Glossary: M

Multiple Descriptions

We act on and through our maps of reality rather than on the world directly. Having and using multiple maps of the world offer distinct advantages over any single map. Different descriptions for different circumstances, as well as multiple descriptions for a particular context add richness in terms of possible choices in how to act and be in the world. A minimum of three examples of any given skill, concept or activity, thus allowing the learner to cross refer and understand in depth. The purpose of creating multiple descriptions is to enable the individual to access a wider range of information, including that which may have been outside their awareness. That having and using multiple maps of the world offer distinct advantages over any single map. Different descriptions for different circumstances, as well as multiple descriptions for a particular context add richness in terms of possible choices in how to act and be in the world.

Model of the World

The sum total of an individual's beliefs and values, perceptual filters, desires and expectations, experiences and learning's about the world. Each person has an unique combination of the above. As human beings, our behaviour is governed by how we perceive, believe, and think about ourselves and the world. It is our internal representation of reality, and the processes we use to organise our internal representations that shape our actions. These internal maps and the relationships within our minds are referred to as our model of the world.

Modal Operator

Linguistic term referring to words which denote requirement or options. Cited in meta-model as modal operators of necessity (should, must, have to) and modal operators of possibility (might, could).

Modelling (modeling) see also, (replicating talent) (NLP Modelling)

The effective description, replication and transfer of human capabilities from one person to another. It includes the detection of patterns of behaviour, the relationship of those patterns to a particular context, and some intended outcome. When modelling, we elicit and describe a series of templates of the thinking patterns used by an expert in the course of their expertise. We develop models within the framework of elegance, that is using the minimal number of distinctions necessary to provide an effective replication of the talent (Grinder, DeLozier & Bandler, 1977). By removing any inessential features the capability is streamlined. A form of learning where a person is exposed to the behaviours and qualities of a significant other, which leads to the representation, internalising and later expression of those behaviours and or qualities. Examples include children modelling parents, students modelling a mentor or teacher, and the apprenticeship system. When done deliberately, modelling is the elicitation and replication of particular skills and expertise from a chosen expert in that field. Often the most valuable components of their skills were previously outside their conscious awareness.

Mission Statement

A general statement of a vision in word form. It is important to have a rich representation of the vision in all the senses. Then the mission statement can be written in language which allows all parties to it to derive meaning from it, yet be precise enough to guide them towards achieving it. It is a general statement of intent, normally restricted to five or six lines of type.


Doing something differently from another person with the result that rapport is broken. For example, breathing at a different rate, speaking more quickly or slowly than the other. Can be conscious or unconscious.

Milton Model

The Milton Model is a reflection of the Meta Model, in that it has the exact opposite function. It was developed by John Grinder, Richard Bandler, and Judith DeLozier after they modelled the psychiatrist and hypnotist Dr. Milton H. Erickson. Instead of filling in the gaps in language left by distortion generalisation and deletion, the Milton Model deliberately distorts, generalises and deletes information to offer direction for thought with non-specific content. This allows each listener to construct or remember their own experience within the framework offered by the speaker or writer. Examples where the Milton Model is used include Hypnotic induction and utilisation, political speeches and religious ceremonial language.


A set of tools, techniques, procedures and investigative methods, used to collect, store, analyse and present information. Scientific methodology involves the development of hypotheses and predictions, investigating the manipulation of particular variables while maintaining all other variables constant, using measurable, objective measures and statistical analyses in order to come to conclusions about the topic under investigation.

Meta Programs

Content descriptions of some of the ways in which people can and do place their attention. The first meta programs were described by John Grinder as a humourous method of showing the distinction between patterns and content models for his students at UCSC. The distinction is made by chunking up from a content example to the pattern that informs it. Meta programs were taken up by Leslie Cameron-Bandler and her colleagues and used for profiling people. Cameron-Bandler now identifies meta programs as content. As a content model, meta program categorisation and use has no place in the context of NLP.

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