NLP in Perspective
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) was co-developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s and is now a familiar technique used worldwide. NLP recognises the ways that our thoughts and feelings (neuro), combined with our use of language (linguistic) affect our behaviour (programming).
It encourages positive thinking and action and can be used as a powerful tool for change.
1. NLP ISN’T MAGIC!
NLP isn’t magic or a bag of clever tricks, though yes, its impact is amazing. But you needn’t get caught up in the NLP ‘movement’. At the end of the day, NLP is just a formula for explaining how humans process information and act in order to achieve results – whether good or bad. I use NLP a lot in my work, but never label it as such – it’s not necessary. After all there are millions of happy, successful people in the world who have never heard of NLP, and their information and processing of the world is already quite effective.
2. LANGUAGE AFFECTS RESULTS
The words we use are so important. For instance when I tell a room of people to “Try to be here by 6am tomorrow” instead of telling them, “You must be here by 6am tomorrow” the number of people turning up early is likely to reduce. When I use the work “Try”, most people won’t process the language and store is away in their brain with enough of a priority to understand they must be there for 6am.
3. GET SPECIFIC
Always make sure you understand exactly what people mean when they use words. For instance, if somebody says a team member is ‘unreliable’, you won’t know exactly what that means unless you know exactly what ‘unreliable’ means to the person who said it, in that context. You may apply very differently criteria for labelling someone as reliable compared to them. The solution is quite simply to ask! For instance: “What causes you to say they are unreliable” Or “In what ways do you find them unreliable?”.
4. WHO IS MOTIVATED “AWAY FROM”, AND WHO IS MOTIVATED “TOWARDS”?
Listen carefully to see whether people are talking about getting ‘away from’ something that isn’t working well for them, or are going ‘towards’ the good outcome they are looking for. If you echo their style of language, you will get much better results. For example: one person may want to book a holiday to ‘get away from’ stress at work; another may want to ‘go to enjoy’ a new experience.
5. FIND OUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE IN A GIVEN SITUATUION AND USE IT
I recently asked two clients independently what was the most important thing to them in life. The first said ‘knowledge’, the second said ‘wealth and making money’. If I wanted to market a seminar that would appeal to both of them, I know that the first person will respond to phrases such as, ‘you will learn’ and how much more you will know, by attending my seminar; the second will respond to ‘how much more money you could make’ by attending. We get much better results if we appeal directly to what is most important to people.
6. FOCUS ON HOW YOU COULD, NOT WHY YOU CAN’T
The best solutions come when we focus on how we can do something instead of why we can’t. if we allow our brain the chance to take part in our success, by asking ourselves the right questions, in the right mindset, then amazing ideas can begin to flow.
7. “CAN’T” IS USUALLY “WON’T”
Be aware that when you or other people say the ‘can’t’ do something, in 99% of cases it’s not that they can’t, it’s that they ‘wont, because…’. This is a major point of realisation. Learning only happens, and progress only occurs, when we become aware that ‘I can’t’ is a decision not to do something. When you say ‘I can’t’ you tell yourself you have never been able to do it or will.
8. ‘YET’ IS A POWERFUL WORD
If things aren’t working out, simply adding ‘yet’ to the end of a sentence can transform your mindset. For instance, consider the impact of ‘I’m not getting an customers to say yes to me’, versus ‘I’m not getting any customers to say yes to me yet. The ‘yet’ tells your brain “you will one day”, so it keeps looking for a solution and hole is not lost.
9. STOP WANTING, START HAVING
Most of us only consciously notice things we actually have or are relevant to use, and don’t notice consciously the things we say we want. But it is possible to play a trick on the mind and start thinking about the things we want as if we already have them! Why? Well, have you ever had the experience of looking for a particular make of car (or book, or jacket, or breed of do) and not being able to find one anywhere? And then, once you eventually get one, you see them everywhere? What changed? Only the fact that you’ve gone from wanting to having, and your brain is doing a new pattern match. By applying this principle to other things you would like to have in your life, your brain will start to think as if you already have them – and encourage you to alter your behaviour so that you are more likely to achieve those rewards or outcomes.
10. AVOID THE ‘TRY’ WORD
“Trying’ isn’t doing”. Avoid using the Try word as much as possible. “Trying” holds us back from achieving success because it implies potential failure. Picking up a ball is an action of putting my hand down and picking the ball up in the air. Not picking up a ball is an action of just looking at it sitting on the table. SO what can trying to pick up the ball be? It’s like intention without action. Mark Rhodes