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As a business owner, how good are you at communicating? Do you find it easy to land new clients, get your brand message across and work efficiently, or does it all feel like you’re wading through treacle half the time?
Lenka Lutonska – a business strategist, communications coach and author of Energetic Selling and Marketing – would argue that you probably need to spend some time working on your NLP techniques.
Coined by Richard Bandler and John Grinder back in the 1970s, Neuro-Linguistic Programming examines what language our bodies and minds use to make sense of the data they receive from our nervous systems and how we then behave outwardly as a result. “Simply put,” explains Lenka, “NLP is an instruction manual for the mind. It contains a set of tools that help us to become more powerful communicators, happier and more productive individuals. It’s about advanced communication – with ourselves and others – and, as such, offers a vast variety of applications from sales, marketing and leadership to communication with the people we love, as well as with the people we serve.”
As it’s a form of psychological therapy, it has been subject to some testing but given that most of its effects have been anecdotal rather than scientific, it can be hard to tangibly decipher its effectiveness. Having said that, there have been some studies that tested the psychological state of NLP practitioners and found it to be improved after training.
The most useful thing to do is to focus more on the techniques’ practical advice than its scientific founding because evidence shows that learning to communicate effectively contributes more to business success than almost anything else.
Holmes Report published a body of research, The Cost of Poor Communications, in 2011 that was able to quantify the cost of miscommunication financially. It found that the average cost of misinformation in the form of policies, job descriptions and processes to a UK or US based corporation was $62.4M per year. This goes beyond ret tape, too. It also found that companies with leaders who are highly effective communicators saw 47% total returns to shareholders than those without.
Having used NLP techniques to grow her own mindset and business, Lenka then became a Master coach of the practice herself and has worked with thousands of high-net-worth clients to help them develop their own mindsets and, by doing so, become more effective communicators:
“In the last 10 years there is very little that I haven’t seen resolved with NLP, from small tweaks in minor habits and state control, to resolution of the big problems.
Women leave my trainings equipped with an array of communication tools for greater success in their businesses and lives. During this process, they also come into their own, having the sense of, “I have arrived” and as such leave as more empowered women, equipped to deal with every day life and business challenges in a completely different way and knowing how to achieve what they want.”
Interested to learn more? Then read ahead for Lenka’s top three NLP tips that you can incorporate into your business life today:
- Learn to speak the same language as your client
In selling and other business situations, it is useful to pay attention to your client’s preferred representational system and communicate accordingly. Otherwise it really can feel to them like you are talking a foreign language.
The way we talk and process information is closely linked to our “preferred representation system” – one of the things that NLP is famous for.
Some people see the world: they assess things and people based on how they look. They learn by watching and, as such, images, graphs and illustrated models will help them greatly in understanding things. In their expression, they will often use phrases such as, “I see how this works. This appears to be a brilliant idea. Show me how it looks in practice, etc.”
Other people process information predominantly through their sense of hearing. They learn by listening and often get disturbed by noises. Verbal feedback (and the tone of the voice used when listening to that feedback) is particularly important to them. In their language, they will often use words such as “listen,” “sound,” “hear” and “question”.
Then we have what we call ‘Kinaesthetic’ people. These learners need to experience how things work – they need to get their hands dirty, so to speak. They often make decisions based on how things feel, rather than whether they make sense. In their expression, they often use words such as “touch,” “feel,” “shock” and “get hold of”.
Lastly, we have the so called “Auditory Digital” learner. This is logic based. Things simply “need to make sense.” Highly auditory digital people often need to pause after you ask them a question because they need to repeat to themselves what you just said in their head. They need to contemplate on the idea. In their communication, they will often use phrases such as, “this makes sense. Can you let me know the details?” or “this doesn’t fit my criteria.” If you are working in a corporate environment, the chances are you are used to this way of communicating.
We are, of course, perfectly capable of using all of these representational systems when communicating but it’s more likely that you will use one a lot more than the others and the same goes for your prospective clients.
The bottom line? It pays to speak your client’s language.
- Look from a different perspective
For many people, the idea of presenting, pitching in person or public speaking fills them with dread. One of the best ways to overcome these nerves is to imagine watching yourself from a different perspective.
By imagining yourself presenting in front of your audience –not through your own eyes but rather through the eyes of the audience or from high above – you put yourself in the position of an objective observer.
When we look at situations from different perspectives (through the eyes of other people, an objective observer or a little fly on the wall) we get out of our own head and see things for what they really are.
This not only calms our nerves and lessens the effect of any negative emotions, we can also get lots of useful ideas when we get detached from our perspective.
Use this little exercise to mentally prepare yourself for your next important presentation, sales conversation, product launch or any other situation that makes you feel apprehensive. You will be calmer, much more resourceful and a lot more prepared for success.
- Examine your beliefs
One of the greatest contributions of NLP is a range of techniques for quickly eliminating our limiting beliefs: those limiting assumptions we have made about ourselves, people and the world.
Even one such limiting belief can have a huge undesired effect on ourselves, our wellbeing and our performance in business.
For me, it was the belief that “I am not good enough”.
“I’m not good enough” is one of the main limiting beliefs that stand between women and their most extraordinary success. Once you change this belief and acknowledge that you are more than good enough, you’ll start to feel more comfortable taking bigger risks and aiming for more meaningful goals.
Examine the beliefs you hold about yourself. If any of them do not support you, they need to change. After all, beliefs are just that: beliefs. They are not true. They are simply constructs in our mind, around which we organise our thinking and behaviour.
And we can choose, at will, new beliefs that we can live by and operate in our business from.
July 12, 2019 at 07:06AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs