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Glossary of NLP™ Terms

NLP Terms to Know:

Accessing Cues Anchoring Auditory Behavior
Behavioral Flexibility Calibration Calibrated Loop Chunking
Congruence Context Criteria Deep Structure
Four Tuple (or 4-tuple) Future Pacing Gustatory Installation
Kinesthetic Meta Model™ Meta Program Metaphor
Modeling Neuro-Linguistic Programming™ (NLP™) Olfactory Outcomes
Overlapping Pacing Parts Predicates
Rapport Representational Systems Representational System Primacy Secondary Gain
State Strategy Sub-Modalities Surface Structure
Synesthesia T.O.T.E. Transderivational Search Translating
Visual Well-Formedness Conditions    


Accessing Cues

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


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, reaccessed.


Relating to hearing or the sense of hearing.


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

Behavioral Flexibility

The ability to vary one's own behavior in order to elicit or secure a response from another person.


The process of learning to read another person's unconscious, nonverbal responses in an ongoing interaction by pairing observable behavioral cues with a specific internal response.

Calibrated Loop

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


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 all of a person's internal beliefs, strategies, and behaviors are fully in agreement and oriented toward securing a desired outcome.


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


The values or standards a person uses to make decisions and judgments.

Deep Structure

The sensory maps (both conscious and unconscious) that people use to organize and guide their behavior.

Four Tuple (or 4-tuple)

A method used to notate the structure of any particular experience. The concept of the four tuple maintains that any experience must be composed of some combination of the four primary representational classes - A,V,K,O - where A=Auditory, V=Visual, K=Kinesthetic, and O=Olfactory/Gustatory.

Future Pacing

The process of mentally rehearsing oneself through some future situation in order to help ensure that the desired behavior will occur naturally and automatically.


Relating to the sense of taste.


The process of facilitating the acquisition of a new strategy or behavior. A new strategy may be installed through any of the NLP™ skills or techniques and/or combination thereof.


Relating to body sensations. In NLP™ the term kinesthetic is used to encompass all kinds of feelings including tactile, visceral, and emotional.

Meta Model™

A model developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler that identifies categories of language patterns that can be problematic or ambiguous. The Milton Model is the other side of this

Meta Program

A process by which one sorts through multiple generalizations simultaneously as such Meta Programs control how and when. A person will engage in any set of strategies in a given context.


Stories, parables and analogies.


The act of creating a calculus which describes a given system.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming™ (NLP™)

The study of the structure of subjective experience and what can be calculated from that.


Relating to smell or the sense of smell.


Goals or desired states that a person or organization aspires to achieve.

Overlapping Connecting Representational systems by going
from one to another and another, etc.


A method used by communicators to quickly establish rapport by matching certain aspects of their behavior to those of the person with whom they are communicating - matching or mirroring of behavior.


A metaphorical way of talking about independent programs and strategies of behavior.


Process words (like verbs, adverbs, and adjectives) that a person selects to describe a subject. Predicates are used in NLP™ to identify which representational system a person is using to process information.


The presence of trust, harmony, and cooperation in a relationship.

Representational Systems

The five senses: seeing, hearing, touching (feeling), smelling and tasting.

Representational System Primacy

The systematic use of one sense over the others to process and organize in a given context.

Secondary Gain

Where some seemingly negative or problematic behavior actually carries out some positive function at some other level. For example, smoking may help a person to relax or help them fit a particular self-image.


The total ongoing mental and physical conditions from which a person is acting.


A set of explicit mental and behavioral steps used to achieve a specific outcome.


The special sensory qualities perceived by each of the five senses. For example, visual sub-modalities include color, shape, movement, brightness, depth, etc., auditory submodalities include volume, pitch, tempo, etc., and kinesthetic sub-modalities include pressure, temperature, texture, location, etc.

Surface Structure

An utterance.


The process of overlap between representational systems, characterized by phenomena like see-feel circuits, in which a person derives feelings from what they see, and hear-feel circuits, in which a person gets feelings from what they hear. Any two sensory modalities may be linked together.


Developed by Miller, Galanter and Pibram, the term stands for the sequence Test-Operate-Test-Exit, which describes the basic feedback loop used to guide all behavior.

Transderivational Search

The act of locating through meaning(s) which may not be explicit or implicit in a surface structure.


Connecting the meaning of one representation to the same meaning in another representation.


Relating to sight or the sense of sight.

Well-Formedness Conditions

In NLP™, a particular outcome is well-formed when it is: (1) stated in positives, (2) initiated and maintained by the individual, (3) ecological - maintains the quality of all rapport systems, and (4) testable in experience - sensory based.

Excerpted from Persuasion Engineering™, by Richard Bandler and John La Valle

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