Why we shouldn't use NLP
I first encountered Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the session “NLP for Software Development Coaches” at XP Day 4. My first question was “does NLP have a valid basis in the mainstream scientific community?”. Nobody there seemed to know.
Good advice from 1556: The Robert Recorde Memorial at Swansea University.
I’ve encountered NLP a few times since in the agile community and I’d like to document some reasons why we shouldn’t use it:
- NLP has been around for decades, yet I’m unable to find any account of a rigorous, scientific basis for it.
- Using “influencing tricks” to steer people around to your opinion isn’t ethical, besides there’s a serious risk of destroying trust when someone finds out that you’re “using tricks to get your own way”.
Where’s the Scientific Basis for NLP?
Much has already been said elsewhere about the lack of a scientific basis for NLP. I’m just going to provide two references I found interesting here:
- Skeptoid Episode #155, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, May 26th 2009
- Roderique-Davies, G. (2009). Neuro-Linguistic Programming: Cargo Cult Psychology? Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 1 (2): 57–63
Basically, absence of evidence doesn’t deserve the “benefit of doubt”: it merely indicates that the hypothesis doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The mature thing to do is to accept that you’re not always going to get what you want and that the best way of influencing people is to build relationships through open, clear communication and honesty.