Successful NLP

Principles for success

Know what you want from an activity before you start and use the present tense “I can bench 140kg”. Take feedback on your progress and make changes to reach the target. State goals in the positive and have a goal beyond the goal.

Consider and plan for consequences in advance, if you have to work long hours, discuss and agree this with your spouse. There is no such thing as failure, just feedback.

Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right —Henry Ford

The Principles for Success are:

  1. Know what you want (know your ‘outcome’)
  2. Be aware of what is happening and of your progress so that you can get feedback
  3. Be flexible if what you are doing is not working as you would like
  4. Build and maintain rapport
  5. Operate from a physiology and psychology of excellence
  6. Take action

Understanding others

Have respect to other points of view. Seek first to understand, then be understood (Covey). The person with the most flexibility of behaviour will have the most influence on the situation. It is for you to alter your communication rather than wait for (or expect) others to change. The meaning and outcome of communication is in the response you get.

When we see people as trying to make the best choice out of those available we can have compassion when they act in inappropriate ways.

You can use perceptual positions to help see a problem or situation from a number of perspectives. Move from one position in the room to another.

Internal representations

Internal representations, state and physiology are important because they impact on our behaviours and our behaviours impact on our results.

We all delete, distort and generalise the information that comes to us. If we believe something is true, we will often filter out (delete/distort/generalise) information that contradicts it, or distort information so that it fits in with our beliefs.

Giving instructions

Keep it simple and to the point when giving instructions. People are only able to handle 5–9 chunks of information at a time before becoming overwhelmed. Stories, analogies and metaphors are really useful ways to help people remember what you’ve told them (that’s why this book has real life examples in each chapter) and also to overcome/displace resistance.

Building rapport

There are two key principles for building rapport:

  1. People like people who are like them
  2. The majority of communication is non-verbal

Communication is made up of:

  1. Body language 55% — Gestures, Posture, Breathing
  2. Voice tonality 38% — Speed, volume, pitch
  3. Words 7%

Match gestures when it is your turn to talk.

Representational systems

People have a preferential representational system. We use predicates that reflect our preferred representational system or at least the representational system we are thinking in at the time.

  1. Visual 35-40% (show you)
  2. Auditory/Auditory Digital 20%-25% (tell you/arrange)
  3. Kinaesthetic 40% (get to grips)


Interviewers generally think highly of candidates who ask searching questions to ascertain whether the role is suitable for them.

Elicit values informally “What was it about them that made you happy?”

Regularly review your values from each of your key areas of life, elicit your values and what they mean and set at least one well-formed goal in each area of life that is in line with your values. —4 hours a year.

Internal problems

Aligned organisations have few internal politics, they focus on customers and getting the job done efficiently and everyone knows their role and what is expected of them.

Identify the level problems and tackle it at that level or higher:

  1. Purpose/Mission (mission)
  2. Identity (leader)
  3. Beliefs and values (value people)
  4. Capability (listen effectively)
  5. Behaviour (make eye contact with speakers)
  6. Environment (office space)

Turn vague words back into nouns by asking “Who is not communicating to who?” or “How would you like people to communicate instead?”


Most of us prefer either chunking up (example of) or chunking down (examples). Practice the other. Lateral thinking requires chunking up for a bigger picture then chunk down, asking for a different example.


Use anchors to improve your present state. Anchors should be ITURN:

  1. Intensity — Capture the peak of that experience
  2. Timing — Not fired accidentally
  3. Uniqueness — Made from intense experiences
  4. Replicability — Be reproducible
  5. Number — Repeat the anchoring process


Reframing turns negatives into positives. Travel holdups become reading opportunities.

To reframe what other people say, make sure:

  1. You hold rapport with them
  2. You have knowledge of the situation, keep it in context
  3. The reframe is plausible
  4. You believe what you are saying

See also