How can NLP improve your personal and professional life?
  • Maud Vanhoutte

What is NLP and how can NLP durably improve your personal and professional life? (1/2)


Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a set of skills based on communication and self-enhancement that is used in the process of self-development. In a way it could be said that the aim of NLP is to learn the language of the body and mind in order to develop and understand ourselves better. With NLP not only we get to know, understand and accept ourselves more, we also get to understand others better. Thanks to the NLP tools, we are able to accept others with their differences and to improve our interactions and relationships with them. What a brilliant tool!


NLP was born in the seventies with John Grinder (an American linguist) and Richard Bandler (an American mathematician and psychologist). Both speculated that by following and observing successful people we would be able to gain an understanding of how these individuals became so successful. They did find out the reason of these people’s success, however it wasn’t what they had predicted. Their success wasn’t due to their knowledge or hard skills; it was directly linked to their soft skills, more precisely with their communication skills. As a result, Grinder and Bandler discovered that by analysing our behaviours, communication skills, vision and other soft skills, we would be able to improve ourselves to achieve more. That’s how NLP was born.


NLP consists in three components that focus on different aspects of an individual:

❖ Neuro: what is memorised by our brain and our 5 senses.

❖ Linguistic: what is manifested by our language, both verbal and non-verbal.

❖ Programming: what comes from our experiences and our habits.


NLP uses a lot of different methods and tools to adapt our communication and consequently getting the best out of our interactions with others.


One of NLP principles is that “the map is not the territory” which illustrates the differences between belief and reality. We all have our own vision and perception due to different backgrounds and personalities. NLP helps to deal with these differences to be able to understand others better and reduce misunderstanding and miscommunication


NLP meta-programs


One of the best NLP tool is the meta-program concept. Meta-programs are mental processes that manage, guide and direct other mental processes. In other words, meta-programs are the keys to the way you process information. NLP meta-programs are basically how you form your internal representations and direct your behaviour.

As there are many different meta-programs, there are many ways to think differently that our interlocutors. We identify more than 50 meta-programs, you can now understand why communicating can sometimes be so frustrating or challenging!


Here are 10 examples of NLP meta-programs :


1) Toward or Away

2) External or Internal Frame of Reference

3) Sorting By Self or Sorting by Others

4) Match or Mismatch

5) Best-Case or Worst-Case Scenario Thinking

6) Convincer Strategy

7) Possibility or Necessity

8) Big Chunk or Little Chunk

9) Independent, Cooperative and Proximity Working Styles

10) Association or Disassociation


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The more you learn about meta-programs, the more you get to understand yourself as well as others.


Let’s focus on one powerful meta-program: Specific or Global Frame of Mind

Some people have a specific frame of mind; they will need to provide you with all the details and information. When telling a story, a specific person will take more time and will take you through all the details. A specific person cuts down information into small bits, since all details have their importance and can help to understand the situation better. A specific person is usually very precise in her work, analysis, and life in general. When listening to a story, a specific person will need all the details and information in order to understand.

Other people have a global frame of mind; they will need and provide you with summarised information. When telling a story, a global person can easily sum it up to share the big picture. When listening to a story, a global person is able to understand the situation with just the general idea.


Being conscious of this two frames of mind - specific or global - helps understand yourself and your needs as well as other people and their needs.

If a global person asks a specific person to complete a task without enough guidance, a specific person might not be able to do a great work or might take too much time trying to understand what is asked of them. If a specific person asks a global person to complete a task with too many details and information, a global person might lose interest and not listen to all instructions.


Once you know the difference between a global and specific frame of mind, you are able to understand how your own brain works. You can also easily find out if your interlocutor has a specific or a global frame of mind and tailor your communication accordingly.

Improving your relationships has never been so easy: you just have to customise your communication!


Do you have a global or a specific frame of mind?


What about you? When telling a story, do you tell every bit of what happened including the tiniest of details or are you doing the opposite and just giving the big picture and the broad strokes?


If you are still unsure, answer the following questions to find out:


● What is catching your attention the most while hearing a story or looking at a picture?

a. The details

b. The main idea


● When you tell a story, do you:

a. Tell every little detail trying to be as close as possible to how it all happened.

b. Sum up the whole story.


● At work, do you have issues when it comes to writing down a summary?

a. Yes

b. No


If you got more A’s than B’s, then you may have a specific frame of mind! However, this small test is not very precise. It’s just an easy tool to help you understand how you work, think and communicate since those are the basics of NLP. Being part of one of those categories is neither good nor bad; it is just a part of your personality and knowing it helps you to adapt yourself to others and situations.


Wish to know more about NLP? Stay tuned, because next week we’ll publish an article on another meta-program: the representation system. You’ll get to know more about how the human brain works when it’s learning, and how you can you use this knowledge to understand yourself and others better.


Tell us if you liked it and we will continue the series of NLP articles!


Do you want to know more about NLP and develop yourself now? Do you want to start your NLP journey? Enrol now for a NLP coaching program and become the best version of yourself!

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Gwenaël Viel & Maud Vanhoutte

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