How To Use NLP Strategies to Learn and Model Excellence



We all have scripts we run for how we get motivated, how we fall in love, and even how we even get depressed.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, a strategy is a recipe for results.  It’s how we order and sequence our experiences to produce a specific result.

A simple way to think of a neurological strategy is that it’s what you do in your mind, body, and emotions when you do something.  It’s how you organize and use your nervous system.

NLP strategies are the nervous system patterns that produce our results. We have strategies for everything we do from falling in love to getting motivated, to feeling depressed.

The challenge is we aren’t usually conscious of them.

Key Takeaways

Here is a summary of key takeaways:

  • A strategy is a recipe or program for results.  In NLP, a neurological strategy is how you order and sequence your experience to produce a result.
  • Recipes for results.  A strategy is a recipe for a result. A recipe includes which ingredients, how much, what to do when, and in what order.
  • Your modalities are the main ingredients.   Your fives senses are the main ingredients in the recipe: Visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory, and olfactory.
  • We deal with sensory input on two levels – internal and external.  We can process our sense internally or externally.  For example, when you see something in your mind’s eye, it’s internal.  When you have a feeling inside, that’s kinesthetic internal.  When you hear a whistle, that’s auditory external.  When you hear a voice in your mind, that’s auditory internal.
  • (V) for visual, (A) for auditory, (K) for kinesthetic, (O) for olfactory, and (G) for gustatory.   You can use simple notation for writing down your strategies.  You can use V for visual, A for auditory, K for kinesthetic, O for olfactory and G for gustatory.
  • (i) for internal, (e) for external.   When you write down your strategies, you should note whether your sensory experience is internal or external.  For example, (Ki) would be kinesthetic internal.  (Ve) would be visual external.
  • (t) for tonal and (d) for digital.  When you note your auditory experience, you should note whether it’s tonal or digital.  If the tone of the voice is important, it’s auditory tonal.  If the meaning of the voice is important, it’s auditory digital.  An auditory experience that’s internal where it’s the tone that matters would be (Ait).  An auditory experience that’s external and it’s the meaning that matters would be (Aed).
  • Know your strategies.  Learn your strategies behind your results.  How do you feel happy?  How do you learn?  How do you get creative?  How do you get motivated?  How do you feel loved?  How do you get into your most resourceful state? … etc.
  • Model other people’s strategies.  Model the best.  Find people who are masters at what you want to accomplish, and find out their neurological strategies.

Model Excellence with NLP Strategies

NLP strategies are a way to share nervous system patterns as recipes.  You can use these recipes to produce specific results.  Having the right recipe can dramatically speed up your results in all areas of your life.

Strategies are one part of modeling excellence.  To effectively model another person’s results, you need to model their belief system, their strategies, and their physiology.

Change Your Strategies, Change Your Results

If we know what our strategies are, then we can use our strategies to get into a particular state more effectively.  For example, we could quickly get into a creative state when we need to.  We can also swap out ineffective strategies for more effective ones.

We can also model strategies from successful people to learn how to produce more effective results.  For example, we can model the strategies of people who are optimistic.

In Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins writes about capturing and sharing strategies.

Strategies are How You Organize Your Internal and External Experiences

In NLP, strategies are how you organize your internal and external experience.

Robbins writes:

“We’ll use the word “strategy” to describe all these factors – the kinds of internal representations, the necessary sub modalities, and the required syntax – that work together to create a particular result.”

Strategies are the Combination to the Vault

Strategies can help you consistently access your best resources and your best states.

Robbins writes:

We have a strategy for everything — for motivation, for buying, for love, for being attracted to someone. Certain sequences of stimuli will always achieve a specific outcome.

Strategies are like the combination to the vault of your brain’s resources. Even if you know the numbers, if you don’t use them in the right sequence, you won’t be able to open the lock. However, if you get the right numbers and the right sequence, the lock will open every time.

So you need to find the combination that opens your vault and those that open other people’s vaults as well.”

Strategies Helps You Access a State on Cue

Mastering your strategies can help you unleash your results.

Robbins writes:

“Are there persuasion strategies? Are there ways to organize material that you present to someone so that it becomes almost irresistible? Absolutely. Motivation? Seduction? Learning? Athletics? Selling? Absolutely. How about depression? Or ecstasy? Are there specific ways to represent your experience of the world in certain sequences that create these emotions?

You bet.

There are strategies for efficient management. There are strategies for creativity. When certain things trigger you, you go into that state. You just need to know what your strategy is in order to access a state on cue. And you need to be able to figure out the strategies others use so you can know how to give people what they want.”

Follow the Recipe to Reproduce Results

You can model other people’s recipes for results.

Robbins writes:

A nice metaphor for the components and use of strategies is that of baking. If someone makes the greatest chocolate cake in the world, can you produce the same quality results? Of course you can, if you have the person’s recipe.

A recipe is nothing but a strategy, a specific plan of what resources to use and how to use them to produce a specific result.

If you believe that we al have the same neurology, then you believe we all have the same potential resources available to us.

It is our strategy – that is, how we use those resources – that determines the results we produce … So what do you need to produce the same quality cake as the expert baker? You need the recipe, and you need to follow it explicitly. If you follow the recipe to the letter, you will produce the same results, even though you may have never have baked such a cake before in your life.”

Which Ingredients

Part of the recipe is knowing which ingredients you need.  Your five sense are the key ingredients.

Robbins writes:

“What does a recipe tell us that empowers us to take effective action? Well, one of the first things to tell us is what ingredients are needed to produce the result. In the “baking” of human experience, the ingredients are our five senses. All human results are built or created from some specific use of the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory, and olfactory representational systems.”

How Much

You need to know how much of each of the ingredients you need.

Robbins writes:

“What else does a recipe tell us that allows us to produce the exact same result as the person who created the recipe? it tells us the amounts we need. In strategies, we can think of the sub-modalities as being the amounts. They tell us specifically how much we need. For example, how much visual input — how bright, how dark, how close is the experience? What’s the tempo, the texture?”

Strategies Provide Sequence (What To Do and In What Order)

You also need to know what to do and in which order to write the recipe.

Robbins writes:

“If you know what the ingredients are and how much to use, can you now produce the same quality of cake?

No, not unless you also now the syntax of the production — that is, when to do what, and in what order.

What would happen if in baking the cake you put in first what the original baker put in last? Would you produce a cake of the same quality? I doubt it.

If, however, you use the same ingredients, in the same amounts, in the same sequence, then you will of course produce similar results.”

Sensory Input Can Be Internal or External

Our experiences include internal and external sensory input.  Internally, we might add our own audio track, or we might create an image in our mind a certain way.  Externally, we might hear a particular sound or see a particular image.

Robbins writes:

“We deal with sensory input on two levels — internal and external. Syntax is the way we put together the blocks of what we experience externally and what we represent to ourselves internally.

For example, you can have two kinds of visual experience. The first is what you see in the outside world. As you read this book and look at the black letters on the white background, you’re having a visual experience. The second is visual internal.

…The same is true of the other modalities. You can hear a train whistle outside your window. That’s auditory external. Or you can hear a voice in your mind. That’s auditory internal.”

Capturing and Sharing Strategies

You can use simple notation to capture and share strategies.

Robbins writes:

“In order to create a recipe, we must have a system to describe what to do and when. So we have a notation system to describe strategies. So we have a notation system to describe strategies.

We represent sensory processes in a shorthand notation, using V for visual, A for auditory, K for kinesthetic, I for internal, e for external, t for tonal, and d for digital.

When you see something in the outside world (visual external), it can represented as Ve.

When you have a feeling inside, it’s Ki.

Consider the strategy of someone who gets motivated by seeing something (Ve), then saying something to herself (Aid) that creates the driving feeling (Ki) inside. This strategy would be represented in the following way: Ve-Aid-Ki.

You could ‘talk’ all day to this person about why she should do something, and it’s highly unlikely you’d succeed. However, if you ‘showed’ her a result and mentioned what she would say to herself when she saw it, you could put that person into state almost on cue.”

Share NLP Strategies to Make Others Great

If you want to accelerate your results in work and life, take a look at the strategies you use, and that others use, all around you.

You can use strategies as a way to model excellence and as a way to share what you know with others to help them accelerate their results as well.

If you are a mentor, a leader, a parent, a friend, or a teacher, this is especially helpful so you can help lift others up and make others great.

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  1. Hi J.D.,

    This is fascinating to me. So often in life people glide along thinking everything happens TO them, that there is nothing they can do to have any control over situations. It’s true that many of us are often “sleepwalking” through our lives. I love the idea of consciously using effective strategies and I love Tony’s stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I used to have a book on NLP, but I lost it with privatisation. I really need to get my hands on another copy – there are loads of great ways to use NLP, and it doesn’t hurt to keep it fresh in your memory.

  3. I really like the ideas presented in this post. In fact, I often step back and examine my own processes for any number of tasks and try to determine where improvements could be made. I like coming up with more efficient strategies 🙂

  4. NLP is very useful in that there is a structure of breaking down our thoughts to produce similar results for success. There are so many strategies under NLP that I have not gotten the chance to apply. Thanks for the reminder to go back for a review!

  5. Hi JD

    Good summary and reminder. I need this at the moment.
    I’ve read Unlimited Power, but it is so easy to slip away from the learnings…

    Thank you

  6. Hi J.D.

    You are a great writer, I always enjoy your review in books. You have a way to give to most in a short amount words.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  7. @ Christine

    Tony rocks. He’s one of the best people I know in terms of distinctions and precision. He really has a gift for turning insight into results.

    @ ocean

    Welcome Sriram!

    @ Louisa

    NLP is too cool. My favorite NLP book is Brilliant NLP: What the Most Successful People Know, Say and Do. It’s a concise book packed with nuggets of insight.

    @ Melissa

    I think writing is a great example where getting in the right state matters a lot. At a high level, I’ve relied more on setting up the right ambiance and writing at specific times of the day. I’ve also tried putting on my “writing hat.” I don’t think I’ve nailed my strategies yet though with enough precision to switch gears as effectively as I could. Writing this post helped trigger some ideas on how I can improve.

    @ Evelyn

    Very well put. I love structured processes that turn state of the art into state of the practice. NLP has so many great techniques.

    @ Juliet

    Unlimited Power is definitely a classic. The density of information and insight is amazing. I also like the fact that Tony writes like he’s right there trying give you all he’s got to help you really learn this stuff.

    @ Giovanna

    Thank you. This post was actually a challenge for me. It’s a complicated topic and I had a hard time boiling it down to the essence. I’m glad you found it useful and I appreciate your kind words.

Comments are closed.