• Posted: August 2017
  • By: Michael Carroll

NLP for Business Excellence

NLP was originally created from NLP co-creators fascination with human excellence sowing the seeds for the early NLP modelling projects to emerge

John Grinder and Richard Bandler focussed their studies on extraordinary ‘Change Agents’ i.e. people who were geniuses at enabling others to transform their lives. Grinder and Bandler had no interest in average performers, their attention was firmly focussed on the behaviour of geniuses whose innate behaviours provided the difference that made the difference in an individual who was considered excellent in their field of endeavour. 

NLP modelling is where the behavioural patterns of excellence are unpacked and coded in a format that is replicable for others to learn. The NLP models can provide business people with strategies for high performance in their professional lives.  In this article, I will outline some NLP processes to assist you as a business person to enhance your business excellence.

Well Formed Outcomes

NLP as an integrated change model, firmly puts attention on what is known as a well-formed outcome, which is like a 3 dimensional goal. Prior to NLP’s coding the performance of high performance ‘Change Agents’, the major premise of traditional counselling was focussing on the problem in order to understand the problem. This of course does not provide a solution. I am not saying in the business world we do not attend to a problem, of course we do, and particularly the processes that led to the emergence of the problem. However it is very important we are clear about the outcome, which puts attention on the specifics of the goal. There are different levels of outcomes. 

You have daily outcomes, which are like ‘to do lists’ and form part of larger outcomes, and then business outcomes such as sales targets, costs targets and other ‘measurable’ activities that underpin business activities. A key aspect of NLP outcomes, that I think brought a difference to personal development, is the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic evidence procedure for knowing how you will know when you have achieved the goal.

This multi sensory process engages more brain parts than standard goal setting, thus establishing a reality of achieving the outcome at the outset. In addition, if a person is incongruent with the goal, they will have direct sensory evidence from the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic representation of the goal before they commence with the goal and realise it is not for them. This creates an opportunity to explore the incongruence rather than paying lip service to goal achievement without even realising they are kidding themselves.

Click this link to read a full article on ‘Well Formed Outcomes’

Multiple Communication Channels

Modern business is moving at a faster speed than ever before, there is more pressure to get more done in shorter periods of time. At such break neck speeds and a greater reliance on important communication being undertaken electronically, the personal touch can be overlooked.  In NLP, we consider communication to occur in three primary channels which map the neurological processes occurring in the brain.

One NLP premise is a human being does not operate on the real word but a map of the world. So whilst we as humans, are absorbing masses amount of data through the senses, we consciously will be aware of only a small portion of that data to form our map of the world. Our internal representations (thoughts) will be constructed of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic elements, these we refer to as channels or representational systems.

In any interaction be it a sales presentation, coaching session, negotiation, the person you will be interacting with, will be adapting to you by experiencing your communication in the different sensory channels (visual, auditory kinaesthetic). It is likely that one channel will be dominant in any given time, and there will be a sequence of channels for gathering information to make decisions.

A business person trained in NLP can track the channel moment to a moment another person is using internally and thus the communicator can adapt their language to match the sensory process the recipient is using in that moment, or is more dominant in.

So when the other person is in visual mode, the communicator will use visual orientated phrases, such as ‘let’s focus on the big picture’, ‘you have a bright future’, ‘that is a foggy idea’ and so on.

Exactly the same message can be communicated in different words in the other channels, for example in the kinaesthetic system you can say what was said above with the following phrases ‘let’s pay attention to the broad foundation’, ‘you have a solid future’, ‘that is a clammy idea’. It is important to add that each channel has a different set of tonal and physiological accompaniments. You can find out more about this in the next section.

Non-verbal communication

Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA conducted research into what the relative value language and non verbal communication has in the context of face to face communication.  Mehrabian’s research was conducted in the setting of emotional communication on whether people liked or disliked a person or situation. The values of the communication are listed below:

So a person could say ‘I really like you’ whilst shaking their head, the head shake will have a greater value in communicating the underlying meaning of dislike. This research can be generalised to other communication contexts although the values may change. From my observation, the body language and tonality definitely carry more weight than just the words. A business person knowledgeable in NLP, is trained to detect discrepancies in verbal (the spoken word) and non-verbal communication, this skill is called calibration.

The example above when the person makes a statement of liking another whilst shaking their head, is an obvious act of incongruence. In everyday business, the non-verbal cues may be more subtle, but will be massive indicators of hidden meaning. By calibrating the hidden meaning through observation of body language and tonal patterns, could be the difference that makes the difference in major transactions going ahead or not.

In the paragraph on multiple communication channels, I wrote about how to use visual, auditory and kinaesthetic language to increase influence, rapport and connectivity. The VAK words you use will be further enhanced by the non-verbal communication that accompanies the words, as is documented in the paragraph above. By applying the non-verbal structure to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic language you will increase further the effectiveness of your message and depth of rapport the other person will experience through your communication.

Non-verbal structures:

Visual – people in this mode, are making lots of internal images and movies looking up when doing so.  They tend to talk quickly and have a higher pitched voice than the other modalities, breathe from the top of the chest, have shoulders upright and point a lot. They will use words that represent imagery – focus, colourful, imagine, big picture.

Auditory – in this mode, people are hearing their internal voice, and constructing the voice of others as well as paying attention to other sounds associated with an experience, looking sideways when doing so. They tend to talk at a mid speed, breathe from the middle of the chest and annunciating their words. Some will have a large tonal range in their everyday communication. They will use more words that represent sound – hear, tune into, resonant, ring a bell, orchestrate.

Kinaesthetic – in this mode, people are paying attention to their internal sensations and also how things feel. Feelings are slower to experience than sounds or images, so in kinaesthetic mode, people talk tend to breathe from the diaphragm and talk more slowly. Their shoulders are rounded and the voice will be deeper in the individual, than when in the other modes. In kinaesthetic mode, people will use language that represent touch or sensations – gut feeling, get a handle on, get a feel for, solid.

Click this link to read more about Multiple Channels’

Business excellence is measured in many different formats, in this article I have presented three NLP processes to develop high performance in business.

Well formed outcomes focus the mind to achieve goals, communicating in different channels enhances rapport and enables a business person to succinctly put their message across.

Non-verbal influence enables a communicator to reach into and apply tonality and body language which can represent up to 93% of communication, ensuring messages are congruent and experienced deeply as well as calibrating other people’s communication for congruence or incongruence.


About The Author

Michael Carroll is the founder and course director of the NLP Academy and co-founder with John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair of the International Trainers Academy of NLP. He is the only NLP Master Trainer in the world certified by John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St Clair and he works closely with them in developing and delivering high quality NLP training.



  • I found this really useful in how it pulled together my learnings from the Practitioner course. Michael’s delivery was superb.

    Moz Scott
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