This glossary is designed for use on a very basic level, providing brief definitions, not detailed explanations. It will be particulary useful to newcomers who have heard or read very little about NLP so far. By the time you've read a half dozen of the better books you'll already know this stuff off by heart.
If there's anything you don't agree with, or which you think should be added, there is a "mail to" facility at the very end of this page. All constructive comments will be welcome.
Words in bold font are themselves explained somewhere within the glossary.
This meta model pattern occurs in the form of sweeping generalisations which, logically, cannot possibly be true:
"Everyone knows..." - What, everyone in the entire world? Everyone in the UK? Everyone you know?
"That can never happen" - sadly, far too many destructive things happen which we have been assured can never happen.
Cues such as eye movements, changes in breathing pattern, changes in skin colouration and muscle tone, etc. These cues indicate whether or not a person is reacting to internal and external stimuli. They do not tell you what the person is actually thinking.
Some people feel happiest when involved with other people (affiliated) in the workplace; some people prefer to be alone (unaffiliated or independent); and some people like to work with others - as long as they are in charge of everyone else (management).
These preferences are covered by the Affiliation and Management meta program.
Roughly akin to congruent. To be aligned is to have all of your resources working in unison to achieve a given objective.
In NLP this usually refers to words. phrases, or actions, which do not have a specific, clear-cut meaning.
phonological ambiguity, punctuation ambiguity and syntactic ambiguity. There is also a structure known as referential ambiguity which occurs very frequently in spoken and written English, yet (as far as I know) is never referred to in books on NLP.
Anything that has shades of meaning, a 'spectrum' of options or which changes gradually and 'smoothly' (like the undulations in a line of hills, for example) is referred to as "analogue" - as compared to anything which offers a set of clearly separate options (e.g. on/off, yes/no, people/places/things), which is referred to as "digital".
Adding emphasis to a word or phrase by means of an unobtrusive gesture, change of voice tone, or whatever. In theory the listener's conscious mind will not notice the marking, but their subconscious mind will 'get the message.
An external event (sound, sight, physical feeling) which triggers an internal state or memory. For example, if you get a 'warm glow' and recall happy memories when you hear a particular piece of music that reminds you of a special occasion, the music is functioning as an anchor.
(See also: Creating an Anchor)
The process of 'setting' an anchor. Anchors can be created deliberately or by chance. They can also be altered or 'dissolved', 'stacked' or 'collapsed' (see Collapsing Anchors" and Stacking Anchors .
As If (1)
Using visualisation etc. to deal with a situation "as if" it had already happened. Quite amazingly, this can often make it possible to see how something occurred so that you actually use that visualisation as the blueprint for creating the outcome you have imagined.
As If (2)
The various NLP presuppositions are not necessarily 'true' in the sense of having been discovered by careful and lengthy scientific study. Nevertheless they have been adopted because many people find that it produces beneficial results to act "as if" they were true.
To be 'associated' with some memory or event is to see it from the viewpoint of someone involved in the action (as distinct from simply observing the action).
Also referred to as "self-talk."*nbsp; When people look down and to the right (from an observer's point of view) they will usually (if they are using the standard eye accessing cues positions) be in auditory digital mode. Politicians and other spokesmen and spokeswomen ofter go in and out of this mode when they are being interviewed as they internally rehearse whatever answer they are about to give.
Auditory (A) Mode
Taking in and/or processing information as sounds. It is misleading to refer to someone as "An auditory" as this obscures the fact that this is a form of behaviour, and not something we are. Moreover we can, and often do, switch between the different representational systems depending on the context.
Someone operating in auditory mode might use expressions like:
"That rings a bell"
"I'd like to talk it over before I make my decision"
"Tell me more"
and so on.
An element within the meta model which refers to the use of words like "best", "better", "healthier", "faster", "whiter" and so on, where the speaker never states what the comparison is between.
For example, "Gunko washes whiter" (than what?). "In tests" (what tests? carried out by whom?) "it washed whiter than six other leading brands" (which six leading brands?)
Assigning a meaning to an event on the basis of opinion rather than evidence, such as: "If you don't do at least ten hours unpaid overtime per week you obviously aren't loyal to the company".
An element of the Meta Model.
One of the five 'Satir categories'. Responds to threats by becoming very logical and distant. "Perhaps we should take a moment to step back and review the situation". Satir reckoned about 15% of the members of an average group would be 'computers'.
External congruence exists when all of your external signals - body language, vocal tone, tempo, etc., and verbal content - are sending the same message.
Internal congruence exists when you are focused on the task in hand (to the appropriate degree), and when you are comfortable about what you are doing (i.e. when all of your parts are in harmony.
That part of your mental activity which you are actually aware of at any given moment. It is only the conscious mind which is limited to dealing with 7 chunks of information, plus or minus 2 (see Miller, George).
A communication consists of a message and a transmission process. The content is the message itself. As Bandler and Grinder originally conceived techniques such as the fast phobia cure, it should be possible to resolve the problem without knowing the specific content. That is to say, by dealing with the thinking process that supports the phobia rather than the nature - snakes, spiders, etc. - or the history of the phobia.)
This commonly refers to the process of comparing two sets of sub-modalities to discover which ones are critical in a given context. For example, if I am learning presentation skills I might want to do a contrastive analysis on my sub-modalities for (a) a situation where I spoke fluently and engagingly to one or two people, and (b) a situation where I was addressing a larger number of people, and did rather badly.
By doing the analysis I can identify which particular sub-modality settings helped me to perform well in the first situation and not so well in the second situation so that I can apply the critical settings from the first situation to the second.
Creating an Anchor
You can creating an anchor for yourself or for another person. The process consists of three basic steps:
Set up the state you want to anchor (happiness, confidence, whatever). This can be done by recalling a previous experience or simply by working with a state that is happening in the here and now.
Perform some "concrete" action that can be associated with the desired state. This is often a physical touch, but works equally well by using a clearly defined sound, a word or a phrase. A state can also be anchored to some visual trigger. So, you could anchor a state for someone else by, say, touching the back of their hand; by coughing or saying a slightly unusual word or phrase, or by having them focus their eyes on a specific picture or view.
The anchor should be set as the person's experience of the desired state reaches its peak. Initiate the anchor as the state approaches its peak, and release it (end the touch, redirect the person's visual attention, etc.) immediately the state has passed its peak.
Always test an anchor (repeat the "trigger" event) to ensure that it has been set. Depending on the context, you may occasionally find that it is necessary to repeat steps 1 and 2 several times before the trigger event and response become effectively linked.
The process of indirectlymatching another person's behaviour - you tap your thigh with your hand, I tap my desk with my pencil, for example - usually for the purpose of creating/enhancing rapport.