June 1, 2010

Making the Most of Meetings

How to use practical NLP principles to get the most out of your meetings.

By Patrick Mahan

One of the primary concepts of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) is the belief that everyone has preferred ways of interacting with others.

Some people are auditory (meaning that they respond best to words and sounds). Some people are visual (they respond best to pictures, sights and visual examples). Others are kinesthetic (they respond best to touch, feelings and emotions).

So if you are communicating in a dry, monotone voice (and without any body language) with someone who is primarily visual then a great portion of your message will be lost. You will have an especially hard time influencing or persuading that person because your style doesn't "match" their style.

Once we learn our subjects "preferred system," then rapport can be established much quicker and persuasion will occur much more rapidly and effectively.

In the same way, we must become aware that some people are more "detail oriented" while others are more "big picture oriented". So if you're out of alignment with your prospect's preferred system, then you'll also be out of rapport, making persuasion nearly impossible.

Can you see how this information is critically important in sales?

Knowing how to uncover a person's preferred system is a product of asking the right questions. And NLP teaches us the right questions to ask to unpack this critical information.

Furthermore, we know that some people are introverted while others are extroverted. Introverts "think to talk" while extroverts "talk to think".

An extrovert dominates a brainstorming session while an introvert sits back and absorbs the information to process later.

How can we use this knowledge to have more effective meetings?

Consider sending out a memo the day before a meeting which outlines the topic of discussion. The extrovert will probably ignore it, but the introverts will begin processing the discussion ahead of time. So when it comes time to meet, the introverts will begin to present their well-formulated thoughts. This will then encourage the extroverts to jump into the conversation resulting in highly productive dialogue and ultimately a more effective meeting.

These concepts form some of the most fundamental principles of NLP. Having this practical knowledge of psychology and human behavior will pay huge dividends in making us more effective communicators IF everyone will make the commitment to learning it, practicing it and making it a habit.

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