NLP: a tool for FM professionals

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Changing your way of thinking can improve your communication skills at work, says Anne Lennox-Martin. Neuro-linguistic programming is one method that can reap rewards in negotiation and communication at the workplace

What is neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)?

NLP has oft en been called an instruction manual for the unconscious. It is a body of knowledge, (some unique, some pulled from other respected sources) which combines with a series of tools to enable any of us to improve the strategies we use to achieve our goals and our relationships with other people.

N – Neuro

The nervous system (the mind), through which our experience is processed via five senses.

L – Linguistics

Language and other non-verbal communication systems through which our internal thinking patterns are coded, ordered and given meaning. These include:

  • Pictures;
  • Sounds;
  • Feelings;
  • Tastes; and
  • Smells.

This is what we carry in our head from second to second – how we use language to communicate with others – and ourselves.

P – Programming

This is the ability to discover and use the programmes that we run internally (our communication to ourselves and others) in our neurological systems to achieve our desired outcomes. It is understanding that we create strategies in early life, oft en before we have language, which are frequently unhelpful to us as adults.

How we use it in FM

It is widely recognised that emotional intelligence (EI) is essential for successful FM practitioners, allowing them to deal with the many demands and stresses they encounter every day.
There are many tools and techniques in NLP that contribute to EI. Some of the most important deal with our ability to keep a positive attitude.
When we have negative thoughts we create limiting beliefs and decisions that unconsciously stop us achieving our true potential. Creating a positive outlook through the constant use of positive language in our heads and when talking to others, starts with us making a choice. Recognising we have a choice in the way we react to good and bad events, we begin an empowerment that allows us to resist depression and anxiety and discover a better way of living.
Recognising that we are all different and unique as human beings – and not judging people on their perceived behaviour – enables us to communicate in new ways, building rapport with others and developing true empathy. These are core competencies when negotiating.
Achieving our objectives in business is essential, and the weighting we give to different data and information coming into the brain affects what we process and what we delete, distort or generalise. We develop strategies for decision making from a young age, which can be fit for purpose then, and in the context they were first created, but can distort our thinking patterns in adult life, creating prejudice and lack of self-confidence.
There are presuppositions in NLP that you don’t have to believe but, if you act on them as if they are true, you can significantly improve your communication and wellbeing.
It is tricky to capture all the life-changing knowledge and tools that make up NLP here. Why not investigate for yourself? When dealing with your unconscious you have to suspend disbelief and cynicism, which can go against the grain for business professionals. Be bold and dive in – you will find it fascinating.

ANNE LENNOX-MARTIN is managing director of FMP360

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