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Neurology and Language: a Quick Look at NLP

There’s something almost compulsive about being a writer and if you define yourself with that word – even secretly – you probably can’t remember a time when you weren’t writing something.

Personally, I count the scribbled diary entries that I hid under my pillow at age eight and the self-conscious poetry I sighed over at 14. University essays fall into that category almost as much as the news articles I wrote for the Queen’s Journal when I probably should have been writing essays, reading more research papers or listening in on extra lectures.

As time blossomed and my experience deepened I began a quest to learn as much as I possibly could about language and its importance in the human experience. I learned French and Spanish well enough to argue with insurance salespeople and I tossed in a handful of courses in German and Italian. I took creative writing classes and waded into the mysteries of Canadianization, search engine optimization and social media marketing.

I operate on the theory that all learning is valuable, especially when it comes to writing, but one area of study that has become my “go-to” tool for much of the writing I do these days is neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

NLP seeks to codify the relationship between neurology, language and behaviour. It’s often used in therapy, sports coaching and business, where its focus on goal setting and performance is both elegant and effective. I find it invaluable in creating depth and interest in my writing.

Here’s an example: you’ve no doubt heard that people are kinesthetic, audio or visual learners, and that tutors, teachers and educational coaches use that information to help students in school. NLP broadens the reach of that information by explaining that we use these three representational systems to sort, store and access information about the world around us every minute of every day. NLP identifies a fourth representation system, the Auditory Digital as being present in about five percent of the population, and two more – the olfactory and the gustatory – as being present in small numbers of people, too few to be statistically significant for most applications.

As business people – decision makers, communicators, salespeople and support staff – we can use that information to create rapport with our audiences so they will feel comfortable with us… and with our message. This is the first step in the journey towards influence. As a writer, I incorporate the words into my work that will ring true with people who default to each of the three main sensory systems: a project should “feel appropriate,” “sound impressive,” and “look solid.”

NLP offers countless other patterns that connect language and results, and some spin-off areas – like personality profiling and hypnosis – delve even more deeply into the psychology of success. These are powerful tools and their versatility never ceases to amaze me.

It’s an exciting time to be a writer – opportunities for learning abound and if we keep our eyes and ears open to new ways to improve, there’s no end to the doors language can open!

Find out more about how I can use NLP to your benefit by contacting me today.


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