NLP Meta-Model

Tony Nudd BA MSc

NLP Meta-Model

What Others Are Thinking

Two influential contributers to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) are:
John Grinder more here
Richard Bandler more here
Who expanded the theories around Gestalt Therapy more here

NLP describes something referred to as the "Meta-Model". The meta-model could be seen as the ways in which people "understand" their personal universe. In communication, we have already discussed TDS (Trans-Derivational Serching) - that is relating things back to what we already know or have experieinced. But in communication, this can be very negative to both speaker and audience.

When we communicate we hardly ever include all the "deep structure" which our verbal or written communication relates to. We take short cuts and tend to summarise what "we" think are the essential parts of the communication - "surface structure". This relies heavily on the audience having the same "deep structure" links as we have. Of course, this is flawed - everyone is different and has had different experiences.

Example 1:
Speaker: "He was like a father to me".
Listener A had a good and loving father, and so understands the phrase in a positive way.
Listener B had an abusive father who he hated, and so understands the phrase in a negative way.
Which is correct? - This is an example of DISTORTION

Example 2:
Speaker: "Contains 20% less fat".
20% less fat than what?, what are we comparing this to?
Speaker: "They are always like that".
Always?, so they have never behaved differently?
Speaker: "You cannot trust men with beards".
Really? All men with beards are un-trustworthy?
The above are examples of GENERALISATION

Example 3:
Speaker: "I love your curvy figure, it's so sexy".
Listener A "So you think I am fat!"
The listener has deleted the positive part of the communication, they are loved, and look sexy, and only focussed on the what they understand as being called "fat" (in a negtaive way).
This is an example of DELETION

The Meta-Model has three elements:

1. Distortion - The process of representing parts of the communication differently than how they were originally represented e.g process to event

2. Generalisation - The way a specific experience (or number of experiences) is mapped to represent the complete category of which it is a member

3. Deletion - Where portions of the mental map are omitted and do not appear in the verbal expression

CHUNKMAPS and the Journey of Persuasion will help you to address the meta-model elements when creating communications so that your audience doe not "comprehend" you in a way you did not intend.
Of course, we can also use the meta-model elemnets to our advantage as well!

Next Article: Chunking Information UP

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