Author: Sue Knight; Publisher: Institute of Personnel and Development
The author in the introduction explains that she has written the book to answer the question as to just what is NLP and how can it help you in your work and in your life. The book is part of the Management Shapers series published by the Institute of Personnel and Development. The aim of these books is to give an introduction to topics that form part of the key skills for people in the work force.
The first chapter sets out what is meant by the term NLP. It introduces the concept by talking about everyday things that a person does and ask you to consider for a moment those things you have done well. The list includes what appear to be mundane things, such as waking up on time, successfully handling a telephone call, learning something unexpectedly. The author then asks the same question, which of these things have you done ‘well’ but focussing on ‘negative’ things e.g. become upset or stressed, given up on a goal, missed a deadline and so on.
Her point in showing this is to highlight that whatever you do, underlying your behaviour is a strategy for achieving exactly the result that you did achieve. That is a very powerful statement as it puts forward the idea that we can influence how we approach and think about people and subjects. The author highlights this by giving further examples of the things people who are skilled at influencing others usually do. These include getting themselves in the best possible emotional and mental state, talk to themselves in a encouraging way, subtly match the other person’s body language in a respectful way, sense the kind of words the other person is using in their conversation, read the signals that tell them they have achieved rapport. In essence a strategy is at work which is a sequence of thinking and behaviour patterns driven by beliefs and values that gets a result. This is where NLP is a means of eliciting these strategies both from ourselves and from other people.
The term NLP refers to the elements that make up this process of modelling, neuro, linguistic and programming. Neuro (N) refers to thinking, linguistic (L) to the way we use language and programming (P) our strategies for getting results. The key point the author makes is that NLP works on the principle that although you cannot change the world you can change the way in which you represent the world in your thinking. The author’s use of examples and exercise helps the reader to understand the concept and also to get practical experience in applying it to their own circumstances. In addition the use of case studies in each of the chapters gives a concrete example of how NLP can be used to resolve situations in a practical and productive way.
In concluding each of the chapters the author leaves the reader with one liners which capture the essence of the chapter and are consistent with the purpose of NLP. These one liners are real take aways for the reader to reflect on as they go about their day to day lives.
So if one wanted to just take one liners to help in their personal strategy they have the following
- What you think is what you get
- True rapport is the ability to dance in step with your partner
- It is our ‘thought life’ and not our circumstances that determines our success and happiness
- Fish are the last to see the water in which they swim
- If you believe you can you might, if you believe you can’t you wont
- The responsibility for the impression you create lies in the heads of one person alone – YOU
- ‘Example is the school of mankind and they will learn at no other’ Edmund Burke
There is also a caveat for people who think that in order to ‘fix’ others they can use NLP. The caveat is that if you attempt to change others but do not change yourself, you will become unstuck.
From a coaching perspective this is an extremely useful introduction to NLP and would encourage those who have an interest to research further the potential for NLP. Many of the skills used in NLP mirror the skills needed to be an effective coach. In addition the need for self awareness is also key and is referred to in the book where a person wishes to use NLP.
The book does what it says on the cover and a little bit more. It introduces the concept in an easy to read style and goes further by getting the reader to participate in that reading by trying out the exercises. For anyone interested in self development and wishing to improve their outlook on life it is a good book.
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