Neuro linguistic programming, or NLP, includes different models and techniques to encourage self-development and improved communication between individuals. It is an approach that is used
by individuals and increasingly by businesses. “The map is not the territory” is one of the fundamental concepts of NLP. It gives rise to the notion that, whatever our perception of a
situation, what is actually happening may, in fact, be very different. Indeed, there may be more than one interpretation of what is actually going on. Given the way each of us is
individually 'programmed' (according to our own values, beliefs, language, perceptions...) we are all going to perceive events differently. The advantage of this is that it allows us
to reduce conflicts or misunderstandings with others. When we disagree with someone, communication often seems impossible or senseless. The stance of an NLP practitioner would be to
try and understand the other person's point of view by “checking in with their reference system”. How do you see things? Why is it important for you that I work on these files, rather
than that one? What is your perception of what I have just said? How have you interpreted it?
When listening to another person you may discover that their representational system is not the same as your own and that you are wired somewhat differently. Therefore, to express yourself effectively, demonstrating good listening skills beforehand will help you in the long run: “This is how I see things. What's important to me is....., I believe that.....the way I see it....”!
More often than not we truly believe that what we are saying is clear to those around us. Equally we are often under the impression that those around us have the same beliefs and values as us and that they have interpreted a matter or event in exactly the same way. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own views! Neuro linguistic programming, and its concepts, allow us to understand that everyone has their own unique internal mental map. After all, making judgement, or doing everything in your power trying to get people to come round to your way of thinking, is, essentially, a waste of time. On the other hand, recognising and understanding another person's “map” allows you to find more effective ways to communicate and work together towards shared goals!