Neural Linguistic Programming - A Quick Guide
By Dave Odell
A writer's life would be so easy If every time you wrote a document, or made a presentation to a new audience, they instantly understood the exact message you were trying to convey.
Unfortunately, it doesn't happen that way, most of the time your words are interpreted in an entirely different way than you intended. Alright, sometimes people misinterpret you words on purpose but mostly it is a genuine misunderstanding.
Research in Neural Linguistic Programming
Research has been carried out into these phenomena using the science called "Neural Linguistic Programming and some remarkable discoveries so far on why sometimes thoughts seem to have trouble passing from the transmitter (the person talking or writing) to the receiver (the person listening or reading) without distortion.
They have determined that everybody has two languages, an oral and a neural language. Our oral language is the language that we use to transmit our thoughts to others by speech or the written word. Our neural language is the process your mind uses to formulate and combine the sensory information you receive into something that is familiar to you allowing you easier comprehension.
These two languages are formulated and processed in totally different ways and both suffer from emotional influences. We have to pre-empt how the mind of the receiver of the information thinks to be able to make these languages work together to reduce message distortion.
Neural Linguistic Programming in Daily Life
Most days just go by and we do not have to give much thought to the process of vocalising our thoughts. If we want to eat we say so, if we want to go to work/school we say "I want to go to work/school", easy thoughts to transmit and receive, no need to analyse the situation.
But what happens in the mind when, after stating you are hungry, your partner wants to know what you want to eat.
Now you have to return to the original thought that you were hungry and give it some deeper thought and make a suggestion. In order to do this the mind relies on the familiar and goes through your memory bank until it finds something that it likes.
According to quantum physics our brains process our present circumstances just the same as it does memories of the past. So when a question needs some deeper thought it takes us back to similar previous situations, we relive them and have the same sensations we had the first time. So when we have to make a decision, in this case deciding what we want to eat, our memory flips through all previous responses, finds one that gives a pleasant memory and then vocalises it.
The downside of the neural language is that it can also cause grief or not allow us to try new experiences. This is because in connecting the present to the past in our minds naturally we what we felt before so new possible experiences might relate back to fearful or unsure situations.
So, to sum up, when we come across a situation, we relate it to past memories and visualise those experiences. Once a link is made, it is interpreted into the present through our previous feelings. As our mind does not detect a difference between the timelines we will probably react the same way as we did when we were in this situation before.
So far we have discussed how our mind talks to us but how do we transmit those thoughts to other minds? First we need a better understanding of oral language. This in turn will set up the ground work for answering the problem of how to get the words from your head onto paper.
Taking Advantage of Neural Linguistic Programming
A major stumbling factor is the limitation of the language we use. Some languages are more descriptive than others while others use the same word to describe many different situations.
With this in mind we can see that some oral languages relate thought better than others, though none of them can claim to relate thought completely. This means that your ability to completely transmit your thoughts to others is severely limited to the amount of words available in the language that you use. So sometimes there really aren't the right words to use.
Perhaps we could even decide that as no one expects you to tell things exactly as you see them anyway, why not just get on with it and put your thoughts directly onto paper and let the reader decipher them.
But that doesn't really help when you're trying to relate your excitement over a product line in an article or advertisement, does it?
You have to find a way to overcome the limitations of your oral language and transmit your thoughts as you see them. If you don't you will be the proud possessor of a product no one else could relate to, and if that happens, you will then start analysing every other pointless venture you ever started
Let's look at the possibilities on how we can learn to transmit our thoughts in a way that others can take the same meaning as we do ourselves.
It can be done, but we have to take a step back and take a look at the whole picture. We have to find a commonality, a reference point to which most people can relate. Finding this point of common knowledge will break down your unique thoughts allowing you to express them easier.
Movies and books make good reference points. They may not relate exactly to the feelings you wish to convey, but they are good tools to use as most people have seen them or at least heard of what they're about. They can stir up emotions and give memorable images to the reader.
So using reference points in your documents that reflect suitable emotion through a commonly known "visual effect will merge the neural and oral languages and bring out your meaning much better.
Now you have to turn these reference points into the key elements within your storyline. These key elements will become the headings in your outline, so they become very important to your success. So how do you choose the correct key elements to become headings in your outline?
OK, what have we discovered so far?
1.Humans think in pictures, this is called neural language.
2.The human brain cannot distinguish between the present and memory. As thought is processed in the present we use memories to decide our present and future attitudes and actions.
3.Due to the limitations of oral language we cannot accurately relate thought with words. We need to use reference points so that other people can get the feeling of what we are trying to transmit.
So there is the theory behind Neural Linguistic Programming. Now you have to put it into practice.
Putting Neural Linguistic Programming into Practice
Let's start with the obvious, you have to know what you want to write about and what message you are trying to convey. If you are struggling at this point look over some popular storybooks. These are a great source for ideas, especially if you want to write about morals and attitudes.
You can use almost anything as reference points and turn them into key elements. It all depends on the message you want to transmit to the reader. You must determine what your message is to be about before you choose your key elements.
Your message might be consequences, and then you could picture characters and use the events or circumstances that prevailed. If the message is to transmit feelings focus on how the characters felt in certain situations.
Once you have defined the key elements you have to order them to create a working outline. All that is left to do then is fill in the gaps. This is when you have to focus on the message and reveal the objective of the document, working step by step through the outline that you have made.
This should not be too difficult. You have chosen a theme and decided on your key elements to make the gist of it common to everyone. From this you know what direction you are going to follow and the message you are going to convey.
Always remember that humans think in pictures, so base your articles on images that are familiar to the majority, and you should not go far wrong. So if you've been hesitant about writing articles in the past, you should feel a little better about it now.
About The Author
Dave Odell has been a freelance writer since 1984, during which time he has lived and worked in Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp and London until recently moving to the north of England.