NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who believed that the thoughts and behaviors of successful people could be taught to others. Neuro-linguistic programming is a means of changing the thoughts or behaviors of an individual to help them achieve a desired outcome. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is based on the idea that people use internal “maps” to navigate the world. However, these maps are often constrained by certain limitations or unconscious biases that are unique to every individual.
Understanding neuro-linguistic programming
It is comprised of three parts:
- Communication and interaction of mind and body (“neuro“).
- Use of verbal and non-verbal communication (“linguistic“).
- How people conduct activities either mindfully or automatically (programming).
Although NLP can be hard to define, many consider it an instructional manual for the mind. NLP helps individuals become more powerful communicators. It enables them to influence their own thoughts and feelings in addition to the thoughts and feelings of others in a predictable fashion.
Neuro-linguistic programming in business
In business, neuro-linguistic programming is beneficial in a variety of scenarios:
- Effective staff communication across individuals or various departments. Neuro-linguistic programming is associated with emotional intelligence, or the ability to use and manage one’s own emotions to communicate and empathize with others.
- Strengthening sales negotiation and persuasion skills. Successful negotiation is a structured process that is well suited to NLP principles. Fundamentally, negotiators must be able to recognize the emotional state of the client and shift them toward a state where they are likely to accept a proposal. They must also be hyper-aware of their own emotions and how they portray themselves.
- Delivering convincing presentations. Presenters who use NLP skills can read the emotional state of the audience through body language and adjust accordingly. The presenters themselves can also use NLP techniques to reduce the stress associated with public speaking.
- Leadership. Effective leaders are better attuned to the needs of their staff. They understand that their choice of words and body language have very real impacts on employee happiness, motivation, and morale. They can also motivate others toward a shared vision by overcoming resistance and obstacles.
How does neuro-linguistic programming work?
Modeling, action, and effective communication are core components of NLP. Those who practice the method must analyze and understand a range of situational perspectives through the mind, body, and senses.
In other words, NLP is an experiential approach. If an individual wants to understand an action, they must perform that action to learn from the experience. Only then can the process be intimated and communicated (modeled) to others.
To better understand how others navigate the world, NLP practitioners can use the six logical levels of learning, communication, and change. It is a model that the practitioner can run in the background while communicating with another individual, group, or organization.
The six levels include:
- Purpose and spirituality – for whom or what purpose is the change for?
- Identity – would the change reflect the person one perceives themselves to be?
- Beliefs and values – do personal beliefs or values hinder or support the change?
- Capabilities and skills – how might the change be implemented?
- Behaviors – what needs to change? Behaviors encompass specific actions.
- Environment – or the arena where change will take place. Here, change is reliant on interaction with people and places.
- Neuro-linguistic programming is an approach to communication and personal development that analyzes the behavior of successful people.
- In business, neuro-linguistic programming can be used to strengthen leadership and presentation skills. It can also be used to increase emotional intelligence, which has important implications for sales negotiation and staff communication.
- Modeling, action, and communication are core components of neuro-linguistic programming. For an individual to incorporate an action, they must first experience it through imitation and then successfully model it to others.
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