Adapting Neuro-Linguistic Programming to Fit Your Goals

Throughout our many years as a consulting firm one of the main precepts that we structure our training methodology on is Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Neur0-linguistic programming (NLP) is a scientific approach to communication that shows how one’s behavior can have a specific impact on outcomes and goals.

One of the researchers who was a major force in developing and successfully utilizing this science was Dr. Milton Erickson. In 1967, 8 years before Richard Bandler and John Grinder’s original book on NLP was published, Dr. Erickson, a renowned psychiatrist, authored a descriptive paper which identified 4 specific methods which were achieving positive and outstanding results with patients, clients and students.

As I recite these points I want you – the listener – to replace the word ‘patient’ with the title of the person you interact with most frequently. Instead of patient, change the title to customer, employee, manager, congregant, client, prospect, etc.  Get the idea?

Here were Dr. Erickson’s 4 points:

  1. Hold and fixate the patient’s attention.
  2. Present comprehensible ideas which are not in content, relevant to therapist – patient relations.
  3. Create or foster the patient’s readiness to respond and find meaning.
  4. Access and direct behavioral responses — which can be employed in a helpful way within and after the therapy.

How can these four methods aid you? Bear with me as I repeat them and in each case I’ll rephrase the statement.

Remember, where Dr. Erickson uses the term client or patient, we will be identifying the other party as a prospect, client, employee or similar.  In place of the therapeutic session, we willrefer to a presentation, meeting, conference or sales presentation.

Hold and fixate the patient’s attention

In the sales role, if you are phoning a prospect or past customer, you have about 30 seconds to gain and hold their attention and make them willing to hear the purpose and goal of your message.  This is equally true of all person-to-person contact – – except over the phone you have less time to effectuate this process than in person.

Present comprehensible ideas which are not in content, relevant to therapist – patient relations

We would modify this to say – – present comprehensible ideas utilizing metaphors, anecdotes or analogies which are not, in content, relevant to conventional buy/sell or employee/employer relationships or similar one-on-one interactions.

Create or foster the patient’s readiness to respond and find meaning

We would apply this as creating or fostering the prospect’s, client’s or employee’s readiness to respond, find meaning and take action.  This includes embedded commands, permission statements, and processes such as revivification and hypernesia which are used to develop rapport rapidly.


Access and direct behavioral responses — which can be employed in a helpful way within and after the therapy

Instead, create a strategy to access and direct behavioral responses with methods such as price/value validation, “post negative” suggestion and “spaced repetition”.  The latter methods are employed to reach “concurrence” – – close sales, create clarity and retain satisfaction within and after a presentation, speech or conference.

Imagine the power you will have if by selective words, questions, pauses and processing techniques, you could unearth the keys to establishing rapport rapidly, then utilizing the state of rapport to uncover previously unstated values and needs – as well as hidden resistance.

Consider this, when people discover what those they consider geniuses or experts do inside their heads in order to perform a task exceptionally well, what they’ve discovered is not a new model, it is a strategy.

The sequencing of various aspects of this model is presented in a compact, easy to learn study format called Power Linguistics – – and it is a means to change someone’s internal representations is called a technique or methodology.

Power Linguistics represents a tool box of proven communication methods.  It is based on the study of what works best in most communication situations.

Once Power Linguistics is understood by you and utilized effectively, it becomes your technique and your methodology. By constant practice, your skill sets will grow exponentially.

Over the next series of blog posts we will present more information about Power Linguistics and the study of communication – – regardless of what industry you are in, your outcomes will be affected in a positive manner if you take the time to adhere to these practices.

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