What is NLP?

What is it that makes one person excellent at something and others merely ordinary?
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What is it that makes one person excellent at something and others merely ordinary? NLP is the elicitation, codification and replication of human excellence.

What is the difference that makes the difference?

NLP is the modeling of human excellence.

NLP provides a set of very powerful tools and techniques, coupled with a heightened awareness of how we as human beings operate psychophysically. Together these skills can produce remarkably effective, positive change.

The Story of NLP

Before going on to explore the many benefits adopting NLP bestows on business and interpersonal relationships, it’s worth looking at how NLP was devised.

NLP Origins

Neuro Linguistic Programming began it’s life early in the 1970s when an Associate Professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz, John Grinder, teamed up with an undergraduate Richard Bandler. Both men had a fascination with human excellence which charted a path for them to model behavioural patterns of selected geniuses.

Modelling is the core activity in NLP, and is the process of extricating and replicating the language structure and behavioural patterns of an individual who is excellent at a given activity.

Grinder and Bandler began their NLP quest by modelling three people, Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson. These geniuses were outstanding as professional agents of change, working in the domain of therapy. All three geniuses, Perls, Satir and Erickson performed their magic from a perspective of unconscious excellence. The geniuses did not present Grinder and Bandler with a conscious description of their behaviour. The modellers (Grinder and Bandler) unconsciously absorbed the patterning inherent in the geniuses and then provided a description.

With little direct knowledge of each of the geniuses speciality and little knowledge of the field of psychotherapy on the whole, Grinder and Bandler over a two year period set out with enthusiasm bordering on fervour, to explicate selected portions of the geniuses’ behaviour. They coded the results of their work in language-based models using the patterns of transformational grammar as the descriptive vocabulary. Through NLP Modelling Grinder and Bandler made explicit the tacit skills of the geniuses and NLP was born.

The company that Grinder and Bandler were keeping in these heady days of the 1970s was a melting pot of enquiring minds seeking investigation into human behaviour. John Grinder was an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Richard Bandler a fourth year undergraduate student. The world renowned anthropologist Gregory Bateson had joined the faculty at Kresge College, and such was Bateson’s interest in Grinder and Bandler’s collaboration he introduced Grinder and Bandler to Milton Erickson. Bateson provided support, feedback and his enthusiasm is in part captured in his introduction to the book Structure of Magic where he states “John Grinder and Richard Bandler have done something similar to what my colleagues and I attempted fifteen years ago.”

In 1975 Grinder and Bandler presented the first two NLP models to the world in the volumes “Structure of Magic I and II.” The volumes published by the respected publishing house “Science and Behaviour Books inc” put NLP on the map and interest in the new field of NLP spread quickly. People in fields related to communication, behaviour and change sought to learn how they too could get amazing results when doing change work. Grinder and Bandler willingly offered training courses in the application of their models. The training courses Bandler and Grinder conducted – proved that the NLP models were transferable to others, meaning the learners could use the NLP models successfully in their own work.

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.


Our first mental map of the world is made up of internal representations from our 5 senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory) that form as result of neurological filtering processes.


We form our second mental map by assigning language and personal meaning to the internal representations, thus forming everyday conscious awareness. The second mental map is called the Linguistic Map.


This is the behavioral response that occurs as a result of neurological filtering processes and the subsequent linguistic map.

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 behaviors with another, or
  • “install” useful behaviors into others and themselves.

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.



HR, coaching, communication, training, negotiation, sales, recruitment, alignment of departments, building strong rapport, reading non-verbal communication (body language), team-building, executive coaching, organizational change and management and leadership development.

Inter-staff Communication

NLP approaches communication on many levels. Employers worldwide already see the benefit of developing interpersonal skills with emotional intelligence training including principles that recognise and use powerful language patterns to empower.  It also includes training to make the most of the non-verbal sides of communication – how to fine-tune your senses and be more sensitive to others in order to achieve successful outcomes.


NLP isn’t just about improving the individual employee, it’s designed to make you a better manager because you are more tuned in to your staff and more aware of the way that you are communicating.
Very often people are unaware of the assumptions they make in the language they use and are thus unaware of how those assumptions make other people feel. Shifting the way you communicate can make people feel more at ease, happier and more motivated. All of these benefits feed into the running of the company, making people feel more valued and committed to their workplace and their colleagues.
Leadership is also enhanced by enabling you to properly work out and communicate your vision for the business and its staff. This positively affects morale and    productivity.


NLP can be used to deliver internal training and presentations.
For example, one aspect of NLP teaches you how to reduce stress levels when speaking in public. Fear of public speaking is the world’s most common phobia, and people with massive talents and much to give often find public speaking to be a stumbling block.

Once you are comfortable in front of others, however, that is only the beginning of how NLP can be used. Because people with NLP training behind them are aware of the way the emotional state of the trainer affects and influences the state of the audience, the trainer is shown how to bring his or her own state to an optimal level and thereby bring the audience along, too.
Specific use of body language and of spoken language combine to make a far more powerful effect on the audience, sweeping away the “death by powerpoint” experience that is far too prevalent in the boardroom and making real impact.

Improving personal effectiveness

NLP can change long term behavioural patterns – in the workplace, colleagues understand each other better and are more equipped to respond adequately to each others’ and customers’ needs and desires.  Home relationships retrieve a sense of meaningful dialogue and a new kind of perception.  Obviously, well functioning relationships are vital to the success of any business or personal life.

Confidence and presence

Utilising all or a combination of NLP techniques will lead to greater confidence and presence, maximising you ability to communicate more concisely, identify and be clear about what really matters to you and create compelling goals.

  • Master your emotions – Calmly collate relevant information under pressure.
  • Remain calm, focused and thorough at all times
  • Instant confidence and motivation – Maximise your presence in business situations.  Remain self assured during critical negotiations
  • Use language with greater precision – Clearly articulate your views and ideas with pinpoint focus.  Create compelling and persuasive arguments.
  • Change unwanted behaviour in yourself and others – Manage teams more effectively.  Motivate and inspire staff everyday.

Sales, Negotiation and Persuasion.

Most people don’t recognise that there is a particular structure to the way that positive negotiations work. The “inocculation” of clients against doubt, the reframing of objections, sharing of a vision, the setting out of a positive course of action and enthusing people to follow that course are all included in the techniques taught in NLP training.
All of this comes from being able to recognise the particular state in which the client or partner is currently in, and shift them to the desired state of agreement and approval. State awareness of yourself and others is absolutely central to closing a deal.


Effective goal-setting strategies, self-awareness, identifying and overcoming limiting beliefs, creating empowering beliefs, relationship building, communication, strategies for achievement.


Overcoming limiting beliefs, effective goal setting, recognition of, and breaking unhelpful patterns, building strong relationships, general communication, building rapport, increasing choice.


Classroom management; use of different learning styles, spelling and other learning strategies.


Brief Therapy models to treat phobia, trauma, post-traumatic stress, habit & addiction cessation, allergic response, relationship issues, grief, depression, healing of negative emotions.


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