What is NLP?

What is NLP? This is a question many people ask. NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. This is a modelling approach that offers a toolkit of techniques for dealing with life’s opportunities and challenges. It is a very pragmatic discipline, concerned with bringing results into the real world now.

NLP is the study of what works, and the context in which it works.

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What do the words NLP and Neuro Linguistic Programming mean?

Neuro means relating to the nervous system. The information we take in through our senses influences our neurological function. If we improve the accuracy with which we take in information, i.e. we listen better and are more observant, so we are more open to our own and other people’s feelings. This means our brains have better information to help them make decisions. We also increase our ability to communicate effectively (both consciously and unconsciously).

Linguistic is about language.  As we understand and are more aware of language – the words themselves as well as their structure and the way they’re spoken (speed, voice tone, rhythm), so we get better information for making decisions and communicating consciously and unconsciously.

Programming here refers to habits. We develop habits, some useful, some less useful. NLP teaches us how we can develop and encourage useful habits and reduce less useful habits.

So, there you go: Neuro Linguistic Programming – using language to programme our nervous system into more useful habits.

NLP says that we create our own reality.

One key neuro linguistic programming belief is that we all build our own maps of reality.

These maps, or worldviews, are filtered by our senses, experiences, beliefs, and neurology. In other words, many of the challenges we have are based upon our perceptions of the world, not the world itself. Similarly: mental maps and worldview, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

Therefore, if we can improve the way we take in and use sensory information, then we can improve our performance.

NLP allows us to add structure to the otherwise abstract world of the senses.

We have to notice, to listen, and be aware of what (and how ) people see, hear and feel. Understanding our senses and their effect upon ourselves and others helps us to develop useful strategies for guiding behaviour.

Great NLP is about leading and guiding ourselves and others. It is not about telling, tricking or forcing; it is about exploring what is constructive for both parties.

With all that in mind, my personal definition of NLP is as follows:

“NLP is an exploration of how we think, communicate and act. It’s how we can emulate and improve upon great performance across a wide range of activities, and then transfer what we’ve learnt to others”.

Benefits of NLP

Our clients benefit by:

  1. Connecting to their purpose, values and motivation.
  2. Having more successful and fulfilled lives.
  3. Improving performance at work, and starting and building companies.
  4. Achieving better relationships at work and at home.
  5. Developing beneficial health routines.
  6. Overcoming blocks and continually learning new skills.
  7. And in many cases enjoying their hero’s or heroine’s journey through life.

What attributes are needed to explore and learn about NLP?

You don’t need any special skills to explore Neuro Linguistic Programming. However we’ve found that a touch of ambition, courage, discipline and openness help us achieve many things, including mastery of NLP.

In addition for us to help our clients it’s useful to be able to access  (both in ourselves and our clients ) a touch of curiosity, humour, fierceness and tenderness.

A brief history of Neuro Linguistic Programming.

NLP was created more than 40 years ago by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They studied and worked with some of the most talented psychiatrists and therapists of the day: Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls. Contrary to the majority of the academics at the time, however, they took a different approach in that they focused on bringing about measurable change, rather than merely theorising.

Bandler and Grinder wanted to know the psychological strategies great performers used – what they did and how they did it. They devised ways of modelling these strategies so others could replicate their performance. This became the initial model of NLP.

They then tested and refined the model with their clients. As different groups heard about its benefits it spread across a whole range of human endeavours, including coaching, art, sport, and business.

See also: NLP Coaching and NLP Training

The next section explores your adventure: The NLP Adventure Starts

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Full NLP Techniques List

NLP Questions and answers. Short answers to questions people ask about NLP.

1: What is NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming? (This page.)
2: NLP Planning Techniques
3: NLP Coaching Techniques
4: Key NLP Techniques (Home)
5: NLP Business Techniques

Full NLP Techniques List

What is NLP Section Index

1: What is NLP | What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (this page)
2: The NLP Adventure Starts
3: Mental maps and world view
4: Cognitive Dissonance
5: Confirmation Bias
6: What does NLP offer?
7: Do I need a coach?
8: Get the most from this guide
9: Exercise
10: Summary

NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming

What is NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming