Meta-programs are ways of thinking that direct your behaviors, actions, decisions and interactions with others. In other words, they are mental processes/shortcuts which manage, direct, and guide other mental processes to achieve a desired outcome. They determine what your brain pays attention to and how it pays attention to it. They depend on your external experience of reality.
Meta-programs operate on the same principle as a computer program. Just like a computer program that controls the execution of sub-programs, sending them information and selecting which ones run and at which time, so do meta-programs determine your behaviors, actions, and decisions.
How does Meta Programs work?
Meta program works to select a particular perception of choice to be represented and processed internally from among many perceptions abreast us. Due to the fact that, our conscious mind can attend to a limited number (7+/-2) of information on a go, yet our sensory receptors receive and present our mind with unlimited perceptions every second. Meta programs help our mind to focus on the main perceptions within its allowed range. The brain processes information from time to time according to the meta-programs currently installed in the background. They do not exhibit automatically for two separate contexts.
Importance of Meta programs
- Learning about meta programs enables you to have a better understanding of yourself and your psychological tendencies.
- They also help you to have a better understanding of others and their psychological tendencies.
Meta programs identification
Through a person’s speech/language, psychology and belief, you can identify his/her meta program.
Some common NLP meta programs
There are over 50 meta programs, and most of them are identified by Richard Bandler and Leslie Cameron-Bandler. Over the years, some of these meta programs have integrated with one another to derive more complex ones. They are;
Frame of Reference
There are two types of frame of Reference; internal and external Frames of Reference.
A person with an internal frame of reference usually makes decisions based on personal opinions and feelings. That is to say, they are very intuitive and self-oriented. In dealing with this person, you must talk about their experience and let them make up their mind about the situation, in order to influence, build rapport and motivate them.
A person with an external frame of reference is more concerned with external opinions. They make decisions based on other’s opinions, actions, and perspectives. They are focused on external answers and approval. In dealing with this person, you must channel your discussion to other people’s ideas, and provide them with your personal point of view with respect to the situation at hand. By doing this you can build rapport, influence and motivate such a person.
Association and Dissociation
Association and dissociation in terms of Meta Programs are fundamental perception, feeling and thinking.
Association helps us to get involved into an experience fully, it is essential both for internal congruity and relationships. It enables us feel the feelings, hear the sounds and see the sights. Association is the act of connecting fully to an experience as an observer.
Dissociation on the other hand, is essential for meditation, perspective and pain management. Dissociation is the act of standing off from an experience as an observer.
Matcher and Mismatcher
This is how much similarity a person finds in any situation. It also determines a person’s level of agreement or disagreement throughout a conversation.
A “Matcher” kind of person is very approving and optimistic, and seeks for similarities while discussing with others. To influence such a person you need to mirror their belief, opinion and experience.
A “Mismatcher” kind of person tends to find faults in circumstances and in others. They don’t always see things in general point of view and they tend to disagree with you irrespective of what you say. To influence such a person you have to master reverse psychology.
There are two types of people (action or reflective) in this category. Some prefer to reflect before taking action, while others take action before reflecting.
A person with an active sort doesn’t often think about his actions before executing them. They jump into action without prior thought of such actions. In dealing with such a person, you will need to get them to take decisive action.
A person with a reflective sort thinks and reflects about a certain action before executing it, so they rarely take immediate decisive actions. To influence such a person, you need to give them time to reflect upon their next decision.
In addition to understanding yourself better, Meta programs are very essential in your quest to influence, persuade and build rapport between you and others, as they do not only teach you about others, but give you an approach to deal you with others appropriately.