NLP Glossary




Subtle behaviors that indicate which representational system a person is using. Typical types of accessing cues include eye movements, voice tone and tempo, body posture, gestures and breathing patterns.


Pretending that some event has happened. Thinking “as if” it had occurred, encourages creative problem solving by mentally going beyond apparent obstacles to desired solutions. Ask “What would it be like if I could?”


The need of human beings to affiliate with each other. One of the Meta Programs which indicates whether a person prefer to work alone or with a team.


Arrange so that all the elements being aligned are parallel, and therefore moving in the same direction.


The use of language, which is vague or ambiguous. Language which is ambiguous is also abstract (as opposed to specific).


Having shades of meaning, as opposed to Digital, which has discrete (On/Off) meaning. As in an analogue watch (a watch with minute and hour hands).


Using your voice tone, body language, gestures, etc. to mark out key word in a sentence or a special piece of your presentation.


Any stimulus that is associated with a specific response. Anchors happen naturally, and they can also be set up intentionally, for example, ringing a bell to get people’s attention, or more subtle, standing in a particular place when answering questions.


The process of associating an internal response with some external trigger (similar to classical conditioning) so that the response may be quickly and sometimes covertly, re-accessed. Anchoring can be visual (as with specific hand gestures), auditory (by using specific word and voice tone) and kinesthetic (as when touching and arm or laying a hand on someone’s shoulder). Criteria for anchoring:

– Intensity or purity of experience

– Timing; at peak of experience

– Accuracy of replication of anchor


As in a memory, looking through your own eyes, hearing what you heard, arid feeling the feelings as if you were actually there. This is called the associated state.


A collection of values and beliefs around a certain subject. Our attitudes are choices we have made.


Relating to hearing or the sense of hearing.


A meta program- when a person’s preference is to move in the opposite direction from what they want. “I don’t want a 9 to 5 job.”



To review or summarize, using another’s key words and tonalities, or in presentations, a very precise summary using the same key words in the same voice tones as were originally used.


The B.A.G.E.L. model, developed by Robert Dilts, provides a set of micro behavioral distinctions, defined by NLP, that can be used to identify and enhance cognitive and physiological states.

Body posture

Accessing cues (non-verbal)


Eye movements

Language patterns


The specific physical actions and reactions through which we interact with people and the environment around us.


The ability to vary one•s own behavior in order to elicit, or secure, a response from another person. Behavioral Flexibility can refer to the development of an entire range of responses to any given stimulus as opposed to having habitual, and therefore limiting, responses which would inhibit performance potential. john Grinder suggests that you each night before going to sleep, you review your day and create 3 different ways of responding. This way you will automatically build up your Behavioral Flexibility and you will discover that you respond more appropriately to the world around you. Behavioral Flexibility is a key element in NLP.


Closely held generalizations about:

(1) cause,

(2) meaning, and

(3) boundaries in (a) the world around us,

(b) our behavior,

(c) our capabilities, and

(d) our identity.

Beliefs function at a different level than concrete reality and serve to guide and interpret our perceptions of reality, often by connecting them to our criteria or value systems. Beliefs are notoriously difficult to change through typical rules of logic or rational thinking.



The process of learning to read another person’s unconscious, non-verbal responses in an ongoing interaction by pairing observable behaviors clues with a specific internal response. A very important first step in most NLP processes, you calibrate the problem state. That is, how is your client’s body posture, where does the eyes go, how is the breathing, skin colour, voice tone etc. Knowing how the problem state looks like you have a reference point for measuring the success of your intervention.


Unconscious pattern of communication in which behavioral cues of one person trigger specific responses from another person in an ongoing interaction.


Mastery over an entire class of behavior- knowing how to do something. Capabilities from the development of a mental map allowing us to select and organize groups of individual behaviors. In NLP these mental maps take the form of cognitive strategies and MetaPrograms.


When a series of anchors are released as each anchor experience peak allowing you to easily move through a sequence of states. This can take you through a chain of emotions progressively leading from a stuck state, to respect/appreciation, curiosity, reassurance, to confidence. Thereby establishing many more resourceful ways to feel.


An NLP anchoring process that adds resources into past problem memories with continuing negative impact, transforming them into memories with a positive or even numinous influence. A way to change the emotional impact of memories.


Systematically using different places for different kinds of behavior. For example standing or sitting in a different position for delivering input, recounting stories, and answering questions etc. This sets up spatial anchors for the people you speak to. Particularly important in training situations.


Organizing or breaking down some experience into bigger or smaller pieces. Chunking up involves moving to a larger, more abstract level of information. Chunking down involves moving to a more specific and concrete level of information. Chunking laterally involves finding other examples at the same level of information.


When two separate anchors are released simultaneously they combine two different internal experiences. This is especially effective with kinesthetic anchors.


A logical semantic property of the full linguistic representation, the Deep Structure. Surface Structures are complete if they represent every portion of the Deep Structure.


When all of a person’s internal beliefs, strategies, and behaviors are fully in agreement and oriented toward securing a desired outcome. Words, voice and body language – give the same message.


The second stage of the learning cycle in which conscious attention is on the task and the results are variable. This is the stage when the learning rate is the greatest.


The third stage of the learning cycle in which full conscious attention is still to carry out an activity. The skill is not yet fully integrated and habitual.


Taking a statement and giving it another meaning, by focusing on another part of the content, asking, “What else could this mean?”


The framework surrounding a particular event. This framework will often determine how a particular experience or event is interpreted.


Setting a limit on the scope or time of an activity.


Subtle or out of conscious awareness.


The values or standards a person uses to make decisions and judgements about the world. A single criteria is composed of many elements, conscious and sub-conscious. The question to ask is: “What’s important about …. ?”


Matching a person’s body language with a different type of movement, e.g. tapping your foot in time to their speech rhythm.