5 NLP Meta Programs to learn personality types the NLP way

NLP Meta Programs are the mental shortcuts that influence our decision, behavior, and interaction with the outside world.

NLP Meta Programs is a set of filters we use to create our internal representation of the outside world. NLP Meta Programs help you to discover the motivation of subjects in coaching practice.

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What are NLP Meta Programs?

NLP Meta Programs are mental programs that run on the unconscious level of awareness, it reacts and interacts with outside pieces of information.

NLP Meta Programs help decide, or say we make decisions based on our meta programs.

What are the types of NLP Meta Programs?

There are many types of NLP Meta Programs, but we will discuss only five crucial NLP Meta Programs in this post.

  1. Motivated towards or away
  2. The external or internal frame of reference.
  3. Options or procedure
  4. Matcher or mismatcher
  5. Convincer strategy

NLP Meta Program 1 – Towards or away

This NLP Meta Program can help you identify whether you are moving towards pleasure or moving away from the pain?


The key to this NLP Meta Program is that we are directed towards what we want or away from what we don’t want.

How do I recognize this pattern?

TowardsAway From


– Talk about future growth and gains

– Sets goals and achieves them.

– See self-included in the picture in visual representation



– Situation to avoid, risk awareness

– Finding all roadblocks and issues in the plan.

– Usually are at 3rd position

Body Language


– Gestures of inclusions

– Looks up looking at the future

Body Language


-Gestures of exclusion

-Arms indicating things to avoid.


Towards NLP Met program is the motivation of the person to think or behave towards achieving something. 

The statements in this meta program are primarily favorable. You can use it towards motivation for well-formed outcomes.

In this meta program, we think of all the best possibilities positively. It is a highly liberating feeling for the people trying it for the first time.

The downside of Towards NLP Meta Program is that it is based on too much positive thinking without any critical thinking like the away meta program.


Have you met someone who is mostly not clear about what they want? But they are clear about what they do not want?

Chances are these people have the Away NLP Meta Program.

This person is stuck with the thoughts of what he/she does not want. This allows him/her to think more critically and make decisions.

The downside of the Away meta program is, they fail to see any positive in any situation.

They have a problem for every solution and make things difficult for everyone around you.

NLP Meta programs

NLP Meta Program 2 – External or internal frame of reference

How do you know that you have done a good job?

Do you know that your self or you trust the feedback of the others?

If you think with an internal frame of reference you are most likely to know by yourself internally.

If you think with an external frame of reference you are most likely to depend on external motivation like appreciation from the boss, peers, etc.

In this NLP Meta Program, the focus is either on oneself or on others. 

How do I recognize this pattern?

Internal External


– I know that, takes decision for self easily

– have their own criteria to judge people, situations



-Waits for others’ feedback, “I think…”

– Seeks inputs from peers.

Body Language


– Pointing towards oneself

– Sits uptight and listening

– Taking pauses before speaking

Body Language


-Lean forwards, listens carefully

-Welcoming gestures for feedback

Internal Reference

In this meta program, a person makes his own criteria based on one’s perception, beliefs, values, etc., and evaluates based on those criteria.

If we ask them how would you know, whether you have done a good job? 

Their answer will be, “ I can feel that” or “I can see that”. Or “I will know when I feel a particular way”.

External Reference

In this NLP Meta Program, persons consider criteria set by others.

If we ask them how would you know, whether you have done a good job?

Their answer will be, “I can see in people’s reaction to it.” or “they will tell me”.

NLP Meta Program 3 – Sorting by options or procedures

How do you like to do things whether you consider all options every time or you follow standard operating procedures?

This NLP Meta Program is about that, there are people who want to know all the options and there are people who want to follow the structure/Procedures to make a decision.

How do I recognize this pattern?



-Always finds a new way to do the same things

-creates own procedure but never follows

-Looking for possibilities for change.



– Follows rules and terms seriously

– Interested to know HOW not WHY.


This person will always look for more possibilities, and opportunities to change even though change is not required.

They are habitually rule-breakers, even though they themselves have set those rules.

They want to create procedures and process for everything but hardly follows themselves.

It is difficult for them to work in the routine they continuously seek changes.


This person will follow books and rules no matter whatever happens.

They do not think about the reason they are following the process but they just follow it anyway.

They are usually not too happy to see changes and actually, they don’t want any changes.

NLP Meta Program 4 – Matcher or mismatcher

Do you like the similarities or always look for the differences between the things?

If you like to see similarities in process, things, or in people you are most like to be operating from the matcher NLP Meta Program.

If you like and appreciate differences you are mostly operating from the mismatcher NLP Meta Program.

In this meta program, you can not be at extremes, you must be somewhere in the middle.

Where up to a certain point you look for similarities and after that, you also consider the differences.

People who enjoy similarities like routines, following their timetable, and likely to stay in the same job for a longer period of time. 

People with the Mismatcher NLP Meta Program will look for differences they do not like to follow rules and routines.


Please note that these are based on context and may not be the same in all situations.

How do I recognize this pattern?

Ask yourself, whether the holiday will be more enjoyable for you or returning to routine life?

Yes, it is that simple to understand this matcher or mismatcher NLP Meta Program.

NLP Meta Programs 5 – Convincer mode and strategy

How do you make decisions? Do you just collect the information from various sources? Or you use these pieces of information and make a decision?

Convincer mode is the trigger for making the decision, in this NLP Meta Program, you collect the information to make a decision.

In a convincer strategy, you process all the pieces of information provided to make the decision.

So this NLP Meta Program is about how you collect the information and process it, to make the decision.

The question is how do people take the information?

For some people, seeing is believing, or what they hear or what they felt?

For most people, it takes more than one convincer strategy to make the decision.

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Why learning the NLP Meta Program is useful?

If you learn the NLP Meta Program it can help you in three ways.

Understanding self

You will be able to understand your own motivation, why do you behave in a certain way, and how to make a decision.

You can find your productive and not-so-productive NLP Meta Programs.

Understanding others

Same as in point number 1 you can understand another person better by knowing their meta programs.

Building Rapport

You can establish rapport with almost anyone if you understand the NLP Meta Program. This will lead to better communications.

How to identify the NLP Meta Program?

Identifying your own or another person’s meta program will require skills and practice.

You can observe their words, physiology, and gesture to understand the meta programs mentioned above.

There are clues everywhere regarding meta program, like if the person is liking routines over changes he may be a matcher.

But however, you can not categorize people based on this, as it is based on context. It is likely to change.

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