Many leading businesses, including most of the Fortune 500 companies in the US, are already using NLP to enhance business relations, increase sales, negotiate deals and improve well-being for their personnel as it helps improve communication skills, stress management, personal development, leadership skills and negotiation skills.
Organizations are training their staff to learn NLP because it helps the individuals to have an increase in self-awareness, self-management, communication skills and interpersonal dealings (Yemm, 2006). It can also help to improve their emotional intelligence so the staff can maintain a good relationship between peers and customers (Yemm, 2006). (1)
So, WHAT IS NLP? Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is the study of our thinking, behavior, and language patterns so that we can build sets of strategies that that enables us to consistently achieve the results that we want for ourselves, for our businesses, and for our lives. It is a way of coding and reproducing excellence; a process of modeling the conscious and unconscious patterns that are unique to each of us in such a way that we are continuously moving toward a higher potential. (2)
Many of the techniques used in NLP provide a basis for persuasive and successful negotiation. Other areas of particular relevance to business are NLP's potential to improve rapport-building, goal-setting and achievement, innovative thinking and to provide a better understanding of the needs and motivations of customers. (3)
In a nutshell, NLP emphasizes how an individual’s brain connects with the world and how the connections influence behavior (Pulse, 2007). (1)
NLP consists of many different powerful sets of techniques to impact change and outcome. Some of the most frequently used techniques are reframing, anchoring, rapport, and pacing and leading (1) in addition to and pattern interruption and meta-modelling.
Reframing enables you to put the content of a situation in a different frame (Mills, 1999). For an instance, a statement of “the glass is half empty” that can be reframed as “the glass is half full”, thereby changing the perception of the recipient of this message (“NLP Tools for Effecive Management,” n.d.). Reframing is a very useful technique to be more effective in communication and to positively influence behavior and response of target recipient. (1)
The anchoring NLP method is essential for pulling up a certain emotion, or putting yourself in a particular state of mind. It can be used on yourself, or on another person. It works by associating an emotion with a physical action and is called laying the anchor. (4)
Anchoring technique is a process where it connects an internal response with some external trigger (Krugman et al., 1985). For instance, when you touch a person’s shoulder, the person will smile unconsciously. This technique is useful because it can immediately change how a person feels (Rich, 2010). (1)
For example, if you wanted to pull the emotion happiness, you would start by thinking about times you were euphoric. You want to tell the story of what happened that led up to this moment in your head. Think of how it felt and go into a lot of detail. Recall the moment and the feelings. Next, hold your left index and middle fingers in your right hands. You want to give them two squeezes. On the second squeeze, think of your happy moment and try to multiply the feeling. Once again describe how you feel, what you are thinking and press your fingers twice. As you press the second time, let the happy feeling double. Do this five times. Later on, you can use those motions to bring back that sense of happiness. If you were to do this to another person, you could use a simple touch of the arm to anchor them. (4)
Rapport technique is very important and easy skill to learn that allows an individual to get along easily with any kind of people by gaining their trust and confidence (Hayes, 2006). Rapport includes the mirroring process, which is the matching of body language, posture, breathing and tonality through following the person to create a harmonious environment (O’Connor & Seymour, 2002). However, the person needs to identify whether the recipient’s main sensory perception is visual, kinesthetic or auditory (Rich, 2010). Different sensory perception uses different types of rapport. For instance, when the recipient’s main sensory perception is auditory, the individual can use a statement such as “I hear you”; whereas, for visual types of audience, the individual can use phrases such as “my vision is clear” (Rich, 2010). (1)
Pacing and leading
Pacing works to build trust and support with others by showing understanding towards them (Hott, 2011). Effective pacing will therefore help to build understanding and it will enable the manager to lead and influence people. (1)
Pattern interruption is used to store words into the subconscious mind of a listener. This technique is another one that is great to combine with others. To do this, you must lure the listener's thoughts into a type of sequence or pattern. Once the model takes hold, you pull them out of the paradigm for a critical moment before completing the form. The listener’s subconscious mind will be anticipating the pattern to manifest while the conscious mind is currently distracted. (4)
The meta model NLP technique is used to help you understand other people’s problems. It can also be used to help you help others understand their problems better. The goal is to deconstruct the conversation, to help you find the cause of the problem, as well as a solution to that problem. (4)
The NLP meta model provides a conversational framework for knowing which questions to ask (and why). Questions are a way for you to clarify what other people are saying. If you have ever tried convincing someone of your point by arguing, you would know it doesn’t usually work very well and often creates resentment between the people involved. One of the best way to break through this kind of resistance is by asking questions. Clarifying questions are very persuasive because people delete, generalize & distort information in order to create their beliefs, values & ideas. (5)
Mastering NLP on a personal level can help improve communication skills, stress management, personal development, leadership skills and negotiation skills.
On the other hand, applying NLP in an organization will lead the staff to higher working enthusiasm; higher points of capability at all levels of the organization, higher consumer satisfaction and strong positive corporate culture in the firm (Patrick, 2005). Ultimately, this will achieve the organization’s objectives and goals that is mainly getting customers and gaining profit. (1)