4 NLP Techniques for Improving Relationships

by Heather Cripps

Once we come to the understanding that everything and everyone is interconnected we understand that life is all about relationships.

We have a relationship with everything and everyone we deal with directly and indirectly.
This includes the relationship you have with yourself, your religious or spiritual belief/tradition if you have one, other people (including people we are close with, acquaintances and those we only come into contact with once in our lifetime, animals, our natural, local and global environment, man-made environments and objects.

Divided into four broad categories it looks something like this:

Its important not to neglect one part or another – like the legs of a chair, where there is imbalance, there is instability. We must also remember to make an effort to maintain our interconnectedness – to retain our parts connected to form a whole – assisting us to live a more fulfilling life.

Let’s focus on our relationships with community – other people and at a later date, we’ll discuss how NLP can help us with other aspects of our relationships.

3 NLP techniques to improve your relationships with other people

We all want the ability to get along with other people. Sometimes, we feel people make it difficult for us and other times, we get in our own way of building and maintaining positive relationships. Whether your relationship with someone is direct, indirect, lasting 5 seconds or a lifetime, it’s good practice to learn how to effectively build and maintain relationships. Have you heard of the expression “What goes around comes around”, “The best advertising is done by satisfied customers” or “Reputation spreads quickly through word of mouth”?
It’s clear to see that positive relationships can only benefit all of us. So, if we can learn to enhance our relationships with other people, life becomes a bit easier.

1. Perceptual positions
Seeing the world, a situation or an issue from varied perspectives provides us with an opportunity to evaluate what things are like or would be like for others. In doing so, we can expand our thinking and our behaviours may become more flexible.
The NLP technique of Perceptual Positions is an effective tool in enabling us to evaluate our own point of view, appreciate others’ points of view and also disassociate to gain further insight. Through this exercise, the ecology of the situation is also analysed to ensure that consequences or impacts for all aspects and key personnel are considered when deciding on outcomes.

“We work with others to assist them to make changes that are congruently desirable in all aspects of their lives”
– Peter Radcliffe

2. Reframing
Seeing the world, a situation or an issue from varied perspectives provides us with an opportunity to evaluate what things are like or would be like for others. In doing so, we can expand our thinking and our behaviours may become more flexible. If we cling to our own perspectives we may be limiting possibilities.
Therefore, if we change the frame of an experience, it can have a major influence on our perceptions and subsequently, our reactions, as we change the meaning of that experience.
Changing the meaning of an experience is easily done by changing a negative statement into a positive statement. We can do this with ourselves as well as when talking with others.
For example, you may reframe by looking at a weakness as strength or a problem as an opportunity (for improvement).

3. Cause and effect
Once we realise that we, ourselves are ‘at cause’, it empowers us to make changes to our own behaviours. We are each ‘at cause’ for how we react to things that happen. Once we take responsibility for things that happen in our lives and the way we react to them, once we truly take full ownership, we are able to then make changes.

4. Language – chunking and meta models
Misunderstandings often occur due to the way we express ourselves and again, the way we perceive situations. To create agreement and for effective communication, we can aim to gain further understanding is by asking questions. We ask questions by ‘chunking up’. This is a way of finding values, agreed principles and other common ground that we can agree on. By steering away from specifics and aiming toward the bigger picture, we could always find something that is of higher value that we can agree on. This is a good starting point in negotiations, whether they be in our personal lives or in our professional lives, this is a good way to form a bond in any relationship.
We can also ask questions to gain further details so that we may come up with solutions to problems or solutions to reach agreed goals. This is where we would ask specific questions such as how, when, where, with whom etc. This is where we can also recover information from another person as to how they are perceiving situations, in essence how others are feeling about things. Once we have this information, we can continue to come up with solutions.

Try this next time there seems to be a misunderstanding between you and another person. Watch how your relationship with this person instantly improves. Keep in mind, you are not interrogating the other person, rather you are trying to create understanding.

To learn these techniques to improve your relationships we recommend looking at our courses available.