Neuro Linguistic Programming was developed in the 1970s. It is based on the connection between neurological (brain) processes, language usage, and people’s behavior. NLP purports that neurological (neuro), language (linguistic), and behavioral interactions are learned overtime (programming), and that they can be optimized to achieve one’s goals.
While nlp was originally designed for therapy, the model can be applied in many contexts. In general, the nlp process begins with the practitioner creating a rapport with the client. This is done by reading the client’s verbal and non-verbal cues, including eye monument. The practitioner mimics many of these behaviors to create rapport on a psychological level.
Once this is done, the practitioner begins to assess the client’s goals and creates a plan to move them toward a plan to achieve them.
NLP can be useful in business in many levels. Managers can use it to motivate their teams, contract negotiators can use it to gain more favorable terms, and sales people can use it in their interactions with customers.
One of the major techniques to come out of NLP once rapport has been achieved is called SMART. This technique begins with a goal. The process that follows is sometimes called “chunking” or “stepping up and down”. From the goal, a practitioner can go in one of two directions. In the “down” direction, they look at challenges in the way of the goal. The first question asks “What is stopping you from achieving the goal?” Once that is identified, the practitioner proceeds to the question “What can you do about it?” Finally, once this is identified, they answer “What’s stopping you?” This helps identify barriers to success and create plans to overcome them. This cycle is repeated until the answer to the final question is “nothing”.
In the “up” direction from the goal, and NLP practitioner answers the same question in series: “Once you have that, what will it give you?” After answering that, the same question is repeated and asked again for each new outcome. In business, this helps motivate teams to think about the challenges in their way, what can be done to overcome them, and whether the goal should be revised. That thinking, in turn, can stimulate the process of creating a plan of action to achieve the goal.
In sales and service, NLP can also be useful. Building rapport by matching the cues of a customer is often one way to do that, but there are other lessons. A salesperson often wants to know the motivations of a buyer. NLP aides in this by training a seller to build a profile of the customer’s preferences from the cues they give. For example, a customer may turn to others to reinforce their statements, which may indicate that they prefer to make buying decisions after consulting with others, rather than on their own.
Customer service representatives can also benefit from these techniques. Building rapport with customers – especially those having problems – is crucial for having a successful interaction. The NLP techniques also help a representative turn the conversation to one focused on outcome and goals, rather than complaints. This enables the customer to identify what would be a positive outcome, and for the customer and representative to work together to identify what can be done to achieve that.