Communication is an ongoing and largely unconscious part of all social contact. We are constantly communicating with everyone around us using body language, words, tonality, and other idiosyncratic signals. Incredibly, the vast majority of communication is nonverbal: Only 7% of communication is transferred through words. Tonality accounts for 38% of communication, and body language makes up 55%!
The communication models of NLP offer strategies for finding common ground, even among people who have very different maps of the world. It really doesn’t matter that two individuals have differences in opinions, values, principles, interests, or beliefs. You, as an excellent communicator, have the ability to bypass these differences and create an interaction where all people involved feel positive about the communication that is happening.
Most of us were never taught how our thinking process works. So we developed strategies for interpreting situations, events, behaviors, and everything in life through our personal filtering system. This filtering system uses our values, beliefs, principles, and past experiences to make identifications and judgments. Reflexively, because we were not taught differently, we unconsciously assume that our model of the world is a universal fact. We then project our personal map onto the world around us. This is a type of program, and we run this program as a means to apply meaning in a way that is understandable and comprehensible.
NLP, as a methodology and discipline, is very successful at teaching people to evaluate from a position of observation. This is the act of moving beyond the natural tendency to interpret events through our own belief systems and filters. We accept that everyone has a different map of the world, and we accept that we cannot know what that map is.
When we accept that things may be different than they appear, we gain flexibility in a very profound way. We refine our sensory acuity to observe the rhythms and changes that happen within people. This ability to observe all the changes occurring within and around us empowers us to create effective communication and consider different and new strategies and ways of accomplishing our goals. We do this by utilizing what NLP calls the “feedback loop.”
Feedback is the idea that everything- communication, physiological changes, tonality, gestures- is useful information for the observer. Excellent communicators are able to observe and utilize this feedback to build positive, trusting relationships with others. They adapt their communication styles- language, tonality, and physiology- to meet the needs of the other person. This is the essence of rapport. Rapport brings a harmonic balance to the interactions between people. Rapport is the common thread between individuals that enables effective communication.
You are responsible for the meaning of the communication that is received. When it appears that a person you are communicating with is ‘resistant’ to your ideas, it is a signal to you that rapport has either been lost or was never established. This is useful information! Now you can adjust your attitude and approach (your posture, tones, language, predicates) accordingly.
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
NLP presupposes that success is inevitable. When something isn’t working, successful people accept this as feedback and do something different. You will achieve what you set out to do.