NLP Meta Model – The Language of Specificity

Filed under: NLP Techniques

What Do You Mean By Meta Model, Specifically?

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought somebody said something insulting or you misunderstood them, when in all reality what you heard was completely different than what they meant?

As it turns out, unless we know what exactly somebody is talking about, we might misinterpret what they were really saying.

So how, exactly would you be able to clarify their language so you can become a more effective communicator?

This is where the might and power of the Meta Model comes into play.

A Specific Introduction

The easiest way to immediately become a much more effective communicator is to use your language in order to clarify language, which is what the Meta Model is. Asking questions like, “What do you mean by that, specifically?” can help immediately remove the misunderstandings a person could have when someone says something ambiguous.

The best part about using the Meta Model, though, is how it can help you build incredible rapport.

Detective With Magnifying Glass

Here are some examples of questions you could ask:

“What do you mean by X, specifically?”

“How much X, specifically?”

“What kind of X, do you mean, specifically?”

We also published this quick video on Youtube explaining the basics of the Meta Model. Feel free to either watch it or just keep on reading 🙂

Why Is The Meta Model Important?

When it comes to communication, we either delete, generalize, or distort the information that we say and hear, meaning everybody (at least, everybody we’ve ever encountered anyway...) commits these three automatic processes on an unconscious level.

Consider this: People use short forms, abbreviations, and ambiguous statements quite often in their daily language, yet we understand each other because we know (most of the time) how to decode what they are saying.

If you are at a friend’s house and they ask you, “Hey, can you go buy some milk, please?” then, assuming you aren’t a dick, you’d go to the store and buy them some milk.

Did you need more information though?

What if you brought back whole milk and totally forgot they are vegan and wanted almond milk?

This is why Meta Model questions help us to gather the proper information when we are communicating.

How to Instantly Become An Effective Communicator

Whether you just want to be a better communicator, or you want to build stronger rapport in a coaching or therapeutic setting, then The Meta Model is a perfect way to do so using what is called a Meta Model Challenge.

(Note: We go into more details on The Meta Model Challenge and other awesome language hacks in our quick and easy to learn course, NLP Essentials)

So here’s how you would use the Meta Model Challenge questions:

Imagine if you had a client or friend tell you, “I’m depressed..” what they are saying is, “I identify as somebody who has this thing labeled depression” and because they’ve identified with it, we would use a Meta Model Challenge and turn this into a process.

In other words “I’m stuck in this cycle (action) of depression (behavior/symptoms).”

By switching their label of depression using a Meta Model Challenge, we can help them go from identifying as having depression, to considering the possibility of the depression to just a set of behaviors or actions due to certain stimuli.

Meta Model Challenge Question Example:

“What specifically is depressing you?”

“How specifically are you depressing yourself?”

If they answer back with, “I’m not sure..” or “I don’t know..”

Then you would reply, “If you were sure, what would it be?” or “If you did know, what would it be?”

Why Use A Challenge?

In order to better understand people, we have to connect with them and unlock their MAP of the world. 

You, Us, Them, We... Everyone whom you encounter with has some type of map that they use to navigate the world.

World Map With Woman's Silhouette

Psychology would often call these your schema, or script, or automatic thoughts.

This is how we navigate our surroundings, interact with each other on a global scale, and interpret each other through the use of language.

The problem with everyone having their own map though, is exactly the point.

Everyone views the world just a little bit differently than everyone else - so we can unlock how they view the world by using language and having them describe their world to us so it makes sense.

If you asked somebody for directions to a restaurant, and only told you “Left, Right, Left, Right” would you understand what they meant? If you were a local and the city only had a few small roads, then to that person it would make sense that you should know what they are talking about, shouldn’t it?

You see, Meta Model questions, especially challenging questions, force a person to enter into their own MAP of the world and describe it for us using words and language.

This type of question asking can help you solve problems by getting a detailed description of what the exact issue is.

And you can gather more data by asking for specific amounts, locations, and anything else which may be important in the moment.

In Conclusion, Specifically

Whether you are a therapist or coach wanting to increase their skill set or you want to use Neuro Linguistic Programming to improve your life or relationships, then NLP Essentials is for you.

With NLP Essentials, you’ll easily learn the principles and foundational essentials of NLP because each of the concepts are broken down into short, easy to follow videos.

The best part about the NLP Essentials course is that you’ll naturally understand the material AND be good at it, in as little as six hours. And it’s guaranteed with a “No Meta Model Challenge Questions asked guarantee” because we know it’s THAT good.

Since you’ve made it this far, you can check out the link to our NLP Essentials course to learn more or order, right now.

Thanks for reading!