NLP strategies-1 of the difficult skill to master

NLP strategies

NLP strategies are different from the way we understand the term strategy. Strategy means a long term thought out plan, while in NLP, we do what we do to achieve the desired outcome. 

NLP strategies can take your communication to the next level; in this post, I will share it in detail.

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What are NLP strategies?

In one sentence – “A strategy is a sequence of representations that lead to an outcome?


The keyword here is a sequence.

Any strategy will have three components.

  1. An outcome
  2. The sequence of representational systems
  3. The submodalities of representational systems.

We continuously use our representational systems to think, plan, and act. There is always a sequence to our all actions.

For Example.

To make a decision, I need first to visualize, then practice, and at last, need to discuss it with my friends. 

So the strategies belong to internal representational systems; how do we map the outer world? It also combines the results with the internal representational systems.

As I said, the sequence is crucial in NLP strategies. Just like any process.

For example, I am Making tea. We all may know how to make tea? But the best tea maker will know the exact sequence to follow. 

There mainly 5 NLP strategies 

  1. Decision strategies
  2. Motivation strategies
  3. Reality strategies
  4. Learning strategies
  5. Memory strategies

NLP strategies can be different for different people. One person may remember the small details means that person has a better Memory strategy.

The good news is these strategies can be modeled. That means if you know someone has the right decision making strategies, you can model them and make better decisions.

NLP strategy always works and gets the desired outcome. If you are not getting the desired outcome, you need to work more upon modeling the strategy.

NLP strategies

NLP T.O.T.E Model of strategy.

To understand the NLP strategy, the NLP TOTE model is crucial, and this model will help you check, elicit, and implement the new strategy.

The acronym TOTE stands for Test Operate Test Exit, and this is usually our process we follow in NLP strategy.

The Test is the first step, and it is also known as a trigger or cue. “Have we achieved our goal?”

The Operation is a sequence of submodalities aiming to bring yourself closer to the outcome.

The second Test compares the results with the first Test, and The comparison is about have we achieved our goal?”

The Exit will be dependent on the second Test, and if we achieve our goal in the second Test, the process will exit; otherwise, the process will continue.

For Example.

I am deciding on buying a garment.

I first set a Test; it must look good, feel good, and be within my budget.

In Operation, I will check the garment, until I find the garment that looks and feels acceptable to my submodalities.

The process will Exit when I find one.

Is it possible to know the strategy of another person? 

You may ask, How will I know the strategy of another person? Is there any NLP technique for that?


There is no specific technique, but you can use other ways to know someone’s strategy.

If the person is known and acquaintance, I simply ask them what they see, feel, and do for a particular strategy.

I also observe the predicates, their eye movements and note that they access submodalities.

In NLP, the strategy can be external and internal, like the submodalities accessed in mind or in real-time.

For example, seeing the car’s picture in mind or seeing the car actually will have a different notation.

There are five representation system in NLP,






In addition to this, it can

E= external

I= internal

T= tonal




As we observe the other person’s strategy, note down the significant modalities and internal or external.

Some example

Talking to the salesperson to understand and match the Test set by you is Auditory digital, and external.

Feeling the garment or texture before making a purchase is Kinaesthetic external.

You need to note down the submodalities in sequence in that they occur. The sequence is very crucial for implementing one’s strategy to another.

What are the steps in eliciting a strategy in NLP?

In NLP, you can model any behavior you want that includes you can use anyone’s strategy.

If I want to use my friend’s decision-making strategy, I can do that. We just need to elicit the strategy used by him.

Here are the steps for eliciting a strategy in NLP

First Test:  What triggers the behavior? How would they know to start running the strategy?

Operate:  What is the sequence of the representation system used at each step? And what are the submodalities?

Second Test: How do we know that we have succeeded? Or failed? And require to re-run the process. 

Exit: When do we stop running the strategy/


1.Establish a good rapport with the subject and set the frame.

2. Gets the subject associated with the time when they are using the strategy. Use questions like “How do you do XX?” or “What is it like when you XX?” 

3. It is required that person is in a fully associated state and must be reliving the event.

4. You can use the NLP anchoring to utilize this state as and when required. 

5. Ask questions related to each submodality and elicit the NLP strategy. You have to calibrate all accessing cues, predicates, and tonal shifts, etc.

6. Do not forget to note down the elicited submodalities. 

7. Use a backtrack frame if required, in case fo you miss something.

8. Repeat the process till the time you elicit the complete strategy till Exit.

9. Test and confirm the strategy elicited in congruence with the subject.

10. Look out for loops that do not add any value and check for submodalities again.

11. Check the notation you made, find the exit point, and stop the procedure.

What are the key elements in an NLP strategy?


The NLP strategy is challenging to master NLP technique, and you need to have at least NLP practitioner certification and practice.

Here are some of the key elements in an NLP strategy.


There are many questions to ask in NLP strategy, and if you are not in rapport subject may get frustrated with repetitiveness.


The heart of NLP strategy is NLP TOTE, and it provides you the structure you need.


You have to be a keen observer, as you have to observe the eye movement, predicates, and the language used by the subject.

Process Focused

You have to focus on the process and not on the content. Otherwise, you will have too many unnecessary pieces of information.

Don’t Ask Why?

If you ask why the subject goes into the justification mode, that is not helpful here.


Use NLP backtrack frame as much as possible; this will help you ensure that you have elicited the strategy correctly.

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