls and dominates their way of expressing themselves, and how that language or map is expressed through their spoken language, and how it can be influenced through spoken language. Because language is the medium by which all of our internal experiences are transmitted.

When it comes to influence and persuasion I think the first thing you need with anyone is rapport. If you don’t have rapport, people won’t listen to you, you won’t influence or persuade them, and you certainly won’t lead them. How would you go about using NLP to build rapport with someone?

David Snyder: Well, first and foremost, I’d like to give you a little bit of a distinction there, because state control has to come before rapport.

State control is the ability to enter or exit or link together within yourself, any sequence of psychoemotional states at will on demand. Now, the reason for that is that if you learn the rapport techniques that NLP has to teach you, but you do not have control of your state, you are going to be at the mercy of whatever rapport that you get. So if you’ve ever gotten rapport with somebody who’s in a bad mood or feeling sick, did you suddenly feel all energetic and sprightly?


So one of the things that we need to understand is that as human beings our spoken language is tertiary to everything else.

If you are not in the right state, it does not matter how much NLP you know, you will not be able to get rapport.

How to get rapport with people

To get rapport with people, many times you must match the psychoemotional state that they’re in, and NLP will give you mechanical techniques for doing that:

  • Matching their breathing patterns
  • Matching their blink rate
  • Using the verbs they use
  • Using the tonalities they use
  • Using the postures they use

Anytime you can take your physiology and make it match or reflect the person you’re seeking to get rapport with you’ll get it.

Rapport is actually something that can’t not happen as long as you have proximity to the other person. It’s just that the techniques of NLP will allow you to accelerate the process and get into the frequency of the other person faster.

Classical NLP is going to teach you to take on as many of the characteristics of the person that you’re seeking to influence as possible, to mimic them, for lack of a better word, and then every now and then just make a different movement or change something and see if they follow you. They call that pacing and leading. Pacing means to become like something in this context.

We have to look at pacing from two places.

  1. To become as much like someone or something as possible. That is the key to rapport.
  2. To talk about things that are true in their experience

How to get rapport with someone in a negative state

If you want to build rapport with someone, but let’s say they’re in a negative state, but for some reason you just want that rapport, maybe they’re a hiring manager for a job, or a hot girl you like who’s just in a bad mood. You don’t necessarily want to take on that person’s negative state, but you do want to have rapport and to influence them and maybe lead them. How do you then go about having rapport? Do you need to buy into their worldview or not?

David Snyder: Well it helps at least for a moment to match their state, because human beings have an interesting phenomena called mirror neurons and they have this desire for connection. They have a desire for alliance.

You’ve heard the saying “Misery loves company

How to change someone’s state

If you walk up to someone you have two choices for how to get them out of the state they’re in:

You can either interrupt it completely, and depending on the context and the environment that may be the most useful thing to do, however most people don’t have the kahunas to interrupt another person’s state. But if you have good state control, you can go in and match their state, match their physiology, and then change your state and they will follow you because the fastest way to change anybody state is to change your own.

But sometimes if you come in at too high an energy level, the difference between your frequency and their frequency will make you bounce off each other.

But if your energy level is just a little bit higher than theirs and you come in just a little bit faster than their state, then you can bring it down and raise their energy up.

Some states are too deep to interrupt, but generally speaking if you match their state, match their physiology, connect with them, and echo their words back to them, it will cause them to cleave to you.

The moment someone senses a connection with you, that you’re on the same wavelength, that you’re like them, that is something they don’t want to give up because they’ve been validated, and they’ve gotten the okay signal that things are right with them, that you approve of them in some unconscious, unspoken way, and they will follow you to keep it.

“The most important words that any human being can hear at any given moment are the words that just came out of their mouth” – David Snyder


Let’s talk about framing, and let’s first define it. What is a frame?

David Snyder: A frame is a point of view or a perspective that determines the meaning of a behavior or an interaction or a situation.

I was rereading a very old book on attraction the other day, The Mystery Method, it’s a really good read on overall social dynamics. You can take everything he’s put in that book and apply it to any form of interaction.

In the book someone says:

“He got off”

Well, that’s a very ambiguous statement until we wrap a context around it.

What does “He got off” mean?

He was arrested?

He was sitting on something and he got off?

He had an orgasm?

It’s the context that determines the meaning.

And the interesting thing about contexts is that they’re infinitely malleable. You can change the context, and the person that can control the context controls the meanings of the interaction, and the behaviors generated from those meanings.

I teach my students that the person who holds the frame longest and strongest wins. So if I can adopt a point of view and hold it through state control, I can cause another person to give up their view of reality and buy into mine in spite of themselves.

“He who controls the frame, controls the game”

How to know what frame to adopt

How do you go about identifying what frame to take on? How do you know whether to take on the frame of a subordinate or an equal or a leader?

David Snyder: What’s my outcome? The first thing I need to do is figure out my outcome.

Then I ask myself:

“Who does this person need to be to take the actions I want them to take?”

“What states do they have to have for them to want to take those actions?”

Because it’s almost always going to come down to what’s in it for them, right?

So who I need to be in any given interaction is predicated on my ability to acquire information about the subject.

“The most powerful way to get someone to do something they just told you they don’t want to do, is to have them generate their own reasons for doing it” – David Snyder