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NLP Meta Model Fully Explained [All Patterns & Questions]

NLP Meta Model Fully Explained [All Patterns & Questions]

Do you want to learn the meta model and all its patterns? The meta model ensures that you will never have noise in your communication again.  This article contains all meta model questions to clarify vague language, create new possibilities or discover that someone has no idea what they are talking about (bullshit detector). Learn the complete meta model in this article!

Contents of this page:

Before we start with the metamodel: first read the story by Jan Prince below…

A businessman finished and the light was turned off in the store, after which a man appeared appeared and demanded money. The man opened the cash register, the contents of the register were taken out and the man quickly ran away. A police employee was quickly informed.
– Jan Prince

True or False? Answer these questions about the story above, and let other people answer these questions as well:

  1. A man appeared after the owner turned off the store’s light.
  2. The store owner was not present in the store at the time.
  3. The robber was a man.
  4. The robber demanded money.
  5. There is no robber.
  6. The man who ran away quickly is the same man who cleaned out the contents of the cash register.
  7. The police are contacted as standard security procedure at the end of each day.

Compare your answers. This seemed like a very clear story. We all had a good idea of ​​the story, of what happened. And yet everyone had a different image in their head when you compare the answers.

In question 1, do we know whether the owner is the same person as the businessman or whether they may be two different persons? In question 4, do we know whether the robber demanded money? Not necessarily. Was there even a tense situation at all, or was the whole cash register thing a standard procedure at the end of a day?

Conclusion: after a meeting one may think that everyone agrees with each other and that everyone has understood each other, but if the words are not clear and specific, you can leave the meeting with the feeling that everything is just right, just one week later it can turn out badly.

Applying the meta-model means: making ‘small chunks ‘, in other words becoming more specific. With big chunks you get the above story from the businessman…

The metamodel provides transparency and removes noise in communication


Consider some masters of influence, fictional or real. What are they all using that makes them so influential? They get as much information as possible! Information = influence. In addition, they do not give away information themselves because they themselves use  vague language (‘Milton language’) .

The meta-model is the remedy for generalizations, distortions and omissions , which in universities is taught as ‘noise in communication’. Use the metamodel to get out of impasses, gain new insights, come up with arguments, dismantle manipulative people and put problems and limiting thoughts in a new perspective. That’s how you shake up someone’s world model. You create new choices and possibilities by giving the other (and yourself) access to the information that is missing in the verbal expression. That way you create clarity.

So you wonder: what is the experience behind the words? The  depth structure, as shown in the NLP communication model , can be communicated to the surface structure.

A ship can sink due to the hidden deep structure of an iceberg. It is not transparent.

This is important, for example, in the business world, where absolute transparency over finances must exist in order not to go under.

The solution is the metamodel: bringing information to the surface. The more specific , the less powerful and the more visible the false evidence becomes! You can then parse the information, analyze it and then you can make changes. So you can do that with your limiting thoughts. Put them in a different perspective and dismantle them.

You can see the metamodel as a reframing technique: you blow away someone’s ability to have his problem. It is a very useful tool in all situations in your life where you communicate with other people, with the exception of social matters, such as parties …

More possible effects of the meta model

  • Gather more information.
  • Creating more clarity.
  • When someone sees his (limiting) world model as absolute truth, you could ‘shake it up’. That makes sense in coaching.
  • Communicate without misinterpretation. Find out exactly what someone really means with surgery.
  • Make better contact.
  • Think critically (about your own world model).
  • Seeing through other people’s bullshit: thinking critically about the communication of the other.

Metamodel Questions You Can Ask: Let’s start with the light models


The intention of the light models of the metamodel is that you ask yourself the question: “Which question has the most effect?” This does not make you a ‘meta monster’. Let’s discover these light models.

Meta model ultra light # 1: A ‘loop’ of the two most important metamodel questions

These questions, in the order given, apply to almost all vagueness:

  1. ‘How do you know that…?’ “How do you know something?”
  2. Optional:  “Are you sure?”
  3. ‘What makes (that happen) …? / What is done to make that happen? / How (does that) work? ‘ How are you going to prove that it is so (sensory perceptible)?

You can repeat questions 1, 2 and 3 endlessly on the same subject. If you asked question 3, start again at question 1. Continue to use language softeners .

Meta model ultra light #2: The Verbal Package

This shortened version of the metamodel – among others developed by Carmen Bostic & John Grinder – is ideal for meetings in organizations.

Step 1: Clarify the frame, purpose and intention.

  • Set the frame for the conversation. For example: ‘The meeting will last 2 hours, with everyone providing input. This conversation is intended to generate more ideas about our market penetration strategy. ‘
  • Determine the intention of the conversation: ‘We are having this conversation so that we can expand more effectively.’ The special thing about this question is that it is actually an upchunk question, and not a downchunk question in the spirit of the metamodel. Yet it is a welcome addition to clarify communication and make it more precise.

Step 2: use the word ‘specific / precise’ to clarify the specific tasks.

  • With nouns: who / what / which exactly / specifically?
  • Verbs: how / when / where / with whom  exactly / specifically?
  • Always think about the consequences: what would happen if you did / didn’t?
  • Challenge generalizations: are there any exceptions?

Step 3: If necessary, paraphrase some sentences to make sure everyone meant and understood the same thing. In the meantime, keep calibrating the others to make sure it is correct and congruent.

Meta model ultra light #3: just downchunking, so ask for examples

You only think about doing downchuncking in terms of logical levels : ‘Which parts do not go well in your study?’ “Give me an example .”

  • “I want to be empowered.” “What does that show then?”
  • “What can I do if I experience stress?” “Everyone has a different definition of stress. So what is stress (to you)? Give examples.”

Also, the Cartesian coordinate model provides inspiration to ask for examples:

  • “What are examples of empowerment?
  • “And when do you feel that you are not in your power, so the other way around?”
  • “Have you ever seen others empowered? What did that look like?”
  • “Have you ever seen others not empowered? What did that look like?

Meta model ultra light #4: the ‘forbidden why word’

This is a very special ultra light model: just use the word ‘why’? The special thing is that ‘why’ is not (literally) in the extensive meta-model and ‘why’ is more a way to upchunken than a way to downchun. Yet it can be interesting to experiment with this: just use the word ‘why?’

For example:

  • Why this religion?
  • Why?
  • Why?
  • Why? Have you chosen it yourself or have you ever heard it or did you get it from your parents?

As you can see, this way you got to the last question, which is the ‘sourceless mention’ question from the metamodel. Experiment with this and see which metamodel question you can arrive at thanks to the word ‘why’.

Ask ‘why’ five times in a row and you will find the core of the problem.
– Sakichi Toyoda

Meta model ultra light #5: only use the word ‘specific’

You can also apply the metamodel perfectly by only using the word ‘specific’. For example:

  • What are you talking about specifically ?
  • What specifically ?
  • Who specifically ?
  • How specific ?
  • Where specific ?
  • Which source specifically ?
  • Something more specific, please.

Meta model ultra light #6: let the other person make a ‘decent sentence’

What are the characteristics of a decent sentence? Such a sentence has:

  • A subject
  • A direct object
  • A verb
  • Possibly an indirect object

All you have to pay attention to is that the other person uses all these elements in his or her own way. That way you have already prevented the greatest chance of miscommunication.

Meta model ultra light #7: “What do you mean by this?”

Let’s immediately look at an example. “I would like to have more freedom.” Beautiful, and what do you mean by this? What do you mean by more freedom? Make it concrete. Does it mean that you want to have a weekend for three days, or that you only want to have half days, or that you want to have a sabbatical of one year, or that you can withdraw 50,000 euros per month? Is that what you want?

The metamodel in depth: All questions …


Deletion: Nominalization

There is a lack of communication here.
There is frustration in the room now.
There is a lot of knowledge available.

Dismantling by:

  • Who does not communicate?
  • Who does not communicate what to whom?
  • What have those persons done or not done that caused a lack of communication?
  • How would you like to communicate?
  • Who frustrates who in this room, and how?
  • Who knows what exactly?

Nominalizations can be used as one of the key building blocks of encouragement. Vague terms such as change, creativity and (bad) treatment are nominations. To dismantle this, ask the following metamodel questions:

1. Who (towards whom)? Preferably ask this question first!
2. What specifically?
3. How?


“There is frustration in the room.”
Add actors (who ‘does’ that frustration?) And make it a verb (frustration becomes frustration) for more info: “Who frustrates who and how?”

“I am in a bad financial situation.”
“Who does what in what way to make the situation bad?” “What do you mean by bad situation?”

“My personal relationships are bad.”
“I wonder, what exactly is going wrong?”
“Since I changed, my old friends have been negative.”
“Who exactly?”
“A girlfriend … Oh, that’s really just one.”
How specifically is it going wrong?”
“Which part of that is specifically a problem?”

Deletion: Unspecified verb (Unspecified verb)

You don’t care about me.
The market is saturating .
I do not want the car to be used tonight.
Ajax has not generously behaved towards the Nouri family. They have not acted generously .

Dismantling by:

  • What have I done specifically?
  • What am I doing specifically – what actions do I do – that would make me not care about you?
  • How did I do that?
  • How specific?
  • How specific do I not care about you?
  • By what, who and in what way is the market saturated?
  • How will it be a problem if I use the car tonight? “Because the brake fluid has run out and I don’t want the brakes to break before the new oil arrives tomorrow.”
  • Which actions has Ajax specifically done and what not?

Deletion: Simple deletion

I feel uncomfortable.

Dismantling by:

  • What / Who do you feel uncomfortable about?

Deletion: Comparative Deletion

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best.
The sales team is not performing well.
I am
not good enough.

Dismantling by:

  • Compared to who?
  • What is he the best at?

Deletion: Unspecified nouns

In certain cultures they are very violent.
People cannot be trusted these days.
Those people are awful.
Things are against me.
The sales team is not performing well.

Dismantling by:

  • Which people are we talking about?
  • Where exactly?
  • With whom?
  • For whom?
  • What / who do you mean specifically?
  • What example are you talking about?

Deletion: Missing / unspecified reference (Lack of referential index)

They don’t listen to me.
They don’t understand me.
There is gossip.
It is very difficult.

Dismantling by:

  • Who is she’?
  • Who doesn’t listen to you?
  • Who specifically?
  • Who’s gossiping with whom?
  • What is it specifically about?
  • Which specific part is very difficult?


Generalization: Universal all-or-nothing statements (Universal quantifyers)

She never listens to me.
She doesn’t  respect me (here the universal quantifier ‘never’ is implied ).
This is can’t be learned (this is the universal quantifyer ‘by nobody’, but  implied ).
People / women / men are just like that.

Dismantling by:

  • Repeat it: “Anyone? Always?”
  • “Can you name an exception / case where it went well? Is there anyone who did listen to you? ”
  • Recognize patterns: always, never, everyone …

Generalization: Modal operator of necessity

I have to work.
It is mandatory that this happens.
It’s required.

Dismantling by:

  • “Why do you have to do that now?
  • “Who does this rule apply to?”
  • “According to whom?”
  • “What do you have to do specifically?”
  • “What are you stopping?” What stops you?
  • “Is it set in stone? Is it something you have to or what you want?”
  • “What would happen if you didn’t (If never,” What would happen if you did? “)?” You can go deeper into this. For example: “Then I wouldn’t make money” “What would happen if you didn’t make money?”

Generalization: Modal operator of (im)possibility

I can’t tell him the truth.

  • What would happen if you did?
  • What would happen if you didn’t?
  • What stops you?
  • What causes that this is happening … / How is this caused …


Distortion: Lost performative (Eternal Truth)

The responsibility for an opinion – or ‘ownership’ – is deleted. This is often used to embarrass someone.

It is customary here to be polite.
That is wrong.
This is the correct way.
It seems to be raining today.
It’s bad to judge

Dismantling by:

  • “Who says / thinks it is bad to judge?”
  • “According to whom, and to whom (does it apply)? Who says that?”
  • “What do you think of it yourself?”
  • “Do you think it’s wrong? Take ownership of your statement.”
  • “How do you know (is wrong)? Who says that? How do you get it?”
  • “What concrete evidence do you have to support this belief?”
  • “What’s the source?”

Distortion: Mind read

You don’t like me.
You cannot stand authority.

Dismantling by:

  • “How do you know that?”
  • “What makes you think like that?” And then clarify further.
  • What did you perceive (sensory specific) that made you think that? Where do you deduce that?

Distortion: Cause and Effect (A → B)

You make me sad.
You piss me off.
His bumbling stresses me out.

Dismantling by:

  • “How does x cause y (specifically)?”
  • What behavior of mine made you angry?
  • What exactly has changed because of what I did?
  • How does it work that what I do makes you angry?
  • Is it just because of that that you have become sad?
  • Who says that? How did you come up with that?
  • How do you know that? (“I feel my heart racing.”
  • Have you ever had someone stumble and you didn’t get stressed?

Distortion: Complex Equivalence (A = B)

She always yells at me: she doesn’t like me.

Dismantling by:

  • How can A be equal to B? How exactly does her screaming mean she doesn’t like you?
  • Could A also be / mean C? Have you ever yelled at someone you really like?

Distortion: Presupposition

If you only understood how important school is, you would study harder.

Dismantling by:

  • In every sentence almost every word is a presupposition. Ask yourself what is presupposed in the sentence and denounce that.
  • “What makes you assume I don’t know the importance of school?”
  • “What makes you assume that that statement also applies to me?”
  • “What makes you think I’m not studying hard?”

More metamodel (like) questions

Silence tolerance

We’ll start this extra list with something that isn’t really a question: silence tolerance! Just be still so that the other person automatically provides more information.

Questions about concrete observable behavior: Visual and Auditory

‘What have you seen / heard that gives you that impression?

The 5 W questions

You can also think of the 5 w’s. You can ask ‘ who, what, where, why and when ‘ to keep asking like a child to arrive at the core problem, the causes and the solutions.

  • Who?
  • With whom?
  • For whom?
  • Without whom?
  • About whom?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • By which?
  • What for?
  • Where to?
  • Against what?
  • About what?
  • Why … But not literally the word ‘why’!

The why question in the meta model

Don’t literally use the word ‘why’. Metamodel questions go beyond a simple ‘why question’. Just ‘why’ doesn’t work very well, because it creates defense: you call someone to account and the other just wants to justify and justify themselves. Moreover, in this way you get a whole range of history without clarifying the matter in the here-and-now.

Or the other will say: “Because I said so.” The literal word “why” evokes resistance, and is therefore not in the metamodel. Still, this question is very powerful and enriching for conversation. How do we solve this problem? Simple: by asking the why question in other words.

These are the alternatives to the literal word ‘why:’

  • Instead of saying “why,” say, “What inspired you to … do?”
  • What is the reason …?
  • What makes that …?
  • What makes you angry? (Instead of: Why are you angry?)
  • How is it that…?
  • How do you think that is?
  • ‘That’s interesting’, plus:
    What makes you say / do / ask that?

‘If a question starts with’ why ‘, an explanation is often asked. The sound of these questions is usually, why do you do it that way? You can already feel it, chances are that the receiver will be defensive. It provokes resistance. He or she then feels that he or she has to account for himself. This does not create equality (connection) in a conversation, but rather discussion and / or conflict. It often seems as if the questioner knows better (for the recipient), but often he or she thinks differently about something (and that is allowed). ‘
– Arnout van Nieuwkoop

Other meta model questions

  • What am I doing specifically that made you choose to feel bad?
  • Ask to define a word: “What does perfect mean to you?”
  • Compared to what?
  • What do you base that on? What is your interpretation based on?
  • What have you seen / heard that gives you that impression?
  • Ask about the quantity: how much?
  • According to whom?
  • What for?
  • Between whom / what?
  • How do we know that?
  • Who / what is it exactly?
  • In what way (are those people disgusting?). (Before the verb / adjective)
  • How specific … (Before the verb / adjective)
  • Which specific?
  • Who specifically?
  • What do you mean? (Chances are that he will answer broadly, so ask more specifically: add the word “exactly”)
  • How bad is it? / How much?
  • How often does it happen?
  • At what times? Always or sometimes? In a certain context?
  • DO YOU think so?
  • What makes you think that?
  • Which criteria do you use?
  • Do them in reverse order:
    1. start at deformation.
    Listen and discover the metamodel pattern (vg or w)
    2. Ask the right question:
    Important in case of distortion: who says that? What evidence? How do you know that? How exactly does x lead to y?
    Important in generalization: what would happen if I didn’t …? When did I decide that? Is this statement true and is it useful to me?
    Is that always the case? Always, nothing excepted? What would happen if?
    Important in case of omission: tell me more about it. Who, what, where, when?
  • It’s a stupid day. What’s so stupid about it?
  • Is that true? Is that absolutely true?
  • What kind of actions should be taken for (eg recognition = nominalization)?
  • Define words specifically or make them verbs
  • What exactly does that cause?
  • What exactly has changed?
  • What if you don’t?
  • What is the worst that can happen?
  • What do you understand by {nominalization}?
  • What stops you?
  • Compared to who / what?
    For example, explain in a sales conversation what you get for it if they say it is too expensive.
  • Universal Quantifiers: So you haven’t spelled a word right all your life?
  • Nominalization: What do you do then? How do you do it?
  • What are examples of this? Can you give an example of that?
  • (You mention x) and what else?
  • Tell me about it.
  • Tell!
  • Can you explain that?
  • How is that so?
  • What do you mean exactly?
  • Can you tell me about that?

Notes on the metamodel


Before you get started with the meta model, it is important to pay attention to the following:

  • Beware: use your rapport techniques to compensate for the harsh interrogative nature of the meta model. Even better: make sure there is rapport first.
  • You can also soften the harsh character by using language softeners : “I am curious” or “I wonder”.
  • Have a soft voice and be tactful.
  • Know what you want to achieve, so that you don’t get irrelevant information.
  • Tune in: maybe someone just wants to complain. Then it is time for ‘vibing’: going along with the emotions and the vague complaining. Don’t use a metamodel and tune in to the situation! In certain sitauties you do not use the meta model to criticize or to disagree with something. Someone may say, “I really need a beer. Let’s get one. ” Then the subcommunication is, “Let’s have a social vibe.” Another example: “Wow man, look at that building, it is really the largest of them all!” Then you don’t say, “But have you seen New York? That city easily crushes this place. ” But: “Wow, that’s super big man!”
  • You prefer not to use the metamodel to challenge, but to create new perspectives and ideas, to obtain source-based beliefs and to develop other perspectives.
  • Pretend you don’t understand or know nothing, instead of playing the ‘omniscient coach’.
  • As you apply the meta model, you can get to the gestures and body language show a person that incremental movement comes in an idea that first firm seemed to be. For example: Someone points statically in the sky, “Those people are awful.” Then comes the metamodel question: “What exactly are they doing that makes them so terrible?” The other person can then suddenly make active gestures  towards the ground: “They do A, B and C.” Suddenly the situation becomes active and there is movement in the stuck swamp!
  • You are not necessarily ready after one metamodel question. You can also ask multiple metamodel questions for one case. “Things are against me.” “How specifically do things bother you?” ‘At work things are against me.’ “How do things at work dislike you?” “My boss is against me.” “Oh … How specifically does your boss dislike what he does?” “My boss makes demands of me that I find unreasonable.”

Practical example of this NLP model

Are you upset about something?

– Soon I will have a period with exams.

You said to me you find it difficult?

– It concerns housing and tenancy law. It is the fifth time that I am taking the exam, it is for my Propaedeutic phase, and it is quite complicated.

Why do you think it is difficult?

– They make the exam so difficult.

Who is they?

– The teachers.

The teachers make the exam difficult.

– Yeah a lot!

And how do you know that?

– This is the fifth time that I have to take the exam! Many students have already dropped out of their studies.

How do you know that?

– They said that themselves and I could tell from the percentages.

Would they have stopped for that reason?

– Yes, because I got a postponement so I could stay on the training, but the rest was not allowed to stay on it.

And the rest: how many people are that exactly?

– I do not know.

Are there many or few?

– For me there are many, because I don’t see many students anymore, and I had heard it from someone else.

When I see you like this, you are someone who can focus on going to the library on Saturdays to study.

– I have to.

Who makes you do that?

– Of my own. Yes, I was so lazy last year, I didn’t feel like it at all. And this year I decided OK, now I’m really going for it.

But what if you don’t?

– Then I will not make it again, and I have to go for another chance.

Yes! Then there is no other option than to focus on studying here.

Very good, then I am curious, because you are well prepared, but it still seems difficult.

– Now I am working on other legal subjects and soon I will really start studying.

And what exactly is soon?

– This week.

And this week, will that be next Monday or …

– Now that you mention it, let’s see… next Tuesday.

You said that you will be well prepared, but you are not quite sure yet?

– Yes, I am ready, I know, I can handle it, but when I get the exam in front of me, it just stops.

Then what exactly stops?

– I then think: What exactly is written here? Do I get it right or not?

So that focus is suddenly less clear, while it was clear when you were learning it.
But how do you know that things will not go well on that exam?

– Because it is really, really hard.

Is it really difficult?

– The questions are asked at university level.

Are there any exceptions, so questions that are actually very easy?

– Yes, that also happens, but most of them are really of a high level.

And by most you mean? Half or …

– More than half. 25% is really easy, but 75% ….


– Many answers are alike, so you really can’t figure it out.

And you are convinced that you will not get out.

– Yes, I just can’t figure it out, then I never think, it won’t work. Yes, I can fix it, but the answers just look alike, that’s it!

– The answers are similar. What answers then?

– There are always those sneaky ones in it.

I closed the conversation on a positive note.

Exercise: Recognizing and Reproducing the Meta Model


Write each metamodel pattern on a card. A holds up a card with a pattern. B makes an example sentence. C does not see the card, but hears the example sentence from B. Then C names which pattern is involved, and whether it is an omission, generalization or distortion.

Exercise: Making a Story with the Metamodel

Make a circle. Each person contributes 2 sentences to the story. This is how you go along the circle. Whenever it is someone else’s turn, he uses a certain metamodel pattern (go through a list) to further construct the two sentences of the story. Make sure everyone has taken their turn at least twice per metamodel pattern (small circles).

Exercise: training with the metamodel as a coach

After doing this exercise you will be able to recognize vague language when you come across it. Then you can choose to disable it or ignore it. Use the steps from this exercise with all parts of the milton model, which is the opposite of the meta model.

  1. A says a sentence that contains vague language. For example, “They treat me badly.”
  2. B identifies the vagueness and asks a metamodel question.
  3. A answers.
  4. B calibrates: how does A feel after that information and how does it express itself in his body language and voice?
  5. Optionally, B can then specify a layer deeper with an extra question (you can go on indefinitely or until you get hit).
  6. Person C constantly calibrates on the inner and outer of A and B, but especially on A, comparing the differences between first and after. Optionally, let C name the name of the metamodel pattern. After the metamodel questions, the problem may have been visualized, more specific, concrete and less abstract for A, and he is happier and more focused on what he wanted to say.
  7. If person C is wrong, A and / or B can give the correct answer (do not say ‘no’ or ‘wrong’, but give the correct answer).

Combination exercise

Do the same exercise, but A no longer says one, but two and then three vagueness in a sentence. For example, “It’s a habit here to have afternoon tea and I know you don’t like it, and it makes me angry with you.”

Mastering all patterns

Everyone indicates which metamodel part he still has difficulty with. Only deal with those patterns while doing the above exercise.

Exercises to use the metamodel in the wild

  • Have a conversation with someone and ask metamodel questions with the goal of getting to the heart of the problem or the other person’s opinion. As always, after the conversation, you observe yourself from the third position and give yourself feedback.
    Record the conversation and write out which statements made by the other person were a “violation” of the meta-model (at least one in each main category: omission, distortion, and generalization). Afterwards, write down what you could have done differently / extra in the conversation, based on all the options that the meta model offers.
  • Review a business letter / article / report / memo / minutes and identify metamodel questions that can be asked to get the message across to everyone.
  • Ask a question to an institution / organization / store and find out for yourself which metamodel questions you can get more exact information.
  • Every time you receive an assignment, for example at work, you ask metamodel questions so that you know exactly what is expected of you and what the other person means by the assignment.

The meta-model is not necessarily meant to bully someone, quite the contrary …

world map metamodel

Of course you can use the metamodel to point people to his / her ‘bullshit’, but the metamodel can also have a completely different, respectful, self-reflective intention …

Have you heard of  ‘The map is not the territory’, in other words: everyone sees reality in a different way? In brief:

  • You only grasp a small part of reality, distort and generalize it considerably and place it in your  own ‘map of the world’.
  • Then you communicate – through the limited power of words – even a  small portion of your map of the world to other people.
  • And finally, others  also pick up those words in a completely different way than you – the sender – intended them to. Other people give those words different meanings because they have very different generalizations, distortions, and omissions. Moreover, your words – which are already an omission, distortion and generalization – are also distorted, omitted and generalized by the recipient of your words.

The meta-model is an excellent (linguistic) means to ask for and discover someone’s map of reality, so that you have a better understanding of how the other person sees things and so that you can dispute your own map of the world.

The meta-model helps you to create for yourself a more detailed representation of the spoken words of the other person – and thus also the experience referred to with those words.

If someone says, ‘I have this great feeling of freedom,’ you might think, ‘Hmmm, freedom eh, that’s such a nominalization … I have to stop that. Who exactly is free? And about what exactly? ‘ No, that’s not the point. 

It’s about challenging yourself: not assuming that “freedom” is to the other person the same “freedom” that you experience. In other words, it is an act of empathy – stepping into the other person’s shoes, that is, taking the second perceived position.

You gain an understanding of how others build their (by definition limited) model of the world through their nominalizations, universal quantizers, etc.

The more information you gather about a person’s subjective experience, the easier it is to step into the second perception position – the empathic position. You can then better understand what the other person is experiencing.

With the metamodel you can more easily step into the map of the world of that other person, because you want to discover the underlying structure behind the words that a person uses. Not necessarily to tease the other person, but to ‘tease’ your own generalizations, distortions and omissions.

In summary: spend every day asking (metamodel) questions for more clarity

Clarity and transparency are one of the most important things in life. If you master this, you can solve everything or you can decide that something cannot be solved and that you don’t have to spend time on it. Train this every day. With everything you think, with every question and with everything that comes to mind …

  • What do I mean by this?
  • What do you mean by that?
  • What do I want to know?
  • Where do I specifically want to go?
  • Where am I now?
  • And so on…

Good luck using the meta model to avoid noise in communication (in addition to all other effects of this model)! The metamodel is an important part of the NLP Practitioner Training.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!


  1. Karin

    I am currently following the training at the UNLP in Amsterdam. I already see the information from you as a welcome addition.

    • Rubin Alaie

      Good job Karin.

  2. Anonymous

    Awesome work rupin …very detailed

  3. Anonymous

    What a fantastic article! Would love to chat about a few things. Great job modeling tttt he procedures and giving examples before the information- a true NLPr. Thanks again

  4. YM

    I started my NLP training early this year and this post is one of the best ones out there. Thanks for writing and sharing.