Daily Archives: May 9, 2012

Representational Systems

NLP Consultant to Business and Individuals

“When you’re learning about people’s strategies to understand how they make a decision, you MUST also to know their main representational system so you can present your message in a way that gets through”



The ‘HOW’ Of Our Thinking

Everyone structures their experience of the world through the five senses — seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. (For our purposes tasting and smelling will be classified under the feeling, or kinesthetic category.) While you are aware of your external senses, did you know you had a matching set of “internal senses” or that they are called Representational Systems? 

 When you say:

  • Visually – “I see this computer in front of me.”
  • Auditory – “I hear the sounds and noises around me.”
  • Kinesthetically – “I feel this book in my hands.”

You are describing your External senses. What about your internal world? We use the same five senses to represent what we are thinking about internally or subjectively. 

When you think:

  • Visually – Imagine a picture of an experience you’ve had.
  • Auditory – Recall a conversation you had.
  • Kinesthetically – Remember an experience you felt love.

You are using your internal Representational Systems. It is this internal world, through our Representational Systems, that creates our “mind’s eye,” the words (empowering or disempowering!) we say to ourselves, the feelings such as joy or despair that prompt our behavior and originate our moods.


Did you ever realize every action you take, one or more of these internal representations precedes every sentence you say? You’re not alone … this is outside of most people’s awareness! 

The words someone uses reflects whether they are thinking using their Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic systems, and this gives us an insight into how their brain is sorting information at the time. You can’t tell what a person is thinking but you can have a good idea how they are thinking! Some of the words we use which indicate the different Representation Systems are as follows:


  • Imagine
  • See
  • Show
  • Colorful
  • Illustrate
  • Insight
  • Picture
  • Look




  • Talk over
  • Listen
  • Tune in
  • Loud
  • Call
  • Resonate
  • Hear
  • Sound




  • Walk through
  • Heavy
  • Pass over
  • Touch upon
  • Get a hold of
  • Feel
  • Numb
  • Touch upon


…and there are many, many more. 

”So how do I use this?” you may ask. 

When you know to listen for the types of words people are using, you know what ‘sense’ they are using in their thinking, and knowing this is a direct link to translating your language to their representational system, which creates a very deep rapport, and influences at a subconscious level. 

Everyone uses all of the internal representation systems all of the time; but one or two are likely to predominate. For instance a very ‘visual’ person will see a lot of pictures in their mind’s eye and will use words like those in the visual column above such as see, look, view. A mostly ‘auditory’ person will make use of internal dialogue and will use words such as hear, listen, and speak.


So, if you keep using auditory words to a visual person, they will unconsciously have to translate internally to their own system. This takes time, can be difficult for some people, and does not build rapport. 

 Many relationships have been affected as a result. I know a woman who said to me “My husband doesn’t love me. He never brings me flowers, takes me to movies, or looks at me in that special way.” Her husband replied, “What do you mean, not love her…Of course I do. I tell her I love her three or four times a day!”

She felt loved when she was shown visually. He thought he was being loving when he told her auditorially. Hearing the words “I love you” satisfied him and as we all do, he assumed she did too. 

If he had listened to the words she used to determine which Representation System she was thinking in, he would have heard the visual words and realized his declarations of love were ‘falling on deaf ears.’ Then he could have adapted his language and behavior to show her he loved her, and they both would have been satisfied. 

 It is that simple to listen for the Representational words which indicate in what sense the person is thinking, and to adjust your communication style to match. 

 As you begin to notice what people say, you will note they are revealing their Representational System preference all the time, as these common phrases show:


  • I see what you mean
  • Looks good to me.
  • I get the picture.




  • Sounds awesome
  • I hear you.
  • It rings a bell.




  • It feels right to me.
  • I can’t grasp the point.
  • I catch your drift.


Exercise For Mastering


Your exercise is to pick a significant person in your life and listen to the types of words they use. You will notice they will probably use all types of the visual, auditory and kinesthetic words…but one type will usually predominate and practice translating your language to their system. 

If they say “I don’t see your point,” don’t say “Let me repeat it,” instead say “Let me show you what I mean.” If they say to you “What you’re suggesting doesn’t feel right to me,” don’t say to him/her “Take a different view,” instead say “Let’s touch upon the points another way.” 

If they say “I’ve tuned you out,” don’t say “You’re insensitive,” instead say “Lets talk it over.”

Then practice with other people you know, and listen to conversations on radio or television to develop your skills. Eventually you will find yourself doing it automatically. 

Become aware of how other people think, become flexible in how you respond, and develop excellent communication skills.

NLP State Management

NLP State Management

A combination of the internal representations of the mind and the physiology of the body form a complete Neuro-linguistic state of consciousness. Such states are a part of our day-to-day life. Some states bring us empowerment whereas others limit our potential. We need to identify the triggers that cause these states and see if we can alter them. In Neuro-linguistic programming, state control means an effective management of states.

Only those people who can efficiently manage Neuro-linguistic state control are able to achieve success. This ability to manage states differentiates between the haves and the have-nots, people who achieve their outcome and people who do not. Neuro-linguistic state control is the ability to generate enhancing and supportive states, so that the right set of behaviors can be produced to attain all objectives.

As per Neuro-linguistic programming, the innermost potential and power can be attained by directing and managing all the prominent states. With inner power we can behave, think, speak, respond and emote is a desirable manner. Neuro-linguistic training can help us effectively run our brain. In order to achieve full potential, we must understand each state and the factors that drive the state. It is not that people do not have the personal resources for mastering state management; they simply do not know how to access the resources and utilize them when needed. In addition, when we enter an unresourceful Neuro-linguistic state, the other resources appear to be in deficit. State management skills can be used to empower ourselves for accessing relaxation, learning, creativity, clarity, curiosity, passion and respect. We can learn this through Neuro-linguistic training.

There are four steps to mastering state management in Neuro-linguistic programming.

1. State management

The first step is to understand the dynamics of the various states and the factors that affect them. There are two primary components of a state. The first component is the internal representations and physiology. The other component is the form and usage of physiology. You need to identify what causes a certain state of consciousness, and what it demands. Internal representations are the patterns we use to represent the world to your self, and are mostly derived from our upbringing. These representations form the basis for our values, beliefs, attitudes and understanding. Internal represents portray the content and form of your internal picture and speech within the mind.

The end result of any experience is how it is perceived in the mind. If you can learn to represent events in a productive, effective manner, you can remove all limitations and enhance the representation. By using the correct form of internal representation, you can start to think, speak and act in a more positive manner, using Neuro-linguistic training.

We always have a choice on our Neuro-linguistic perception, and how we interpret an experience. This is known as the representational power. Your behavior or response to an event depends on the internal state or model of the world. These mapping functions are used to help you navigate the world.

After you master having the right kind of communication with yourself, you can start producing the right VAK signals to send to the brain in order to achieve an outcome. This will help you achieve positive results and keep your mind in the resourceful state. Your physiology will affect your state of mind as per Neuro-linguistic courses. Physiology involves your posture, breathing, nervous energy, biochemistry and muscle tension or relaxation.

The combination of the right kind of internal representation and physiology will result in an efficient cybernetic system that will create a unique established personality.

2. State awareness

The next step is to enhance our ability to concentrate and identify our current and ongoing states. With the help of this new sensitivity to states, we can make discriminate between the different internal representations and physiological factors that determine a state.

However, if we are exposed to a certain state over and over again, we lose the acquired awareness since the states become habitual and a part of the unconscious process. It is like the blinking of the eye; after a certain time, we cease to notice our own blinking. Therefore, it is necessary to take a step in time, and assess all our states in order to reach an ecological evaluation. This can be learnt with Neuro-linguistic training.

We need to assess whether a state gives a confidence, joy, love, ecstasy, strength, perseverance etc. by utilizing our personal power resource. It might happen that a state is impeding our progress by bringing out characteristics such as depression, fear, sadness, anxiety, frustration or confusion.

Some Neuro-linguistic Programming states bring with them infinite power to achieve things, think and see clearly, feel ecstatic and vibrant, have energy to take effective actions. These are potent states and then empower our self. Other states are impotent states because they make us feel incompetent and unresourceful. These states do not make us a bad person. It is not wrong to be in such states. However bad states make us behave inappropriately. Our behavior is our reflection for the outside world, although our behavior is because of being caught in the impotent state. If we can change what we feel and think during an event, we can change our behavior.

3. State alteration

This is the step where you can learn to be in control of your states and take charge of your life. State control is our ability to change a state by accessing, changing and enhancing it. Many of our states are constantly altering over time, resulting in increased range of state awareness. In order to change the state at the conscious level, we need to identify all components of the state and alter them in order to change our representation of an experience. This can be learnt using Neuro-linguistic courses.

An important technique is doing a contrastive analysis of opposing states. This will give provide us key information about each state, their components, and how they affect the brain. For example, we can compare the self-esteem and self-contempt states to find out how each state is represented in our mind and how it affects the way we feel and act.


NLP States of maximum impact

How to determine the states of maximum impact

In order to determine which states create maximum impact on you, you need to explore and analyze the image, sound and sensation of each state. You can try to apply one particular state to an experience and see how it affects your perception of the experience by using Neuro-linguistic training. For example, you can replace the relaxation state with a stressful state and observe your feelings and inner perception of the experience.

When you decide to alter a state that is impotent or unsatisfactory, identify the resources required within you to bring about a positive change. For example in order to alter the state or irritation, stress or frustration, you need to acquire the state of calmness and patience. You can try out several states and choose the one that fits the best. In the end, if you can access resourceful states and alter impotent states, you can achieve personal excellence in the field of your choice.

4. State utilization

State utilization means that a person is able to access and alter his states of consciousness. It is the ability and power to apply a resource in times of need. It is not enough to be simply resourceful, but to be able to access that resource the time it is needed.

State utilization is the ability to enable internal representation and physiology shifts the moment these shifts are required. This will help you lead your life as per your choice and is included in Neuro-linguistic courses. Your life will be in control of your mind, not your emotions and reactions to outside events. The power for making a change will come within you, just because you chose the right conscious state.

With utilization, you can control your mind to enter any state as per your will. When you need that extra energy, you can snap your fingers and enter the state of vigor, alertness, activity and excitement. You can enter a state of relaxation when there is a heavy workload. You can enter a state of concentration, creativity and innovativeness when you have a project at hand. This is the true power of utilization.

Think about the time when you felt the most powerful. Think of the internal representation during this time, feel being empowered. Forming the internal representation of the state will help you access that state and its internal resources. By understanding that the internal representations and physiology create the state and subsequently the behavior, you can work backwards to find out the specific steps, using Neuro-linguistic courses. You can then learn to quickly change your states, and then anchor them by associating them with certain words, symbols, gestures or behaviors using Neuro-linguistic programming.


By taking a conscious action towards controlling your state, you can direct your thinking, behavior, emotions and language using Neuro-linguistic courses. Successful people are experts at tapping into their inner resources. They do not wait for things to happen to them. Instead, they take steps to access, extract, intensify and anchor their resourceful states. With less dependency on fate, and more determination and confidence in themselves, these people can achieve the objectives they set out for themselves.

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