How to Use Meta Programs to Transform Your Communication Skills and Influence Your Team (No Matter What the Challenge)

The meta program is one of the most powerful neuroscience techniques that you should learn as a team leader or manager. Get it right, and you’ll be the leader that everyone loves, and in deeds follows with awe….

Here’s what I mean.

Imagine you need to improve a certain process, in view of becoming more efficient and effective. This involves changing how things are historically done.

Unfortunately, you have a hostile team member who won’t entertain the idea of implementing change in their specific process. You’ve tried to reason, but it falls on deaf ears.

After run-ins and fall-outs, you soon result in seeing this person as a bad influence and negative member of the team, and often bypass them because “they have nothing good to say.”

Use the Force, Luke…

Mind tricks

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  What if you could tap into their mind and see what they’re thinking and how they’re “programmed”?

There are no Jedi tricks here.

And I’m not talking about being a mind reader, too.

I’m saying being able to understand them more and build rapport, so you can influence them more effectively.

By doing this, you can see what makes them tick. You can then understand the best way to communicate with them, so you can influence positive change.

And when you use this technique, you can influence those around us, to be better, make them happier, and to help them embrace change – like our friend above. You’ll also be able to build deeper relationships, and create more trust because of the deeper raport you can build.

All these are doable, just by learning the concept of meta programming.

Meta programs are also useful even when the person you’re speaking to is a client, a sales prospect, a board member or the target of a marketing campaign.

But they come from our metaprograms…The scripts that our brain has built up to make sense of the world in our own view.

How about some examples of Meta Program Scripts:

“This always happens to me….”

“When i’m in this mood, i can take on anything.”

“I can never trust a person that says that…”

“I just never have enough time.”

“If i didn’t have bad luck, i’d have no luck at all.”

“I can achieve anything i set out to.”

“I need to do this to avoid losing my job again.”

There are many internal scripts that you’ve formulated, which make sense to you. But, normally only to you.

Sweeping statements normally come from your past experiences and how you’ve perceived them to shape the future.

Are Meta Programs Good?

The point is, we all have scripts running autonomously in our minds. These meta programs are not good or bad, in essence, but they do have an impact on our life.

Some Meta programs will push you towards your goals and help you achieve your desires…

Others will keep you away from them, because of fear and irrational scripts that have been created.

Being able to understand them and know they’re at work, means you can improve your life, because you can begin to see the meta programs that are not acting positively for you.

And for your team members, you can positively influence them in a way that their own metaprograms will be susceptible to.

This all means that being a great influencer and leader is at your fingertips if you can master this technique.

Key Meta Programs

There are many different meta-programs out there. You could be lost for weeks studying this topic on your way to being an NLP Master Practitioner.

It does depend on how deep you want to go and how far you want to perfect this technique.

To get you started, here are the most common meta-programs.

Toward or Away-From

This meta-program is based on the pain and pleasure principles. We are predominantly either working towards a goal (pleasure) or away from pain. It turns out that the majority of us are in fact away from types.

Experiencing pain is often more powerful than experiencing pleasure.

Your team member with a toward sort will primarily be centered on the achievement of goals.

They’re good at managing priorities and are clear about their goals in life.

In order for you to build a rapport, motivate and influence this team mate you need to have them focused on the process of achieving goals. Let them know and visualise the goal and its importance.. And how it will benefit them.

An away-from sort of person is mainly focused on issues and problems that need to be avoided before they can move forward. They are at their best in solving problems, troubleshooting and identifying possible hindrances.

They also set goals, but they find it difficult to prioritize achieving them,l since they are sidetracked by trying to fix one crisis to another, avoiding the pain that may be pending.

If one of your team members is the away-from sort, the way to build rapport, motivate and influence him is to give him a problem that needs to be solved, or talk to them in terms of problems to avoid, and then make him responsible and accountable for fixing it.

Internal or External Frame of Reference Script

Your team mate with an internal frame of reference is self-oriented and spontaneous. They are the type who will make decisions based on opinions and personal feelings.

They often go with their gut.

And when they do, they often feel that the decision was right.

For you to build rapport, motivate and influence the internal framed person, massage their ego by talking about their experiences and allow them to reach a decision about the matter at hand.

An external frame of reference sort of person has other people as their focus.They consistently seek approbation and opinion from others, so much so, that their the decisions they make are based on other people’s opinion.

In order for you to build rapport,motivate and influence a team mate which has an external frame-of -mind meta program, you will need to give them your own opinion or suggestion, or perhaps  mention other people’s suggestions and ideas, to help them.

Matcher or Mismatcher

A matcher or mismatcher mega-program is dependent on how much differences or sameness a person sees in a particular situation. This script also dictates how much a person will disagree or agree with another in the course of a conversation.

The matcher sort is often positive, more receptive and has a tendency to find a common ground or similarities during a conversation. Their decisions, are more often based on similarities they see in others.

To be able to build a rapport, motivate and influence a teammate with a matcher sort of mega-program you need to learn to pay attention closely and try to find a common ground.

Matching their values, beliefs, experiences, and perceptions will help you cultivate a strong emotional bond with them.

The mismatcher is the contrary. This person tends to find fault in everything, whether it is in other people or in circumstances. They will always look for something to moan about and is inclined to always disagree with you regardless of what you say or do.

Reverse psychology is what you need to be able to build rapport, motivate and influence a teammate who is a mismatcher sort. Don’t fight against them. Help them subtly see the difference to the norm when presenting an idea.

Necessity or Possibility Program

The necessity or possibility script is grounded on whether a person decides, based on necessity or possibility.

A person who leans more towards the necessity sort, is one who has come to terms with life. Their decisions are mostly made based on dodging controversy and pain. They are the type who will settle for what is handy or convenient and could not care less about varied experiences or options.

A teammate or subordinate who is inclined towards a necessity  meta program needs a lot of reassurance. You should make them feel comfortable and secure in their decisions by giving them a task that’s safe and familiar.

The possibility sort of person, on the other hand, is an opportunity and variety seeker. Their decisions are primarily based on the challenges they have overcome and conquered.

They’re not the settling type. Instead, they tend to go after what life has to offer.

They’re  driven to seek opportunities that will help them expand their options and achievements.

To build rapport, motivate and influence a possibility sort of teammate,you will have to present them with challenges. The risk involved as well as the opportunities the challenge offers once the task is successful, should be made very clear to them.

Self or Other Type

Self or other sort is about how a person thinks about himself with reference to others.

A person with a self sort meta program is usually self-absorbed and egocentric. Most of their decisions are made on whether  there is something in it for them and based on self-interest.

For a teammate with a self sort, you will need to find ways to meet their needs. You must help them decide or act based on satisfying their desires, wants, and needs.

On the other hand, the  person with the ‘other’ sort of meta program is more focused on other people’s needs and desires.

They are the altruistic type who will think first of the benefits to others before making a decision. They’ll  put the needs of others over their own.

To build rapport, motivate and influence a teammate who has an ‘other’ sort of meta program, your conversation should be centered on the needs of others…. how others can benefit from their decision or support.

Steps to Get Started:

Start to familiarise yourself with  meta programs and being to look for patterns in yourself, and your team members. Specifically look for clues and start to listen to and observe your team members. Look for clues that will give away their own meta program tendencies:

  • Look for their body language when you speak – for instance, do they appear closed off when you’re asking questions around the the ‘self’ metaprogram, or open and enthused when you discuss ideas around necessity?
  • What they say – For instance, are they focused on achieving goals (towards script) or wanting to overcome problems and fears (away from)? Do they tend to argue against opinions (Mismatcher) or can agree quickly (Matcher)?
  • Look at how they react to certain discussions. How do they behave that subtly reflects their scripts?

Recognizing your own meta-programs and those of your subordinates is no walk in the park. It’s a skill, but for now, start practising asking questions and identifying the subtle clues in what they say, and how they react.

By regularly practising this, you’ll get to grips in no time, and can start to use it to improve your influence and engagement.