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Top Ten Neurolinguisitc Programming NLP Techniques For Business

May 5, 2008
This article discusses the techniques of Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP that can have the most impact on your business or professional life. These are skills that are taught in our NLP courses in New York. The first part of the article will deal with techniques 1 through 5, the remainder will appear in part II.


Rapport is a state that exists between two or more people that leads them to believe they are "on the same page".

Rapport is essential in any business interaction. When individuals are in rapport it leads to mutual respect, and trust. When you have rapport:

* Clients will buy your products
* Subordinates will eagerly follow your directions
* Colleagues and superiors will respect your view

Many books offer techniques to build rapport, mainly around matching the posture or the other person (often called anchoring). While these techniques are valid, they run the danger of being artificial. The other person is likely to notice if you "try" to match them, and it is possible they will consider your behavior to be manipulative.

In fact, when rapport is natural, matching occurs as a matter of course. Look round the next time you are in a restaurant, coffee shop, bar or other public place. You will see groups of people all sitting or standing in a similar way, with similar posture and physiology.

What this means is that if we can find a way to get into natural rapport with the for example a client in a business interaction, everything else follows naturally. Neuro Linguistic Programming has a great technique for getting into rapport naturally:

* As you speak to the other person, soften your gaze, so you begin to notice your peripheral vision
* As you do so, you will begin to notice movement all around you
* As this skill builds, you will begin to notice the other persons breathing
* Begin to breathe at the same rate

As you breathe at the same rate as the other person, you will naturally attune to their movements, physiology, gestures etc. You will naturally begin to match these without thinking about them.


Neurolinguistic programming teaches that each and every one of us has a unique and distinct "map of the world". This map tells us how things are, how things work, and what rules apply in the world, for us. Each person's map is different. Understanding this principle is vital in understanding our employees, business colleagues, customers and clients.

A map includes elements such as:

* Where does that person locate things in space? You can tell by where they look and where they gesture.
* What words are important to them?
* What values are important?
* What do they believe about themselves and the world?
* What patterns do they use in their behavior?

Calibration is all about respecting and being curious about the other persons map or the world, including the above elements. Calibration includes using our eyes and ears to notice:

* The words that the other person uses.
* The gestures that they use.
* The physiology that they adopt.
* Where their eyes move when they speak about various things.
* How do they organize time?
* What do they talk about as being important?

When we have this information, we can use it to influence the other person by pointing out the ways in which the thing that we want is aligned with what is important to them. Doing this in a way that uses their words, gestures and physiology will be extremely effective in being influential in business


Anchoring is a neuro linguistic programming NLP technique that involves attaching a specific internal state to an external stimulus. Here are some common business examples:

* The boss who only wants to see you when there is a problem. Every time you see him you think "Here we go again".
* The salesman who only calls to sell you something; "Tell him I'm busy".
* The colleague who always whines about his life "Oh, Joe's at it again".
* The subordinate who comes round with problems for you to solve "Don't I have enough to do!"

Here are some more business anchoring examples:

* The boss who walks round encouraging his employees "He's great!"
* The salesman who calls to make sure the last thing you bought is working fine (and invite you to the golf outing) "Put him though!"
* The colleague who comes round to offer words of encouragement "Joe's on vacation? How will I manage?"
* The subordinate who offers three solutions to every problem "That's a great kid, we need to keep him!"

Be positive most of the time, and people will feel good when they see you coming.

There are times we need to deal with business customers, suppliers, and subordinates in a way that is less than positive. Make sure that this is done is a consistent way; ask to see them in the same place for each of these, or stand in the same place in your office, use the same tonality in your voice, the same expression. When you have done this a couple of times, you will find that all you need to do is stand in that place, or use that tone or expression. Words will be unnecessary.


Henry Ford said it best: "Whether we believe we can, or we believe we can't, we are probably right".

Our beliefs deeply impact everything that we do. Those who believe they "can't" do something don't try, or if they do they set themselves up for failure. On the other hand, those who believe they "can" get right on and do it. Those who succeed in buisness or professional life have positive beliefs about themselves and the world.

Fortunately beliefs are ultimately under our own control. NLP gives us several tools and techniques for changing beliefs. Ultimately these involve changing our reference experiences, memories and the meaning we attach to those memories. When we are able to accept beliefs as what they are, i.e. our temporary and changeable view of how the world operates, then they become flexible, and become "useful" or not-useful" rather than "true" or "false".


People's behaviors reflect those things that they value. A company or other business organization behaves as the sum of the individuals, and the organizational systems that make it up.

Neuro Linguistic Programming teaches the importance of values. Values are used in NLP to supply leverage to assist a client to change.

Therefore only by creating and holding individual values which advance the objectives of the business organization, will the behavior of the individual employees be aligned with corporate goals.

Values operate at every level of an organization:

* The business organization has a culture which includes certain corporate values

* Separate business lines or groups within the organization have values, which may or may not be aligned with the values of the organization

* Individuals within the organization have their own individual values

Be ensuring the that the business organization has clearly stated and ethical values, by which it actually operates, can it hope to have the values of the groups within the organization, and values of the individuals within the groups, aligned.
About the Author
Shawn Carson has 20 years of business and business consulting experience, serving on the board of a global six accounting and consulting firm. Shawn is an Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, running NLP courses in New York. www.nlptrainingnewyork.com 212-714-3574
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