Emotional intelligence is highly sought after as it provides the ability to interpret the emotions of others, to navigate them and to control one’s own emotions too. Ultimately a high EQ will help you to become more persuasive, more popular and more confident in social settings – which are all things most of us want to improve.

For this reason there are many tools and techniques available that promise to help us better understand and work with others. But which of them can really help improve your EQ and enhance your ‘social skill’? Let’s take a look at something called ‘Neurolinguistic Programming’ and whether it is a useful tool.

What is Neuro-linguistic Programming?

Neuro-linguistic Programming, or NLP, is a framework that was originally devised to be used therapeutically and for self-growth. The central concept behind it was to ‘model’ the techniques of the most successful individuals and to learn how to talk and think like them.

The result is something of a ‘mish mash’ of different techniques and strategies, though they all broadly involve the use of language and visualization to try and understand the thoughts and motivations of others and to try and influence them either for therapeutic reasons or for sales. While NLP is very popular among businesses and especially those working in sales, it is considered by the scientific community to be ‘pseudoscience’ and has been accused of having a ‘quasi-cult-like’ following.

Useful Aspects

With regards to NLP then, it is important to have a critical eye but this doesn’t mean that you should throw the baby out with the bathwater – there are some useful skills here to be learned.

One example of a useful tool that comes from NLP is what’s called the ‘Meta Model’. This teaches us to look precisely at language use and to try to find underlying assumptions and generalizations. For instance, someone might say ‘it’s not so easy to get everyone to like you’ – which contains some interesting omissions. Your question might then be to ask ‘not so easy as what?’ or ‘do you want everyone to like you?’.

The Milton Model meanwhile builds on this and describes the intentional omission of information in your statements. Here you load your statements with assumptions and presuppositions, which in turn can help you to influence the beliefs of others.

In conclusion, NLP is an interesting subject for study. Some of it must be taken with a pinch of salt but it certainly does offer value in some regards and is worth reading up on.