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HR and NLP Communication Tools

HR and NLP Communication Tools: The courage to challenge

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NLP is a powerful set of tools for HR professionals because it helps us develop unrivalled Stakeholder relationships and meet the key requirements of our role. The CIPD Profession Map tells us to have the courage to challenge, it is one of our core behaviours as HR professionals. There are clear guidelines set out for us by the CIPD in order to meet the requirement which you can see on their website here HR and NLP Communication Tools:

With that in mind, how can NLP help us in HR when challenging with courage? First let’s paint the picture of some common opposing views we face:



Line Manager                                                      HR

I want to use my own recruiters                       We need to stick to our PSL
I want to terminate employment                      We need to go through the right processes first
I need them to get going from day one           We need to put them through the right induction and training


hr key to languageIn NLP we learn that every behaviour has a positive intent, this is one of our presuppositions. You can find out more about core NLP beliefs here .

As we all know, staying stuck in our own view won’t move us forward to a solution, therefore language is our key to finding agreement. If you use language to uncover the intention behind their position then you can adapt how you communicate to help them view the situation from a different angle. Before you enter into difficult conversations, it’s really powerful to consider the situation from all angles and really step into the position of the Line Manager.

A useful NLP technique for this is Perceptual Positions which we train in all of our Practitioner Courses because it is such a powerful tool utilised worldwide. Aside from this, a great deal can be achieved simply by calming the mind and being present and aware during difficult discussions.

A great tool for this is what we call in NLP, the NOW State. You can read about its purpose and how to use the technique in an article here

Once you are in the meeting challenging the opposing viewpoint, there is one word which is guaranteed to slow you down or even completely block your success. BUT. This small, seemingly innocent word is the root of disagreement, the more this word is rooted in your conversations the more trouble will grow.

hr and nlp techniquesLet’s take a quick look at an example:
I know you have your own agencies that you like to use BUT we have to stick to the PSL. Firstly, the ‘but’ wipes away anything positive that you have said before it. Secondly, this statement would keep you both stuck in the opposing view rather than moving towards agreement.

Instead, use language and questions that use your curiosity to understand how you can gain buy-in from them. The NLP Chunking up process utilises three key questions which enable you to understand the intention behind the behaviour, from there you can find agreement at a big picture level.

The three questions are:

For what purpose?
What’s the intention of?
What will that get for you?

For example, in the statement I used above “I know you have your own agencies that you like to use but we have to stick to the PSL.” If you ask the question to each party “For what purpose are you sticking to the PSL?” Hyperthetically it could be: You both want to recruit the best person or you both want to do your job to the best of your ability.

Once you find that agreement and you can see that you are actually on the same page, you can start to get into the specifics of how you can move forward.
You can read more about NLP Chunking here

For another article of how HR works with NLP click here

Another related article is NLP Language Tips for HR Professionals:

HR and NLP Communication Tools by Natalie Rea.

If you would like to find out more about how our courses can benefit your HR role then you can call us or email us for more information or Natalie Rae at 

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