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How Can Understanding Meta Programs and DISC Improve Communication?

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

NLP meta-programs are cognitive patterns that influence how people perceive and process information.

Authenticity patterns involve motivation (towards/away), frame of reference (internal/external), proactive/reactive tendencies, decision-making style, focus, and motivation source.

Meta Programs and DISC - Skills For Life Academy Blog - Life and Business Coach

Understanding these patterns can be helpful in personal development and communication.

Once you understand how a person processes communication you will be able to build rapport with that person quickly.

There are 60 Meta programs to investigate but today we will cover the main ones when it comes to communicating with people.

1. Representational – Visual, auditory, kinesthetic.

2. Relationship comparison – Matching or Mismatching.

3. Scale – Detail or global

1. Representational

Visual - Auditory - Language - Kinaesthetic


This is the way we take information from our external senses and reproduce it in our minds. Most people develop and use a favourite representational system in their thinking.


When you think about things, do you prefer to see pictures, hear sounds, feel feelings, or use words? When you learn something new, which sensory system do you use?


• People who process and organise their world visually.

• Move eyes upwards when visualizing.

• Defocus their eyes to imagine things out in front of them.

• Like to look at others when talking.

• Use terms such as see, view, peek, show, looks right, spot, and glance.


• Process and move their eyes with sound.

• Move eyes from side to side when accessing information.

• May have the gift of the gab.

• May be sensitive to tones and volumes.

• May point to their ear.

• Use terms such as listen, hear, sounds right, call, whisper, and quiet.


• Live in a world of words.

• Have little awareness of pictures, sounds, or sensations.

• Love reading, studying.

• Use terms such as lists, criteria, words, and rules.


• Process and organise things with their body sensations.

• Move eyes downward.

• May breathe deeply, talk and move slowly.

• Use a lot of gestures.

• Use terms such as touch, feel, fall, struggle, handle, sense, and move.

2. Relationship Comparison

Matching or Mismatching


How we work with, filter, and compare information.


What relationship do you first see between where you live now, and your previous home?

Do you approach things trying to match what we already know, or search for how it differs?

Matching Sameness:

• Search for commonalities.

• Search for correlations.

• Search for sameness between current experience and previous experience.

• Value security, regularity, and stability.

• Want things to stay the same.

• Do not like change.

• Conservative approach.

• Love terms such as mutual agreement, security, and what you both want.

• Respond with “Isn’t this like…”

• More people match than mismatch.

Mis-Matching for Differences:

• First notice things that differ.

• Search for distinctions.

• Search for exceptions.

• Value change, variety, and newness.

• Find static boring.

• Will notice differences, problems, and things that do not fit.

• Love terms such as re-engineering, innovation, different, troubleshooting, adventurous, evolving, and new.

• Give counterexamples to statements “Yes, but…”

• Entrepreneurs are often mismatchers.

3. Scale

Detail – Global


When thinking, communicating, learning, and understanding, most of us have a preference for the size of information we are dealing with. Some like to begin with small and move up to larger chunks, some begin with the big picture and move down to the details.


What do you want to know when you first hear something new – the big picture or the details? If we were doing a project together, do you want to know the general purpose of it first, or the details of what we have to do?

Inductive Thinking from Details:

• Begin small and move up to larger chunks.

• Start at the level of details with lots of specificity and move upward.

• Likes the details.

• Sees the trees, rather than the forest.

Deductive Thinking from Global

• Begin with the big picture of things, the global or overall view, and move downwards to smaller and smaller chunks.

• Begin with principles, concepts, and beliefs.

• Prefer to start with an overall understanding.

• Deduce downwards to specific details.

• May be bored with details.

• Sees the forest first, not the trees.

Now that you know this it is so important to listen out for the other person’s Meta programs so that you can communicate with them in a way where they are going this person just gets you.

If you're looking for a way to improve your communication skills and relationships, book a FREE consultation with Aaron today!
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