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11 NLP techniques to use during an argument


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What NLP techniques to use during an argument? NLP training comes with a host of tools to use during an argument, or any communication for that matter. But considering a plethora of tools are taught during an NLP training, which ones should you use when emotions run high, in either yourself or the other person?

As human beings we are learners so before I explain some simple tools, I do recommend you practice what’s listed below before you step into a situation of conflict. If your brain is already used to a tool or process, it becomes much easier to implement. Practice it enough and it becomes automatic.

NLP techniques to use during an argument


I do not recommend matching aggressive behavior, either physically or verbally. However, the tonality, volume, and a non-aggressive version of the same body posture, could be used to match and mirror without simply copying anger and the angry words the other person uses. You copy the behavior and the (loud) tonality by saying “that’s right, you are angry…” etc. Then when matched, lower your voice. In NLP training we call this pacing and leading, which in essence means you meet someone in their map and build rapport there, and then you lead them into a new map. In this case, a calmer and more peaceful place.

Making changes in the auditory system

For approximately 70% of people this small technique works. Imagine during the argument that you hear funny or empowering music, or hum to yourself inside your own head. For most people their feeling neutralizes or becomes empowering.

Making changes in the visual system

Imagine the person’s head getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Until their head is the size of the room. Again, for about 70% of people this is a useful technique. Somewhere during the process, the feeling neutralizes.


To prevent letting your emotions get the better of you, you need to dissociate from the problem. We are in the first perceptual position when we are angry. We see, hear, and feel everything that is going on. When you step out of yourself, as if you’re floating your mind out of your body to observe yourself, the emotion instantly drops.

Positive Intent

Early in any NLP training, the presuppositions of NLP are taught. One of these states: “there is a positive intent motivating every behavior.” Ask yourself what the positive intent is of the other person during the argument. This is difficult for some people, as they are quick to state “control,” or something else negatively slanted. But think of what that person would answer their own positive intent is. Also, what is your positive intent?

Empathy – 2nd perceptual position

The second perceptual position can be hugely useful. this position involves floating your mind out of your body and into the shoes of the other person. What is it like to walk a mile in their shoes? What do they see, hear, and feel?

Switching emotional states

Step out of your place of anger, and think of a time in the past where you felt resourceful during the time of an argument. Were you breathing? What was your body posture?

Model behavior

Imagine how a model of excellence would handle this argument. How is this different from your behavior? And how are the results different?

Step out of your spot

This may sound like a weird suggestion, but stepping out of the spot you are standing in where someone is angry with you, or to move them from their spot, can be highly effective. Especially on people who are kinesthetic.

Count to 10

It is scientifically proven that counting to 10 reduces the emotional state you are in. Make sure to breath so you can get oxygen into your brain.

NLP techniques to use during an argument aside, this is also scientifically proven to work.

Break rapport or pattern interrupt

Sometimes breaking the rapport, or interrupting the pattern, by saying you are briefly going to step out can be very effective. Sometimes it is suggested to interrupt the pattern by cracking a joke or making an outlandish remark, but this can quickly go wrong.



Conflict Resolution Playbook: Practical Communication Skills for Preventing, Managing, and Resolving Conflict – Jeremy Pollack


NLP training: how to solve a conflict programming your mind

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