The 1970s and 80s were a boom-time in applied psychology. EST, TM and a host of other self-help and interpersonal relationship methods sprang up, took the spotlight for awhile and then died off. The roots of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) lie in this same fertile soil and the movement to explain and explore human interactions. Unlike the other, failed methodologies, NLP has survived and grown.
Googling the three letters, NLP, now produces more than 15 million hits. From an original idea of mapping communication, NLP has become a complete and useful science.
NLP is all around you, although it might be invisible now. When a commercial asks you to: ‘buy now’, ‘last chance’, ‘sign up today’, or ‘call now’ – that’s NLP in action. When a politician reads a compelling speech and pumps up his base – that’s NLP in use. Top executives use it and marketing agencies rely on it. Some of the best uses I have seen in practice are in infomercials and television evangelists. You can almost bet that whenever you found yourself drawn to buy or do something and whenever you have been strongly swayed toward a different point of view, NLP techniques were involved.
The What, How, and Why
What does neuro-linguistic programming stand for?
- Neuro – refers to neurology, the mind, and the brain. It’s the workshop of NLP.
- Linguistic – refers the language, verbal and other, that we use as a tool in this workshop.
- Programming – highlights the ability to change (or program) with language – our minds and the minds of others.
Under the catch-all term NLP you will find many techniques to communicate, connect, and influence the way people think – what they think about and how they think about it.
How does NLP achieve this?
- First, by understanding the underlying mechanisms of thought – where opinions and beliefs come from.
- Next, by understanding the links between language and thoughts. This is done through modeling, or constructing relationships between what is said and the resulting actions.
- Finally, by distilling important relationships and techniques into methods that can be taught.
Why is NLP in such demand today?
It became obvious that NLP was more than a simple self-help and communication technique. Business people (especially salesmen) quickly saw the potential and advantages of accessing communication at a deeper level. NLP became a way to influence and connect with a level of thinking unreachable before.