6-1 Chapter Summary: Meta Model, Beliefs, Congurence, Bonus Activities

Chapter Summary

You’ve explored a number of important ways to “read” and understand people at a greater depth than perhaps you’ve experienced before. Body language and other “para-language” are important to knowing and understanding other people. While this is very useful and important to detect if and when communication has actually occurred 🙂 the ultimate use of all this is to decide when you can trust someone. 

One of the great misunderstandings and  misuses of a developmental NLP model called “eye accessing cues” was as a “lie detection” method. You may have seen this in a movie about interrogation where the actor said, “I know you’re lying because you looked up to the right.” That’s a total misunderstanding of the model. In fact, there is no lie detection method at all in NLP or any related field, and even so-called lie detector machines have been reliably fooled.

That said, NLP does offer some help in answering the question behind the question of whether someone is lying. You can better answer the question: “Can I trust him or her?” The key to this is the same as knowing when you can trust yourself when you make statements or declarations of intent. It’s that good old congruence question. 

Almost any adult can fool any other adult, or machine, at a given  moment. It’s much more difficult to do so over any significant length of time. This is a skill that grows on you naturally once you learn to a few clues and get the awareness of the difference. So here is a video with Jan Prince that will get you started in the right direction.

Introducing and Recognizing Incongruence in Others s6-d1-c2

To gain experience and skill, here are a few more things you can do to detect and work with someone who is incongruent. As you’ll recognize from your experience of matching and pacing, these are very effective rapport moves as well.

Pacing Incongruence Sequentilally s6-d1-c3


Review of Demonstration; Exercise Guidelines s6-d1-c4

Review of Pacing Incongruence Exercise s6-d1-c5

Pacing Incongruence Simultaneously 6-d1-c6

Reveiw of Pacing Incongruence Simultaneously s6-d1-c7

Chapter 6: Key Ideas

  • Non-Verbal Behaviors like personal space, body position and posture, gestures, facial expressions, etc. provide important information about another person’s inner world.
  • Naturally (or intentionally) matching someone else’s non-verbal behaviors in a subtle way can create a sense of safety and rapport.
  • “Trying on” a person’s behaviors to see how they feel is a kind of “mind reading” that enables someone else to step into the other person’s world.
  • Because language is linguistic shorthand about someone’s experience, it has gaps in information. The NLP Meta Model provides a process to gather missing details.
  • “Zooming in” helps us focus on another person and understand their world. “Zooming out”, when interactions feel a little tense, enables us to give someone room to exhale and affords us the opportunity to go to third position to objectively assess what’s going on.
  • Noticing incongruities between what someone is saying and how they’re saying it (how their body looks or what their tone sounds like) is like approaching a yellow light; it pays to slow down and evaluate the situation before rushing on.
  • For better or worse, beliefs filter our experience. Most beliefs are formed when we’re young and they still drive our behavior years later.
  • Beliefs can be detected in people’s language.
  • When we uncover beliefs, we have a chance to discover how they influence us.
  • Exploring a person’s goal-behind-the goal (the meta-outcome) enables to us to have greater insight into what’s most important to them.
  • Paying close attention to someone’s language is one way to:

– identify that person’s preferred sensory channel

–  the meta-programs that influence them

–  and how they are in relationship to time.

Bonus Activities

  • Spend a little time watching a few talk shows with your sound off and look at the body language. Watch how people turn toward or away from each other, how they lean in, how much space they use, etc.
  • Turn the sound on and see how the paralanguage fits or is out of sync with the body language.
  • Practice and hone your observation skills whenever you’re waiting in line, at a group function, or in conversation – pay particular attention to whether a person seems open or closed – and comfortable or uncomfortable.
  • Sometimes a certain gesture, facial expression, or tone will kind of set you off. Become aware of any non-verbal cues that have this kind of negative effect on you because these old anchors may unnecessarily impact your communication.
  • Visit http://www.businessballs.com/body-language.htm#head-body-language to learn more about non-verbal communication.
  • Check out https://www.nlpco.com/tag/eye-accessing-cues/#axzz2PQHZNRFd to learn about how eye-accessing cues are interpreted in NLP.
  • Every day, pick one of the following meta-model aspects to focus on. Notice when people say the words below (or something similar), and ask clarifying questions to fill in the gaps so you can explore what they really mean.

– Always, never, all, none, everyone, no one. (Who? Really? Everyone, all the time?)

– Have to, should, must. (What would happen if you didn’t?)

– It’s all good? He doesn’t care. (How do you know?)

– She made me upset, or happy or whatever. (How did she make you upset?)

    – It can’t be done. Things will fall apart. That’s not the right way. (Really? How come?)

  • Once you can easily spot these missing pieces, each day put your attention on one of the following language clues until you become proficient at noticing them and what they may tell you about someone else’s world. What are…

–   Their meta-outcomes, the goal-behind the-goal. (What’s even more important than that?)

–   Their Meta-programs (Are they more Options or Procedures? Towards or Away-From? Proactive or Reactive? Specific or General?)

   –   Their relationship to time.

  • Invite close friends to visit https://nlpessentialguide.com/nlp-meta-program-quiz/#axzz2PQGX6wKu to get a brief profile of their meta-programs. If they’re inclined, discuss your individual results and how these personal preferences seem to impact your communication with each other.
  • Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3oIiH7BLmg to view Professor Philip Zimbardo’s animated presentation about how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, behaviors, relationships, and well-being. For additional information, read Robert Levine’s Geography of Time or Allen Bluedorn’s The Human Organization of Time.
  • To learn more about beliefs and how to change limiting ones, read Beliefs: Pathways To Health and Well-Being by Robert Dilts, Suzi Smith, and Tim Hallbom.




Comments (6)

Thank you for this information. It’s great. What’s the best way to match an incongruent person whose meta programs are primarily the opposite of yours?
The person is my mother. And I live with her. It is extremely difficult to remain in first position when I’m in the same room as her. Still I’m focusing on staying in first person more so I don’t feel sucked into 2nd position which feels unhealthy and unsafe, like there are no boundaries between us. Leaving is not an option at the time and I do not want to match her too much as it sends a negative subconscious message to myself which would potentially sabotage the reasons why I am living with her right now. Perhaps I should try 3rd position more so I can be more objective and feel safer when I’m around her. Thank you for your thoughts!

hi Samantha,
Yes, practicing third postilion would be a great exercise. You will find new perspectives a relief and informative. Also Third position includes a kind of disassociation that helps keep reactive feelings at bay. Questions or suggestions, let me know.

Will do. Thank you, Tom!


Hi Samantha,
Reviewing your comment again, it occurs to me to suggest you practice the “NLP Critcism Strategy”. It is a process for learning a way to effectively keep yourself free and safe in the moment of experiencing critical inputs. There’s a short process outline here: https://www.nlpco.com/criticism-strategy/ and you can find a more extensive write up in “Heart of the Mind” Andreas and Andreas.

Hey Tom,

All of these training are really good and the content of the book is really amazing. I am having a problem, I think I am not learning enough. Maybe that’s because I’m not able to practice all of this enough. Due to the corona virus and the lockdown, I’m stuck in my home.

Can you help me suggesting something I can do to learn better?


If you don’t have anyone who will let you practice on them, you can practice on yourself, which is very useful. Anyone who can read can read process instructions to you. You want them to just read the instructions one by one and wait for you to signal to read the next one. Having someone read the instructions of a process to you will better enable you to experience it for yourself.
Skill improvement is not dependent on doing a whole process. Much improvement can be made by practicing the components of NLP. For instance, you can practice skills on the phone, matching tonality and pace of speech to practice rapport skills. You can practice recognizing meta model violations watching television, especially political speeches 😉 You can notice in movies and tv the gestures used to match, or mismatch, the words uttered, noting incidents of incongruence in the speaker or actor. This kind of small chunk practice will really enhance your skills when you are able to practice formally with other people.
Have fun with it!

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