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by Tad James, M.S., Ph.D., Certified NLP Master Trainer Copyright © 1985, 1999, 2013

Strategy Elicitation

Here is a true story which will illustrate the importance of knowing the client’s strategy in buying something. When my Mom was 82, she was living in Honolulu and we went together to buy a new car. So, we walked on the car lot and she saw a car she liked right away. She said, “I like the way that car looks, I’d like to buy it.” I said, “I’ll get you a salesperson.”

I walked over to the office and found a salesperson and brought him over to meet my mom. He introduced himself, and said, “Do you see anything you like.”

She said, “I like the way that car looks, I’d like to buy it.” He said, “Great, I’ll get you the literature on it.” She started to say, “Don’t bother.” But before she could get it out of her mouth, he was gone.

Ten minutes later, he came back and handed the literature about the car to her. She promptly handed it to me…it just wasn’t her strategy.

He said, “So, what do you think,” and she said, “I like the way that car looks, I’d like to buy it.” So, he said, “great I’ll go get the keys so we can do a test drive.” As my mom protested saying, “I don’t need a test drive.” He disappeared into the dealership once more.

Fifteen minutes later (by my watch) he came out of the dealership saying, “I just found the keys. Now we can take a test drive.” As we got in the car for the test drive she sat in the back seat, and suggested that I sit up front. During the test drive, when I drove, she said, “I don’t need to drive.”

When we got back to the dealership, the salesman said, “So, do you like how the car feels,” and she said, “I like the way that car looks, I’d like to buy it.” And he said proudly “I’ll go write up the sale!”

We bought a car that day, not because of the salesman’s skill, but in spite of his skill. From an NLP strategies point of view her strategy was Ve-D. “I like the way that car looks, I’d like to buy it.” His strategy was Ve-Ad-K-D

Ve: “Do you see anything you like.”

Ad: “Great I’ll go get the keys so we can do a test drive.”

K: “So, do you like how the car feels,”

D: Decision

As a reminder, here is what the shorthand above means from the previous article on strategies, NLP Strategies

V = Visual
A = Auditory
K = Kinesthetic (feelings)
O = Olfactory
G = Gustatory
Ad= Self Talk
In addition we can say certain things about those Representational System elements:

e = External
i = Internal
t = Tonal (At)
d = Digital
c = Constructed
r = Recalled

Strategy Elicitation Transcript

Now, let’s elicit some strategies together with some friends. We are going to share transcripts of actual strategy elicitations with you so you can get a sense of how it works. If you practice this you will become expert at it too and a master communicator. You will be able to use strategies to communicate to your friends in the way they think already.

So, we sit across from our good buddy Dave here, and say, “Love your car, Dave. Where’d you get your car?” And Dave says, “I got it at the Chrysler dealer” and he holds eye contact with us, right? So Dave’s one of those guys whose got a “look-to-talk” rule. And so, then what do we do? We change our eyes, we shift our eyes away from Dave, and we say, “So, what did you do, you walked into the car lot and the car jumped out at you and you bought it.” And Dave says, “No, not really” and accesses kinesthetic. (Hold on a second, Dave.) We don’t have a whole lot of information there yet, do we? (OK, go ahead. –Dave moves his eyes…)

So, we’ve got Dave’s whole strategy right there. We have got Dave’s whole strategy in the eye patterns. And what we have is:

We could also ask Landon (age 7). Landon, how do you know when a toy is a good toy? (Landon responds without moving his eyes.) He was actually looking at me. You have to tell them, too. How do you know — let me ask you the question again — How do you know when a toy is a good toy? (“When I play with it a lot”.)

So, what he said was, “When I play with it a lot.” and what he did was moved his eyes in certain directions. And so the first thing he did was he moved his eyes up and to the left, and then he moved his eyes down and to the left, which is kinesthetic. So, Landon, let me ask you again, how do you know when a toy is a good toy? Look at his eyes.

Now, what he did in this case was he moved his eyes down and to the right, which was auditory digital, so he was repeating back the question, “How do I know when the toy is a good toy?” He moves his eyes up and to the left so he creates playing with the toy in his mind and he checks out his feelings and sees if he feels right. (Is that right Landon? So, you play with it a lot, and then you see how it feels, yeah?) And when I said that, he just moved his eyes down and to the left — kinesthetic.

When you’re eliciting NLP strategies from eye patterns, you may find that you get a visual construct or a visual recall and it’s actually a visual external. Typically when you see a visual-recall right at the beginning, it’s a visual-external. Or it may be a visual constructed, and so the question will be, how are they constructing it? You may also find that they move their eyes back and forth:

In this case, note it as “Vc/Vr.” Vc/Vr indicates a comparison. First, a constructed (or it could be remembered), and then it’s compared to a memory (or the construct). This eye pattern simply means that there’s a comparison that begins the strategy. In either case, it’s not absolutely necessary to make the distinction between recall and external when constructing embedded commands using this sequence.

Now, let’s elicit a strategy from Craig’s eye patterns only. “Craig, (dahling…) I love your watch. Did you buy that yourself? (No.) I love your shirt, Craig. Where’d you get it? Were you by yourself for your decision? (No.) Craig, I love your car. Did you buy that yourself? (No.)

Now, why did I say, “Did you buy that yourself”? I wanted to know if Craig made the decision by himself, or if somebody else assisted him on it, because the decision with somebody else, when they’re right there, is going to be different. (Craig says that he did buy a dishwasher himself.)

So, Craig, I love your dishwasher, where’d you get it?

Now, notice that Craig moves his eyes up and to the left, then to the right, and then he moved them down and to the right and then to the left (as you look at him). Then he’s done.

We’ve seen him do it twice. Each time I ask him to get back into the strategy, he does the same thing. So, if he does it several times in a row, you can be pretty sure that’s his strategy. So, where’d you get it, Craig? So… what… you walked into Sears and it jumped in your lap? OK, now this time he did go over and access kinesthetic.

What you want to do is you want to throw him off — so, you ask him, “Did it jump in your lap”, “Did it jump on you”, “Did it pop on your back”, or “When you got that watch, did it…” But you don’t want to use something that leads them into a strategy. So, you don’t want to say something like, “Oh, did it shine brightly, so that’s what you wanted?” No, because that’s going to lead them into visual. Or “Did it call your name?” — that’s going to lead him into auditory tonal. Or, “Did it have a better feeling?” You don’t want to lead them, however, what you do want to say is something that throws them off that allows them to think freely and also breaks eye contact.

So, let’s go back to the very beginning. Craig, you walked into Sears and what happened? And this is what we saw:

What we see is: visual construct,visual recall, auditory digital, kinesthetic. OK, so you’re walking into Sears and you ask for their dishwashers … (and, by the way, walking into Sears and asking for the dishwashers is not part of the strategy, no. We’re not there at the trigger point of the strategy yet, based on what he’s telling us …) So, what did you do? (“Went over and looked at it.”) So, you walked into Sears and asked where the dishwasher was. You asked the salesperson questions about the dishwasher you wanted to buy.

Now what we’re doing here, is we’re checking to make sure we got the eye patterns making sure we recognize them correctly. So, you walked into Sears, asked where the dishwashers were, walked over to the dishwashers. (“Yeah, and then I picked out a dishwasher.”) Aha. Now, see, he didn’t give us that verbally before, did he? He said, “I picked out a dishwasher”. So you saw a dishwasher that you wanted. (“Uh huh.”) How did I know that? I saw his eye patterns, right? OK, so you saw a dishwasher you wanted, then what did you do? (“I got a salesperson to see if it had a certain criteria that I had.”) Whoa! Is that auditory digital, or what? So, he runs through his list of criteria.

OK, Craig, so we’re going to go back, here we go back again, you ready? So, we’re going to go back again, and as you go right back to that time, you walk into Sears. Now, why am I saying this again? To get him right back into the state. You’re walking into Sears and you say, “Hey, where are the dishwashers?” And they’re over there. You walk over to where the dishwashers are and what? (“I saw the ones on sale.”)

OK. Now we’ve got more criteria, don’t we? “Saw one that was on sale.” Now, was that a major criteria for you? (“Yes, it was.”) Ah, OK, so you just gave us another criteria. That’s why we want to loop, loop, loop, keep testing, keep testing, keep testing. OK. You walked over to where the dishwashers were and you saw one on sale, and you liked it. What was it that you saw about that dishwasher that caused you to know that was the dishwasher you wanted to get? (“I wanted a portable that could be permanently affixed, and after talking to the salesperson, I found out that this one could be permanently affixed.”) OK, now what we’ve got here are criteria. We don’t necessarily have the decision making strategy yet, by the way. But we have criteria that are probably part of the motivation strategy. Now whether he got them later or not, is not really important. If we’re selling him something, we do know that sale prices are criteria for him, especially on the dishwasher.

So you saw the dishwasher. But what was it about what you saw that caused you to know if that was the dishwasher? (“A sign on the top that said the price I was within the price range that I was looking for. Also, the color dishwasher was red. A criteria of our kitchen — that it would match with the kitchen.”)

Very good. We have some visual sub-modalities. So now the color. Now he’s given us Ad criteria before. So, let me ask you a question, did you check the color first, or did you check the price first? (“I checked the price first.”) You did check the price first? (“Because usually they have all the colors…”) So, you checked the price first because you knew you could have any color you wanted. (“Yeah, well, at Sears”.) OK, so you saw the dishwasher you wanted and you checked out a bunch of criteria. Now at that point when you checked out a bunch of criteria, you talked to the salesperson, got the criteria. Did you then — now he just moved his eyes over to kinesthetic — he just finished the eye pattern for us. Thank-you Craig!

I talked him through it, and at any point I can get him to re-access the eye patterns again. He just accessed kinesthetic. So I’m going to ask him just to be sure. Craig, at that point, when you finished talking to the guy, did you know that was what you wanted to buy, or did you have a good feeling about it, and then you knew? (“Actually, I knew it was what I wanted to buy, but I accessed my feelings because it was a shared appliance, something I wanted to make sure that everyone else was going to use. So I accessed my feelings … I knew that I accessed.) So, it was OK with you, but you wanted to check your feelings out to make sure everybody was OK with it? (“Right”…)

Now, so we’ve got that particular strategy we know that that was how he made that decision. The question is, will a kinesthetic exit generalize to all his other decisions? My guess is that it will.

So, now we run just a little test so that we can be absolutely certain. That kinesthetic exit is just a guess on my part. It only comes from having elicited a lot of strategies, you know, along the way. But, let’s test another strategy of Craig’s. Craig, do you remember when you bought your last lawn-mower?

When we asked him that, he flashed back and forth, visual construct / visual recall. He constructed his last lawn-mower. Or he constructed what he thought it ought to be and then he went over to visual recall and remembered it. And that wasn’t the strategy yet. So, Craig, what happened when you bought your last lawn-mower? (“It was sitting in a box at the office that we had gotten on a trade, and then I could get a half-price deal on it.”) So, do we have a sale coming up as another criteria? Yes, I think we do! Well, he saw the box, knew he could get it at a good price — criteria. And, at that point, did you have a feeling about it, and knew that that was what you wanted to do? (“Well I knew that it was a good lawn-mower…”)

He just got to the end of his strategy and when he said that, he accessed his kinesthetic again. It’s apparent that he gets enough criteria till it hits his kinesthetic plus button and then he’s done. And you saw that, right? Good. That’s his strategy — his decision making strategy, which is part of the buying strategy, is see something (Visual external), and that it meets your criteria (Auditory digital), and you feel good about it.

In this strategy, if you get an AD plus (meaning it meets his criteria), it’s followed by a K. If not, you loop back to visual external. Because, if it doesn’t meet your criteria, you’re back into looking some more. Now, is that true? I’m just hallucinating now, wildly, I might add. You’re the one whose strategy it is. (“Yes”)

In the case of the lawn-mower, he made a picture in his mind. So you made a picture, or you recalled a picture, and that’s what I mentioned earlier. In the case of the dishwasher, he went to Sears and saw the dishwasher. In this case, he didn’t see the lawn-mower, but he either created or recalled that the lawn-mower was in the crate. Now we can make some really fine distinctions here and we can test it, right?

So, as you go right back to that time, and you go right back to the office — and he’s flashing his back and forth between construct and recall and then he ran his whole strategy just then for us.

And it was recall, wasn’t it? So, you recalled, your eye pattern said it was recall. So you recalled the — is that right? (“Yes”) Craig recalled the picture of the lawn-mower in the box and said, “Hey, I know I can get this on sale” — criteria, criteria, and then he felt good about it. So Craig does operate on his feelings. He comes out of that with a K plus. So what I would say is that there was a visual-external or a visual recall, and what I usually write is visual recall.

When I’m doing strategies from eye patterns for the purpose of doing embedded commands, I only note the eye patterns that I see, because I’m only noting the actual eye patterns. AND, if I’m doing this only from eye patterns, I don’t question you like I am now. If I’m actually doing a formal elicitation, I will note Visual external, and question much more closely.

OK, so then we go — visual recall, auditory digital, kinesthetic, and the loop back is from auditory digital back to visual. And if, for example, Craig, you had made a picture of the lawn-mower and gone to your boss, and he said, “Well, there’s no way that I’m going to sell that to you for half price, you’re going to have to pay full list.” What would you have done then? OK, so you would have gone to their client and so, what he got was a K minus. So he’s got to go look for more lawn-mowers, or since he’s already motivated –this is not his motivation strategy, it’s his decision making strategy.

We’ve done two strategy elicitations, both so far, of decision making NLP strategies, and note that features, criteria, being on sale — all of that information is auditory digital — criteria. It “makes sense”.

Extended questioning when eliciting NLP strategies from eye patterns can help you gain greater precision in strategy elicitation. It’s a very effective technique and you may, at times, need to get a little more formal with it in order to fill in the submodalities or discover the criteria.

Now, the next step before utilization, by the way, which we should do right now, is to go back and to elicit the sub-modalities of Craig’s strategies to make sure that we have the submodalities of each major piece of the strategy.

Craig, as you go back to Sears and the dishwasher, what was it about what you saw that caused you to know that it looked right? (By the way, the major tests are Visual – Looks Right, Auditory Tonal – Sounds Right, Auditory Digital – Makes Sense, Kinesthetic – Feels Right.) Craig, earlier, you mentioned the color. (“Yeah, the color matched the… really, the color was not important because I was at Sears and I knew I could get the color I wanted.”) And you saw the right color. (“And the right color happened… actually the one that was delivered to my house was the one on the showroom floor.”) And it was the right color. Good. Was there anything other than color? Was it shape? Was it the way… was there anything else about the way it looked? (“No”)

OK, let’s go to lawn-mower. When you imagined the lawn-mower, what was important about the way the lawn-mower looked? Did color have anything to do with it by any chance? (“No, it was in a box. Well, it was red, but I don’t really think…”) What color was your dishwasher? (“Green, like the refrigerator.”) Ok, so there’s no commonality this time, and sometimes when you do something like this, you will find similarities in the strategy.

Now, let’s get over to the auditory digital section of the strategy with Craig, because Craig is probably more AD than your average street person. I don’t know why, but… Ok, Craig, so let’s talk about the criteria.

On sale is a major criteria. What other criteria are there? In the terms of the dishwasher, there was size. (“Now”) Ah, so can you have it there now? And what about the lawn-mower? Was having it right away important? Supposing your boss had said, “Yeah, I’ll sell you the lawn-mower at half price, but you need to wait two weeks, because we want to do a display.” You had to have a lawn-mower — OK. So you bought it. What we’ve got is two major criteria. One is sale price and one is “I’ve got to have it right now”. Not unusual, by the way. So a major criterion for Craig is “now”. What other criteria do you have as you think about it? As you go back to the lawn-mower, for example? What other criteria are there that existed? … Easy. Easy. Ok, easy to do. If the dishwasher was hard to do, would you have not done it? (“I would have weighed that against having someone else do it in terms of price…”) Did you buy the dishwasher alone? (“Yes”) So, if the dishwasher was hard to use, you would have … gotten another. (“Yes”)

We’ve got Craig’s whole strategy here–easy, on sale, you can have it now — his major criteria. And by the way it’s very easy to use that to feed back to Craig … and Craig, here it is (holding up a pen), so you know you don’t have to wait. Look at him, he’s ready to go.

The Steps in Strategy Elicitation: All right. So that’s elicitation from eye patterns and then we went around a circle and checked it several times. And if you can’t read eye patterns, you can use the script which we covered earlier. To formally elicit NLP strategies, here are ten steps:


1. Make sure you’re in Rapport with the person.
2. Set the Frame.
3. Get into the Specific State you’re eliciting.
4. Follow the Outline (below).
5. Make Sure that the person is in a Fully Associated, Intense, Congruent State.
6. Anchor the State.
7. Make sure the state you elicited is intense [if not, select another state, or check your own state].
8. At each step, fire the anchor to assist them in accessing.
9. Elicit Modalities until complete.
10. Then go back and elicit the sub-modalities.


1. The first step is to get in rapport. That’s very important in any process. We’ve talked about that in a previous article.

2. The second step is to set the frame. What you want to do is to set a softening frame. The softening frame in this case might be, “You know as we sit here talking about your business, I’m really motivated to ask you some questions that will allow me to serve you better.”

3. Then you want to get into the state you’re eliciting. So, in this case, if I was dealing with somebody, I’d want to know their decision-making strategy prior to the time I had to ask them for a decision, so I could present information to them in a way that allowed them to decide easily. So I would get into a decisive state–a state when I made a decision. Now, if you’re in rapport, that will lead them into the state and make it easier for them to access their own decision-making state.

4. Next, the formal elicitation text which we’ve given you earlier.

5. The next step: After you’ve said, “Can you remember a time…”, and concurrent with anchoring, make sure the person you’re eliciting the strategy from, is in a fully associated intense congruent state. That is, that they are actually associated in the memory of the event. (Associated means that they are looking through their own eyes, and are not seeing themselves in the memory.)

6. Step number 6 is to anchor the state. (see anchoring)

7. Step 7 is just a check — Make sure that the state you elicited is intense. Now, that means it is a good state. Meaning that you can fire the anchor (step number 8),and get the same state again.

8. Fire the anchor. (Which is also useful if a guy says, “Gee, I’m having trouble making a decision,” and you’re in the process of enrolling him to be a client of yours, then you can just fire that anchor and he’ll go back into decisive state. He won’t have any trouble making a decision.) Then in the process of eliciting strategies, you can fire the anchor at each step to assist them in accessing.

9. Then you elicit all the modalities until you’re complete, and go back and check it like we did with Craig, and

10. Then go back and elicit the submodalities.

And, those are the ten steps in formal strategy elicitation.

NLP Strategy Utilization

Now that you know how to elicit NLP strategies, the next step is utilization.

Once you’ve discovered what someone’s NLP strategies are, the next thing to do is to utilize or use that person’s strategies in feeding information back to them in a way that it becomes irresistible to them. For example, you might want to utilize someone’s strategy in the process of assisting them to be motivated in a certain way, or causing them to want to do what you suggest, or in the process of selling them something.

Once elicited, you can then use the strategy as a framework for the information you want to feed to that person, and in using the strategy that way will present a structure of information to the person so that the information becomes irresistible to them or irresistible to their neurology, regardless of the content of that information.

Feed the Strategy Back: It’s a very simple matter to feed the information back to a person inside of their strategy, meaning you put the information contextually in the form of the strategy that they just gave you. For example, if a person’s strategy was visual, auditory digital, and kinesthetic, and if in the auditory digital they were comparing criteria, you could say to them, “Have you seen our proposal yet, so that you can see that it meets your criteria and feel good about it?” They would feel good about what you said, and probably wouldn’t be aware of why. More importantly, they would also feel good about your proposal!

Let’s say that you elicited a strategy that was visual external (submodalities-big picture), auditory digital, kinesthetic (feels solid, grounded), and in the auditory digital part they said, “Is this okay?”, and then when it was okay, the person would say, “Yes, this is the one.” What you would say to this person is, “I think you should take a good look at this so you can see how it will fit into the whole picture. I’m sure you will find that it will answer all the questions we’ve been asking ourselves, and you’ll really be able to say ‘yes’, this is the one”, and feel, as I do, that this is the most solid grounded choice available.

The way you present information to someone makes a big difference if you present it in the order and sequence that they process information (inside their strategy), or if you put it in an order or sequence that is different (outside their strategy).

Obviously, you will want to discover someone’s NLP strategies and then fit your communication into that order and sequence directly. We were recently teaching someone how to do embedded commands. (And essentially, by doing embedded commands inside of someone’s strategy, what you’re doing is making the embedded commands even more irresistible then they already were.) As I was showing her an example of using embedded commands and strategies, I used a “standard” sequence visual – auditory digital – kinesthetic (which was not her strategy). As we talked, she was having Then, I put it inside her strategy (which was auditory digital – visual kinesthetic), and she immediately understood it at that point.

The first time I said, “You will probably see in a moment that this makes sense to you, and you can feel good about learning it.” No response. So, I pointed that out to her, and said “Well, I think that you will probably discover this makes sense to you as soon as you can see that it feels right.” And she went, “Oh, yeah, now I understand.” The idea is, then, to feed back the information to them inside their strategy.

The next step after mastering embedded commands inside NLP strategies is to enclose the entire sentence with a beginning and ending temporal predicate. A temporal predicate is a predicate or a word that deals with time. What are some words that deal with time? Well, when, when are you going to, later, now, soon… tonight.

We could say (assuming a visual construct / visual recall – auditory digital – kinesthetic), “I’m wondering (hypnotic language pattern) how soon… ” (which is a temporal predicate) “I’m wondering how soon you will have the opportunity to look at our proposal and recall, seeing that it meets your criteria for feeling good about it tonight, won’t you (hypnotic language pattern). And so that becomes a very, very powerful form of embedded command.

The magic number is three presuppositions in a single sentence, which immediately gets you beyond the conscious mind. He says when you get to the magic number 3 in a given sentence, if you put three presuppositions inside the sentence… actually the following sentence had 6.

Given the above strategy, here’s the sentence: I’m wondering how soon [1] (assuming they haven’t even agreed to look at the proposal yet) you’ll have the opportunity to look at our proposal [2], and recall seeing that it meets your criteria [3], so you can feel good about it [4] tonight [5], won’t you [tag question-6]. Here’s how it works:

So, what we have is a hypnotic language pattern followed by a temporal predicate at the beginning, and at the end, that collapses all 3 of the embedded commands together into one highly irresistible sentence. You can construct them any way you want by putting temporal predicates at the beginning and the end and putting the embedded commands in the middle.

How do you learn how to do that? You discover their strategy, then (if you need to) write it out on a piece of paper as you construct the embedded commands. Then put the hypnotic language and the temporal predicates at the beginning and end and say it. You see, in the previous sentence there’s also a command to feel good about the proposal tonight as opposed to some other night, which presupposes again that they’re going to look at it tonight, whereas we began by asking them how soon, we now have ended up by suggesting that its going to be tonight.

Now, while you were in the process of eliciting someone’s strategies you may also have set some anchors.

When we do training for retail salespeople, we suggest they use anchoring in addition to strategy elicitation, and embedded commands. When somebody walks in to talk to a salesman on the floor that we’re instructing how to sell, one of the things that we suggest is that the salesperson ask the client, “Have you ever purchased a computer (let’s say it’s a computer salesman), that really works well and you felt really good about?” And when the client or the prospective customer remembers that, they’re going to access that entire strategy of buying that computer, aren’t they? They’re going through and access that state. When the salesperson asked the customer if they’d ever had a computer that they felt good about and really worked well for them, they’ll have to go back and access a time if they did. If they did, it’s going to access a state of having a computer that worked well for them, which you can anchor. Then you say, “How did you purchase the computer?, which elicits the decision-making strategy.

You say to them, “Have you ever bought a computer you felt really good about?” They’re either going to say yes or no. So if they say yes, or even if they say no, anchor that state! Assuming they said yes, you’ve also got one or more anchors placed with them at the time of eliciting the strategy. When you go to close, you can do the close inside their strategy, and feed back the information to them in exactly the same way as they process the information, you can also fire the anchors. So, with a positive anchor set, assuming an auditory digital strategy, you can say something like, “I’m sure as you look at our computer you’ll see that it meets all your criteria for computers, and that you can decide that you want to do it (firing the anchor), don’t you? That’s a visual auditory digital strategy. Okay?

And, if you get a negative response to the question, “Have you ever bought a computer you felt really good about,” anchor it, too. You can always use it to attach to an objection that they may have in the future.

NLP Strategy Design

The next element in NLP strategies is design. Now, you’d want to design a new strategy for a person if the strategy they have is particularly inefficient or did not process data well for them. For example, a client might have a visual kinesthetic buying decision-making strategy. That is, they see it, want it, buy it. “They want it” is a feeling. And they might be in a situation where, “Hey, I’m buying too much.”

You can assist them by adding another point to that particular strategy. There are some things you should know. When designing NLP strategies there are some things that are very important:

1. The person must have a well defined representation of the outcome. It must be a well designed outcome. We need to know what kind of outcome we want as a result of changing the strategy. And so, we go through the Keys to an Outcome and the Meta Model and design a very well defined representation of the outcome. Ask, “for what purpose…” why they want the change.

2. Second, the strategy should use all three of the major representational systems, that is, visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

3. The third thing is there should be no two-point loops. A two-point loop becomes a synesthesia (like a V-K synesthesia). And a synesthesia loops around too quickly, and is harder to get out of. If you’re in a synesthesia where you’re going around in a circle, V-K, V-K, V-K, it’s really hard to break out of that kind of loop. Whereas, if it’s a three-point loop, there’s more time in between the going back and picking it up and going around again, and if they have some auditory digital they can say, “… hey, it’s time to get out of here.”

4. Which leads us to point number four, that is, after so many steps the strategy should have an external check. What we don’t want to do is, what I’ve seen so many times, people who have strategies, of course unconsciously designed, where they literally go and they end up in this auditory digital feedback loop where they’re just evaluating criteria, gathering more information, they continue to get stuck in this Ad loop, where they talk themselves right into and out of a decision. They go Visual – Auditory Digital, should I make a decision? No …gather more information … talk yourself out … they end up in a very tight digital loop where they’re just not making a decision. So the point is to have a three point loop.

Now, there are three more points about the functionality of the strategy you’re going to design. In the process of designing a strategy, there are three more points that are really important:

First of all the strategy should have a test, and part of the test should be a comparison of the present state, and the desired state. Remember we said at the beginning of this chapter, that typically there’s a trigger or a test that feeds information forward to the next test. The information that’s in the feed forward part sets up certain criteria.

In the comparison, the strategy should have a test which is the comparison of the present state to the desired state. That will give you either a minus (go back and continue the strategy), or a plus (exit successfully).

The second element on the functionality of strategies is that the strategy should have a feedback step, that is a representation resulting from the plus or minus, that is a representation resulting from the plus or minus that is the congruence or incongruence of the test comparison, so that a strategy when installed should have a plus and a minus place where it goes back and loops back or where it exits.

Finally the strategy should have an operation. This comes right out of the test exit. The strategy should have an operation that is a chain of representational and/or motor activities for the purpose of altering the present state in order to bring it closer to the desired state, that is, it should have a series of steps, in other words, an operation should have a series of steps or a chain of representational systems or internal/external advance.

There are just a few more observations about NLP strategies. First of all the strategy with the fewest steps is probably better than the strategy with the most steps. In other words, if you designed a 23-point strategy for someone, and you’re going in and install it, forget it. What’s a lot better is to give them as few steps as possible to allow them to achieve their outcome. So based on what our criteria is, in terms of structural well-formed strategies, the criteria would be somewhere between three and having as few steps as possible.

Another point is that having a choice is better than having no choice. So you’re going to install a strategy, make sure you’re giving the person a choice, rather than no choice.

You should take into account the Direction Meta Program. It’s important to take into account whether the person moves Toward or Away From in the design of the strategy.

NLP Strategy Installation

Finally, installation is a matter of anchoring and/or rehearsal, swish patterns, and chaining anchors installed to recall each step of the new strategy.

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