Neural-linguistics programming (NLP) is a way to understand how people experience their world. When you understand how people view the world differently, you can communicate with them more effectively. Whether you're a manager or staff, NLP will help you work with your peers more effectively.
Perception is Based on Sensory Preferences
Each person uses all of their senses to experience their world, but each has one or more preferred senses. The preference is manifested in how the person expresses themselves and communicates with other people. There are three primary senses used in this way:
- Seeing - A visual person is focused on what they see.
- Hearing - An auditory person prefers what they can hear.
- Feelings - The kinesthetic person bases their decisions on feelings.
These preferences are obvious when you watch and listen to a person for awhile.
The visual person loves going to movies and may have their own collection of DVDs. They may have their office walls lined with favorite photos. When you listen to them speak, their visual preference comes through:
- When describing a vacation, they may say, "I love the way the blue ocean looks as it rolls up on the beach."
- When speaking in a business meeting, they may say, "This looks like a good plan and I see no reason not to proceed with it."
The auditory person loves concerts and may own thousands of songs. They prefer to have long conversations and silence may irritate them. They often have their headphones on listening to music, radio or podcasts.
- When describing their vacation, they'll say "The sound of the ocean waves and wind through the palm trees energizes me."
- In a work meeting, they may say, "This sounds like the right plan and the timeline really struck a chord with me."
The kinesthetic person is not only concerned with the physical touch, but the feelings associated with an experience. They may surround themselves with textures. They prefer motivational posters in their office that make them feel a certain way. For this person, the other senses are used to illicit feelings inside.
- When describing their vacation, they may say "The warm sand on my feet as I walk on the beach puts me in a blissful state."
- When in a meeting, they may say "This feels like the right direction, but I have a hunch that there will be challenges ahead."
Using NLP in Your Workplace
When you understand a person's preferences, you'll know more about how the person communicates and how you can effectively engage with them. Once you have an idea of a person's preferences, mirror their language back to them. You'll find that they respond to you as if you are speaking their language, which you now are:
- To a visual co-worker, you might ask, "How does this plan look to you? Do you see any problems with the initial startup activities?"
- To the auditory person, ask "Does this plan ring true to you or do you sense another way this could be played?"
- To the kinesthetic person, "What does your gut tell you about this plan and how do you feel about the budget?"
Getting a Foundation in NLP
When looking for the best NLP training, you'll want a class or workshop that gives you the most hands-on experience using the tools with other people. Part of the power of NLP is interpreting the non-verbal part of how people communicate. How they move their head and eyes, hold their body, and react to their environment give you more clues as to how best to work with them. These skills require practice and a class that lets you try out all of the skills is important to understanding the use of NLP.