How to Tell How Someone Is Thinking by Their Physiology

NLP Stance – How to Tell How Someone Is Thinking by Their Physiology

NLP Stance – How to Tell How Someone Is Thinking by Their Physiology


This is a controversial part of all NLP Practitioner Trainings because outside of the field of NLP people tend to think that everybody fits in the same pattern and one body posture means only one thing. So from the first day of the NLP Practitioner students ask a lot of questions about this topic. \Can we actually tell what a person is thinking by looking at him? Well, not “what” but really “how” – which is more important. “How” in this context is not only unconscious but also more undeniable. By paying attention to your client’s physiology, you can notice certain “give-away” signs of how he is thinking. And we’re not talking about traditional body language.

Based on the NLP Model of Communication, and how we make an Internal Representation (I/R), you’ll remember that people rely on their 5 senses to make I/R’s about the world around them. Internally, we also generally come to depend on one representational system or modality more than another. We access information, and use that information to create I/R’s. So, some people are using their Visual representational system more, some people use their Auditory representational system more, and some people use their Kinesthetic more than the others. We can spot this from their body posture.

Usually an individual will prefer to use a certain modality or will use primarily that modality as their primary representational system. Let’s go through the three major modalities of operation so you can notice what mode people are operating in and begin to identify them. Then in establishing Rapport, you can begin to match the modes by using the predicates and physiology that match their representational system.

Typically, people who are in a Visual mode stand, or sit, with their heads and/or bodies erect with their eyes up, and will be breathing from the top of their lungs. They often sit forward in the chair or on the edge of the chair. They tend to be more organized, neat, well-groomed and orderly. More deliberate. They are more appearance oriented, and sometimes quieter. Good spellers. Memorize by seeing pictures, and are less distracted by noise. Often have trouble remembering verbal instructions, and are bored by long verbal explanations because their minds tend to wander. They would rather read than be read to. A visual person will be interested in how someone looks at them, and will respond to being taken places, and being bought things. They will tend to use words like: see ‘ya later, I want to look at it, focus on it, watch it, be clear, foggy, picture that, notice, appears.

Someone who is Auditory will move their eyes sideways and also down to the right (as you look at them). They breathe from the middle of the chest. They typically talk to themselves, and are easily distracted by noise. They often move their lips when they say words. They can repeat things back to you easily. They may find math and writing more difficult and spoken language easier. They like music and learn by listening. They memorize by steps, procedures, and sequence. An auditory person is often interested in being told how they’re doing, and responds to a certain set of words or tone of voice. They tend to use words and phrases like: listen, talk to, said, speak, hear, and sounds like, “Good to talk to you.

They will typically be breathing from the bottom of their lungs, so you’ll see their stomach go in and out as they breathe. Their posture is often more slumped over, and they often move and talk verrrry slooowly. They will typically access their feelings and emotions to “get a feel” for what they’re doing. They respond to physical rewards, and touching. Their eyes will probably move down and to the left as you look at them. They also stand close to people and touch them as they talk. They are often physically oriented people (athletes). They may move a lot, and they memorize by doing, or walking through something. They use words like: feelings, get in touch, hold, grasp, and handle.

Those are the characteristics of the three major modes of operation. And so, the question is now, how do you use them to communicate with people? How do you communicate with someone who is primarily in one of those modes? This brings us to the subject of Rapport in our next article.

Tad James

About the Author: Tad James

Tad James, M.S., Ph.D. is a Certified Master Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Master Trainer of Time Line Therapy®, Master Trainer of Hypnosis and Trainer of NLPCoaching. Tad is the creator of a revolutionary new paradigm for human change known as the Time Line Therapy® techniques. He is the author of 7 books and numerous audios and videos in the field of NLP, including the Best Seller “The Secret of Creating Your Future®”. Tad James was the first NLP trainer to do a Learn NLP Training in an accelerated format.

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