NLP – the difference that makes the difference.
An article I have written about NLP that appeared in the Hypnos (Scientific Journal of the South African Society for Clinical Hypnosis) in April 2012:
Dr Jorgan Harris
What is NLP?
NLP is the abbreviation for the communication model known as:
Neuro Linguistic Programming
But what is it really?
- NLP is an attitude. It is a curiosity and a willingness to experiment.
- NLP is a method. It is a scientific method to explain certain things about humanity.
- NLP is a set of techniques.
- NLP is also an art.
NLP has 5 ingredients:
- NLP is the art of personal excellence. Everyone brings their own unique and creative personality and style to what they do.
- NLP is also the science of personal excellence, because there is a method and a process for discovering the patterns used by outstanding individuals in any field to achieve outstanding results. You put your relationship on a solid foundation within the first three minutes.
- Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a new approach to understanding the Process of human communication.
- NLP is concerned with the manner in which individuals take in and make sense out of information. While touch may communicate a message quickly and effectively for one individual, sounds or pictures may be more effective for another person. The sensory modality through which they receive it, determines the impact it has.
- The final ingredient is the most powerful ingredient – the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind does the magic. First you will have to be conscious of what to do; thereafter it will be there for you, in the form of subconscious competence. It is important to notice that communication is much more than the words we say.
In this context, it is very important to note that:
Research has shown us that 55% of the impact of a communication/presentation is.
Short History of NLP
The discovery of the process model and thereafter conscious practicing of NLP started in the early 1970’s. Two academics, namely: John Grinder, a professor in linguistics and Richard Bandler, a genius in Mathematics and Information Technology and advanced student in psychology, made a thorough analysis and study of the methods used by three top practitioners and communicators: Fritz Pearls; Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. After completing their studies, they took the communication patterns used by the three, refined them and built a new communication process model, which they then named NLP.
The underlying presupposed values of NLP
These presupposed values are statements that are taken for granted or assumed and are applied antecedents to other information. These, presupposed values offer the communicator a set of guidelines which enable us to make the application of the art and science of NLP very practical. They are the boundaries or framework within which the theory is founded.
1. Respect for another person and his or her model of the world
Even if you don’t agree with the other person’s view of the world and even if it does not make sense for you – you should respect that person’s view since it is his or her absolute reality.
When you treat other people with absolute respect, you will get many insights, and you will reduce many conflicts.
2. People are created with all the resources necessary to be successful.
Resources are transferable and can be taught, learned or modeled to /by any other person. At this point: think what is possible. Look at technology and think what has been achieved by people. Things that was unimaginable a few years ago.
It links in with respect for other people. Before you can have respect for other people however, it is necessary to have respect for yourself as a person there is nothing wrong with.
3. The map is not the territory.
Human experience is filtered through the senses. Our experience of the reality is filtered through our senses, and we create belief-systems, that is our ideas of the reality. Our mental maps can be changed.
We have different views on the same reality, and the different views should be respected.
4. The individual who can use the most creativity in control.
You have a tool box. And in this tool box are all the tools you need to be successful. If a tool doesn’t work, try out a different tool, until it works. There is no such a thing as failure in NLP, only possibilities.
The more skills a person has in all aspects of communication, the more easily she/he can attain/reach the desired outcomes. Increased creativity and adaptability are essential tools to accelerate this process. If something does not work, try something else – it is as easy as that!
5. All behaviour has a positive intention.
Spend sufficient time to separate the behaviour that the individual exhibits from his/her intention behind that behaviour. If you can find a positive intention for another person’s behaviour, it will open more alternative resources in communication for you.
It will also help you to feel like a survivor and not like a victim. If you can uncover the positive intention behind anybody’s so-called negative action, you are in control.
6. There is no substitute for clear open sensory channels.
Language is the poorest form of communication; therefore it is essential to watch, listen and pay attention to all the cues that the person you are communicating with, give you. Focus on what is happening externally.
We never make mistakes. We are only creating learning opportunities by using our clear open sensory channels. When we make a so-called mistake – we have learned a method of how not to do it, and we learn different methods how to do it.
We use our five senses to obtain excellent information.
7. You will only know what you have said to someone, when you see his/her reaction.
If the communicator makes a statement and the communication comes back with a different response than anticipated, it is the communicator’s responsibility to say or do something different to get a different response. You alone are responsible for your actions and re-actions!
If somebody says something to hurt you, and you don’t show that it has hurt, that person will never know what the effect of his or her words was.
8. Rapport is to meet a person in his or her model of the world.
‘Rapport’ is a term widely used in psychology. It means a relationship of trust between two persons.
If you have respect for another person’s map of reality, you can meet a person where he or she is. The other person’s reality and beliefs become your reality and beliefs.
9. You are in control of your life.
You are always in control of your life, and you have always choices.
You are in control of your life. Nobody else controls it. It is always your choice whether you allow anybody else to control it or not. You are never a victim. You have overcome so many problems in your life, and you are still here. You have always been a survivor.
10. Life is easy.
We are born with all we need to succeed and life is as difficult as me allow it to be. You don’t need any effort to live. Your heart will beat by itself, and everything always turns out well. Life is a difficult as you create it with you mind.
NLP is all about communication.
Have you ever been talking with someone and felt that you weren’t on the same wavelength? Have you sometimes tried diligently to communicate with another, but found yourself unable to establish rapport? Have you wondered how to overcome these problems?
The techniques of NLP will provide you with ways of doing just that. As a relatively new communication model NLP is derived from linguistics, psychology, neurophysiology, kinetics and cybernetics. It is not another form of negotiation; rather, it is a powerful addition to any form of interaction. It has been established, through research, that all people will fall into three, broad, sensory-based communication categories, namely: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. In the language of NLP these three sensory modalities are called “representational systems”. While no one is totally Auditory, Visual, or Kinesthetic, each of us has a favoured system. By establishing and utilising the other person’s representational system you can greatly enhance your ability to gain understanding and establish rapport.
The tools of NLP
1. The representational systems (modalities)
Explore some differences in thinking patterns. Think of a fountain. What comes to mind?
A picture? Maybe you imagine the water splashing in all directions; maybe you imagine what it looks like, or the surroundings.
A sound? Maybe you hear in your mind the water cascading and splashing in all directions.
A sensation, feeling, smell or taste? Maybe you can even feel the cool water, or smell the fresh flowers or even the taste of clear water.
It is important to keep in mind it is not about the water, but about the way you think about it, the way you process it in your mind.
A little more about each of these modalities:
Let us have a look at the three modalities. The modalities of Visual, Auditory and Kinestehetic form the pillars upon which we depend to practice the techniques of NLP.
You may find that you will probably have a preference for one system over the others, both in the way you think and in the way you communicate.
Here are the tools to firstly determine your own mental map, and thereafter the map of the person you are interacting with.
1. Listen to the predicates
Predicates are descriptive words and phrases someone uses, for instance: “I see/hear/grasp what you mean.”
Visuals use words like: “show, bright, picture, clear, look, see, envision, view, perceive, illustrate, highlight, focus, reflect, watch, preview, survey, perspective, etc.”
Or phrases like: “I see what you mean; eye to eye; you will look back; it appears to me, etc.”
Auditories use words like: “say, tell, tone, static, ring, sound, speak, express, mention, accent, resonate, remark, ask, enquire, hear, talk, etc.”
Or phrases like: “Turn a deaf ear; music to my ears; loud and clear; rings a bell, etc.”
Kinesthetics use words like: “feel, grab, touch, handle, rub, grasp, affect, impress, hit, suffer, tackle, pressure, know, intuitive, etc.”
Or phrases like: “I grasp it; hold on; hang on; I’ll get in touch; thick skin; warmhearted, etc.”
2. Eye-accessing cues
Another technique that helps determine a person’s favourite communication modality is to observe the so-called eye-accessing cues. The direction a person is looking in has been shown to correlate with the thinking process being engaged in at that moment.
His/her eyes will focus:
Upwards left or right
Straight left or right, or
Down left or right
The last eye shift/position before the person again looks at you will be the most significant.
More about the eye movements:
- Generally, when a person is visualising, the eyes are either turned upward or defocused straight ahead.
- When a person is processing Auditory information – replaying sounds or words or focusing attention to conversation – the eyes usually will move from side to side.
- When someone is processing Kinesthetic information, the eyes will usually be focused down and to the dominant hand. When someone talks to him/herself, the eyes will be usually focused down and toward the non-dominant hand (more about this later).
- Taking this a step further, you can tell whether a person represents his or her world primarily Visual (V) (looking up as the favourite position), Auditory (A) (looking from side to side or down at the non-dominant hand as the favourite position), or Kinesthetic (K) (looking down at the dominant hand). You can add the information to what you learn from listening to the person’s preferred predicates.
When a person’s eyes move to the left, he or she is accessing recalled information. When the eyes move to the right, the person is busy constructing information.
If a person is looking upwards to the left, he or she will recall an image he or she has seen before. If the person is looking upwards to the right, he or she is busy constructing an image. For example, ask a person what the first thing is he or she was seeing this morning, and you will find that his or her eyes will move upwards to the left before you get your answer. Ask the person now what it would look like if you paint his or her front door green with yellow dots. The eyes will move upward to the right.
Ask a person now to think of his or her favourite tune, and the eyes will go sideways to the left. Ask the person now to what it would sound like if ten persons knock at the same time on his or her front door, and the eyes will go sideways to the right.
You can ask a person now what the texture of wool would feel like, and the eyes will go downwards to the right. When a person is having an internal dialogue the eyes will go downwards to the left.
Learning eye-accessing patterns and cues will not give you mind-reading capacities, but it will help you to get on to the wavelength of the person you are communicating with. This makes strong rapport and good relationships possible.
3. Gross hand movements
Another way to determine which representational system is being used is to watch the gross hand movements.
A person rubbing his or her eyes, or pointing towards the eyes, may indicate a Visual preference. A person’s hands around his or her ears or mouth, may indicate an Auditory preference.
People have a tendency to touch or point toward the sense organ that is connected with the way they are thinking at the moment. For example, it is not uncommon for a person to touch his/her chest and say something like “The child really touched my heart”. Hand movements upwards may indicate a Visual modality, and downwards a Kinesthetic one.
The fourth indicator of the communication modality is the breathing patterns. Shallow thoratic and fast breathing is frequently associated with Visual accessing. Sound and even breathing, or prolonged expiration is often paired with auditory accessing. Deep abdominal respiration usually goes with Kinesthetic accessing.
5. Speech patterns
Speech patterns and voice tone may also indicate the representational system being used. Quick bursts of words that are high-pitched, nasal or have a strained tone indicate visual accessing.
Kinesthetic accessing is associated with a slow voice with a low volume or deep tone, or with a breathy tone and long pauses.
Clear, mid-range voice tone or rhythmic tempo with well-enunciated words usually indicates auditory processes.
Building brilliant relationships
Getting along well with people and /or the understanding of human nature is nothing other than knowing how to establish rapport or to form a relationship. Rapport initially creates an awareness/feeling of trust, and ultimately builds trust itself.This is true in all of our relationships – from business, to marriage, to interpersonal one-on-one communication. It is also true of our relationship with our selves. Rapport is the bridge that helps the person or people you are communicating with to find meaning and intent in the things you have to say. Without rapport you add interpretation and meaning. How do you know that two persons are in rapport? You will most probably notice that they mirror and match each other’s movements, expressions and words with movements, expressions and words of their own, like in a dance.
Rapport is like the foundation of a large building. Everything you are to do is based on your ability to first establish strong, consistent rapport in the direction of your desired outcome.
In the NLP Dance we use actions/techniques to establish maximum rapport and gain maximum results (win/win) for both parties in the interaction. In order to do this in the most effective way you have to use all your senses and all the NLP tools we have already discussed.
Before you can begin to pace and lead another person you need to establish in which modality of communication he/she prefers to operate. And you do that with the NLP tools.
Your clear open sensory channels are important here. You observe the:
- eye-accessing cues;
- gross hand movements;
- speech patterns.
The ease or tension we hold in our body is an expression of the way we are thinking.
You can distinguish the subtle different expressions as others experience different memories, and different states of mind. For example: when someone remembers a frightening experience, his lips may become thinner, his skin paler and his breathing more shallow.
Whereas when he is remembering a pleasurable experience his lips are more likely to be fuller, the skin colour more flushed and breathing deeper with softening of the facial muscles.
Think about pacing as a dance … Everyone has a different style or preference… If you want to dance with someone, you need to learn his or her style/rhythm or preference.
That is also how relationships function. First, we get into the rhythm of the person. We dance with him/her. We do not use the traditional ways of coercion that trigger fight or flight responses. We do not force, intimidate or bamboozle them into agreement. We are neither aggressive nor submissive.
There is another alternative. It is pacing: getting into the other person’s rhythm and then leading him/her assertively to where we want them to be for a win-win result. A major difference between highly successful people and mediocre people is that mediocre people tend to establish just a small amount of rapport and then move strong rapport base and then assertively move into influence strategies. Since pacing is the initial key to rapport and rapport is the key to the highest levels of personal influence, let’s examine specific ways and methods of pacing.
Breathing is a very powerful, and subconscious, form of pacing.
5. Speech patterns
Pace the tonality, speed, volume and rhythm. Be subtle! If a person speaks loudly, don’t shout with him, just increase the normal volume of your voice, etc.
6. Other forms of pacing include:
This is where we are trying to meet the other person where he or she is, emotionally, at the moment of our first interaction.
- If he/she is talking in formal terms/tones, we respond in formal terms/tones.
- If he/she sounds depressed, we respond depressed.
- If he/she is delighted, we are bursting with delight.
The implication of it all is: “I understand you, I respect and trust you”. On a higher level the implication is in a deeper meaning: “I am like you, we are similar”.
The important thing about emotional rapport is that you are meeting them at the emotion they are displaying. If it is frustration, irritation or anger, you experience it with them, not at them.
Posture pacing can also be thought of as body language pacing. We pace the posture, the body movement, the small motor movements and facial expressions.
Verbal pacing works like non-verbal pacing except that you are not mirroring the person’s facial expressions and other gestures. Instead you are mirroring what you think is on their minds.
Listen to key phrases and marked out words
Repeating them back is an excellent way of showing other people that you understand their concerns and their directions of thought.
You can also pace:
– Muscle tension;
– Facial expressions, and;
– Angle of the head.
Here are a few more tips for pacing Visuals, Auditories and Kinesthetics:
– Use the same visual words/predicates.
– Go/lead to the visual benefits.
– Show them visual material.
– Stress the auditory qualities of the product.
– Use Auditory words/predicates.
– Play music and/or auditory presentations.
– Give them the brochure and read the contents out loud.
– Directly address what they are feeling.
– Use Kinesthetic predicates/words.
– Calibrate them and then use their comfort zone and touch accordingly.
– Make sure that the person touches and holds the brochure/manual/subject material.
In Leading we use a variety of techniques to lead the attention and thoughts of a person from one state of mind to another.
When initiating a leading pattern, it is important that you know where you want the communication to go. In NLP we say that you must always have a general objective (goal) in mind, in respect of what you want to achieve or do. The more specific you formulate your goal the more likely you will be able to keep things on course.
General Guidelines for Leading;
– What questions can you ask that will lead the person to think in a different direction – in a specific different direction?
– What translation, interpretation, can you offer that will help the person perceive things in new useful ways?
– How can you use your own mannerisms and verbalisations to induce
We can lead with:
Lead with words or similar type of words he or she is using with the outcome in mind.
– If the person is Visual – where do you see yourself with this product?
– If the person is Auditory – how does it sound to you?
– If the person is Kinesthetic – what feeling do you get about it?
Lead with your eye movements with the outcome in mind.
– If the person is Visual – move your eyes up
– If the person is Auditory – look sideways
– If the person is Kinesthetic – look down.
3. Gross-hand Movements
Lead with hand movements with the outcome in mind.
– If the person is Visual – move your hands up or to the eyes.
– If the person is Auditory – move the hands to the mouth or ears.
– If the person is Kinesthetic – point to the organ referred to.
Lead with breathing with the outcome in mind.
– If the person is Visual – breathe more shallow and faster.
– If the person is Auditory – breathe a sound and even breathing.
– If the person is Kinesthetic – breathe deeper and slower.
5. Speech Patterns
Lead with speech patterns with the outcome in mind.
– If the person is Visual – speak higher and quicker.
– If the person is Auditory – use a clear, voice tone or tempo.
– If the person is Kinesthetic – speak with a slower tempo and lower volume using long pauses.
6. Other forms of leading
Lead now to the desired outcome. If the person is depressed, we can become more excited now.
Start to change body position and observe whether the person is following you.
You can also lead with
– muscle tension;
– facial expressions;
– angle of the head;
You may rightly be asking, isn’t this being manipulative?
Since we are always affecting and being affected by others, why can we not choose to have our effect in a goal-directed way, rather than just letting the situation take a random course?
Indeed, one of the most important benefits of using NLP is that it provides you with increased choices – the flexibility to see, ear and feel differently so that you can achieve desired outcomes both personally and professionally.
You help the other person to open his/her five senses.
If you are not respectful you will fail!
You may be sceptical about it.
As the world becomes competitive, all companies find themselves hard-pressed to survive, let alone prosper, unless they can turn challenges into opportunities.
The same goes for individuals.
Give yourself a chance and let these techniques work for you. Apply them assertively, and see the magic for yourself.
Carl Jung said: “He who looks to the outside, dreams; but he who looks to the inside, awakens.”
NLP does not stop here
We are also working with excellent concepts like:
1. Association and Disassociation
NLP will teach you how and when to associate into an experience and how and when to dissociate from an experience.
2. The meta-model
The meta-model shows how to make sense of our experience and the information coming to us.
Anchoring is that magic button to change your mood and to be brilliant whenever you want to be. The magic button can also switch off all negative feelings and emotions.
4. Time lines
Time lines are powerful to help people to access their resources, and for future pacing and goal setting.
The above-mentioned techniques can effectively be used during hypnosis on order to elicit the client’s recourses.
The above-mentioned tools can be used to:
1. Overcome the five negative emotions
The 5 negative emotions are fear, anger, sadness/pain, guilt and, conflict, in this order in a quick and effective way.
2. Develop a brilliant self esteem
NLP will teach you how to have a good sense of self before you can be brilliant in your interactions with other people.
3. Study or plan brilliantly with NLP
You can plan or study brilliantly by using the NLP techniques and to use your preferred modality.
4. Assert yourself brilliantly with NLP
By using your NLP skills, you can be brilliant asserting yourself with NLP.
5. You can sell yourself or your product brilliantly
You will get all the tools to help you to sell brilliantly, whether it is a product or yourself at interviews or any situation where you need to “sell”
6. Spiritual NLP
What happens when you have reached your goals (if ever possible)? We need a goal beneath the goal. NLP can try to help you to discover a deeper goal in life.
- Jorgan Harris is the author of the book: NLP – Ontgin die briljantheid in jou. Currently only available in Afrikaans and can be purchased from any bookshop, or www.boekblik.co.za. Published by Griffel Media.
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© Jorgan Harris