lettersA few months ago Erin and I attended a 3 day NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) taster workshop and I have to say it really struck a chord with me! The content is very much aligned with my own personal pursuit in life… to understand more about why we (people) do the things we do. It ignited a desire in me to learn more about NLP and becoming a master practitioner is now at the top of my ever growing life’s “to do” list.

My learnings so far have reiterated something I have believed in for many years – people are much more predictable than we think (credit for this quote goes to one of my favourite books ‘People Styles at Work’ by Bolton and Bolton). And it is true, by learning about body language, behavioural styles and personality types you can get a much greater understanding of the people around you.

What I love about NLP is it has taken my understanding of others a little deeper again and taught me to notice the words people (self-included) use you can give you a much greater sense about their learning style, thought patterns and mindset. For example if someone is using language like “it’s not fair” or “I’ve been trapped” chances are they are in a position in life where they feel helpless. Terms like “I need to fight to be noticed” or “I’m off battle my way through another day” may indicate that a person has either an oppositional or competitive nature, and/or they could be feeling like life is hard work.

On the other hand when people say things such as “this is what I learnt” or “at least I can take away something from the experience” it tells us that this person has a growth mindset and may also realise that they have control of their future and are not feeling victimised. These are just a few of the thousands of observations available to us. Of course words are not the be all and end all and we must consider both the tone, and context around the words, but choice of words can say a lot.

Words can tell you if someone has a scarcity or abundance mindset, if they are predominately solution or problem focused, and if they are defensive or constructive. It’s become fascinating listen more intently to both the words I choose and the words of others. I have found that words really do give some great insight into how we are thinking and our perception of the world around us. Try it for yourself, next time you are deep in a conversation focus in on the words you choose and the words of those around you… see what you learn!

Are there other words or phrases you notice that tell us more than the words themselves?