Soft Skills in Project Management: Concept, Goals, and Tips for Successful Business Applications

    A minimum of tools for the most successful results - this is the rule that real experts follow. For example, the dynamically developing field of project management selectively approaches the techniques and methods used in the work, leaving only the most useful. This article is a short guide to the famous NLP technique (neuro-linguistic programming), which has established itself as one of the most widely used in psychology and business processes.


    Important Skills for Managers: As Usually Something Flexible?

    In most modern start-ups and grocery companies, the product manager and project manager occupy the leading place in the team . Both of these positions, although they imply different duties, usually require similar skills for successful work and interaction.

    There is a so-called group of soft skills (English “flexible skills”), which includes many areas of development of skills and abilities. This “flexibility” in the title is due to the fact that the possession of these skills is not tied to any one subject area - this is a kind of self-development that is relevant, in fact, for any person. And yet, for a person in a management position, flexible skills are the “starting package” and are mandatory.

    Classic flexible skills are considered to be:

    • managerial abilities : an analytical approach to solving problems and problems, critical thinking, setting goals within time management, leadership to work, etc.
    • social skills : the ability to work in a team and the delegation of tasks, attentive attitude (the ability to hear and listen), the ability to quickly resolve controversial and conflict situations in a team, etc.
    • personal qualities : self-discipline and self-organization, confidence in their own decisions, resistance to high psychological stress, high communication skills

    All these and other skills and characteristics of the ideal manager are certainly important and extremely necessary in work. And it is no coincidence that the point “high communication skills” is indicated in the last paragraph of personal qualities with an emphasis on the word “high”: in fact, this is exactly what makes the manager really good and even irreplaceable.

    Managers who can properly present information become for their company more than just employees with the greatest burden of responsibility - they are perceived as leaders, professional mentors and gurus of their work. And with this thought, we smoothly proceed to the study of the concept of the notorious NLP.

    Introduction to NLP in business: the concept and goals


    For those who already know something or have heard about neuro-linguistic programming, the interpretation of “NLP in business” may seem a bit exotic. The fact is that NLP belongs to the section of psychology, which helps to study various practices on personal development, improving communication skills and, in general, interaction with people.

    In a sense, NLP is a psychotherapeutic complex of techniques for dealing with various personal problems (phobias, self-doubt, resolution of internal conflicts, etc.). Therefore, the use of this technology in the business is one of the most successful solutions, especially among management positions.

    The goal of NLP in business is to identify and build the right models of human behavior, the results of which is the successful achievement of business goals.With the help of these techniques, continuous self-development, obtaining new professional experience and cultivating one's own personal qualities also occurs.

    Thus, it becomes obvious that the essence of neuro-linguistic programming in a business environment is to improve yourself for the sake of getting perfect results. And, actually, everything! This idea should be noted, but it is not necessary to dwell on this - the study and analysis of existing NLP techniques will be extremely useful.

    From a very spatial definition, we move on to more vivid examples of what NLP is: in the context of business and project management, NLP is manifested in two main areas:

    • personal direction - the implementation of techniques to improve skills at the individual level, that is, each of the employees improves their own qualities. This is usually expressed in the form of specific courses, personal growth workshops (from professional and certified specialists, of course) and master classes on one or another kind of interaction.
    • interpersonal direction - working on direct interaction with other employees of the team and also with customers. In this direction, emphasis is placed on the importance of the ability to negotiate, conduct effective teamwork, the ability to conduct subtle and careful observation of the reactions of others, faithfully read (and even predict) the emotional state of people and use all this for good and personal success. Such skills are also achieved through group trainings on team building (including team building), master classes, field seminars and other means.

    Examples of NLP techniques for business and their implementation in practice


    We emphasize once again that the origin of NLP is a behavioral psychology. And all the methods, exercises and techniques of NLP, which become applied in different fields, one way or another come from the psychological aspects of this topic. Whatever the business owner sets himself as the desired result, he will follow the path of careful study of the nature of a person’s thinking, feelings and emotions.

    First, it is worth mentioning the phenomenon of NLP presuppositions - a set of statements that facilitate understanding of the whole essence of NLP and help to better use various NLP techniques to achieve the desired result. The following theses are considered to be basic presuppositions:

    • “The map is not a territory” (i.e., someone's idea of ​​an object is only a subjective opinion, and not the only correct one)
    • “Body and consciousness as a single system” (i.e., the state of a person is inseparable from the state of its environment, society, etc.)
    • “Having a choice is always better than not having it”
    • “The basis of any behavior is a positive intention”
    • “The meaning of communication is the resulting reaction”

    In other words, these presuppositions are the postulates of NLP, on which it is worth relying and which should be adhered to, by studying this or that NLP technique.

    As examples of the most effective and efficient NLP techniques used in business and practiced within the team and also in communication with customers, we consider the “Rapport” method, speech reframing, and interesting varieties of language tricks.

    1. Rapport

    One of the most effective techniques that helps develop communication skills and establish the most strong connection with the interlocutor. The meaning of rapport is to observe the verbal and non-verbal behavior of a person and a slight adjustment to it - as a result, both interlocutors become a kind of single organism in which everything happens in concert and together.

    Example : in a meeting with a client, you delicately observe and “scan” the object you need. During the conversation, you gradually, in a natural rhythm, adopt his manner of behavior and begin to “mirror” him: use similar speech turns, repeat some of his gestures or duplicate facial expressions. With all this, you do not forget about the purpose of your meeting and negotiate on necessary and important topics, sometimes making small digressions in tone with the conversation.

    The result of technology : rapport is the real key to establishing trusting relationships between people. After all, everything that happens between you is familiar and “familiar” for your opponent, and he opens up before you, without fear of being misunderstood. You are for him a priori a pleasant and relaxing companion. The right balance and lack of monkeying and inept parodies are also important - but everything must start small.

    The use of technology : rapport is ideal in conducting negotiations and initial meetings, meeting customers and investors. This technique has proven itself in interviews with new employees, which helps to better understand the potential team member.

    2. Speech reframing and language tricks

    Reframing (from English to reframe - “rephrase”) is another interesting and really working technique in the business environment. The main idea of ​​speech reframing is the complete transformation of the interlocutor's statement in response to an absolutely opposite semantic color. In other words, we translate a negative statement into a positive one and vice versa - we paraphrase all good things into bad (which is also sometimes necessary).

    Example : you talk with your client, who continually comments on your project, and you skillfully beat off each of his submissions:

    Client : “The deadlines are too long, we are not ready to wait so much”
    You: “I agree with you. But with such deadlines we minimize possible platform errors and do the most tests to improve the quality of the finished product ”
    Client :“ The application has too few functions! ”
    You :“ But then each of these functions brings its maximum efficiency and works perfectly, and the overall functionality is perfect from this has nothing to lose! "
    Client :" I'm not sure of the success of technology you use, they are too new and unknown! "
    you :" you are right, but their novelty is a reliable guarantee that your product will have the technology ical support in the coming years, while these instruments are really relevant "

    Language foci are also attributed to speech reframing — various methods and strategies used to change beliefs. There are a lot of language tricks - only about 15 types of basic ones ! Here are just a couple of examples:

    1. Intention (it helps to determine the conviction itself) :
    Client : “I don’t like new colors in style!”
    Product Manager : “I suppose you want to offer your own color solution?”

    2. Separation (fragmentation approval parts and clarification of belief):
    Client : “I don’t like the service at all!”
    Manager : “Did you not like the attitude to you personally or how exactly the operator performed his duties?”

    The result of technology : Feel what is happening in these mini-dialogues? A real game with values ​​and words: “big - minimize”, “little - maximum”, “unknown - reliable” - all this is an excellent beat in real time! It is also noteworthy that the reframing response phrase should not contain such stop words as “but” - this is a signal of your open objection to the words of the interlocutor, which, as it were, devalues ​​everything he said. Using speech reframing and tricks correctly, you get problems solved “here and now” even before the moment they really became problems.

    The use of technology: Of course, speech reframing is actively used in dealing with objections when negotiating with clients in the areas of sales, project management and technical support. Refereming can also be used to improve communication within the team and build better communication between colleagues.

    For those who love: where and how to learn NLP


    The techniques listed above by us are only the tip of the iceberg among the numerous and diverse in application and implementation techniques that will be effective for business. To some extent, NLP has become a discipline for its autonomous study, that is, without deepening into aspects of general psychology. Therefore, it is not necessary to get a higher psychological education - it is possible to master NLP both by studying useful literature independently and in special training schools.

    Professional literature for the study of NLP

    1. “From frogs to princes” (Richard Bendler, John Grinder)
    This book belongs to two popular American psychology coaches, who in 1978, at one of the large-scale seminars, laid out the basic principles of NLP-technology and its practical application for achieving better results . The book is written in simple and accessible language and contains useful tips and exercises for self-development and their introduction into the business environment of communication.

    2. “Language Tricks” (Robert Dilts)
    In this fascinating book, the author conveys one simple thing: absolutely every person can master the highest communication skills and become a real speaker and the best interlocutor. The book will be useful and easy to read to anyone, regardless of his occupation and activities, but for managers it can be a manual.

    3. NLP Practitioner (Bob Bodenhamer, Michael Hall)
    This book is a voluminous collection of various, but equally effective NLP exercises and trainings that can be successfully practiced in various business areas. The book does not simply explain - it conducts a pleasant tour of the main psychological directions and principles of studying human nature, which cannot but be helpful. Be sure to recommend reading!

    Organizations and centers for the study of NLP

    For more detailed, in-depth and professional study of any specialization, group training is the best practice. Therefore, we recommend not to dwell only on reading, but to go through one of the most comprehensive and informative courses or trainings on NLP. We have selected several of the most reliable and sought-after sites for studying NLP in the largest cities of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.


    • The Institute of Modern NLP is one of the main metropolitan institutions specializing in high-quality training of NLP practitioners. In this institute, you can choose one or several interesting courses on techniques that help people to be better realized in society, family and business.
    • The NLP High School is a sought-after NLP organization, dominated by one of the most successful psychologists, Yuri Chekchurin. Here you can also choose the most suitable courses and trainings on the development of communication skills, conflict resolution, successful business and much more.

    St. Petersburg:

    • The NLP Institute is the main school of the northern capital, offering a wide range of NLP techniques to be studied. Here work eminent and most experienced psychologists, speakers in master classes and business coaches. There are many programs and many opportunities - there are plenty to choose from and leave school with a wealth of useful knowledge.
    • The St. Petersburg NLP Center is another organization of NLP, where the experienced psychologist and consultant Victor Strelkin manages and conducts the bulk of the courses. Interesting courses, a relaxed, comfortable environment for learning new things - this is a brief description for this vocational school.


    • The Institute of NLP Belarus is the largest organization on the territory of the republic, which invites all those interested in quality knowledge and skills of NLP practitioners. A lot of successful trainers and experts will help to understand all the features of these techniques.
    • NLP ABC specializes in a detailed study of aspects of modern NLP and its most effective implementation in business practice. The courses are conducted by experienced specialists, who in an accessible form will tell all the most important and necessary about this technique.


    • NLP Club Kiev is one of the oldest centers specializing in the study and teaching of NLP practices. In this club, various professional trainings and master classes from experienced Ukrainian specialists are actively conducted.
    • The European NLP Center is the main modern organization where high-class training courses on NLP are held in accordance with the latest European standards and trends in this technology.

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