nlp in a business - bruce farrow talks on its usesWhy is it so important to have a knowledge of NLP in a Business Context?

In the past few days we have looked at how NLP can be used in Sports and in Coaching. So today we will look at the ways in which neuro-linguistic programming can be used in a business context.

Communication – NLP in a Business Context

If you want to be good at business then being a great communicator would certainly be helpful! Often, people think that being a good communicator means that you send lots of emails – this is not communication for a variety of reasons! Firstly, the basis of all communication is rapport. If you have outstanding rapport with the person you are communicating with then the likelihood is that a well-rounded discussion and communication will take place.

Coming from the corporate world I know that people are told that rapport is about finding common experiences and, this is just a VERY small element of building rapport with someone. The NLP world know there are 6 elements to building rapport using physiology, voice tonality, speed and volume, gestures and language. To get into deep rapport with someone you have to tick all the boxes, not just common experience.

An NLP practitioner will know how to build rapport UNCONSIOUSLY with anyone they communicate with – even the people they don’t like and this is exceptionally powerful.

So now we have rapport with the person we are communicating with – how about the language that they are using. In the normal business world people just talk and take little notice of what is going on in the language that the other person is using. They miss the fact that they are talking in details or big picture, or using a load of a certain sensory words. These are important! For example a person speaking in big picture language generally doesn’t like details and if you give them a load of details they will get bored very quickly!

An NLP Practitioner will know how to adjust their language to fit in with their client’s model of the world and hence build a much greater connection and consequently, achieve far more in the communication.

Generally in business people tend to ‘try’ and inflict their model of the world on others. This of course will lead to conflict. NLP gives people a great understanding of how others ‘operate’ psychologically and if we understand that, then we can adjust OUR behaviour so that it aligns with the other person’s model of the world and THEN we can communicate with them.

Let me give you an example. A Sales Manager offers a big bonus to anyone hitting their target in a month. He then gets upset that only half of his team seem to be motivated by this gesture. If he understood anything about NLP he would get the fact that some people are motivated by what they want and some people are motivated to move away from what they fear. The bonus would appeal to the former, whereas the others would only be motivated by something they fear – like losing their job. If a manager uses the wrong ‘motivational tool’ with a person it will switch them off.

Let me give another example. A Manager comes into the office and decides to freshen things up and move the desks around every month. This will appeal to the ‘difference’ people in his team. They will love that because they seek differences whereas the sameness people will experience a great deal of stress in this situation.

A NLP practitioner would understand that not everyone is the same and would probably identify the difference people in their team, and give them differences whilst giving sameness to the sameness people. NLP is about understanding models of the world!

Of course it would be helpful to understand the processes someone goes through to make a decision, wouldn’t it? One of the things that an NLP Practitioner would know about is something called strategies. These are the sequence of representations that you make in your head, unconsciously, when doing anything, including decisions. So the NLP trained person would elicit a person’s decision making strategy in conversation and then demonstrate the connection by using it as if it was their own. This builds extreme rapport. Get it wrong and the person will lose interest in whatever it is you want them to decide on immediately.

Presentations – NLP in a Business Context

How many corporate presentations have you seen that leave you cold and fail to inspire you to do soemthing? A lot? This is probably because someone has told them that when they present you tell the audience, then you tell them again, and then you tell them again! This is a way to dig yourself a big hole!

Once again a knowledge of NLP will allow you to structure presentations in a unique way that will capture the WHOLE of the audience, not just some of them. This is, once again, about understanding how people process information and utilising that knowledge within your presentation so you present within the audience’s model of the world. There is a particular format that we teach on our NLP Practitioner course that would allow someone in business to truly raise their game in the art of presentations

Personal Development – NLP in a Business Context

How about the personal development of the person in business? Do they have any limiting beliefs about themselves? Do they truly believe in themselves or do they really think they are good enough, for example? Of course if they answer no to either one of those example questions then they will act according to their beliefs and perhaps they won’t apply for that ‘special’ job or that promotion.

Maybe they have an internal conflict (like an argument with themselves) of on one hand they want to be the best in their company and work all hours of the day to achieve that and on the other hand they want to spend more time with their family. This will suck energy from the individual and the likelihood is that neither of their objectives will be met leading to unhappiness.

Our view is that to learn NLP the first thing you do is to apply it self and consequently, someone from the business world will benefit from a huge amount of personal development during the course AND get all those useful skills that will allow them to be more successful in business.

A knowledge of NLP in business gives massive results for the individual and the company that they work for – far outweighing the investment and the time it takes to learn it.


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