All communication – interpersonal (with others) and intrapersonal (with you) starts with you. With NLP you can understand others to be able to adapt to them, respect their model of the world and better influence a positive outcome; but the most important person to understand is yourself.
With NLP you are able to better understand yourself and what your triggers are. Triggers might be anchors that trigger a positive or negative response.
We filter information through our five senses and our various programs including our history, beliefs, values, memories and other unconscious filters. Everything we do and every emotion we have has some sort of neurological reason for it – we see, hear or feel something and it automatically releases a chemical or hormone and we react depending on that.
Most of us go through life thinking “well, this is just how I am” – whether that be optimistic, anxious, positive, depressed, outgoing, slow or anything else. But – it’s not ‘just how you are’ – it’s how you’ve been programmed. Your Model of the World is based on the foundations of your programming. NLP will help you to understand what programs are running. And, of those programs, what programs are working, not working, outdated, redundant or broken.
When we are communicating with others, we often react unconsciously due to what has been said or done or even how someone looks at us. These unconscious reactions are anchors and our behaviour is a direct reaction due to these anchors. When you can better understand yourself and the triggers in your life, you can communicate better because of this.
For example, if I know that conflict causes me to retreat into myself, knowing this allows me to do better. I will know that I may need more time to explain myself, I may need to explain to someone what has just happened or even to learn to handle conflict in a new and beneficial manner.
Additionally, if I know that I am prone to being very detailed, this gives me information to work with if I’m talking to someone who is more big picture oriented. It gives me a choice of altering my style of communication or not. Yet another example would be when I’m communicating with someone who has very different ideas or beliefs than I do. By first understanding my values and beliefs about myself – I can be more congruent when communicating with others. We have found that when people don’t understand themselves it is easy to be swayed, influenced or manipulated in a way that is not useful or beneficial.
What makes people difficult? What we find mostly is that people are labelled as ‘difficult’ when they are different to us.
Everyone has a different Model of the World – and sometimes difficult people have a vastly different model than we do. In general life, we see people either avoiding or trying to challenge the difficult person. NLP looks at it a bit differently.
If someone is different to us and there is resistance in our communication, NLP sees this simply as a lack of rapport. So, to deal with that difficult person you can spend a few minutes building rapport and starting to understand where they are coming from.
Additionally, NLP has a few extra tools that will help you to be able to associate into that other person to gain an even better understanding of where they are coming from. A tool called Perceptual Positions will help you to look from your perspective, their perspective and a true observer perspective to gain a better understanding from various points of views. We also look at what the Positive Intention is behind any behaviour and understand this to be a part of a person’s filtering process.
With the use of rapport, understanding a person’s beliefs, values, positive intention and even by stepping into their shoes – handing those difficult people becomes a very easy task. In no time, with NLP, you’ll become the person who can get along with everyone very easily
We humans are funny creatures. We tend to treat others how we want to be treated; which kind of makes sense – when it comes to morals, ethics and human needs. However, when it comes to what motivates us, what we believe or what we do, each of us is as different as our fingerprints.
With NLP you will learn how to identify what motivates other people – from a communication standpoint, this is useful information. If you are a manager, parent, coach, teacher, personal trainer, doctor, or really, anyone who wants to motivate others this skill will come in handy.
The motivations of people is largely dependant on their values and beliefs. Some various motivations might be things like time, money, gratitude, energy, touch, affection, love, responsibility, freedom, health or a multitude of other possibilities.
With NLP you will learn questioning and observation skills which will help you to identify the motivational drivers of others.
To make sense of the world, our first filtering system is based on our five senses – what you see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Automatically when something comes into your conscious or unconscious awareness it triggers an internal response which ultimately leads to an outcome or behaviour; and eventually the mind stores the event as a memory.
Our memories then act as filters for future reference and for filtering the world around us.
Interestingly, the mind not only stores the whole memory, but also stores components of the memory in different ways. NLP has tapped into an idea and concept that was originated by American Psychologist William James in the late 1800’s. He hypothesised, and later identified that when our eyes move in different directions, we are actually accessing different types of information.
It seems that our brain dissects a memory and stores the visual, auditory, kinaesthetic (feeling) and internal dialogue (your own self talk) as separate components which add to our filtering process.
So, through watching someone’s Eye Accessing Cues you are able to identify how a person is processing information – if they are making a decision for example, based on what they see, what they hear, what they feel or the logic they are telling themselves.
This non-verbal information helps in communication in a few ways.
First, it allows you to ask better questions; if you observe someone looking to their Auditory Recall space while saying “I can’t do that” – you can ask “who told you that?”.
Second, it will help you to help others move out of stuck states; if someone is having a hard time creating goals and imagining the future and you see their eyes in the kinaesthetic space, you can ask them to look into the visual area and begin to dream and imagine.
Third, it will help you to identify key strategies for decision making and more. If I am wanting to influence someone in a positive way and while they are making a decision I see their eyes move to their internal dialogue area, I want to appeal more to their logic. On the other hand, if their eyes move first to the kinaesthetic area, I may want to appeal more to their emotions.
Not only is watching a persons eye movements a great tool for improving communication by understanding how someone is processing information – it’s a great party trick that everyone should have!
We make decisions in a nano-second. These decisions are based on our history, our memories, our beliefs and other filters. Some people are programmed to take everything personally – to make some sort of meaning about what someone did or said and make it about them.
Now, there isn’t anything wrong with this unless it creates a conflict and interferes with confidence, self-belief or your identity. Our patterns of emotions, behaviours and thoughts were programmed in long ago; and NLP has tools to help us change patterns that don’t work for us.
While its all well and good to say to someone, “don’t take it so personally”, it is a completely other thing to not take it personally. We have beliefs that uphold our behaviours, and to change or alter a behaviour, we need to change a belief or concept about ourselves.
Sometimes these beliefs don’t make any logical sense – which is because beliefs are not always logical. They connect somewhere in the past – but may or may not be relevant in todays world. For example, a person who got praise for doing well when they were little; or another person who was criticized and punished for any discrepancy may both form a pattern of taking things personally.
One size does not fit all when it comes to patterns, beliefs or programs. What is for sure, if you take things personally and that creates an interference, that pattern comes from somewhere. NLP will give you the insight into where it came from and how to change it.
There is a wonderful Polish Proverb that we tend to relate back to NLP and our personal control: “Not my circus, not my monkey’s”
Rapport is the unconscious connection we have with other people. When we have rapport it is easier to communicate (even to disagree), understand them and help to influence or create a stable relationship.
Neurologically, we get connected to others through what we see, hear and feel. Neuro Transmitters known as mirror-neurons start to identify when someone is similar to us; therefore, in NLP we use this to an advantage.
By matching and mirroring another person (or many people) you can purposefully trigger the mirror-neurons of someone else as you become like them for just a few moments. In simple terms, the unconscious mind of the person you are communicating with sees or hears the similar behaviours or traits and fires of a neurological signal telling the body/mind “ah, this person is like me. I like people who are like me!”
A few things you can match and mirror are body movements like the crossing of legs and arms, tilt of the head, a lean in or back, where the body weight is centred, volume, pitch and speed of the voice, key words, experiences and concepts. Now, there are tips and tricks to building subtle rapport – if you overdo it you’ll get caught, and if you underdo it, it won’t be effective.