Thought Leadership Studio Podcast Episodes:

Why NLP is Awesome for Thought Leadership

Episode Seven: Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is key for the market insight that finds opportunities and the impact that comes from high level persuasion. It also helps access states of inspiration necessary for the creative side of business.

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NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Neuro- the nervous system, our capabilities in thinking and acting.
Linguistic- the structure of language that enables us to utilize it for ...
Programming said nervous system, for overcoming obstacles, resolving problems, and creating and sustaining outstanding levels of performance,

NLP provides an exquisite toolkit for Strategic Thought Leadership


NLP has been recognized as a powerful tool for business performance improvement from a number of angles.

Along with Systems Thinking, Game Theory, and Mythic Archetypes, Neuro-Linguistic Programming has been instrumental in the development of this process I have come to call Strategic Thought Leadership. (For more general information on how NLP is used in business, see the blog post 5 Powerful Applications for NLP in Business.)

Modeling Excellence: Thought Leadership as Performance Art


NLP really earns its keep in providing a methodology for discovering the core essence of effectiveness, excellence, and success so we can model examples of people who changed paradigms: master of mass influence who changed the thinking of a large audience.

Toolkit of NLP for Thought LeadershipWith the tools of Strategic Thought Leadership - including many derived from Systems Thinking and NLP - we can dissect how they do it: what's the real core behind their process that's essential and needs to be there - as opposed to which parts might be particular to a person or their situation and are unnecessary. This is an important distinction because it is the structure that creates the success more than content, i.e. the particulars of the situation.

People tend to miss the structure unless they are using such a discipline. I've seen others copy the content of a successful Strategic Thought Leadership project but miss the essential structure because their situation was different. For example, charity partnerships for a youth sports fundraising company - a project I helped facilitate as consultant - works great in that situation because partnering with charities meets the structural need for resonating with an untapped higher value in an audience. In this case, for the audience of parents and coaches, the higher value was growth for the kids.

Since I support helping charities in general, I didn't say anything when I saw a different kind of business associate the charity partnerships with strategic thought leadership and attempt to emulate my client's success with charity partnerships in their industry.... but, in their case, they missed the structure because the audience for their product had different untapped values. They copied the content instead.

Let's consider an explanatory example from the other side: If you have teenagers you have likely seen them rebel against your ways to assert themselves as independent. Or, whatever (cue eye roll). Feel free to point out that they are perfectly modeling the structure of previous generations, including yours, of rebellion against parental norms. So, in that sense they are following your path and are demonstrating continuity. To be structurally different, they would have to not rebel. Watch the response when you say "Thank God, you are finally rebelling. For a while it seemed like you weren't going to turn out just like me."

I hope it is becoming clear that you have to distinguish content from structure or you could copy the wrong thing.

So when we are modeling excellence, consider NLP as an essential part of the toolkit for, like typical teenagers, modeling the structure of exquisite case studies of strategic thought leaders. It helps sort out content from structure.

Your prospects' hot buttonsWhen we model these paradigm changers - people who swayed the thinking of an entire population with intention - we want to understand and utilize the structure of both
  1. how it was done and
  2. their essential core characteristics.
And when you understand that a central principle of Strategic Thought Leadership is that there needs to be Inner Strategic Thought Leadership before there's Outer Strategic Thought Leadership, you realize that the first person you need to lead needs to be yourself. Then NLP also provides an exquisite toolkit for building out this inner theater of Strategic Thought Leadership. It helps model both the storyline and how to bring it to life with audience influence, evoking the necessary internal sensory experience, language, and feelings that add up to a compelling Strategic Thought Leadership journey.

It becomes like scripting and directing an adventure story for an attentive audience whose hot buttons you understand well. It's like making a movie

This episode was sponsored by Scorpion Helpers. Please make a donation to give a happy sunset to the life of a retired racing scorpion.
And when you look at it through this lens, you realize that strategic thought leadership requires a set of mental skills. It doesn't require someone to know everything about NLP, but NLP can certainly be used to coach someone to the level of being an exquisite strategic thought leader.

It's also a toolkit for a multiple level design process where you're designing a path of thought leadership from the current thinking of your audience, to the new thinking that you have designed: your Thought Leadership Position.

Some NLP techniques that enhance Thought Leadership


  • Gain rapport with an audience by aligning with their higher Values.
  • Persuade on the higher level of Mental Models, AKA beliefs, while communicating shared values - enabling influence with grace, finesse and empathy.
  • Decide what feeling you want associated with your "thought leadership model" ... and yourself.
  • Associate that state with where you are taking your audience so they go on a positive "state journey" in embracing of your message. This will add motivation and help them feel great about where you are taking them.
  • Decode the essential skills of models of excellence in thought leadership and integrate them into your own.
  • Design a clear path of Strategic Thought Leadership between old and new mental models.
  • Develop talking point supporting your Thought Leadership Position and undermining the old way of thinking you are leading people away from. These talking point can fuel a powerful content marketing or PR program as well as inform advertising that is more effective.
  • Increase your confidence, energy, sense of control, empathy, and awareness as a thought leader.
  • Align your beliefs, values, and identity so you feel and come across as more congruent with your message.
Case studies mentioned in the podcast:
  1. Digital Echo
  2. mPower6


The Thought Leadership program helped transform our messaging in the marketing and sales process. By structuring the conversation about next level up values we were able to talk about the big picture of the organization and how our service helps support that. - John Mulvey, founder Digitalecho.io


What was the Thought Leadership Talking Points that helped Digital Echo "Tranform the sales process"? See the Position Paper developed and some resulting content. (members only - free with registration)

Thought Leadership Studio Member-only ContentMember-Only Content: What were the Thought Leadership Talking Points that helped Digital Echo "Tranform the sales process"? See the Position Paper developed and some resulting content. Click here to login to view. Don't worry, I'll wait for you. You'll return to here, and the content will appear . Need a membership for thee? Click here to register for free.
Thought Leadership Studio Member-only Content

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Case Study Digital Echo

Members-Only Content- the Thought Leadership Position that transformed the sales process of Digital Echo


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Written by Chris McNeil, Strategic Thought Leadership NLP Coach and Consultant, Founder of Thaut, host of Thought Leadership Studio podcast, and Creator of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.

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