What is Neuro Linguistic Programming?

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. ‘Neuro’ being your brain, ‘Linguistic’ the language we use with others and how that can influence their thinking and behaviour and our own self talk and how that impacts on our results. ‘Programmes’ are all the unconscious habits we have learned so that we can operate on automatic pilot. For example we drive a car but we don’t think about what we are doing with our hands and feet.

Why learn NLP?

Simply put it can help you become a better person. A better leader, a better coach, a better trainer a better sales person and a better business owner. So how do you become a better, happier, more confident you?

Lets go back to ‘What is NLP?’

NLP is like a ‘user manual for your brain’ with a host of ‘Apps’ that can make you more confident and effective. NLP teaches you how to use your brain differently. Rather like having Apps on your phone you don’t use or down loading new ones to help you think and behave differently.

NLP was created by John Grinder and Richard Bandler in the 1970’s. Their goal was to discover why some people produced excellent results, and then create models to allow other people to assimilate the process. Over the years many people were modelled and a host of techniques were developed. They were joined by others and information was gathered from different sources such as Pavlov to create anchoring. John Grinder was a linguistics professor and worked with Richard to discover how some therapists used their language to solve their client’s problems. Now I don’t want to waste your time giving you a long historical account of NLP. I would prefer to give you some information that you can use straight away.

Let me ask you a question. When you are feeling good, confident and in an up beat mood do you have a better day and get more done? I hope the answer is yes! Well how would you like to be in that good state more often? Well you can and here is how. When you read a book, words trigger pictures in your mind and pictures trigger feelings. So if you read a sad story you may feel sad, whilst a happy tale makes you feel good. So here it is a simple formula. ‘What you put into your mind results in either a good state which has a positive impact on your behavior or a not so good state which has a negative impact on your behavior and results.’ If a farmer plants seed of corn in their land what is going to grow out of it? That’s right corn! If the same farmer plants seeds of a poison ‘deadly night shade’ then after a few months that is what will grow.

Limiting Beliefs

Some of us have limiting beliefs but we are not consciously aware of them but they drive our behaviour.

Several hundred years ago we believed that the earth was flat. Until Roger Banister broke the 4 minute mile it was seen as physically impossible, in 1999 Hicham El Guerrouj ran it in 3.43.13 minutes a huge advance. Our belief about our self and the world around us acts as a filter to block out information. In other words ‘our reality’ prevents us from being the person we can be.

Basically everything inside your head is not real. Rather it is an Internal Representation or ‘internal telly’ – a series of stored images sounds and feelings of what we believed to be true or our ‘take’ on an event. We are bombarded with two million bits of information a second. Of these only 134 get through our filtering systems which are beliefs, attitudes etc. We then generalise grouping this information into several chunks per second. Generalising helps us make sense of the world. We then compare what is coming in with our mental map of the world, which can distort our ‘take’ on it.


When we communicate we are deleting, generalising and distorting the information coming from the person we are communicating with and they are doing the same with us.

I always see this a bit like a doorman. Outside the club the doorman only allows in who management tell him to let in. Well inside our head our doorman only allows in the information ‘management’ (that’s you) want. So if something is important to you it is allowed in. Have you ever bought a new car and suddenly you see the same model everywhere? Well that’s your doorman opening up to information that you had previously filtered out because it was not important until now! So when you set a goal and work towards it your filters open up to the information you need.

When we use positive self talk we change the pictures in our mind and our feelings. Like wise if we ask our selves good questions like ‘How can I improve the situation?’ or ‘What result do I want?’ then the picture in our mind changes very rapidly and we get positive feelings, which lead to action. If for the next 10 days you ask your self good questions and ensure your self talk is positive you will find your self becoming more effective.

NLP and Language

So we know that everything we think or say to ourselves has an impact on our state (how we feel) and our actions. But we can also have the same impact on others by asking them better questions such as ‘What was the best thing you did at the weekend?’ ‘What result are you looking for?’ ‘What would be a good outcome?’

Our language shapes our thinking. Consider the use of metaphors. An example of a metaphor is ‘Hit the ground running.’ On one workshop we had a delegate who had a string of negative metaphors; ‘It’s dog eat dog out there.’ ‘If you can’t beat them join them.’ Life’s a battle you’ve got to win.’ You see metaphors are the way we see a situation, they mirror our model of the world. One woman whose company were joining with another told me it will be a ‘car crash’ I responded by asking her if she could see it like a first date. She laughed and said ‘yes maybe.’

Above the line or Below the Line – Reasons or Results!

Several years ago when we were delivering a day of NLP for a sales team one woman exclaimed! “You are absolutely right Steve, my physiology impacts on my mood,” she went onto say. “ I run half a mile every morning, have a shower and feel great all day! In fact I take my dog and we run together.” Another delegate retorted, “It’s alright for you but I haven’t got a dog!”

So it’s not necessarily an obvious excuse we may be using just a ‘Reason’

Now you can check yourself at any time by asking ‘am I above the line or below it?’


Any time I’m not in a good mood I’m below the line, so I can ask my self a question to get above it. Any time I’m blaming the weather, the government or someone else I’m below the line. When we are above the line we have more personal power and energy.

These audios are excerpts from our NLP Practitioner pre-course study pack. If you would like a free download of CD 1 which lasts for 60 minutes please complete the form.