Not just another mumbo jumbo tool
By FREDA LIU
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s.
I took up both practitioner and master practitioner certifications in NLP after completing a coaching course because I was intrigued. It was a great add-on because I learnt new tools.
A lot of us already practise elements of NLP unknowingly. Learning NLP has helped me tremendously; professionally and personally.
The basic premise behind NLP and coaching is that we are resourceful (not just in the financial sense) and we are able to create solutions to various issues. Here are some of the tools.
An anchor is really what it is. It is any stimuli that associates an internal response with some external or internal trigger so that the response is re-accessed swiftly and covertly. How do you get to that place where you settle back to a resourceful state? It can be anything really, from a visual to a song.
Every time I feel unsettled or angry about a situation, I go to prayer and meditation. One of my favourite scriptures reminds me to “be still” and know that God is in charge.
When that happens, I feel a sense of peace. Although the situation has not changed, it gets me to a point of clarity and I don’t do or say anything in haste.
My friend’s anchor is the song, I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. I believe the first line in that song is “I’m too sexy for my shirt!” and I guess that gives him the confidence. To each their own, I say!
This is probably one of the most important skills in sales or when meeting new people. As I have to interview a lot of people, I usually ask them to come 30 minutes early. Why?
This is largely for me to build rapport with them so they won’t be nervous coming on air. My goal is to get a great interview and not to have them clam up because that just won’t work on radio!
Rapport-building techniques include mirroring their body language, matching their rate of speech to even breathing at the same pace (that’s why smokers get on really well; they inhale and exhale together!).
Disclaimer here. I genuinely like meeting new people and I always assume I have rapport already. I try to crack a joke and make the person feel at ease. When we’re both laughing together, it removes the tension.
Here’s the thing. I’m like that with everyone I meet – interviewee, new friend, potential client, you name it. I have no hidden agenda. I genuinely want to know a person and their needs. That goes a long way with building rapport.
Now, if you’re an introvert, it doesn’t mean it’s difficult to build rapport or that you have to like the other person. However, you must have a real interest to get to that point of connection and common values.
The whole study of NLP helps you guide your values. When you know your true values, it makes it so much easier when you do your work, or when you decide which company you want to work for or the career choices you make.
Two of my key values are actually Harmony and Learning. This explains why I love what I do because I learn something everyday. I also like to make people feel at ease because I like harmony. When people feel their values are not aligned, they leave their jobs and even marriages!
This a big one with most people. Nay, everyone. I catch myself with limiting beliefs all the time. It’s the little, little things. It ranges from statements like “I don’t think I can do this” to “Why is everyone better at this than me?”
These statements can paralyse a person from moving forward. Last year when I decided to do a full marathon, I injured myself quite badly. It was probably just the body reacting to fear.
I changed the words on the day of the marathon to “I am going to enjoy this and take my time. What else am I doing for the next six hours anyway?” Yes, I completed it.
“I don’t like office politics!” Have you heard that one before? Who does right?
I realised that this also limits your career if you assume everything is about office politics. This reframing exercise came to me accidentally when Anne Abraham of Lead Women was having a chat with me about how she never saw it that way.
Anne said she always saw it as team dynamics. Everyone has different personalities with different agendas and KPIs (key performance indicators). If we communicate to meet the individual’s agenda and KPI whilst getting our point across, then we have ‘win-win’.
Anne incidentally sits on the board of a public-listed company and Lead Women is an organisation that helps women get to board positions.
Operating at cause or effect
“I never get promoted” or “How can I get that promotion?” How do these two sentences sound?
One sentence sounds like a death sentence and the latter opens the door to possibilities. Catch the words you say.
If you are at effect you may blame others or circumstances for your bad moods or for what you have not achieved for your life.
Being at cause means you have choices in your life – you can choose what is best for you while ensuring the choice is not damaging to those around you, your community and your society.
Where are you operating at in different areas of your life?
Positive or negative state
This was a gem of an advice given to me many years ago before I understood NLP. Do you want to be bitter or better?
Malachy McCourt once said:
“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
Being in a negative state is never a good place. Think about it; a great idea never comes when you’re in a negative mood.
Some ways to counter this is to exercise to release some endorphins, pray, hang around positive people, don’t accept negativity from others, watch comedy, start journaling and write five things to be grateful for daily.
These are just some of the key ideas and instruments that I have garnered from NLP.