NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business: Communication Techniques to Build Relationships, Influence Others, and Achieve Your Goals

NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business: Communication Techniques to Build Relationships, Influence Others, and Achieve Your Goals

by Jeremy Lazarus

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NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business is a straight-talking, highly practical guide to using NLP to significantly improve your results at work. Whether you want to be a better leader, manager, negotiator, salesperson, or decision-maker, you can learn proven NLP techniques that will boost your career as well as the performance of colleagues and the organization itself.

Using real-life examples and easy-to-follow exercises that apply to individuals, teams, and organizations, NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business shows you how to:

  • Improve communication
  • Achieve your career goals
  • Develop your influencing skills
  • Harness the mindset for success
  • Gain a greater understanding of what motivates you
  • Remove the limiting beliefs holding you back from the success you deserve

    Written in accessible, jargon-free language, NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business contains numerous examples and practical exercises that will help you use NLP to improve your career and achieve success at work, whether in the private or public sector, and regardless of your current role.
  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781601633415
    Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
    Publication date: 10/20/2014
    Edition description: First Edition
    Pages: 288
    Sales rank: 756,265
    Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

    About the Author

    Jeremy Lazarus is a certified NLP Master Trainer and business performance coach. Previously a management consultant, corporate treasurer, and finance director, he now runs his own NLP training company where he teaches people to harness the power of NLP. His clients range from blue chip companies to elite athletes. He is the author of three previous books, including the bestselling Successful NLP.

    Read an Excerpt


    What Is NLP and How Can It Help You?

    Overcoming the challenges you face at work

    There are numerous challenges in the workplace, both at an organizational level and at an individual level. This chapter seeks initially to identify the main challenges, and then explain what NLP is and how it can help you to overcome them.

    Challenges in the workplace

    Businesses and other organizations, and the individuals working in them, are facing greater and more complex challenges than before, as the world's economies become more complex and global, and consumers become more discerning and demanding. At an organizational level, some of the key challenges include:

    • How to retain your competitive edge.

    • How to recruit, retain, and motivate excellent staff.

    • How to balance the needs of all the relevant stakeholders.

    • How to create leaders of the future.

    • How to make sufficient profit/return on investment.

    • How to be flexible enough to respond to, and manage, changes in the economy or your business.

    • How to manage diversity.

    At a more individual level, the challenges include:

    • How to achieve the objectives set by the organization in your job description or at your periodic appraisal (assuming you have them).

    • How to create a suitable work-life balance.

    • How to manage time and priorities.

    • How to manage your own career progression.

    • How to keep your skills up to date or even ahead of the field.

    • How to feel fulfilled at work and find work that aligns with your values.

    This book is dedicated to helping both individuals and organizations (i.e. a collection of individuals) overcome the challenges they face. The challenges outlined above often reflect the following 16 activities that influence results at work.

    Internal communications (with staff and colleagues): 1. Management of staff.

    2. Team building.

    3. Leadership.

    4. Human resources, recruitment, and interviewing.

    5. Training.

    6. Coaching.

    External communications (with customers, clients, and suppliers):

    7. Sales, business development, and account management.

    8. Marketing and advertising.

    9. Liaison with clients, customers, patients, and other service users.

    10. Procurement.

    11. Negotiation.

    12. Presentations.

    13. Resolving conflicts and misunderstandings.

    Work processes:

    14. Consultancy, including change management.

    15. Improved decision-making.

    16. Creative problem solving.

    Throughout the book you will learn how to use NLP to help you address each of these topics at both an individual and organizational level.

    What is NLP?

    There are various ways of explaining NLP, and many NLP professionals alter the way they explain it depending on the audience. One often-used definition is "how to use the language of your mind (NeuroLinguistic) to change the Programmers (or Patterns) of behavior." Examples of patterns of behavior at work are:

    • Feeling nervous (or confident) before meetings or presentations.

    • Becoming angry (or showing understanding) with staff for not delivering on time.

    • Procrastinating (or being decisive) about making decisions.

    Another definition of NLP is "a series of skills, techniques and approaches to help you to achieve your desired outcomes and goals."

    Two main reasons why there are various definitions are because there are different ways in which NLP can be used, for example, coaching, sales, management, sport, counselling, health, and education; and because it is still a relatively new profession.

    The benefits of NLP

    NLP provides a series of techniques, attitudes, and tools to achieve three main benefits in the workplace:

    • Improving communication.

    • Changing thinking, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs.

    • Replicating excellence.

    Let's take each of the benefits outlined above in turn.

    Improving communication

    You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.

    — Lee Iacocca, former president at Ford Motor Company and Chrysler

    At work, you probably communicate with other people most of the day. You also communicate with yourself; for example, if you are nervous before a meeting, you are in some way communicating to yourself that it may not go well (people rarely get nervous at the prospect of a situation going according to plan). NLP provides a series of ways to communicate more effectively with others (such as staff, customers, suppliers, colleagues) and yourself (by changing the way you perceive the situation if you are nervous, in order to become more relaxed). The communication aspects of NLP are specifically covered inChapters 2, 6, 7, and 15, and, to some degree, communication is covered in every chapter.

    Changing thinking, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs

    Most people experience moments of negativity at work (for example, if their promotion application has been turned down or if they have lost an important contract). Sometimes people behave in ways that are not particularly useful, such as procrastinating, showing frustration inappropriately, or not considering other points of view when it would be beneficial to do so. NLP provides a series of "techniques" to assist you to become more positive and adopt useful behaviors instead of unhelpful ones. Chapters 9 to 13 cover some of these techniques, and Chapter 3 covers the empowering attitudes and beliefs usually found in successful people.

    Replicating excellence

    Whether you would like to replicate excellence at departmental or organizational level (sometimes referred to as benchmarking), replicate excellence in a particular task such as negotiating or managing, or replicate your own excellence in a different situation (for example, if you are excellent at presenting to five people and feel overwhelmed at presenting to 50, what are you doing in the smaller presentation that you could replicate in the larger one?), NLP has a methodology to assist in replicating excellence, which is known in NLP as "modelling." Chapter 16 will cover the key elements of modelling for organizations.


    Very occasionally I hear someone say that NLP is "manipulative." This is not the case, because whether something is "manipulative" depends on the intention of the user, not on the thing or tool itself. For example, in the vast majority of situations, a computer will be used in a positive and useful way, and very occasionally it can be used for criminal purposes; that is not a criticism of the computer! Like a computer, NLP is a very powerful tool. Based on many years' experience (my own and that of my NLP associates) of using NLP in business, I believe that the best results come from using NLP only to create solutions that work for all stakeholders in the organization.

    Finally, as mentioned in the Introduction, NLP is not a substitute for therapy or counseling if that is what someone requires.


    Communication at Work

    What really happens when people talk?

    I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in.

    — Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

    In Chapter 1, we mentioned that improving communication is one of the key benefits of NLP. In this chapter, we will take a closer look at communication in the workplace, start discussing why your messages may not always have the desired effect, and look at how you can use NLP to remedy this. Once you have grasped the simple yet profound elements about communication explained in the next section, your ability to understand and influence others at work will increase, and you will be able to use it as a structure for understanding and using the remainder of this book to your advantage.

    Overview of communication at work

    Diagram 2.1 shows what happens inside the head of every customer, supplier, and colleague, from the most junior to the most senior. Known as "The NLP Communication Model," it explains in overview why there are misunderstandings, and why you could say the same thing to different customers or staff members but receive very different responses. The Communication Model also provides a framework to understand, communicate with, and influence people that we will return to several times in the book. The following description will mention the NLP terminology, with relevant explanations. It will also focus primarily on individual communication, because when communicating in an organization, you are communicating with a collection of individuals, although the organizational implications will be referred to briefly here and in far more depth in later chapters.

    Starting from the top-right-hand side, you receive information from your surroundings, which you perceive through your five senses. This information is then automatically, and almost instantly, filtered (the three key filters are covered in the following section), and leads to an "internal representation" (i.e. a thought or mental image) of what you think you have perceived, usually a combination of pictures, sounds, feelings, internal dialogue, plus possibly taste and smell. Your state (i.e. how you feel) will depend on whether this thought is agreeable to you or not, and this in turn will impact on your physiology — for example, how you are standing, moving, and talking.

    These thoughts, feelings, and physiological responses will lead to your behaviors and actions, which ultimately determine the results you achieve. For example, if your boss tells you that you are chairing the meeting in five minutes' time because she has to go to an urgent appointment, and you are having positive thoughts about it, feeling good, and looking and sounding confident, you are more likely to perform better than if you are dreading it, feeling anxious, and stumbling over your words with a faltering voice. Some of the reasons why you might think positively or negatively about the situation will be covered in the section headed "What influences how we filter?" on page 30.

    The three main filters

    The three main filters are:

    • Deletion.

    • Distortion.

    • Generalization.

    Let's take each in turn.


    When you perceive information, much of it is deleted. It has been estimated that, through our five senses, we receive millions of bits of information each second of the day, whereas our conscious mind can only deal with 126 bits per second (based on work by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow, who estimates that we use 40 bits per second to understand one person speaking to us). Even if these numbers are exaggerated, you are probably not aware of the feeling of this book against your fingertips, nor of the sounds around you, nor of the things in your peripheral vision, until you read these words. Indeed, psychologists assert that if we were aware of all information received by our senses, we would be overwhelmed and would not be able to function. In a positive sense, deleting information helps you to focus on what needs to be done, for example, focusing on specific tasks to meet deadlines. In a less useful sense, deletions can mean that you could miss important information, perhaps because your attention is focused elsewhere. For example, you might be in such a hurry to produce a report that you only skim-read an e-mail containing important information. Please note that deletion is a natural and automatic process, unlike ignoring, which is a conscious choice. Being aware that you delete information can help you to pay closer attention to information that could be important.


    Distortions are when you assume or interpret information, putting words and labels on an event. So, for example, if your boss's assistant asks you to see him immediately and says that he is not happy, what does this mean? In itself it means nothing, yet you could be excused for having thoughts such as "What have I done wrong?" or "I'm in trouble." Though these thoughts may be appropriate, there are many other possible interpretations of why he wants to see you. Your "negative" assumptions about it will influence how you approach the meeting. If you can learn to recognize your own distortions, you can avoid jumping to conclusions and make more informed decisions and choices.


    Generalizations are when you take a relatively small amount of information or number of examples and assume that the same supposition applies universally. Used usefully, generalizations help you to learn (e.g. "If I can use one computer, I can use any computer."), and reinforce positive experiences ("I did a good presentation today and last week, so I am a good presenter."). Conversely, they can disempower ("The last few sales meetings went badly — perhaps I'm losing my touch."). As with distortions, if you can learn to recognize your own disempowering generalizations, you will be better able to see situations for what they are and so respond to the situation itself, not your past unhelpful assumptions. Also, disempowering generalizations can lead to unhelpful beliefs; Chapter 13 covers ways to change such beliefs.

    Using these three filters at work

    Firstly, simply knowing that these filters exist will help you to become more self-aware. Knowing that you delete, distort, and generalize can alert you to the possibility that:

    • You may have missed important pieces of information for a project (i.e. deleted), and therefore you may choose to double-check important points.

    • If a situation (e.g. interview) has not gone as well as you would have liked, rather than say "it all went wrong" (generalization and possibly distortion), it is worth searching for what went well (i.e. removing your deletions) — for example, that you answered certain challenging questions confidently.

    • You could have misinterpreted someone's response, for example, a potential customer not returning your call (distortion). In such situations, it is often useful to ask the person concerned what they meant or how they felt. The worst that can happen is that they confirm your notion, and you can then deal with the reality rather than the possibly inaccurate assumption.

    When communicating with others, being aware that they delete, distort, and generalize can help you communicate more effectively. For example, if you are briefing colleagues about an important project, you may want to repeat certain key points or ask them to state in their own words what they believe you have said. This will give you an indication about whether they have deleted or distorted any key points. Similarly, when giving feedback to staff, repeat the key aspects of what they did well and areas for improvement, and ask them to tell you how they are going to do it differently next time.

    What influences how we filter?

    There are some additional filters that influence what we delete, distort, and generalize. Let's discuss an overview of each in turn; they will be discussed in more detail in Chapters 6, 7, 8, 13,14, and 15.


    Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

    — Dalai Lama

    Values can be defined as "what we want/seek," or "what is important to us" in a given situation or context. Each of us has our own unique set of values in life generally, and also in specific contexts, such as work. Examples of life values could be "health" and "financial security for my family"; examples of work values could be "variety" and "progression." Your values are usually reflected in the choices you make and your behaviors, because generally you will make choices that give you more of what is important to you. Organizations also have values, although not necessarily the ones that are espoused in the annual report and accounts or in the laminated copies shown on the wall in the reception area. For example, an organization may say that "respect" is a value, and yet it may not always show respect toward staff and customers: more of this in Chapters 8 and 14.

    Values impact the three main filters, because if something is important to you or you are interested in it, you will pay attention to it and delete other information. So a finance director might notice how many people were in a restaurant and make a mental calculation of whether the restaurant is profitable, whereas a fellow diner who happens to be a graphic designer might notice the décor and be oblivious to the number of customers. More generally, do you truly know what is important to your staff, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders? Chapter 14 covers how to use values in business, for example, to sell more, make better choices, and manage more effectively.


    Excerpted from "NLP: The Essential Handbook For Business"
    by .
    Copyright © 2015 Jeremy Lazarus.
    Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

    Table of Contents

    Foreword Dr. Sally Vanson 11

    Introduction 13

    How NLP: The Essential Handbook for Business is structured 14

    Practical tips when reading this book 15

    A quick word on ethics and best practice 16

    Part I The Foundations 17

    1 What Is NLP and How Can It Help You? 19

    Overcoming the challenges you face at work

    Challenges in the workplace 19

    What is NLP? 21

    The benefits of NLP 22

    Caveats 23

    2 Communication at Work 25

    What really happens when people talk?

    Overview of communication at work 25

    The three main filters 27

    Using these three filters at work 29

    What influences how we filter? 30

    "Conscious thinking" versus "automatic pilot" 34

    Final thoughts 35

    3 Attitudes That Count 37

    The mindset for business success

    Setting the scene 37

    NLP Presuppositions 38

    Being "At Cause" 43

    The Principles for Success in business 44

    4 Achieving Your Goals 47

    How to set and reach your targets

    Why set goals? 48

    A sports approach to achieve business goals 49

    NLP approaches to goal setting 51

    Goal setting for individuals 58

    Goal setting for groups and organizations 59

    Part II Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication 61

    5 Building Relationships at Work 63

    How to get people on your side

    Sensory acuity 63

    Rapport 68

    6 Communicating in Everyone's Language 75

    Altering your style to suit the listener

    Why is this so useful? 75

    How we gather and process information 76

    Preferred representational systems 77

    Using representational systems at work 82

    Sensory-based language 86

    7 The Power of Language 91

    Advanced speaking and listening skills at work

    Why are we covering language? 92

    The Hierarchy of Ideas 92

    Implied meanings within language 97

    Small words with big meanings 103

    Abstract language 105

    Power questions 112

    Stories, analogies, and metaphors 117

    Part III Some Specific NLP Techniques 119

    8 Organizational and Personal Alignment 123

    Walking your talk

    Why is this model so useful? 123

    The Neurological Levels model 124

    Some key principles about the Neurological Levels model 126

    Using the Neurological Levels model to gain alignment 128

    9 Managing Your Thoughts 135

    How to change the way you think

    Why is this so useful? 135

    Using submodalities 139

    10 The Right State 147

    How to create it for you and others

    Why is anchoring so useful? 147

    An overview of anchoring 148

    How to create an anchor for yourself 149

    Anchoring other people at work 154

    Applications of anchoring at work 156

    11 Seeing Other Perspectives 159

    A key to understanding and insight

    In which situations is "perceptual positions" useful? 159

    Key concepts 160

    The perceptual-positions process 160

    Applications for individual use 164

    Applications for wider use 166

    12 Changing the Meaning of Events 169

    Turning negatives into positives and handling objections

    In which situations is reframing useful? 169

    Key concepts 169

    The two main types of reframing 170

    Practical tips for reframing 171

    Handling objections 174

    Applications for individual use 176

    Applications for wider use 176

    13 Changing Beliefs 177

    Simple and powerful ways to alter your thinking

    Why is belief change so useful? 177

    Key concepts 177

    Changing beliefs conversationally 179

    Applications for individual use 181

    Applications for wider use 181

    Part IV Understanding, Influencing, and Motivating People at Work 183

    14 Values 185

    The key to motivating and influencing

    Why is a knowledge of values so important? 185

    Key concepts 186

    Working with values 187

    Delving deeper: Criteria equivalents 191

    Applications for individual use 192

    Applications within organizations 195

    15 Meta Programs 199

    A deeper understanding of how to influence people at work

    Why are meta programs so useful? 199

    Key concepts and background 200

    The meta programs and how to use them 201

    How to get the most from this chapter 202

    Applications for individual use 226

    Applications within organizations 227

    Part V Replicating Excellence With NLP 229

    16 Modeling 231

    How to replicate excellence at work

    Why is modeling so useful at work? 231

    Key concepts and background 232

    An overview of the modeling process 232

    Some considerations when modeling 233

    Strategies 236

    Applications of decision strategies at work 239

    Part VI Applying NLP at Work 241

    17 Applications of NLP 243

    Reference guide when using NLP for specific work activities

    The foundations 244

    Overview of the 16 activities 245

    Summary 263

    Appendix A Suggested Answers to Exercises 7.2 and 7.4 265

    Appendix B Choosing an NLP Training Course 267

    Resources for Further Learning 273

    Glossary 279

    About the Author 285

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