Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a set of skills that reveal the kind of communication that matters most – on the inside and out.
For many, it’s clarifying to offer a definition by showing what we mean by the words neuro, linguistic, and programming. Here you go:
Neuro: Referring to the mind or brain, particularly regarding how states of mind (and body) affect communication and behavior. NLP teaches a structural way of viewing mind and body states, developing mental maps that show how things happen and how to change course.
Linguistic: Meaning that our mind and body states are revealed in our language and non-verbal communication. Language is the tool we use to gain access to the inner workings of the mind. Neuro-linguistic programming language patterns teach us how to access unconscious information that would remain vague and unknowable otherwise.
Programming: This refers to the capacity to change our mind and body states. You’ve heard the term living on autopilot, right? To someone trained, this would mean that you are living according to your programming, which consists of habitual thoughts, feelings, reactions, beliefs, and traditions.
Someone trained in neuro-linguistic programming knows how such programs are structured in the mind and how to access them through conversation so that outdated programs and autopilot behaviors can be changed.
How does NLP work in real life?
During conversations, most of us fixate on words. What does this person mean and what shall I say in return? It’s been long established that words are the least meaningful aspect of communication, conveying just 7% of meaning (Mehrabian, 1972).
For example, when someone tells you they’re willing to help you organize a social gathering, but their voice is flat and their facial expression looks like you just invited them to an evening of electric shock torture…it’s obvious something else is going on. Their words said YES, but the non-verbal communication – the other 93% – said SOMETHING ELSE.
What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming? The other 93% of communication. It is a system for understanding and using the kind of communication that really matters. Master non-verbal communication and you become a communication master!
But here’s something even more interesting:
Most people don’t realize that communication is made of so much more than interactions between people. There exists an entire world of communication within your mind and body. Inner life – your mindset, attitude, and feelings – is an active form of communication.