What is NLP?

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It is a system for testing and changing real-life behaviour through a set of principles, behavioural approaches and techniques. It allows you to change, adopt or eliminate habits and offered a choice of the best for each person emotional and physical status. It provides tools for the study of our own behaviour and the behaviour of others.

Neuro – means that our experiences and thoughts are reflected in physiological gestures, body movements, eyes, head, breathing, intonation, speed, strength, tone of our speech. And when we explore and change them, we can have influence on our subjective experiences.

Linguistic – emphasises that our inner experiences are reflected in the language that we use. Modifying the way we talk, we can modify both our own subjective experiences and the feelings and reactions of others.

Programming – means that we can change and direct our thoughts and behaviour, and partly the behaviour of other people, to our desired direction.


Principles of NLP

Map ≠ Territory. My understanding of the world around me and how I choose to respond to the world is based on individual maps. This means that each of us has own system for filtrating his experiences. This system affects the way we experience our personal inner map of our reality. Every day we are moving through familiar areas and actions, but because of our different systems and various internal cards we have different experiences.

Perception of reality ≠ Reality. As human beings we filter reality through our five senses and our senses. Therefore, the information that intrudes from the outside world is already limited by our senses. This is our internal map of reality. That is why we do not react to reality; we react to the way we perceive reality. We also interpret our experiences linguistically, by the words we choose, expressing our inner monologue.

For example, one person might see a dog and think danger and freeze or run. Another person might see the same dog and feel flooded with warm feelings and reach down to tousle its fur.

Failure = Feedback. We can choose to understand our failure as experience we can learn from. This way, we will perceive the information and look for resources how to navigate ourselves through these moments of fear and doubt. Evaluating the feedback give us the feeling of control and possibilities. The key is what you tell yourself about why you did not achieve what was expected and how you may use this information to change the outcome.

To not communicate = communicate. Communication is always more than what you say; it is both verbal and nonverbal. It is our clothes, gestures, body languages, facial expressions, etc. what speaks the message.



Different areas in which NLP can help for better communication


  • Individual change
  • Improving confidence
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Delivering better presentations
  • Eliminating unwanted behaviours
  • Enjoying deeper relationships


  • Unlearning a fear
  • Quitting bad habit
  • Managing stress
  • Improving performance

Professional settings:

  • Developing connections
  • Creating influence
  • Motivating for actions
  • Encouraging through positive interactions
  • Team building
  • Conflict resolutions
  • Greater understanding

Business communication:

  • Increasing integrity
  • Creating strong partnerships
  • Increasing productivity
  • Improving negotiation skills
  • Encouraging social awareness
  • Providing better customer service

Educational experience:

  • Improving learning using NLP primary representational system*
  • Achieving agreements in the classroom
  • Increasing positive assumption
  • Improving outcomes using feedback

Personal life:

  • Better relationship with yourself and others
  • Eliminate unwanted behaviour
  • Motivate
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Use the best of your potential


* NLP primary representational system

This stands for the representational system that someone most often uses to calculate experiences and express them to the world. Each of us have preferred representational systems. The following are generalisations on the characteristics of people with a preference for visual, auditory, kinesthetic, digital (usually everyone uses mix of them all, but also has a prime one).

Visual representational system. People use visualisation for memory and decision making – often getting insights about something. They are more imaginative and may have difficulty putting their ideas in words. They speak faster than the general population and prefer in-person interactions. They want to see or be shown concepts, ideas or how something is done; want to see the big picture.

Auditory representational system. People perceive and represent sequences and are able to remember directions or instructions more easily. Learn by listening and asking questions. Enjoy discussions and prefer to communicate through spoken language rather than the written word. Talk through problems. Need to be heard.

Kinesthetic representational system. People speak slower than the general population. They are more sensitive to their bodies and their feelings and respond to physical rewards and touching. Learn by doing, moving or touching. Stand closer to other people.

Digital representational system. Digital is devoid of the senses. People have a need to make sense of the world, to figure things out, to understand. Talk to themselves and carry on conversations with you in their mind. Learn by working things out in their mind. Logic play a key role in the decision process as do facts and figures. Memorise by steps, procedures, sequences.





  • Gibson, BP 2009, ‘Chapter 1: WHAT IS NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING?’, Complete Guide to Understanding & Using NLP: Neuro-Linguistic Programming Explained Simply pp. 27-54 n.p.: Atlantic Publishing Company Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost
  • Linde, A 2008, ‘Part 2: You have all the resources you need’, Mindworks: An Introduction to NLP pp. 57-90 n.p.: Crown House Publishing
  • O’Connor, JDRMI 2013, Principles of NLP, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, . Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central
  • Ellerton, R 2013, ‘Chapter 3: Getting to know yourself and others; 3.1. Modalities and representational systems’, Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches, Managers and You pp. 43-46 n.p.: Renewal Technologies, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s