Milton Model Language Patterns: All Examples & Techniques
Here you will find a complete overview of all parts of the Milton Model, including a lot of Milton Language examples. You will also find other powerful language patterns. Read on for this complete guide!
What is the Milton model?
The Milton Model is a model that contains a large number of language patterns. With the techniques of the Milton Model, large ‘ chunks’ of information can be created. That means: a lot of abstraction, few details and little precise information. So you will encounter all kinds of variations of deletions, distortions and generalizations in this model.
It’s okay that we use these techniques. After all, everyone’s map of the world was created by deletions, generalizations, and distortions. With this model, we provide suggestions to further influence someone’s map of the world . This is the common thread of an NLP Practitioner Training.
What can you do with the Milton Model?
With these techniques you are vague but powerful at the same time. In other words, you are not vague, but you are effectively vague . You can use this to easily get agreement and to open more possibilities. When working with people, it is often very useful to be vague, for example when you want to coach someone.
With the Milton Model you are purposefully vague. This way you can let your audience determine their own meaning and fill in the details themselves. Obama did this by mentioning a healthcare mother in his speech, but he did not specifically mention which disease it was. John Ewbank did it with lyrics like “What you believe is true”, “It’s how you see it”, “As rich as you feel” and “Follow what you do like the light of the moon.” Just put on any Marco Borsato album.
The more detailed and packed with information your descriptions are, the more likely something will conflict with the other person’s frame of reference. That is why we leave things out, distort and generalize. This applies, for example, to guiding visualizations . You can also:
- Build rapport
- To elicit someone’s subconscious abilities
- Bypassing the critical factor (the conscious)
- Responding to the subjective experience of another person.
- Getting agreement. You deliver your message indirectly instead of directly, making the message easier to accept.
- Influencing, controlling and directing.
A few examples of the Milton Model: the power of language in action …
Let’s take a look at some concrete example sentences of the Milton Model. In the sentences below you have not said anything concrete, but the other person will agree 100% and you have initiated a change.
You have achieved so much in your life!
You can achieve your goals in the ways that are best for you.
We all have potential that we are not aware of, and we don’t normally know how it will express itself …
What would you like to know … that could allow you to do … what’s important to you?
Think about how you can make a difference with what is important to you. Feel what is important to you. Realize what you can create, achieve and make possible for yourself and your family … Connect those developments just as deeply with each other …
Sylvia de Vries & Jeanine de Hoo from UNLP once asked a group: ‘Who likes ice cream?’ Then almost everyone raises their finger. And if you then ask: “Ice cream with whipped cream?” “Ice cream with whipped cream and speckles?” “Ice cream with whipped cream, speckles and mango?” Then fewer and fewer people raise their hands, while your internal image for the first question was an ice cream with whipped cream, speckles and mango. So: the more detailed, the less agreement. The more general / abstract, the more agreement.
So with the milton model you get approval faster …
Let’s look at one more example. A trainer might say:
As you make your way to a seat that is most comfortable for you, I might invite you to think back to this morning, discover what experiences touch you and stand out to you, and note which lessons you want to keep , remember and take forward in future memories, situations and changes in the ways you want to. And that is also something that makes that possible.
The above instructions are process instructions, not substantive instructions . It was not told which specific exercises and lessons to memorize. So it was not said:
‘Take the lessons on the communication model and apply it in a situation in your life where someone communicates poorly.’
Because with those substantive, specific instructions, your audience could think: ‘But I don’t know anyone who communicates badly!’ This creates the possibility for the other person to mismatch internally with you (w instructions).
Does the Milton Model work like a magic spell?
It is important to note that these individual techniques of the milton model consist of only one sentence. That means that they have negligible effect when used alone as a single ‘magic spell’. Instead, they should be used during therapy sessions, in conjunction with the conversations and exercises designed by the coach.
Another way to give these techniques more effect is by using the ‘hypnotic triple’. Repetition is powerful. Once something has been repeated three times, the subconscious will pick up on that more easily. So strive to repeat certain keywords and techniques that work well in a situation a few times, especially those that have proven effective on the client in question , so that it penetrates well into the client’s subconscious.
Milton Model in practice by NLP developer Richard Bandler (Tip)
In the video below you can see Richard Bandler applying the Milton Model in practice during a hypnosis session. Once you are familiar with the language patterns of the Milton Model, this video will be a feast of recognition.
By the way, Bandler also uses ‘unofficial’ Milton language patterns in the video below. These ‘newer discoveries’ – such as ‘I am going to do it for you’ – have also been included in this article.
The Complete Guide: Below you will find all Milton Model patterns
Below you will find all language patterns of the Milton Model. It is important to note that some additional language patterns have been added in this article. Many language patterns are also so special that they have been given a link to their own article.
We’ll start with the language patterns that just fit in this article …
1. Milton Model Ultra light
You can already use the Milton Model in a very simple way by using only two elements: unspecified verbs and nominalizations.
- Feel the growth of confidence .
In the example above, feel is the unspecified verb. Growth and trust are nominalizations.
Do you still want to keep it simple and add a little more? Then play with the following words. Make a free flow improvization and let it flow smoothly. For example, try this out with ‘relaxation’.
- While you …
- When you…
- As soon as you …
- Which means…
2. All or nothing statements (Universal quantifiers)
- And everything will always …
- Everyone thinks you are the right person for this job.
- You can only win with it.
- Every intelligent and successful entrepreneur knows he needs loyal employees.
- If you take a coach, you really progress very fast. Everyone knows that.
- Nobody is perfect.
- Everything you know.
- All things to learn.
- All people, constantly, all the time.
- Everything you have learned.
- There is always a tomorrow.
- And everyone knows that is true.
- There is always more to learn.
- Everything in this room enhances our ability to learn.
- Everything is easier when you can relax.
- Everyone knows this section is easy.
- Everyone knows that it is best to …
- You can learn something from every situation.
- None of the most hypnotic phrases have been written yet. You have them all in your head. Write down all of them you can think of.
An observant client can use the metamodel as an antidote to ask “Really? Everything? Always? Everybody? Nobody? Never?
3. (Lost performative)
What you say may be clear and specific, but you don’t say where you got it. The source is completely missing . The subject / reference is left out of the sentence, for example the person who tells it.
- It is good to take two Kruidvat vitamin pills every morning.
- It’s good to do that …
- It’s good to be curious.
- And it’s good to be like that …
- It seems to be raining.
- You got it wrong. (Or even better, that’s right, you’re wrong.)
- It’s best to post your own examples in the comments now.
- That’s right.
- Which is good.
- That is perfect!
- You already do.
- It is good to question that.
- It is better to give than to receive (or, better to receive than to give).
- This presentation is of value in itself, regardless of whether or not you buy what I am selling.
- Today is a great day!
- You don’t have to …
If the client pays attention and uses the Metamodel as an antidote, he will be able to ask “Who is that so?”
Do you have trouble with the difference between this pattern (Sourceless listing) and the following patterns (Unspecified Nouns and Statements without Reference)? That may be true, because there is overlap between these patterns. To understand the difference, you can look at the very first example of both techniques:
- ‘ It is good to take two Kruidvat vitamin pills every morning’ ( missing reference / topic).
- ” They say it is good to take two Kruidvat vitamin pills every morning” ( incomplete reference / topic).
4. Lack of referential index (Statements with an incomplete reference / unspecified reference)
The reference (for example, subject, person or source) is there, but it is not specified. The specifications have thus been omitted.
Examples of both patterns:
- They say it is good to take two Kruidvat vitamin pills every morning.
- They say it’s okay to do that …
- It is sometimes said that …
- There are certain vitamins in Wicky lemonade.
- (Some) people can feel good, Debbie.
- The majority of people can, Debbie, enjoy the process of getting better and subtle to communicate with people.
- People can learn.
- A person , Debbie, can learn to use her language very precisely.
- A person can find ways to make these changes easy and at ease.
- One person , Debbie, can go to work tomorrow with a fresh start.
- A person , Debbie, can develop a sense of perspective about this situation.
- A person can get incredibly nice feelings talking to a person you really like.
- You can do that easily, you know.
- One can …. you know.
- One can, you know …
- You know, one can achieve a goal.
- It is easy to see through.
- Everyone knows that vegetables make you big and strong.
- They often say …
5. Unspecified nouns
In practice, this pattern can be exactly the same as the previous pattern (lack of referential index). Yet it is different because it fulfills about the same function as nominalizations . Unspecified nouns are – just like nominalizations – vague nouns. Only nominalizations were once verbs.
People, they / them, place, it, environment, culture, certain situation, things … These nouns are very vague and not specific at all. That is why they are excellent to use to support the Milton Model, for example with ’embedded commands’, about which you will learn more later.
- You learn new lessons and new things …
- You see new images .
- You experience new sources in new ways.
- You come to understand things in new ways .
- That’s the way.
- In certain cultures you can relax, Debbie.
- Books are easy to read.
- That is easy to learn.
- Changes are easy to make.
- You can experience a certain physical sensation .
- You can feel the love .
- Now you get it !
- You know the feeling.
- Be it just let it go now.
- It gets people through change.
- When you can notice that particular feeling …
- Have you ever noticed, Piet, that people can just talk … about people in general …
If the client is careful and uses the Metamodel as an antidote, he could ask: “What / who exactly?” and “What exactly is it about?”
6. Adverbs that make things smooth and easy
- In a natural way
- Natural, simple and fluid
- With the greatest of ease
- Of itself
- With pleasure
- With great pleasure
7. Open-ended suggestions
- We all have potential within us that we are not aware of, and I don’t know how that will express itself in you.
8. Confirmation Questions (Tag Questions)
A question that you place behind a statement with the intention of removing the resistance and getting the other person to agree correctly. People automatically like to disagree with other people as well. That’s why you can also use negative wording: can’t you?
- It’s time to relax, you see?
- That’s easy, isn’t it?
- Your health is important, right?
- You can, don’t you think? Yes, exactly!
- You can close your laptop during the meeting, simple right?
- That’s very easy, isn’t it?
- That’s cool, isn’t it?
- However? Or not then?
- Is it not?
- Or is it?
- And that’s true, right? Yes.
- If your eyes aren’t closed, they usually end up closed, aren’t they?
- I’m sure you can do it, isn’t it easy?
- Why do not you go with?
- Nice, huh?
- You can imagine that, can’t you?
- Or is that not possible sometimes?
- Wouldn’t you know?
- Do not you think?
- Aren’t you?
- Or have you not noticed that sometimes? By the way, this is also a presupposition of consciousness.
- Isn’t it great to know that you already have all your resources in you?
When an observant client realizes the added effect of those additions, he can say, “No, it isn’t.”
9. Confirmation words: conditioning when something happens that you want and / or to reassure you
With these words you reassure someone that what is happening is right. You can use this during an exercise, for example. For everything that goes in the right direction during an exercise, say something like:
- That’s right…
- Very well…
- It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay! (When someone is startled).
- You feel the urge to give me the bottle, yes, very well.
10. Selective Restriction Violation
This means that you say something that is contrary to natural law. The point is to give things and beings human qualities that by definition they cannot exhibit. Trees cannot feel sad and men cannot get pregnant. Stones are not actually pets.
The listener’s unconscious mind then has to find a way to find logic in statements like these, so the unconscious can apply the statement to itself. “Trees can’t feel sad, so this must relate to me.” “The man cannot be pregnant, so it must be a metaphor.”
We often use this pattern when making metaphors . It’s a powerful way to induce trance – we can’t use logic and normal conscious processes anymore, so the unconscious has to deal with it. The unconscious knows that you are not really talking about butterflies, but something to do with the problem.
These vagabond shoes
are longing to stray
right through the very heart of it
New York New York
The imagery of New York New York, we create ourselves the feeling of wandering in the heart of New York City because we are trying us to imagine how the vagabond shoes feel.
Milton Erickson once used this cartridge on a terminal cancer patient. “A tomato plant can feel good, Joe …”.
- The wall can feel very good …
- My stone said …
- My car knows how to get there …
- A butterfly takes its time to emerge from the cocoon; he knows there is no rush.
- The turtle goes on, knowing he will eventually get there as long as he persists.
- This article hasn’t told you everything about NLP yet.
- Your pen knows how to write selective restrictions very easily, as long as you guide it to the lines in your notebook.
Because that is not possible, your listener will automatically substitute himself for it. “A table cannot feel. Only people can.” As a result, the message is unconsciously accepted.
11. Have you ever (discovered)…
When you let someone remember something, you let them relive the corresponding feelings on the spot.
- Have you ever experienced tremendous enthusiasm thinking of learning new skills?
- Have you ever started learning something new and discovered how much fun it gave you?
- Have you ever discovered that you were really attracted to someone?
Have you ever found yourself looking in the fridge without knowing why?
- Have you ever found yourself humming in your head and it just wouldn’t go away?
- Have you ever discovered that you were suddenly completely open to everything?
12. Why not … (an open question instead of a closed question)
- “Why don’t you take two more?” Instead of “Do you want to take two more?”
The difference is that one is an open question and the other is a yes / no question.
13. Consent, then inverse
- You’re right when you realize you don’t get it.
- You’re absolutely right to THINK that … until you realize it’s not about the price.
- And you’re right to realize that ( reframe ) it’s not about price.
- You’re right, I wouldn’t want to until I realize that …
- You’re right, I wouldn’t want that if the coach was really bad.
- You’re right, my intention was the following …
- And you’re right … if you realize it’s not true.
14. Presupposition, social proof and an open question all in one
- Why is it that some people see it, and most don’t?
- Why is it that some people, people who are very intelligent and smart, see it and most don’t?
15. I do the work for you
It is very reassuring for people to hear this, while you do nothing more than if you had not said this sentence. You’re just talking about things you were going to do anyway.
16. Only / last option
If that doesn’t improve x, nothing will.
17. Simple deletion
- You’ve had it all for a while today (meaning empathetic).
- Very nice, what you all said.
- You can safely let it all go.
- There is a very important person in your life.
- There may be obstacles in your life, but you will find your solutions.
Especially people who want to let others know that they can feel super intuitively what someone needs, make use of omissions.
How do you do that well? You have to keep them vague .
- Don’t say: I feel you have a challenge at work.
- But say: I feel you have a challenge.
This is how this could look in practice:
“I get the intuitive feeling that you have a challenge in your life.”
“Yes! I want to start my own business selling specialty pet leashes, but I’m afraid to show myself. My heart really wants to start the business, but I keep sabotaging myself.”
“Yes, I felt that was the case.”
18. Try …
Trying implies that you are going to try something , but that you are not actually doing it. In the same way that “trying” is not the same as “doing”, “searching” is not the same as “finding.” Moreover, you put more pressure behind it than when you don’t try something but just do it.
If someone tosses you a baseball unannounced, you will just catch it because your subconscious mind is just doing its job. There is a high probability that things go wrong when the thrower constantly defers and when he says: “This you must necessarily capture, it is very important! You really have to do your best and try it right! ‘
Also think of penalty series during semi-finals and finals. Because there is much more at stake there than in practice, the players miss a lot more penalties during these crucial moments. The harder you try something, the harder it gets.
You make use of the ‘ Law of reverse effect ‘: the harder your conscious effort does its best on a task that is normally performed by the subconscious, and the more important it is, the more difficult it is to succeed. Keeping your eyes open is normally an unconscious thing, and it goes wrong if you do your best. This also applies to you as a professional. Doing less makes it easier. The effort you do put in, you make confidently and congruently.
Here are a few examples of how you can still use the theme ‘try’ in an effective way:
- Try to resist the temptation to relax.
- Try to resist that deep feeling of relaxation as you breathe.
- Try to open your hands as hard as you can and you will see that it cannot be done. Try hard, and the harder you try, the tighter your hands will stick together.
- Try to lift the table.
- Your eyes stare at this object for a moment, and you notice that your eyes are starting to gain weight. The more you stare, the heavier your eyes get, and they want to close, and try to keep them open. The harder you try to keep your eyes open, the heavier and more tired they become. They just want to close, but keep them open.
- Try very hard not to give me the bottle (combination with reverse psychology ).
The 17 most important Milton Model language patterns can be found in detail below
Above are only half of the Milton Model language patterns. Not all of them were! For the rest of the complete overview, see the list below. Each item refers to a new article.
More examples of the power of language
You may have already concluded that language is powerful. Let’s expand on this for a few additional examples of the power of language …
- Pay attention to doubting language and avoid it. Words like actually, hopefully, to some extent and basically show uncertainty. They are vague, but not in a meaningful way. For example, rather use the word sure .
- As you learn in the rapport making article , it’s important to use the other person’s words literally. This touches the other person in a special way. This is much better than paraphrasing and is also referred to as ‘ backtracking ‘ or ‘ echoing ‘.
- The word ‘ still ‘! Instead of saying ‘I’m bad at this’ you can say much better, ‘I’m not good at this yet.’ This implies a growth mindset to focus on what you want to achieve.
But how do you best learn the Milton Model?
The best way to learn the Milton Model is to start simple … with unspecified verbs and nominalisations
A nice basis for the positive use of the Milton Model by means of abstract language is the use of unspecified verbs in combination with nominalizations.
- In the first step you choose unspecified verbs: words like: experience, remember, know, understand, discover, believe, make an effort, connect, imagine, feel this, think that, and if you ever wonder …, realize, recognize, notice, become aware, develop …
- Add a nominalization. Those are basically states of mind! See the table below.
That you have self-confidence
Practice yourself now: Use the above two steps to install words of encouragement.
- Find solutions …
- Earn luck …
- Strengthen your skills …
- Notice how you will have a better focus from now on.
- Notice what it is like to feel power in your speech from now on, noting how natural it is to you.
- Feel your empathy increase.
- You may find yourself talking differently and feeling good because you experience that growth!
- You may realize that you will start talking differently after people start responding to you so well
- What interests me is: when was the last time you learned so easily?
- You should remember that learning is a very natural thing for you to do. Just allow it and enjoy the process.
- This gives you new insights and understanding. “
- This experience will help you further.
- Somehow you feel that you know what the solution is.
- “This is easy to learn.” (What is this?)
- “You can notice a certain feeling”. (Determined?)
- “It gives you a new insight.” (view)
- “You can get very far with this concept.” (understand)
- “Your interest will bring you a lot.” (to interest)
We are slowly expanding this … now with pacing, causal modeling and cause-effect
- First pacing, including causal modeling: “While you sit here, listen to me and look at me …”
- Then the suggestive elements with unspecified verbs and nominalisations: “… I’m not sure how much you realize that you have a lot of assertiveness.”
You just have to say and… and… and…. That’s all you have to do…
And also nominalizations and unspecified verbs.
An encouragement could sound like this: “You sit here, looking at me, aware of what I am saying, and it is not necessary to realize: I am very smart, acknowledge: I am very smart, or believe : I am very smart. And I wonder how easily you can experience that. “
Now with fractionation
- Start as normal, so combine unspecified verbs with nominalizations.
- Do this again smoothly (using Causal Modeling).
- Smoothly transition to fractionation. Use all possible fractionation ways of this article.
Part of you… And part of you….
You could … feel, but you could also … feel … (eg ” something else ‘or the opposite’).
Part of you might feel enthusiastic … and part of you might not feel excited / bored either …
Fractionate with your body position, or in other ways …
This fractionation is also a way of allowing the other to experience the ‘negative’ emotions instead of running away. There are options: you can experience this … and this too …
Use the previous exercises to make everything whole again towards the desired state of mind. Reconnect the fractionated parts: “You will find and feel enthusiasm …” Also calibrate which of the two options is best and take the client there.
Also, practice inserting language softeners into the whole …
Practice adding more and more Milton model parts to the overall picture of your coaching. If you don’t remember for a while, you can go back to the basics: unspecified verbs in combination with nationalizations.
Maybe you can actually, you know, James, relax slowly, with great pleasure and enjoyment.
- You can also do this exercise with multiple coaches on 1 client. Work in harmony and tune in well with each other.
- Someone can create sounds in the background that can be paced / utilized.
- Calibrate constantly! You always do. Reuse and reinforce the technique you used if you notice through calibration that the client is enjoying, and try something else if you see that he or she is not enjoying.
Move smoothly to a future pace
- While you can already notice how all these changes are transforming your future …
And so you keep adding an extra Milton Model pattern until you’ve learned everything! From that basis – which consists of vague verbs and nominalizations – you can add adverbs, confirmation questions and mind reads to your arsenal, for example.
Put all Milton Model parts together
See what hypnotic word mash you can create with the Milton Model?
‘I know you’re wondering … And it’s good to wonder … Because … That means … That you’re learning many new things … And all things … All things … that you can learn … provide you with new insights, and new understanding. And you can do that, can’t you? You can do that, you know … And it’s more or less the right thing to do.
Take a moment for yourself and relax … What is something you want more of? That feeling of clear communication, that quality of seeing through things and speaking your truth and knowing what it is … You know that feeling and you can let it grow because it is certain and real for you. In the future, place it where you want it so you know that when you communicate with people, you say what you want to say. And you are willing and open to take in the feedback so that you move to the next level.
You should feel free to go in the direction that makes it easiest for you to move communication forward as easily as possible. Or, if you wanted to, you could do it in a way that is most comfortable for you.
You sit here listening to me and looking at me, and that means your subconscious is also here and can hear what I’m saying. And because that is the case, you are probably learning something new about this and therefore already know more on an unconscious level than you think you know, and it is not good for me to tell your subconscious: learn this or learn that, let your subconscious do that in the way it wants to, in the order it wants to. Are you feeling this … Is it something you can understand? Because, last week I was with Marcel who talked about his training in 2016 in Amsterdam when he talked to someone who said: ‘A chair can have feelings and feel good … You can hear that …’
‘We are going to have more fun with the milton model because we are going to discover new areas, we want to know what is important to you and we want you to realize that you are already using your language to take people to new places, or you knew where you were going or not. What you will soon find out is that you will start using these skills when most people don’t know where they are going … or not … And once you realize that, you can help direct things. You can be a person who can give a helping hand in a given situation … to steer things in a better direction. ‘
Noticing Milton language in practice
Now that you have studied the Milton Model, I am curious how often you can spot it ‘in the wild’. Listen to a radio fragment and record the spleen language.
Everyone is unconsciously skilled in the use of the milton model. Unfortunately often in the wrong direction …
- “Don’t think about it anymore. It’s not a big deal.”
- “Do not panic!”
- “Don’t forget, eh.”
- “Try not to be late this time.”
The above examples are all very clever applications of the milton model in the wrong direction.
Exercise: Making a Story with the Milton Model
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 milton model 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 milton model pattern (small circles).
Exercise: go around the circle with cards
Make a circle. Each person receives a card with 3 Milton model patterns on it. Whenever it is someone’s turn, that person makes a muddle of words in which he incorporates the three patterns. Turn the cards over so that you can practice with different cards.
Exercise: Making a commercial
Create a commercial that appeals to everyone. For that you have to use the Milton model. An example of a Milton model slogan is “Just do it.”
Exercise: Come up with Milton model statements
Think of statements that are useful in the following contexts:
- How can you use the milton model if you want to sell something?
- What if you made an advertising banner?
- How can you use this to create a feeling of falling in love?
- What kind of Milton statements would make sense with your partner?
- And as a coach?
- And what would a fortuneteller / medium say?
- How does this come in handy as a manager and employee?
- How do you use the milton model for your child?
Exercise: apply for a job
This hilarious exercise was given by Jeanine from UNLP, among others. Apply for the position of chief engineer at the Dutch Railways and for the position of personal assistant of the king. You will do this with the same cover letter for both vacancies.
To your success!