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Neuro Linguistic Programming - Part one (Introduction)

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Joined: 09/27/2012

Since I am studying to become an NLP coach, I have decided to share some of my findings and write articles for this forum every once in a while. I will present the ideas in sections that I think are most appropriate. We can discuss these ideas and see where our experiences differ.

This post is a small introduction to NLP and it's Presuppositions. I also introduce VAKOG which stands for Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory (all this refers to how we process information).

What is NLP?

(Neuro Linguistic Programming)

Neuro: Stands for our nervous system – the mental pathways our five senses take which allow us to see, hear, feel, taste and smell.

Linguistic: Refers to our ability to use language, how we use words, how we use pharses to express ourselves and how our non verbal communication is revealing our emotional states. By non verbal I mean mainly our body movements and gestures.

Programming: Much like a computer software, our mind also runs on a »program« that can be changed and/or upgraded, which results in better performance and better results. By changing our beliefs we can see immediate improvements in how we act, live, think and feel. 


With NLP we can use our internal sources to make what seemed an impossible task into something that is actually very doable. We can learn how to easily establish rapport, we can cure fears and phobias, and set goals that truly motivate us. Nlp is becoming more and more acknowledged as the most potent way of communicating.

In my personal experience NLP is the closest thing to educating mainstream audiences that there's more to life than the bland 9-5 jobs, watching TV all day, complaining etc. and instead actually living the life of purpose. It freaks me out how most people are simply not aware that they have the power to shape their lives in any way they desire to. We had an NLP coach talking in our school this year and even though he talked about things I considered to be everyday facts that seem obvious to me, other students had this awakening facial expression of inspiration.

Our thoughts, actions and feelings produce specific results. Now we may be happy about them or not, the fact is if we repeat the same thoughts, actions and feelings we get the same results. If we want to produce new results then we need to change our mindset. And once we understand how we create and maintain our thoughts and feelings we can quickly change them to more beneficial ones.

NLP Presuppositions 

NLP holds certain presuppositions that enable us to take charge over our behaviour patterns.

We consider these to be working hypothesses rather than thruths; we act as if they are true – while at the same time recognising that in some situations they just don't apply.

1.) The purpose of communication is the response that you get

We need to understand that people have different maps through which they view reality. When someone hears what we said there's actually a big chance that they will understand it differently from what we meant to communicate. That's why we need to notice how our communication is affecting other person and if needed adjust our way of talking to them to make sure future communication with that person is more understandable.

2.) The map is not the territory

Our mental maps of the world are not the world itself. We respond to our maps rather than directly to the world. We can't change the world easily... however the opposite can be said for our emotions and our mind.

NLP is an art of recognising internal maps, where we respect and change them in a way so an individual can cope as best as he can with himself and others.

3.) Behind every behavior there is a positive intention

Every behavior is fullfiling a function that our subconsious registers as good. Every hurtful, harmful behavior had a positive purpose in it's original situation. For example yelling in order to be acknowledged or hiding to feel safe. Rather than condoning and condeming these actions, we can seperate them from the person's positive intent. Also when someone is displaying negative behaviour or doing something stupid we should never judge their personality and attack them, rather we should tell them that their behaviour isn't acceptable. Don't judge them personally, only their current behaviour.

4.) Inside of us we already have every resource that we need 

Mental images, inner voices, sensations and feelings are the basic building blocks of all our mental and physical resources. We can use them to build any thought, feeling or skill that we desire and then use them in our lives where they are most necessary.

5.) Every reaction is valuable feedback information

In communication there are no failures nor errors. Every reaction from other person can be observed so we get the idea of how to act by understanding their mental view of reality. If the other person is offering heavy resistance to what we are saying, it means that the rapport hasn't been truly established.

6.) Communication is an exchange of our emotional experiences

The fact is we always communicate, in every conversation we hear, feel, see, smell and taste. Even though our concious mind is focused on verbal exchanges, our subconscious is taking it all in through all senses.

7.) There's no way that we can't not-communicate 

As soon as we meet someone the process of communication begins. Even when we are ignoring eachother there's bits of info being exchanged, for example »Stay away from me« or »Please don't talk to me«. In most cases these are being communicated without us knowing it.

Everyone is always communicating through body language that others can interpret without really putting too much effort into it.

8.) Communication happens on 2 levels

There's conscious and subconscious. The interesting part is that conscious is only the tip of the iceberg. Subconscious mind is very mighty... apparently our memories are being transfered in a family through generations (genes). People who explored the subconscious mind claim that when we are faced with a situation where we have to decide between two choices, the first thought that pops into our mind tends to be the right one to go by. Interesting.

9.Body and mind effect eachother

Whatever happens on mental level is visible on phisical level. Every state of consciousness is corresponding to the state of the body and can be observed by others.

10.) Freedom of choice is better than non-freedom of decision

When Richard Bandler and John Grinder were developing NLP they wanted to change the variables of enviroment into variables of choice. Main goal of NLP is to get as many sets of behavior into ourselves (requisite variety). The person who is most flexible is gonna be the most successful.


The effectiveness of our communication depends on the communication style that we use. The central idea around VAKOG model is that our experiences are represented in the mind in sensorial terms a.k.a our five senses. There are certain words or rather the way people form their sentences depending on which sensory modality is predominant. When we use the »correct« style of communication we may have a great rapport with someone, and other times when we use the »wrong« one the conversation isn't as successful because the person hasn't heard the words being expressed the way they would express them themselves. So if we want to recognise which style is predominant in a person, we need to observe what type of words they use the most. There are also some personality traits that I will mention for each type.

Statistics suggest that in a developed country, people are predominantly;

  • 60% Visual
  • 20% Auditory
  • 20% Kinesthetic.


It is worth bearing this statistic in mind when creating marketing or advertising material.

The representational system that we use predominantly is our own special language of our experience and it embraces all the mental processes of thinking,remembering, imagination, perception and consciousness. By understanding these more clearly, it allows us to communicate better with ourselves and others and control the way we interpret things.

Noone is 100% visual or 100% auditory. There's a mixture of all, with one being dominant.


Some words to look out for:

Note that you don't actually have to learn them, I'm just posting these as an example so you see how the words differ based on different types.

If you wish to practice this, pay attention to what words people use and write them down, or try to think of your own for each type.

Visual type:

Across the spectrum

All shiny and new

All will be revealed

Birds-eye view

Blue sky thinking


Dark corners

Dawned on him

Enlightened leader

Flash of inspiration

Flashes through my mind

From my viewpoint

Get a visual on

Get it into perspective

Green around the gills

Green shoots

In contrast

In the dark

In the shadow of

Lightbulb came on

Lightning fast

Lit up like a Christmas tree

Look where you’re going

Paint me a picture

Rainbow alliance

Scintillating wit


Showing me up

Sparkling conversation


Steely glint

Auditory type:

Barking up the wrong tree

Booming economy

Call of nature

Chorus of approval

Cracking night out

Deafening silence

Dropped a clanger

Echoes of the past

Find my rhythm

Go out with a bang

Harmonise procedures

Hearing voices

Howling with laughter

In tune with

Listen to your heart

Making a splash

Murmurs of discontent

On that note

Patter of tiny feet

Peals of laughter

Pop the question

Ringing alarm bells

Silent partner

Something inside me says

Sounding off

Speaking of which

Squeaked it in

Talk it through


That joke backfired

Thinking aloud


Kinaesthetic type:

Best served cold

Bit of rough

Emotional whack

Comfort factor

Dizzying heights

Falling into disrepair

Feeling rattled

Filled with determination

Flow state

Get a grip

Getting into a scrape

Gooey sentiment

Grab hold of

Heavy heart

Hold fast to

It’s a stretch

Itchy feet

Kick in the butt

Laid back

Leaning in

Light on her feet


Pulling together

Razor-sharp wit

Ruffled some feathers

Scratch that

Skating on thin ice

Slapped down

Stick in the mud

Tapping into something

Too hot to handle




Traits of VISUAL type

- They speak fast

- Very good in long term planning

- They remember everything they see

- They have good memory due to creating associations in their minds thus being at advantage when it   comes to learning

- Often know what they want to say but don’t find the right words

- They tend to “tune out”

- They often ask if someone can repeat what was just said

- Good at spelling

 - They like art

- They would rather demonstrate something than prepare a speech on the subject



Traits of AUDITORY type

- Talk to themselves (internal dialogue)

- Disturbed by noise

- They move their lips during quiet reading

- They can repeat what was said word by word

- They love music

- They love telling and listening to jokes

- They are talkative and enjoy in long discussions

- They remember conversations from past (sometimes even few decades ago)

-  Not very good at writing, but great at talking

- Have trouble spelling


Traits of KINESTHETIC type

- Slow speakers

- They like to touch others and they stand very close to the person they’re talking to

- Love sports

- They develop muscles very early

- They learn through experience

- They remember things only If they try them out for themselves

- They use their finger for reading

- They use a lot of hand gestures while talking

- They like dark colors

- They may have very non-readable handwriting



When talking to a group of people, the experienced NLP coach will make sure to cater to everyone based on their  type, this includes personality traits such as “dreamer”, “realist” and “critic” which we will discuss more on later when introducing Walt Disney’s strategy. By catering to everyone, the speaker gets everyone’s attention instead of only having one third of people interested and engaged.

Joined: 09/27/2012
Coming up next is setting

Coming up next is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, introduction to Walt Disney’s strategy and reframing in six steps.

Stay tuned for more smiley

Infinity's picture
Joined: 09/18/2013
Honestly I know very little

Honestly I know very little about NLP. I've always been interested but it seemed like it was a lot more complex than I was willing to put up with. I know from Neil Strauss that "and" = YES,  "but" = no. When people say, "I mean..." at the beginning of a sentence it's a clarifier. But that's about it.

I'm interested in learning more


Five guys nuts-ta-butts in a van.