NLP and Representational Systems

Information about the world enters our experience through our senses. That information is then processed and we build a map of the world inside our minds.

So each experience is recorded in our minds based on the information that our senses provide. The input from each sense is known as a representational system. These representational systems then are:

· Visual What we see

· Audio What we hear

· Kinaesthetic What we feel physically or emotionally

· Olfactory What we smell

· Gustatory What we taste

· Internal Dialog What we say in our heads

Think of a particular and perhaps significant memory from your past. Hold it in your mind and consider it for a moment.

Is it a picture?

Is it a feeling?

What can you hear?

Is there a taste that is familiar?

Can you smell anything?

Do you have an inner voice commenting on the moment?

How you encode your memories is important in NLP because your memories define your experience and that affects your behaviour. Several of the techniques that NLP uses change the way memories are represented and so changes the impact that those memories have on behaviour.

Consider the memory of an event from which someone may have developed a phobia. Such an event can have a real impact on a phobic’s behaviour often significantly affecting their life.

By changing the way that a phobic represents that memory it is possible to radically reduce the impact such a memory has.

This approach has resulted in the famous NLP ‘Phobia Cure’, more of which in another post.

We all have a lead representational system, a particular sense that we are more dependent upon and that we more readily use to encode our memories.

By recognising the lead representational system of the person you are talking to, you can more readily communicate with that person. By using terms from the same representational system you will find you that the person will appear to understand you better and warm to you.

If a person uses most visual words such as, ‘Can you show me that’ or, ‘I see what you are saying’ you should use visual words in return to best communicate. Using a phrase like ‘Let me show you’ will be easier for the person to understand you.

Spend a few days listening more actively to the words that people use and see if you can identify words that relate to the representational systems. When you become better at identifying those words, see if there is a lead system that they use more frequently and then use similar words and measure the effect. Most people that match another person’s representational systems find a significant benefit in the quality of their communication and a rapid building of trust.

Dare to Aspire


1 Comment

Filed under Improvement, NLP

One response to “NLP and Representational Systems

  1. Gina

    the inforamtion are so easy to understand, Thank you for providing support to better understand NLP

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