An NLP Practitioner In Business

Questions with John Thompson


We are going to discuss the differences of someone who is in business and they are an NLP Practitioner compared to someone who is in business and is not an NLP Practitioner.

Firstly, if you had to describe NLP to a businessman, who had never heard of NLP before, how would you describe it?
Well I don’t think I’d call it NLP. Most business trainings out there contain NLP patterning and they don’t call it NLP either by the way. I would call it strategy.

NLP allows you to become a good strategist and operate effectively. It allows you to get to know your style of working and your patterns so can you can develop yourself. Whether that is working on your communication, your limiting beliefs or being able to access high performance states for example. It also helps you understand others better. Basically, knowing NLP in a business context allows you to create a strategy to get a desired result in anything you want.

So this businessman is thinking of coming onto an NLP Practitioner course and he sees a subject called epistemology, what is epistemology and how will it benefit someone in a business context?
Well epistemology is how we know what we know. It is the primary way that we function, everything revolves around this model. If a businessperson were to learn this, they would know how they process information, how they learn best and how other people process information and learn best.

The benefits of this are really being able to see things from other people’s perspectives, and how to communicate accordingly whether you communicate in a very specific way so your instructions are fully understood, or in a very persuasive way and so on.

NLP Practitioner - Epistemology

Rapport and Calibration are fairly easy to understand and everyone has these two skills to a certain degree, but how would improving these skills benefit someone in business?
Well a lot people think rapport and calibration are all about other people, but having a rapport with yourself and being able to calibrate yourself is equally important. Just one benefit of having rapport with yourself is being able to make better decisions. Self calibration helps you communicate better on all levels.

Improving your rapport and calibration with other people will help you read unconscious signals better. One way this can benefit you is that you can tell if a person is accepting what you are telling them or not. So if they are not, you can change your communication.

NLP Practitioner - Rapport & Calibration

The two language patterns, the Milton model and the Meta Model, to some are complex. Can you give an example of each so people can use either today for their benefit...?
Well I'm not saying you are going to understand what I'm doing and I don’t know that you will be able to use this today, but you might. That is an example of the Milton Model.

So what you are doing is saying 'I don’t know' or ‘I’m not saying’ which are both non-threatening then you have an opportunity to give an instruction or embed a command which the listener cannot help but accept.

With the Meta Model you chunk down on ambiguity and ask for more specifics about the key things in a sentence that are important. So give me a sentence and I’ll break it down.

I want you to be more open and more friendly.
More open and friendly, how?
I want you to smile more.
Smile more than what?
Smile more than you have been doing.
When was I not smiling?
Well, I want you to smile all the time, not just when the client is buying.
All the time?

So this is a very basic example but it just reduces the ambiguity. If you didn’t ask the first question you wouldn’t know that ‘be more open and friendly’ to this person means to smile more. In this particular example you may come across as talking back or being rude, so to soften this, you can say things like, ’Ok, in the interest of clarity when you say smile more what do you mean?’.

Benefits of using the Meta Model for managers and leaders are that they can say instructions where there is no room for ambiguity, therefore their instructions will be carried out to a tee. Benefits for employees are that they can find out exactly what is wanted from them – so there are no mistakes. Benefits for organisations as a whole are that once one person starts using this, people will automatically start being more precise with their language because they know these specific questions will keep coming up if they don’t.

NLP Practitioner - Language patterns

How does reframing work?
Reframing changes the meaning of something very quickly and elegantly. By using reframing you can change your own state and other peoples state in an instance.

Can you give me an example?
Give me a sentence and I will reframe it.

OK, what I hear a lot is, ‘The economy is no good, we are making no money, we may go under’
I would say: ‘Well isn’t that great that you know where you are right now, it is better than not knowing where you are and living under false security. Now what questions can you ask yourself, or what can you do, or change, knowing that you could go under?’

So, this reframing here, is not going to solve anything directly but if forcers the other person to think differently about the situation. In this instance it is to focus on the solution not the problem.

Getting into state I think is key to everything one does ones life. How can having the tools to change state easily help someone in business?
Well state is everything. Being able to switch on and perform at your best is a massive advantage. The as same is true for being able to chill out and totally relax. Having the tools to change state can help someone in business choose how they feel at any given time so therefore, they can perform at their best at anything they want.

Can you give examples so the readers have techniques to change their state?
OK, if you are sat in the office bored out of your head but you need to get on with some work, you can change your identity. So, you are no longer John Smith - you are James Bond, and what you are doing is going to save the world and make you 10 million pounds – but you need to finish it soon.

So you have the theme music playing loud in your head, you have the excitement of saving the world and getting the money, you imagine you look exactly like James Bond and are wearing his clothes, you sit and act how James Bond would sit and act and after you do this you are going to jump into your Aston Martin and zoom off to another adventure. Now, if you really play along with this you will probably get a lot more work done – and no one needs to know what you are doing. As a matter of fact it’s probably best no one knows what you are doing!

This is one small example out of hundreds. For organisations as a whole, dress down Fridays is a good idea as even changing what you wear, changes your state. With dress down Fridays companies have found that their staff are a lot more productive, are more friendly with each other, more comfortable, more sociable and all of this comes across in the work they do.

NLP Practitioner - State management

Learning how to change your beliefs has so much potential. Some people I speak to are overwhelmed by this idea, can people actually change their beliefs, if so, how?
Yes they can. All businesspeople I work with, especially right now in these economic times, have limiting beliefs to some degree. The way to change these beliefs is to ask certain questions. Such as:
What beliefs have you got that limit you?
Where did this belief come from?
How does this belief affect you now?
What is the opposite of this belief which would get different results to what you are getting now?
What would you do different if you had this result?
What would happen if you did that now?

Gaining rapport with your unconscious on a business course may sound a little New Age, but what does gaining a rapport with your unconscious mean and how does it aid performance in business?
Well if you read any book about any business leader there will be many references to times when they have been connected to their ‘inner self’, and this is what gaining a rapport with your unconscious means.

For example, Alan Sugars autobiography has so so many implicit references to when he was connected to his unconscious. For example when he had certain gut feelings about something, or someone, or when he ‘just knew’ he was going against his inner self. At these are times he had a good rapport with his unconscious.

It helps people in business to have this good rapport with their unconscious so they know that they are continuing on their path or their ‘personal mission’ by the important decisions they have to make. This is quite advanced to be honest, but is not that hard to do and when you have a good rapport with your unconscious, you can never really be affected too much by the outside world as you know what you are doing is right for you.