Before going on to explore the many benefits adopting NLP bestows on business and interpersonal relationships, it’s worth looking in short at how NLP was devised.
The story of NLP begins in the early 1970s with one man, Richard Bandler. He was a graduate computer programmer from the University of California, who was fascinated by the many schools of psychotherapy prevalent at the time. With his practical background in computer programming, he looked closely at psychotherapy and drew the conclusion that for making predictable change in people, most psychotherapy at the time simply didn’t work.
However, he observed that two therapists did reliably make changes in people: Virginia Satir and Fritz Perls. Richard set about studying their work.
It was no easy task. The first problem Richard encountered was that neither Perls nor Satir could account for their successes, claiming that they relied on their intuition to guide them. Undeterred, Richard began a painstaking study of their methods, and after many long hours began to notice similarities in the language they used and the body language they employed. From these studies, it became clear to Richard that intuition has a definite, identifiable structure. He took his observations to his Professor, John Grinder, an expert in linguistics, and together they worked out the structures in language and body language that helped people change the way they were not only thinking but feeling.
When Richard then studied the work of the leading medical hypnotist Milton H Erickson, and combined Erickson’s use of language with that of Satir and Perls, a highly effective tool for personal change was born.This mind tool Richard Bandler called Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP.What is NLP?
The name Neuro-Linguistic Programming says exactly what it does: through the use of language and body language it enables practitioners to change the thoughts and feelings of themselves and those around them in a predictable way. It allows for more effective communication of a message by making sure the “mood music” is correct, that is, it enables people to be shifted to receptive emotional states, as well as getting the raw data of the message across.
An NLP Practitioner is able to study what an individual is doing at both the conscious and the unconscious levels, and then to either:
- replace unhelpful behaviours with another, or
- “install” useful behaviours into others and themselves.
What Richard Bandler devised was an incredibly powerful mind tool that could bring about change and improvement in others at a pace unprecedented in the therapy community. The ramifications of his discoveries were to go on to influence hundreds of thousands, worldwide.NLP and Your Business
NLP was initially devised to help in therapy which is why it is regularly used to cure phobias, decrease anxiety, reduce stress and overcome neuroses. However, the ability to identify the ways that people are thinking and feeling and ethically make changes in those states also makes it ideal for business.
Richard soon started studying the ways that great communicators in the world of business got their message across, how people motivate themselves and others, how people present more effectively and powerfully persuade. These skills, too, he realized, were transferable.