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Neurolinguistics and Body Language

Updated on July 17, 2011

What is it?

Neuro Linguistic Programming (commonly abbreviated to NLP) is an immensely powerful tool that can change lives and allow us to influence others. The purpose and presupposition of any NLP enthusiast is to study human behavior and how it is linked to both verbal and non-verbal communication, and to subsequently re-model internal programming. I'm aware this may sound like a pseudo science to some, the rise of popular TV heroes such as Derren Brown have left many wondering just how real NLP tecnhiques are, and how much of it is just showmanship.

The purpose of this article is to show readers just how powerful and real NLP really is. How is can be a useful tool for anyone, and how simple its uses are. Shedding phobias, winning a difficult interview, flirting, sales or simply empowering our own lives -- all are achievable objectives in the field of neurolinguistics.

Tricks Of The Mind?

Derren Brown has become famous for publicizing several NLP techniques and stunning the world with his "magic".
Derren Brown has become famous for publicizing several NLP techniques and stunning the world with his "magic".

How It Works

I find it is usually best to start with an analogy in order to explain how NLP works. Let us imagine that I have a good friend who lives in Cervinia, a small town hugging the Italian Alps. I invite him to stay at my house over the weekend so we can enjoy catch up and have some fun. When he gets here, the first thing he wants to do is find a high spot where he can get a good view of Rome. I know just the place and off we go. Upon arriving, in order to get the best possible view he jumps on a rail overlooking a cliff and begins to take photographs. I, on the other hand begin to sweat and take a step backwards because my friend's antics have made my fear of heights tighten its emotional choke hold on me.

What happened here? The situation is familiar, in one form or another, to us all. My friend, having grown-up on the slopes of the alps has very little fear of heights. I, on the other hand having lived in cities all my life have never been able to shake-off my fear of heights. But what a NLP practitioner will see is more complex. NLP will look at both of our responses to heights and look at what triggers our reactions. If my fear of heights is unhealthy, then NLP will attempt to transfer (or re-model) my response with one that is more beneficial. The science of NLP believes this transfer is possible.

NLP employs the real power of our minds, which is our ability to change our processes. As we know, it is entirely possible to "become another person" almost overnight. But while this is usually in reaction to a cause (a car crash, a cancer survivor e.t.c), NLP will employ techniques to access our subconscious processes consciously and swiftly. In short, NLP simply remodels existing mental faculties and helps us to consciously choose beneficial traits.

Some common examples of NLP techniques include:

  • Mirroring & Creating Rapport - In my flirting and body language article, I discussed how mirroring someone (copying them) will lead to a state of good rapport. NLP enthusiasts understand that by simply copying someone's behavior you are consciously re-creating a subconscious show of affection. Notice how couples, lovers and good friends always mimic each other!
  • Anchoring - Anchoring is an apt term in that it anchors a positive state of mind. An NLP enthusiast will be able to relax in a tense environment by recalling and feeling the way he did in a great and happy moment that he has previously anchored. Anchoring is often used to treat stage fright and other social fears.
  • Pattern Breaking - Inducing a trance, or putting the subject into a position where his "defenses are lowered". This is a popular tool used in hypnosis. Please see the video below for an example of how Derren Brown does this. (The pattern break used in this video is the incomplete handshake)

Pattern Breaking

NLP At Work

NLP has many therapeutic uses. NLP is commonly used to treat the following afflictions:

  • Phobias
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Losing Weight
  • Career choices
  • Fear of exams and interviews

Below, I' have added a list of videos that showcase NLP in a fun way. Some of the results will leave you in a state of disbelief, but all techniques are grounded in demonstrated and working NLP and hypnosis techniques. Pay attention to how Derren uses body language and words to communicate in a subconscious way. (For instance, the the first video Derren repeats the words "take it, take it" in order to convince the shop lifter. Repitition is, as we all know, a very well-known method of mind-control. In the second video, Derren uses the word WINdow and stresses the first part of the word to convey the message that he has won. WINdow, WINdow.)


I hope you enjoyed my brief introduction to the world of NLP. If you have any questions (or corrections!) please feel free to ask. You may also enjoy my other NLP hubs which are the following:

Detecting Lies With NLP and Flirting With NLP

Thank you for stopping by!


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    • profile image

      Lee Woods 5 years ago

      I'm writing an article that I hope will address the question, "Is writing a mind-only proposition, or do we write using mind and body?" I would appreciate any thoughts you have on the matter.

      Thanks, Lee, Cocoa, FL

    • billabongbob profile image

      billabongbob 6 years ago from South Wales, UK

      Great hub thooghun :D

      I've studied NLP (and Graphology) for many years and find it fascinating. I haven't done much with the subject for a while, now you've inspired me. Thank you ;)

    • profile image

      kabir@NLP 6 years ago

      Thanks for your good information, to know more about this topic please go to


    • thooghun profile image

      James D. Preston 7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thank you Troy, I failed to notice this comment for some reason!

    • TroyM profile image

      TroyM 7 years ago

      Awesome info here, good presentation.