NLP for project management: making soft skills less hard using NLP

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We know that soft skills are essential for project management. And project management relies on getting things done through others. So how can we make project delivery that bit more effective?

Peter Parkes introduced us to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, (NLP) in an engaging and interactive talk. He gave an overview of some key techniques, which, he argued, would help project managers improve their soft skills and deliver more effectively.

Know thyself was the mantra of the night. Understanding who you are, what you do and what choices are available gives us greater self-awareness. If we understand ourselves better, we can develop greater rapport and influence with others. We all have different maps of the world, filtered by our values and beliefs. Our preferred communication styles - visual, auditory or kinaesthetic affect our view of reality. By understanding how we and others receive information, we can learn to communicate more effectively. As Peter said, we need to be able to hear what isnt being said.

Peter led us through a hierarchy of 6 levels of rapport from common environments (we live in X, we work in Y) through behaviours and capabilities to common purposes. Weve seen it, where teams work together, focused on one goal and weve seen where teams are going in different directions.

Outcome thinking, sensory awareness, rapport and flexible behaviours. Peter challenged us to take them all on board to help raise performance in individuals and teams.

Although this event could only be an overview of NLP, it was thought provoking and certainly whetted our appetite to learn more. As project and programme managers, we need to be interpersonally sensitive to lead others effectively. Knowledge and use of NLP techniques is of value. It could be the difference that makes the difference

Written by: Andrew Rylah

Posted on 24th Jan 2011
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