NLP Glossary

Accessing cues

Accessing cues or Eye accessing cues or Eye Movements, it is the strategy identified by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.

It is believed that when eye moves in a specific direction, it often seems to link with a specific kind of internal or mental processing. There are some common patterns of eye accessing cues:

* Upwards (left/right) -- Visual (V)

* Level (left/right) -- Auditory (A)

* Down-right -- Kinesthetic (K)

* Down-left Auditory internal dialogue (Ad)


Continuously variable between limits, like a dimmer switch for a light. In NLP, it refers to the use of sensory representations when thinking.


The process by which any stimulus or representation (external or internal) becomes connected to and triggers a response. Anchors can occur naturally, or we can set them up intentionally.

“As if” frame

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.


Inside an experience, seeing through your own eyes, fully in your senses.


To do with the sense of hearing.


Reviewing or summarizing, using another's key words and tonalities.


Any activity that we engage in, including thought processes.


The generalizations we make about the world and our operating principles in it.


Accurately recognizing another person's state by reading non-verbal signals.


A successful strategy for carrying out a task.

Chunking (stepping)

Changing your perception by going up or down a logical level. Stepping up means going up to a level that includes what you are studying. Stepping down entails going to a level below for a more specific example of what you are studying. We can do this on the basis of member and class, or part and whole.

Complex equivalence

Two statements considered to mean the same thing, such as 'He is not looking at me, so he is not listening to what I say.'


State of being unified, and completely sincere, with all aspects of a person working together towards an outcome.


Anything in present-moment awareness.

Content reframing

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

Context reframing

Changing the context of a statement to give it another meaning by asking: 'Where would this serve as an appropriate response?'

Conversational postulate

Hypnotic form of language; a question interpreted as a command.


What you consider important to you in a particular context.

Crossover mirroring

Matching a person's body language with a different type of movement, such as tapping your foot in time to their speech rhythm.

Deep structure

The complete linguistic form of a statement from which we can derive the surface structure.


In speech or thought, missing out a portion of an experience.


Varying between two different states, like a light switch that must be on or off. In NLP, it refers to the use of non-sensory symbols, such as words or numbers, when thinking.


Not in experience; seeing or hearing events from the outside.


The process by which we inaccurately represent something in internal experience in a limiting way.

Dovetailing outcomes

The process of fitting together different outcomes, optimizing solutions; the basis of win-win negotiations.


In a light trance state with your attention directed inwards to your own thoughts and feelings rather than the immediate world around you, as in daydreaming.


A concern for the relationship between a being and its environment. Also used in reference to internal ecology; the relationship between a person and their thoughts, strategies, behaviours, capabilities, values and beliefs. The dynamic balance of elements in any system.


Evoking a state by your behaviour. Also gathering information either by direct observation of non-verbal signals or by asking Meta Model questions.


The study of how we know what we know.

Eye accessing cues

Movements of the eyes in certain directions which indicate visual, auditory or kinaesthetic thinking.

First position

Perceiving the world from your own point of view only, in touch with your own inner reality. One of three different Perceptual positions, the others being second and third position.


A context or way of perceiving something, as in outcome frame, rapport frame, backtrack frame, and so on.

Future pacing

Mentally rehearsing an outcome to ensure that the desired behaviour will occur.


The process by which one specific experience comes to represent a whole class of experiences.


To do with the sense of taste.


Your self-image or self-concept. Who you take yourself to be. The totality of your being.


State of having reservations, not totally committed to an outcome. The internal conflict will emerge in the person's behaviour.


The purpose, the desired outcome of an action.

Internal representations

Patterns of information we create and store in our minds in combinations of images, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes.


The feeling sense; tactile sensations and internal feelings, such as remembered sensations, emotions, and the sense of balance.

Lead system

The representational system that finds information to input into consciousness.


Changing your own behaviours with enough rapport for the other person to follow.

Logical level

Something occupies a higher logical level if it includes something on a lower level.

Map of reality (Model of the world)

Each person's unique representation of the world, built from their individual percep¬tions and experiences. The sum total of an individual's personal operating principles.


Adopting aspects of another person's behav¬iour for the purpose of enhancing rapport.


Existing at a different logical level to something else. Derived from the Greek, meaning 'over and beyond'.

Meta Model

A model that identifies language patterns that obscure meaning in a communication through the processes of distortion, deletion and generalization, and specific questions to clarify and challenge imprecise language to connect it back to sensory experience and the deep structure.


Knowing about knowing: having a skill, and the knowledge required to explain how you do it.


Indirect communication by means of a story or figure of speech implying a comparison. In NLP, metaphor includes similes, parables and allegories.

Milton Model

The inverse of the Meta Model, using artfully vague language patterns to pace another person's experience and access unconscious resources.


Precisely matching aspects of another person's behaviour.


Adopting different patterns of behaviour to another person, breaking rapport for the purpose of redirecting, interrupting or terminating a meeting or conversation.

Modal operator of necessity

A linguistic term for rules ('should', 'ought', and so on).

Modal operator of possibility

A linguistic term for words that denote what we consider possible ('can', 'cannot', and so on).


A practical description of how something works, designed to be useful. A generalized, deleted or distorted copy.


The process of discerning the sequence of ideas and behaviour that enables someone to accomplish a task; the basis of accelerated learning.

Model of the world

See Map of reality.

Multiple description

The process of describing the same thing from different viewpoints.

Neuro-linguistic programming

The study of excellence, and a model of how individuals structure their experience.

Neurological levels

Also known as the different logical levels of experience: environment, behaviour, capability, belief, identity and spiritual.

New code

A description of NLP that comes from the work of John Grinder and Judith DeLozier in their book Turtles All the Way Down.


The linguistic term for the process of turning a verb into an abstract noun, and the word for the noun so formed.


To do with the sense of smell.


A specific, sensory-based, desired result that meets the well-formedness criteria.


Using one representational system to gain access to another: for example, picturing a scene and then hearing the sounds in it.


Gaining and maintaining rapport with another person over a period of time by joining them in their model of the world. You can pace beliefs and ideas as well as behaviour.


Sub-personalities with discrete intentions, sometimes conflicting.

Perceptual filters

The unique ideas, experiences, beliefs and language that shape our model of the world.

Perceptual position

The viewpoint we are aware of at any moment can be our own (first position), someone else's (second position), or an objective and benevolent observer's (third position).

Phonological, ambiguity

Confusion between the sound of a word and its spelling: for example The difference is plain/plane to see/sea.'


To do with the physical part of a person.


Sensory-based words that indicate the use of a particular representational system.

Preferred system

The representational system that an individual typically uses most to think consciously and organize their experience.


Ideas or statements that have to be taken for granted for a communication to make sense.

Punctuation ambiguity

Ambiguity created by merging two separate sentences into one.


A linguistic pattern in which you express your message as if stated by someone else.


The process of establishing and maintaining a relationship of mutual trust and understanding between two or more people. The ability to generate responses from another person.


Changing the frame of reference around a statement or event to give it another meaning.


An idea: a coding or storage of sensory-based information in the mind.

Representational system

How we code information in our minds in one or more of the five sensory systems: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory.

Requisite variety

Flexibility of thought and behaviour.


Any means applicable to achieve an outcome: physiology, states, thoughts, strategies, ex¬periences, people, events or possessions.

Resourceful state

The total neurological and physical experi¬ence when a person feels resourceful.

Second position

Perceiving the world from another person's point of view, in tune and in touch with their reality. One of three different perceptual positions, along with first and third position.

Sensory acuity

The process of learning to make finer and more useful distinctions about the sense information we obtain from the world.

Sensory-based description

Information that is directly observable and verifiable by the senses. The difference between ‘The lips are pulled taut, some parts of her teeth are showing, and the edges of her mouth are higher than the main line of her mouth' - a description - and 'She's happy' -an interpretation.


How you feel: your mood. The sum of all neurological and physical processes within an individual at any moment in time. The state we experience affects our capabilities and interpretation of experience.


See Chunking.


A sequence of thought and behaviour adopted to obtain a particular outcome.


Distinctions within each representational system; qualities of our internal representations, the smallest building blocks of our thoughts.

Surface structure

A linguistic term for the spoken or written communication that has been derived from the deep structure by deletion, distortion and generalization.


Automatic link from one sense to another.

Syntactic ambiguity

Ambiguous sentence where a verb plus 'ing' can serve either as an adjective or a verb: for example, 'Influencing people can make a difference.'

Third position

Perceiving the world from the viewpoint of a detached and benevolent observer. One of three different perceptual positions, along with first and second position.


The way we store pictures, sounds and feelings of our past, present and future.


An altered state with an inward focus of attention on a few stimuli.

Triple description

The process of perceiving experience through first, second and third positions.


Everything not in your present-moment awareness.

Unified field

The unifying framework for NLP: a three-dimensional matrix of neurological levels, perceptual positions, and time.

Universal quantifiers

A linguistic term for words such as 'every', and 'all' that admit no exceptions; one of the Meta Model categories.

Unspecified nouns

Nouns that do not specify to whom or to what they refer.

Unspecified verbs

Verbs that have the adverb deleted; they do not say how the action was carried out.


The state where the attention and senses are directed outwards.


To do with the sense of sight.


The process of seeing images in your mind.

Well-formedness criteria

Ways of thinking about and expressing an outcome which make it both achievable and verifiable: the basis of dovetailing outcomes and win-win solutions.