Throughout history, people in business have always been interested in finding ways to improve their performance, increase sales, manage better, inspire and lead teams – essentially, in learning how to be successful. This is precisely where NLP – short for Neurolinguistic Programming – comes in.

Developed in California in mid-1970’s, NLP started as an academic discipline searching for ‘formulas’ for self-development and success. Nowadays, after several decades of different applications of NLP tools, we can safely say that business applications have been the most widely tested and recognized for their effectiveness.

Basic skills which improve and enhance rapport building, communication, and goal setting are all widely used in the world of business, even though the people using them are very often not aware of their NLP origin. And this is just the tip of the NLP iceberg.

Business NLP applicationsBeyond these basic skills, NLP offers a unique insight and a wide range of tools for dealing with people who perceive the world differently from us. From improving relations among peers, or with superiors, subordinates, customers and new prospects, to helping bridge cultural divides in multinational companies, the applications of NLP are endless. Many business leaders and consultants have therefore turned to the creative and innovative aspects of NLP for inspiration in organisational development, total quality management, team building and strategic planning.

It goes without saying that to grow your business, you need to grow yourself and your employees. And there are a number of areas where NLP supports this ‘growth’.


Ask better questions to determine the other party’s criteria and values, and use perceptual positions to understand their attitude and relationship with you.

Attracting and keeping customers

Develop compelling solutions for your customers’ needs and understand your customers’ relationship with you. Use thinking styles to understand how your customers buy, their values and motivation.

Practical tip: Getting customers to want to do business with you because they feel your product or service meets their needs is key to any lasting business success.

Setting direction

Use questions effectively to determine how best to achieve your outcomes and ensure realistic implementation of plans for success.

Practical tip: Next time when you talk to your customer or your team, notice if your outcome is reached. If it isn’t, consider whether you are on the right track or not and be flexible enough to adjust your behaviour to reach your outcome effortlessly. These are three basic NLP skills: Outcome, Awareness and Flexibility – the foundation of successful goal achieving.

Communication and presenting skills

Develop your rapport skills so that you can build rapport easily with a wide range of people and develop new methods of getting feedback so that you continually improve what you do.

Unlocking personal potential

To achieve success we often need to step outside our comfort zone, so learning to overcome limiting beliefs or fear of failure is key to that success. Learn to coach yourself more effectively as well as to coach and help others to develop capabilities and behaviours they need in order to accomplish their outcomes.

Practical tip: Reflect on the performance of your business. What are your areas of excellence? Can you identify the areas in need of development and growth?


Each business has specific needs, strengths and weaknesses. Identifying these and setting developmental goals is essential for the growth of any business, no matter how big or well established it is. Applying specific skills and strategies from the NLP tool box to fill the gaps or boost existing strengths, results in happier, better performing teams, increased staff retention, fewer misunderstandings and improved customer satisfaction.

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