Everybody is talking about it. Everybody knows it's highly effective if you want new and better results or changes in your private and professional life: NLP. However, when asked to explain what it actually is, you'll find that different people will give you different answers.
Don't be surprised since pinning it down to one single definition is tricky. Even explainations given by leading experts in this field vary from “. . . whatever works" (Robert Dilts) to ". . . an attitude and a methodology, which leaves behind a trail of techniques" (Richard Bandler).
However, almost every definition has some points in common or is at least based on common experiences. The following will give you an overview and handy insight into this powerful tool and mindset used by many outstanding performers in sports, business, finances, arts, culture, education and sciences to achieve their excellent results. Let's get started:
What is NLP?
The abbreviation stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. Many people refer to it as the “study of excellence", since it delivers answers to the question "How do outstanding individuals and organisations achieve their outstanding results?" by understanding how people - in particular top performers - think, behave and change.
"Patterns of excellence" that these individuals or even entire organisations have in common are identified and tools and techniques established to teach these patterns to others so they can get the same outstanding results. In a nutshell, we're talking about a set of models, skills and techniques that enable us to think and act successfully in our everyday life.
What does it do?
Basically it explores the relationships between
1. Our nervous system, through which we take in and process information via our five senses (Neuro):
- Visual - seeing
- Kinaesthetic - feeling
- Olfactory - smelling
- Gustatory - tasting
2. our language system, through which we communicate (verbally and non-verbally) with others and ourselves (Linguistic) and
3. our patterns of behaviour and emotion that we use to achieve our specific and desired outcomes (Programming).
By studying and learning from these relationships, we will find out how to effectively change the way we think, act and speak to achieve better results.
When was it created?
It all started in the 1970's with John Grinder, Linguistic Professor at The University of California, Santa Cruz, and Richard Bandler, a graduate student of mathematics and Gestalt therapy.
They began modelling and duplicating the “magical results" of a few top communicators and therapists. Some of the first people they studied included Hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, Gestalt therapist Fritz Perls and family therapist Virgina Satir. Since then, many others have contributed to the growth and development of the field.
Why do many Top Performers use these techniques?
They are a powerful change management tool. That's why NLP is one of the most effective and popular skills used to improve achievements and performance, sales and interpersonal skills in business management, psychology, sports, career coaching and all forms of personal development
Since presentation skills and public speaking are an integral part of corporate life today, top performers, use these techniques, such as analysing language patterns and goal setting, since they guarantee proven results and offer a creative approach to increasing success and well-being.
When do Top Performers use them?
Successful Managers and Entrepreneurs, for example, use them to:
- develop strong teamwork and relationships
- foster positive interpersonal skills
- create solution-oriented, win-win approaches in negotiations and problem solving sessions.
Successful Salespeople will apply them to:
- build deep levels of rapport
- find out and satisfy the criteria and values of clients
- develop effective methods for handling buyer's objections
- develop a long-term sales relationship.
Successful Trainers and Educators put them in place to:
- create new paradigms for inspiring and engaging students
- develop effective techniques for dealing with changing learning environments
- develop rapport with students and keep up motivation throughout the training
How can I learn it?
There are many institutions, organisation or private coaches offering training in NLP skills. However, research them well and find an organisation or coach with thorough expertise you can trust. If that's the case you'll, too, discover the secret to your success quickly.
Claudia Raab is an internationally experienced journalist, communications professional and as director of Raab & Raab Performance Consulting http://www.raabconsulting.com a passionate educator in the area of personal development and leadership skills with a strong focus on effective communication. She has worked with corporate clients for many years and enjoys helping her clients to look, feel and sound as if public speaking or presenting in front of a group is their second nature - even if it's not.
Claudia holds an MA in Communication Sciences and Journalism, is a Practitioner of Neurolinguisitc Programming (NLP) (INLPTA), a Certified Hypnotherapist (ABH) and member of the Australian Institute of Management.