Meta programs impact on behaviour. They contribute to determining in a given situation what behaviour will be adopted.
Many meta programs tend to present a dichotomy, i.e., they offer two choices for behaviour. For example, people either tend to get attracted to what they want either tend to avoid what they don't want. It isn't a binary system, in most cases both sides will be considered and contribute to forging behaviour.
The following are examples of the most widely accepted NLP meta programs, some of which are detailed to illustrate the nature of meta programs in general :
- Towards/Away from: people either tend to go towards what they want or either tend to go away from what they don't. This occurs is many situations when a choice is made and if a person tends to move towards what he wants he will therefore favour a choice which presents what he wants rather than a choice which prevents what he doesn't. This is a valuable meta program for understanding people's decisions.
- Proactive/Reactive: proactive people will tend to favour plannification and anticipation and therefore will favour approaches witch are predictive while reactive people tend to prefer reacting to situations has they come thus not minding and even in some cases avoiding planned situations.
- Options/Procedures: some people prefer to have options which give them numerous choices to orient their decisions and acts while some might prefer procedures which guide them with more constraints.
- Sameness/Difference: people can either tend to compare things by analysing their similarities or analysing their differences. This meta program is apparent when people talk, for example they might say 'product A and B both have X,Y and Z' or they might say 'product A has X while product B has M and N'.
- Frame of Reference (Internal/External): when evaluating something people either tend to refer to themselves (i.e. Internal) or tend to refer to other sources (external). This is sometimes related to expertise, as the more expertise one has in a field the more 'internal' he'll probably tend to get.
- Necessity/Possibility: some are subject to doing something because it is possible while others might not do anything until it is necessary.
- Reflection/Action: when considering an task or objective some people will tend to prefer reflect on how to proceed on a large scale while others might tend to prefer acting right away on a smaller scale.
Here some other meta programs:
- Convincer Mode (or "channel")
- Convincer Frequency Once/Continuously
- Primary Interest Pattern
- Chunk Size (General/Specific)
- Rule Structure
- Working Style
- Affiliation Self/Others