Rapport Deepening Techniques using Meta Programs.


     A Meta Program is the name given, in Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P.) to describe patterns of behaviour. For example, do you notice the similarities or the differences? This would be a 'Same/Difference' Meta Program. You may notice what is similar in a situation or what is different, or with an object how it is 'like the one you have', or how it is 'different from the one you have'. Some people will talk about what they want to achieve (moving towards) while others will talk about what they want to avoid (moving away from). This is the 'Moving towards or away from' Meta Program. For example: 'I want to be thinner' or 'I don't want to be fat'. Both of these are about weight loss and have the same end goal but they are stated very differently.


    There are many Meta Programs, in this article I will focus on the Big Picture/Detail Meta Program and its applications within group work. I shall illustrate this Meta Program with an example: if you are performing or speaking from a stage, in an environment where people have chosen where they sit (rather than being given a seating plan), you will find a pattern, something that generally tends to happen is the people who sit in the front rows like to see the detail. These people want to see the details first and then they like to understand the bigger picture. Conversely, there are people who like to see the bigger picture first and then get to the fine details. Those people who choose to sit in the middle and towards the back of the audience fall into the second category.  

     So, when you invite a member from the audience to help, you know right away that when you explain what is requested of them it will need to be presented to them as either an outline first followed by the detail, or the details first followed by the bigger picture, just from where they were sitting. You might say: 'We are going to make this Elephant disappear and what I would like you to do is...', for a person who was sat near the back that is now assisting you, or you would say 'What I would like you to do is... and then the Elephant will disappear' for the person from the front of your audience who is helping you. You could instead choose a person in a specific place in the audience and know that a particular presentation is better suited to them.  

     Will it work every time with every one? Does anything? You will certainly stand a much better chance of creating a good rapport with your helper than if you don't use this simple technique and when the audience sees that you are getting on well with the person on stage they will like you more. These are the small details that when thought about and applied help you to stand out from the majority of performers/speakers who don't know about such things. This as I have said is just one of many Meta programs and there are many ways we can use them.

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