Becoming a Master Communicator

Becoming a Master Communicator

Practitioners of Neuro Linguistic Programming have been studying excellent behaviors of Highly Successful people in order to model excellence wherever it is found in the world. The idea that a protocol can be used to elicit high quality information from experts in almost any area of life and install it in ourselves and transfer it to others is a powerfully useful concept in actual practice.  Richard Bandler and John Grinder, the two co-founders of NLP, found specific and useful characteristics in common among the most successful people they chose to model.

Masterful Communicators Have Some Things In Common:

1. They know what they want.

2. They are very good at observing responses they receive from others.

3. They have the ability to change or vary their own behaviors until they get what they want.

Bandler and Grinder are credited with making these observations from the Modeling of highly successful people.  A common belief expressed by practitioners of NLP is that ‘If anyone produces an excellent behavior, and you can elicit enough high quality information about how they do what they do well, you can produce a similar result.”  The belief that excellence can be transferred from another person and that you can install it in myself or others makes a lot of things possible.  Now, with these techniques, you can find people who have the behavior you want to emulate, learn how they do it, and then do what they do.

1. Know What You Want:  The book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, is a great primer for understanding what is in common between highly successful people.  Hill asserts that successful people know what they want.  He says, they tend to make decisions quickly and are slow to change their minds.  This idea is about knowing what you want.  People who flip-flop too often tend not to be taken as credible and they are less likely to achieve outcome they set for themselves.

2. Have Sensory Acuity:  If you do not pay attention to the subtle physiological cues that tell you how your communication is landing in the world of another person, you are likely to make mistakes in your communication.  Many if not most people are a bit Narcissistic.  They tend to have their attention on themselves and are focused on what they want to say; not on the other person.  If you misread people, you are not going to be successful in any meaningful way over time.  According to Bandler and Grinder, highly successful people are really good at paying attention to the subtle communication cues that others are giving off at any moment in time.  They read people well.  I tell my NLP training students that ‘people are communicating their internal programming to you at all times.’  The task is to get around, beside, or outside your own filters through which you view your world in order to determine what is really being communicated.  It’s not as easy as it sounds, and rewards are high when we get more accurate information.

3. Vary Your Approach, Until… :  Excellent communicators listen in a way that takes the noise out of the communication.  Instead of being focused on your own communication, what you want to say, and in the way you would want to receive it, masterful communicators give information the way the other person needs to receive it.  We all tend to assume that everyone is operating just like we do; but it doesn’t work that way.  The first rule of ‘rapport’ is to do what the other person does.  Communicate in the pattern of the other person so they don’t have to work at understanding and keep your eye on the goal.  Then you can Dovetail what you hear them saying about what they want with the outcome you want, and you can do it easily as you make sure the communication lands over there in a way that the other person has a difficult time disagreeing.  Note that there is no good reason any other human is going to hear what you have to say until they have experienced that you heard them first.  Make it easy and irresistible to agree.

The  NLP Communication Model

The following is a simple model of how communication works between people.  When an NLP Practitioner talks about ‘listening’ he or she is most often referring to the entire communication loop.  It’s like bio-feedback.  When you are actually listening, it is not just what you hear, but you are always paying attention to the other person in the loop so you will know when there’s a break in rapport or communication is not congruent and make the appropriate correction necessary to restore ‘rapport.’  Here’s a simple model.

  • When Person A behaves in a particular manner, their EXTERNAL BEHAVIOR sets up a FEEDBACK LOOP that is a kind of chain reaction.
  • Person B will have an INTERNAL RESPONSE to the behavior or message presented.
  • Person B responds with an EXTERNAL BEHAVIOR (sends a new message back).
  • Person A then has an INTERNAL RESPONSE… and the cycle is repeated until it is complete or something breaks it.

Sometimes the content of the model is positive and life enhancing and sometimes it can be an unresourceful loop taking you in directions that are not consistent with the outcomes you want.  Like a dance step, it only takes one person to take responsibility in the latter case to change the way the parties participate in the loop.  In difficult conversations it is generally agreed that separating your emotional response is a good idea so that you don’t do or say something that gets a far different response from what you are intending.  When you become aware of a break in the communication loop above you can do something to restore the connection.   The communication loop can then be completed and rapport maintained.

by Bill Thomason

Contact Bill for one-on-one coaching and to learn about upcoming workshop opportunities at 602 321-7192 or navigate to the website to learn more at