Language Patterns

This Language Patterns article was published to ‘nlpskills’ eGroup on Yahoo Groups in November 2011 and is being updated slightly here on the newer current blog.

Two Ends of The Meta-Model

I explain the basics of NLP Language Patterns as two (2) ends of the Meta Model.  One end is about getting more precise with language and challenging missing information to generate more complete expression. This is the Precision Model.  The other end is the Milton Model end that is more about being ‘artfully vague’ and trusting the unconscious mind to make the best connection possible for the higher good of the subject.

Here’s an example of a Milton Model Pattern called a ‘Mind Read.’  You might hear me saying “I know you are wondering which of the ‘mind read’ sentences you can think of and want to contribute here.”  Sort for what’s missing to get the Precision Model filling in information.  Notice that I’m not supplying you with how I know what you are thinking.  In normal communication, the structure of the sentence is rarely questioned and a person will tend to accept the authority of my assumption without wondering how it is known.  That’s a ‘Mind Read.’  And, it’s a persuasive construct.  Great communicators use these patterns naturally.  So then the Precision Model challenges the assumptions made and will ask, “According to whom?,”  and “How do you know?”

MInd Reads and Presuppostions

Now, “You are asking yourself, what is the difference between a ‘mind read’ and a ‘presupposition’ and once you notice that you can’t really identify how I would know that you are thinking these things or not, you’ve realized that there is a presupposition or two in the sentences, in addition to the ‘mind reads.”   If you weren’t asking yourself about the difference before, you probably are now.   I am ‘presupposing’ that you are trying to identify the ‘mind read.’  Consider this sentence, “Your practice is really paying off since the workshop on Tuesday.”  Presupposed is that you went to a workshop and that you’ve been practicing.

This post contains several language patterns. See if you can recognize some of them if you have some NLP training.  If you don’t have much training, just notice the effect of the words and sentences and consider registering for a workshop, now.

Filling In The Missing Information

There are a number of different kinds of language patterns.  Starting with the Meta-Model or Precision Model end of the Meta-Model, the early pioneers of NLP found ways of questioning the missing information in normal language.  It is said that, “every sentence in English is missing information.”  So, they (the pioneers) set about challenging the missing parts of communication to help people become more precise in their communication.  People said that it was useful and often noticed that the Precision Model patterns helped them deconstruct problem states.  Then they (pioneers) met Milton Erickson and recognized that the Milton Model was also useful.

Some of the most basic language patterns come from modeling Milton H Erickson, MD.  They modeled his ability to cause patients and seminar participants to go into deep and profound, highly-suggestible trance states.  My workshop training class in these skills would include ‘mind reading’ as in the sentence, “I know you are wondering how easily you will go into trance now as you read this paragraph.”  The, ‘I know you are wondering…’ is not necessarily true and yet it is not only suggesting ‘you will go into trance’ or whatever the speaker says next, but the question of who is saying it is unspecified and yet accepted by the receiver of the communication.

Arfully Vague Language

Milton used ‘artfully vague’ language that presupposes that any person will make the best connections possible for higher good of that person.  They say Milton Erickson decided to write down all the linguistic patterns that he had discovered, you know, that could cause a person, like you, or me, to go into profound trance. You might also wonder as you wander through the paragraph, and be curious how he went from 20 pages of linguistic patterns to 10 and then on down to 9, and then 8 pages, until he narrowed the number down to 7 and then 6, that’s right, just keep following on down to, more deeply and easily relaxed, all the way down to 5. And Milton might have said “don’t ask them to go into trance this particular way or that particular way, but allow them to go into profound trance any way they want to go on down on to 4 and 3 and 2 now. But, before you do, go all the way down to 1 and notice that you can allow yourself to enjoy a deep and healing state of relaxation, where time slows down and in some moment you might have become aware that you have learned something important, something useful, that you had not thought you would learn and as you do learn, take a deep breath and come all the way back up from 3 to 1, fully awake, feeling good.

More Language Patterns

There are also Sleight of Mouth patterns that are very useful in influencing change, aren’t they?  When you hear a limiting statement like, “I can’t learn this.”, you might say something like, “You haven’t learned this, yet.”  I have reframed the limitation from ‘can’t’ to ‘haven’t’ which puts control back in the hands of the person and added the word, ‘yet.’   Yet is a very powerful future time related reframe.  To make sense of what was said, the person listening must represent that the learning will occur at some point in the future.

What’s a language pattern you like?  Please contact me to learn more about Language Patterns and how they can help make the changes for yourself and be more persuasive with other people.  Wouldn’t it be great to help friends and business associates change their beliefs with only a few well placed words.  Call me at 602 321-7192.