NLP A-Z Glossary

Getting a feel for NLP? Here’s a useful overview of terms and definitions with our King NLP Glossary.

  1. A

    Accessing Cues

    (same as analogue marking).

    Agreement Frame

    A linguistic pattern that enables you to elegantly disagree with someone yet maintain rapport. very effective for sales and negotiating. Avoid  “but” as this negates the sentence or what has been said in the sentence before it. Using the word “and” is much more powerful.

    Analogue Marking

    Analogue marking is when someone marks out a particular word or phrase with something non verbal. This enables us to pick up incongruencies. For instance, someone says “yes” and marks the word by shaking their head “no”. From the research of Professor Birtwhistle and Morabian, it has been demonstrated that only 7% of the meaning of our communication is carried in the words we use. The remaining 93% is carried in the physiology and voice tonality we use when we communicate, 55% in our physiology, and 38% in our voice tonality.


    In NLP, an anchor is a specific stimulus delivered in a peak emotional state to link powerfully to an underlying meaning within our neurology. Based on the work of Ivan Pavlov, anchoring techniques enable us to set up powerful associations in the nervous system. Naturally occurring anchors include the smell of freshly baked bread and the feelings and associations that are triggered by it, or the smell of an aftershave or perfume of a loved one, and the response that elicits in the neurology, as you imagine that now.  We can use anchors purposefully to instantly, like flicking a switch, create positive states when we need them, for instance, during a presentation, in a meeting, at an interview, in sport, etc.

    “As-If” Frame

    The As-If frame works by having a person acts as if they had already achieved their goal or already had their problem overcome.


    When you think about something in your past, the memory of it is associated when you are looking through your own eyes, seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, feeling what you felt. Being associated enables us to recall the emotions we felt at the time.


    An attitude is a collection of values and beliefs around a particular subject or area of life. NLP enables us to discover someone’s values and beliefs, and also to assist them in changing them if necessary. With these techniques it is possible to enable someone to change their attitude.


    Auditory relates to sounds and as one of our senses and one of the ways we represent experiences to ourselves internally.

    Auditory Digital

    Auditory Digital is one of the representational systems, ways in which we represent information to ourselves internally, talking to ourselves inside our head.

  2. B


    Beliefs are the conscious and unconscious rules we use to make sense of the world, and determine our behaviour and the results we then create. Beliefs have the ability to serve us positively or negatively.  

  3. C


    Using analogue marking to calibrate the state and internal representations of a person. Once calibrated you can determine what someone is thinking and feeling from the person’s analogue markings.

    Cartesian Co-ordinates

    Descarte proposed that he could prove a theorem by testing it in four quadrants. The quadrants are the theorem, the opposite of the theorem, the inverse of the theorem and the non-mirror image reverse of the theorem. He suggested that if the theorem is proved in all four quadrants then the theorem is true. We use this concept with problems. Since no problem is actually true, it will not prove in all four quadrants. Once a client has the experience of it not proving in all quadrants they begin to have doubts about their problem or it totally disappears.

    Cause & Effect

    You do not just get things happening without there being a cause for it. When you think that something or someone other than you causes the things that happen in your life then you have no power to change. The key to empowering yourself is to put yourself at cause for the things that happen in your life. It does not matter whether you really do cause everything that happens in your life; if you think you do, you will always have options, choices, and something to do to change what is happening.

    Chaining Anchors

    An anchoring technique (see anchoring) that enables a person to get out of stuck states like procrastination, confusion, overwhelm, etc. and move to more useful states like motivation, understanding, competent etc.

    Change Personal History

    A technique that enables someone to change something in their past that has a negative impact on them in the present. There is a traditional NLP technique using anchoring and you can also use Time Line Therapy® techniques.

    Chunking Up and Down

    A set of questions that enable you to control the level of abstraction someone is using. For instance there are questions that enable you to get someone to give you the detail when they are giving you too broad a picture and also questions to enable you to get someone to give you the overall concepts if they are giving you too many details. Also vital in negotiation.

    Circle Of Excellence

    An anchoring technique that enables you to create a powerful anchor that you can use to recall your most powerful positive feelings whenever you need them.

    Collapse Anchors

    An anchoring technique that enables you to remove disempowering associations you have created in your neurology.

    Complex Equivalence

    Two statements that are considered to mean the same thing.  Eg “He is frowning at me, so he disagrees with what I’m saying.”

    Conscious Mind

    The mind you are thinking with now. You use your conscious mind for rationalising, making sense of things, and analysing things.

    Conscious Competence

    Stage Three of the learning cycle in which full conscious attention is still required to carry out an activity.  The skill has not yet been fully integrated and habitual.

    Conscious Incompetence

    Stage Three of the learning cycle in which conscious attention is on the task and the results are variable.  Although uncomfortable, this stage is when the rate of learning is greatest.

    Context Reframe

    A conversational technique that enables you to change the meaning of an event by shifting the context that someone is thinking of in relation to that event. In NLP we say that all meaning is context dependent.

    One often quoted example used by Milton Erickson was with parents who were complaining that their daughter was too headstrong. He reframed them by saying that they must feel so good knowing that their daughter would be safe and know her own mind when it was time for her to leave home.

    Content or Meaning Reframe

    A conversational technique that enables you to change the meaning of disempowering beliefs or events.
    For example: – “My boss yelling at me means he doesn’t like me”
    Reframe: – “The reason your boss yells at you is because he knows you can do better”.

    Contrastive Analysis

    A submodality’s technique that enables you to distinguish the different ways someone codes their thinking. For instance: for a moment think of someone you really like, get a picture of them and notice where that picture is located in your visual field (i.e. up and to the right or straight in front). Now clear the screen and do the same for someone you really dislike or like least. Are the two pictures located in different places? If they are, then you just used contrastive analysis to determine how you code like and dislike of people you know.


    The same as values.

    Cross Over Mirroring

    A rapport technique where you mirror something in someone’s physiology with something different in your physiology. For example, they cross their legs, you cross your arms.

  4. D


    One of the means by which we filter incoming information. For instance you are probably not aware of your rate of breathing. Well, at least you were not until I mentioned it! Prior to that you deleted the information from your awareness.


    When recalling a memory you would be dissociated if you saw yourself in the picture. i.e. not looking through your own eyes. This enables you to step out of unwanted feelings in a memory so reducing their effect on you.


    One of the means by which we filter incoming information. We distort the information making it into something it is not.

  5. E

    Embedded Command

    A hypnosis technique where you analogically mark (see analogue marking) a portion of a sentence. The conscious mind is not aware of the marking but the unconscious mind takes it as a suggestion. For instance: “Do you think you can understand this easily?”

    Ericksonian Hypnosis

    The form of hypnosis developed by Dr Milton Erickson. Erickson used ambiguity to induce trance in a very indirect, permissive way.

    Eye Accessing Patterns

    There is a direct correlation between how someone is thinking and where he or she moves their eyes. For instance, when someone looks up, they are seeing pictures in their mind’s eye. Knowing the eye patterns enables you to know how someone is thinking and therefore how best to communicate with them.

  6. G


    Generalisation is one of the means by which we filter incoming information. We use this filter to learn things and make the world around us a simpler place. For instance, you have formed generalisations for how drive a car. That means that when you get into your car, you know how to drive it without having to work it out every time. That is useful. Some generalisations are not useful. All of the “isms” on the planet are generalisations, like sexism, racism, ageism, sectarianism, etc. Also you may create generalisations about yourself that are not useful.


    One of our five senses and the means by which we represent things to ourselves. Gustatory is taste. And yes, it can be an internal representation. Just for a moment imagine biting into a really juicy acidic lemon. Is your mouth watering? That is your internal representation of gustatory. The lemon is not really there.

  7. H


    Hypnosis is the process of learning how to go into an altered state, sometimes called trance, and tap into those deep unconscious resources we all possess. Our belief is that all learning, behaviour, and change is unconscious.

    Hypnotic Language Patterns

    The Milton Model provides a series of linguistic patterns which, when used in speech, induces a level of trance in the listener. These language patterns can be used one-on-one and with groups. Hypnotic Language Patterns are artfully vague which causes the listener’s conscious mind, to become quickly overloaded and therefore enables you to communicate more directly with your listener’s unconscious mind. Since the unconscious mind is responsible for all learning, behaviour, and change, being able to communicate directly with someone’s unconscious mind enables you to take a quantum leap in your communication, and influence skills.

  8. I

    Internal Representations

    There are only six things you can do inside your head: see pictures, hear sounds, feel feelings, smell smells, taste tastes, and talk to yourself. Just stop now and go inside. Are you doing one or more of those things in your head right now? That is your internal representation.

  9. K


    One of our representational systems. The kinaesthetic representational system is your feelings. Kinaesthetic Internal is your emotions and Kinaesthetic External is the sense of touch.

  10. L


    You establish rapport with someone by pacing them i.e. matching and mirroring that physiology, matching that voice tonality and the words they use. Once you have rapport, it is then possible to begin leading the person. This means you change your physiology and they follow you. By doing this, you can assist people in changing their state. An example in sales would be if you show up to meet a client and you find the client in a less than happy mood. You would not want to begin selling to them whilst they are in that state so you would use rapport-building techniques to assist them in moving into a more conducive state of body and mind.

    Lead Representational System

    The representational system the person uses first to access other information. For instance, if someone’s lead system was visual and you asked them to remember the sound of their mother’s voice, they would have to get a picture of their mother before they could access the sound of her voice.

    Learning State

    A state of body and mind which we teach at all of our training programmes. This state enables you to learn information most easily and also recall it when you want. Once learned this technique has enabled children to increase their school grades by one or two points in a term.

    Limiting Belief

    Beliefs are the conscious and unconscious rules which we use to run our behaviour and shape our world. A limiting belief would be a rule we have that prevents us from getting what we want, limiting our choices, and options.

    Limiting Decision

    A conversational technique that enables you to scramble the strategy someone uses to produce a problem behaviour. Though the technique does not necessarily have the problem totally disappear it loosens the problem up

  11. M

    Mapping Across

    A submodality technique that enables you to create change. Like changing a food you dislike to liking, changing beliefs, enhancing motivation etc.


    A technique for creating rapport. To create rapport, you match someone’s physiology. This means if someone crosses their arms, you cross your arms; If they raise their right arm you raise your right arm. This communicates to them unconsciously, “I’m like you, you can like me”, therefore creates rapport.

    Meta Model

    A set of questions that enable you to gather specific detailed information from a person. Learning the Meta Models will enable you to always know just the right question to ask to get the information you need.

    Meta Model III

    A linguistic technique that can be used conversationally. It consists of how to structure questions in a way that directs the client away from the problem and towards the solution.


    Metaphors communicate with the unconscious mind whilst keeping the conscious mind busy with the “story”. Metaphors can be used for enabling people to gain a deeper understanding of your point or even to assist people in making changes in their thinking at the unconscious level.

    Milton Model

    Hypnotic language patterns modelled from Milton Erickson. Using artfully vague language patterns enables you to increase rapport and unconscious acceptance of your message with one or more people.


    A technique for creating and increasing rapport. Mirroring means adopting the mirror image of someone’s physiology i.e. when someone raises their right arm you would raise your left arm.


    Mismatching someone’s physiology means you lose rapport with that person.


    Bandler and Grinder modelled primarily three models of excellence: Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir, and Fritz Perls. They modelled their physiology, thought patterns, and the way they structured their language. When Bandler and Grinder adopted the same physiology, thought patterns, and language as the models of excellence, they got the same results as the experts they had modelled. The resultant techniques from these modelling projects we know as NLP.

  12. N

    Neuro Linguistics

    The concepts developed by Alfred Korzybski. Also known as General Semantics.

    Neuro Linguistic Programming

    Neuro Linguistic Programming is the art and science of creating human excellence. It uses practical models to quantify how we process information, how we structure our thoughts, and how this affects our behaviour. NLP enables us to take control of our mental, emotional, and physical resources so we can more of what we want in life.

    Neurological Levels

    An excellent model developed by Robert Dilts that describes how human behaviour is created and how it relates to results.

    New Orleans Flexibility Drill

    The New Orleans Flexibility Drill is a collapse anchor technique that enables you to work with someone to delete negative feelings from specific situations, like “whenever my boss talks to me in a particular way I feel bad”, “Every time I get up to present I feel nervous”, “Whenever the phone rings I feel nervous”.

  13. O


    One of our five senses and internal representations. Olfactory is smell.


    Outcomes is the term used to refer to goals in NLP. Outcomes are what you want to create.

    Overlapping Representational Systems

    Overlapping Representational systems is a technique to enable someone to move from their least preferred representational system to their most preferred one. For instance, if someone’s least preferred system was visual, this technique could enable them to become conscious of the pictures they make in their head.

  14. P


    Pacing is a rapport technique where you are matching and mirroring someone’s physiology, matching their voice tonality, and the words they use. When you are doing the same thing as the other person you are pacing them.


    The concept of parts suggests that, as we go through life, we may become fragmented at the unconscious level. When someone does this they experience internal conflict. They say things like, “On the one hand I want X, on the other I want Y”, or “A part of me wants X, a part of me wants Y”, or “I don’t know why I did that, its just not me”, or “I don’t know why I did it, I wasn’t myself”. Parts are the cause of incongruency in the individual.

    Parts Integration

    A very powerful NLP techniques that enables someone to reintegrate a part hence gain more congruency and put an end to internal conflict.

    Pattern Interrupt

    A basic but powerful NLP technique where you interrupt the pattern of behaviour that is causing the person a problem. Eventually the interruption will become part of the pattern and the person will no longer be able to run the problem pattern.

    Perceptual Positions

    Perceptual positions is a technique for gaining new perspectives on problematic situations. There are three positions of perception; the first is associated viewing the event as if through your own eyes; the second is looking back at yourself from the perspective of the other person or persons involved in the event; the third is the perspective of a neutral observer.


    A phobia is a fear, often the result of an early traumatic, highly associated experience. It is a severe unwanted response of fear regarding some person or event in the past. An unwanted negative response to which the client is highly associated and cannot function when experiencing the phobia. One time learnt.

    Precision Model

    A version of the Meta Model in which deletions are challenged before generalisations before distortions. This is the opposite of the Meta Model which reduces its effectiveness.
    Preferred Representational System
    The representational system a person uses most often, the one they find the easiest to use, and the one they rely on in times of stress.

    Prime Concerns

    We all have concerns in our life. A prime concern is one that spans all areas of your life. Quite often even though it affects all areas of the person’s life, they do not know what it is consciously. For instance, is there something within you that holds you back and prevents you from being who you want to be, doing what you want to do, or having what you want to have but you don’t know what it is? That could be a prime concern for you. If you were able to discover what it is and get rid of it, it would totally change your life, wouldn’t it?

  15. Q

    Quantum Linguistics

    Advanced language patterns that enable you to assist people in making profound change conversationally.

  16. R


    Rapport is the state you are in when you like and trust someone. Normally rapport takes some time after first meeting someone for you to get that feeling between you. There are techniques within NLP that can enable you to dramatically accelerate the rapport building process. In some cases the rapport appears to be created almost instantaneously. These techniques work both face-to-face and over the telephone.


    Reframing is a conversational technique that enables you to change a person’s perspective on a problematic situation or event. Reframing works because all meaning is context dependent. As in if we take the behaviour that is causing the problem and put it into a completely different context, the meaning of the behaviour changes. Likewise, there are always meanings to a problem behaviour that the person has not realised which’ if they were to realise them would change their perspective on the problem, event, or situation.

    Representational Systems

    The representational systems are the six modalities of thinking that you can run in your neurology. They are visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory, gustatory, and auditory digital (self-talk).

    Resource Anchor

    A resource anchor is an anchor that has been created with a number of resourceful states stacked on top of one another. This means that you can create an anchor for yourself (or someone else) that when fired would have you feel powerful, safe, motivated, loved etc. all at the same time. This gives you a tremendous resource to use whenever you want to feel at your best.

  17. S

    Satir Categories

    Five archetypical postures that evoke a predictable response from the person or audience receiving them. Satir categories are excellent to use in presentation and training.

    Sleight Of Mouth Patterns

    A set of elegant reframes that can be used to reframe beliefs or objections conversationally. Excellent for using in therapy, coaching, sales, and negotiation.

    SMART Goals

    A quick way of making sure that your goals are well formed. SMART stands for:
    S – Specific and Simple
    M – Measurable and Meaningful to you
    A – Achievable and As if now
    R – Realistic and Responsible
    T – Timed and Towards what you want

    Stacking Anchors

    A stacked anchor is an anchor that has been created with a number of resourceful states stacked on top of one another. This means that you can create an anchor for yourself (or someone else) that, when fired, would have you (or the person) feel powerful, safe, motivated, loved etc. all at the same time. This gives you a tremendous resource to use whenever you want to feel at your best.


    State is the way you feel emotionally from moment to moment.

    State Management

    When using NLP, you can learn to manage and control your own state so that you can always be in the most resourceful state for you to create the results you want from the situation you are in.


    All of our behaviour is created by unconscious strategies or programmes that we run in our neurology. A strategy is a particular order and sequence of internal representations that leads to a particular outcome. We have strategies for motivation, decisions, waking up, going to sleep, attraction, recognising attraction, feeling loved, and everything else we do.

    Strategy Elicitation

    The NLP technique for eliciting a person’s strategy for a particular behaviour. This can be done overtly or covertly. This is very useful in sales, coaching, and therapy.

    Strategy Installation

    NLP techniques for installing a new strategy or changing an existing strategy. These techniques would be used when a client did not have a strategy for doing a particular behaviour or if someone had a strategy that did not get the desired result. Useful in the context of coaching and therapy.

    Strategy Utilisation

    Once a strategy has been elicited, it is possible to utilise it to get a desired result. For instance, in sales, you can utilise a potential client’s decision strategy to assist them in being decisive when you close them. In management, you could use a member of staff’s motivation strategy to assist them in becoming motivated about required tasks.


    You have 6 modalities of Internal Representation: Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Auditory Digital (Self-Talk). Submodalities are the finer distinctions of the modalities. For instance, examples of submodalities for the Visual modality would be size, distance, location, movie/still, colour/black & white, etc.

  18. T

    Time Lines

    Time Line techniques enable you to very quickly and easily release negative emotions from events in the past, remove limiting decisions, and put goals into your future in such a way that they happen just the way you want them to.


    A trance is an altered state of consciousness compared to your regular waking state. Trance states are naturally occurring states that we are going in and out of during the day. When you are driving your car and miss your exit off the motorway, you are in a trance.

    Trance Induction

    A method for assisting someone in entering into a trance.

  19. U

    Unconscious Competence

    Stage One of the learning cycle in which we are unaware of a skill.

    Unconscious Incompetence

    Stage Four of the learning cycle in which the skill has been fully integrated and is habitual.

    Unconscious Mind

    Your unconscious mind is everything you are not thinking about, right now! Think about that! Your unconscious mind does three main things for you: It looks after all of your learning, your behaviour, and also behaviour change. Your unconscious mind is also the domain of your emotions and intuitions.

  20. V


    Values are the things that are most important to us in life. One of the filters we use to delete, distort and generalise incoming information. Our values provide us with upfront motivation and after the fact, evaluation. They also determine how we spend our time. We have values for everything from personal relationships to our car. Our values are mostly unconscious and most of the values we have now were in place by the time we were 10 years old.


    One of our internal representational systems. When you see pictures in your mind you are using your visual representational system.

  21. W

    Well Formed Outcomes

    A sequence of questions, the answers to which enable someone to ensure their goals are well formed, significantly increasing the chances of success.