How Does NLP Work?

Research breakthroughs have made life more enjoyable.

One notable innovation is NLP or the Neuro-linguistic Programming.

But how does it work?

We asked 4 experts to answer “How does NLP work?”

Below are their top insights.

Kalliope Barlis

Kalliope Barlis

Licensed Master Trainer of NLP | Author | TEDx Speaker

How Does NLP work?

NLP is the study and use of successful behavior.

It is based on the fact that thought has a structure which influences what we do and how we feel.

For instance, consider a wonderful time in our lives in comparison to a time when we were uncertain. The best time may be colorful, vivid and in motion while we recall it.

On the other hand, a time of uncertainty may appear fuzzy, grey and unclear.

Each memory creates a different feeling based on the details of thoughts. Inversely, how we feel and what we do can affect the characteristics of our thoughts.

What is the process like?

The process for change in NLP plays with this thought structure.

If we want to relieve someone of an irrational, uncontrollable and unreasonable fear, we shrink the fear thereby changing the charge in our brain to build in bigger pictures of a better response instead.

An example of this is an irrational fear of spiders.

A person may be terrified of a thought of a spider, without it being in their presence, because—its as big as an elephant inside their minds.

Anyone would be scared of a spider that big. When we shrink it, its the beginning of changing the response to a safe spider that may be at a party as a novelty.

By doing something that once seemed impossible makes so many more things possible in someone’s life.

Even more productively, we can use big pictures to create the life we want.

For some, it’s about creating vivid and colorful movies of a lifestyle we want for ourselves in the future.

This way, the brain has a direction that works like a GPS. It will search for what you’ve created in your mind while your doing things to make it happen.

You can imagine meeting the person you fall in love with, but you won’t meet them in your living room watching pretty or handsome people on your tv. It requires going out into the world, meeting people and finding a match.

Does it work for everyone?

NLP is good for anyone who can pay attention, follow instructions and believe that through simple and quick skills, you can change to become a better individual as a spouse, parent and motivated worker and friend.

If not, who is a good candidate?

Anyone who is open to the thought that anything is possible!

Alexander Sergeev

Alexander Sergeev

CEO, Hygger

In my personal opinion, NLP is one of the must-have tools for business.

It is a set of important so-called ‘soft skills’ that imply managerial capabilities, social and personality traits.

Those managers, who can present information in a proper way, become for their company more than just the employees with the greatest burden of responsibility.

They are perceived as real leaders, professional mentors, and gurus of their work.

The main business purpose of NLP is to identify and build the right models of human behavior, what may give the results in the form of successful achievement of goals.

With the help of different techniques that combine NLP structure, it becomes easier to have a continuous personal self-development with the acquisition of new professional experience.

To put it simply, NLP means the process of self-improvement in order to achieve the perfect results.

Using different types of information presentation, such as reframing, language, and psychological exercises, it is simple to make proper communication and elicit the required reaction from a talk partner.

And, of course, the entire NLP work should be directed not only at a personal development but also at the high-quality interpersonal interaction.

Penny Mallory

Penny Mallory

International Motivational Speaker

How does NLP work?

NLP. Neuro (nervous system). Linguistic (language). Programming (performance of a task).

NLP a sciencey term for something beautifully simple: Techniques we can use to organize our thinking, feeling, language and behavior to get what we want from life.

Every one of us builds a ‘map of our world’ based on billions of bits of information we receive from birth; images, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations.

We generalize those bits of information and assign personal meaning to the information we receive and digest, and build beliefs about ourselves and the world.

Those beliefs guide and permeate every aspect of our lives. The view we adopt of yourself and the world will profoundly affect the way we lead our life.

We do things every day, some with little thought and some things that are heavily considered. Our conscious mind can be seen as the goal setter and the unconscious mind as the goal-getter. The unconscious mind is out to get all it can for you.

For example, if I asked you to imagine, really vividly, a person about to attack you, what image do you create in your mind? Is the attacker male, female, short, tall, hairy, colored?

You have created a series of images in your mind that is unique to you and can never be the same as any other persons set of images for the same scenario.

When you imagine this attacker, can you feel how frightening it is?

What happens to you physically – does your heart rate rise? Do your palms sweat?

Your sweaty palms and raised heart rate are actually nothing to be afraid of, but the meaning of what you attach to those feelings is the important thing. Your thoughts and beliefs will determine how you respond or react to the situation.

NLP techniques help people to change the way they think about things, and how they respond.

So, if a person is interested in changing their behavior, they must start by changing their thoughts and feelings. NLP uses behavioral, perceptual and communication techniques that make it easier for a person to change those thoughts and beliefs.

If someone wanted to give up smoking or lose weight, they may struggle to achieve either of those goals because of the thoughts and beliefs they hold about smoking and weight loss.

Once they have adjusted their beliefs and consequently their behavior, they may find that stopping smoking is easy, and the weight falls off.

NLP is riddled with jargon, acronyms and complicated sounding science, but it is effectively a set of tools that can be used to observe, model, and reproduce results of any kind, so you can get what you want from life, your career, your relationship, or anything.

NLP techniques can also help to manage internal stress, ability to manage stress, discover flexible responses to situations. It can even increase the speed with which you learn.

If you don’t like the way you feel about something, NLP will help you to change it.

It all sounds very appealing, doesn’t it!

Lloyd Martin


NLP works simply by allowing you to take control of your own mind.

Your brain has to filter everything you experience in order to allow you to cope with it all; there are so many stimulants in our lives, we would not be able to function without these filters.

However, these powerful filters can be ‘tweaked’ to allow us better control over what we experience. One of the favorite chants of NLP is – The map is not the territory.

What this means is that the life you experience is like a hiker crossing mountains and valleys compared to looking at a map of the area.

It is your brain’s function to show you the map of life. It is yours to move through it.

Unfortunately, the filters mainly date back to Neanderthal times, and to learn NLP gives you chance to update these to your own advantage.

Further studies show that the brain tells us lies a lot of the time – we must spot these because more control leads to an easier and happier life.

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