Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), is a field of study that has developed immensely since its inception in the 1970s, and is now popularly applied in things as diverse as smoking cessation and stage magic acts, through to business development and confidence training. NLP is used in business in many different ways, to help individuals set and achieve goals, overcome self limiting beliefs, and become more confident in communication, presenting and management skills.
One of the common and immensely useful applications of NLP is in helping people to build powerful relationships - be this between colleagues to improve team morale and motivation, or with customers to help individual sales people secure that vital sale. If you are interested in learning more about how to use NLP to benefit the crucial relationships in your business, read on.
Learn to anchor
As NLP techniques help colleagues understand others better, applying NLP techniques can mean that relationships with customers become more meaningful, leading to better customer satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, NLP can help in sales situations, which benefit from a salesperson being able to connect emotionally with their customer.
Try, for example, NLP anchoring techniques, which aim to ’anchor’ a feeling with words, touch or gestures. Anchoring involves getting yourself (or a customer, in the example of a sales conversation), into a specific state of mind - one that is clear, distinct and with heightened emotion, and then associating this emotion with a word or gesture, which means that the emotion can be relatively easily reactivated.
If this sounds far-fetched, consider the emotional tugs that you may experience personally - a certain perfume bringing back the fuzzy warmth of a summer romance, the splutter of an unhealthy engine bringing back the sense of pride at owning your first car, or a certain turn of phrase causing you to recall a relative or friend. These things do not prompt a logical response, but an emotional one, and this same theory can be used to help build relationships at super-quick speed, and move along a sales conversation at the same time.
These techniques can be used in sales techniques, with this example; or even turned onto yourself, to help overcome sales-patter nerves by anchoring a feeling of confidence which can be accessed prior to or during an important sales conversation to bring back the feelings and memories of success; and get through any wobbly moments.
Take your cues
The application of NLP can help improve colleague relationships before passing beyond the immediate working team, and well into customer facing roles, such as sales and customer care. Try, for example, this simple NLP exercise - listen out for cues from the colleague or customer you are speaking to which reveal whether they have visual, auditory or kinaesthetic preferences. This means you pay attention to people’s wording: whether that be phrases such as "I hear what you’re saying", or "That rings a bell", which suggest a preference for auditory sense, or more telling phrases like "I see what you mean", or "Paint me a picture", which show someone who prefers visual imagery. By reflecting back the senses used, and using similar phrases yourself to show your connection, you will find relationships easier to build with colleagues and customers, especially in a sales situation.
These simple exercises show how closely related our thoughts, words and actions are - the principle which is at the very heart of NLP. If you are intrigued by the field, much more can be found online about the rich and varied application of NLP, in business, coaching and therapy, and the qualifications and training which are available to help you to pursue this practice further.