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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


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  1. Peter Parkes
    Peter Parkes 06 April 2013, 08:37 PM

    AnnaIn response to your query, I too have only just become aware of this review and I actually did the presentation back in February!  I have done many since.  In terms of other talks to the APM, my next one is in October but booked out very quickly like the rest.  There is a full list of future talks around the UK and beyond on the accompanying website, as well as details and reviews of the underpinning book and supporting training.Peter Parkes01908683455

  2. Ian Glen
    Ian Glen 02 November 2011, 07:12 PM

    Hello everybody, Firstly can I say to Peter, your book on NLP for project managers has changed my perception on NLP drastically. I am more open minded to the idea of it now. I was wondering, if anyone could give me any advice. I am a BSc degree student in my final year and I have to do a disseration, I have chosen NLP as it iintrigues . My tilte is What if any, elements of NLP are useful for managing projects. from the research I haveconducted I am leaning towards the yes side, but is just based on theory. does any one have any other opinions on this. your comments would be grately appreciated. 

  3. Anna Melland Davis
    Anna Melland Davis 01 February 2011, 11:12 AM

    I've only just joined and spotted this review and it sounds really interesting as I am particularly keen on the impact of soft skills. I would be grateful if you would let me know if anything similar comes up