NLP Submodalities- The 1 key to many NLP techniques – learn free

NLP Submodalities

NLP submodalities are the finer distinction of our 5 main representation systems, which are also known as “Modalities”. NLP submodalities go more on details for each modality.

In this article, I will share my experience with NLP submodalities and why learning NLP submodalities are important and how can you use them to your advantage?

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What are the NLP Submodalities?

NLP submodalities are a subset of every modality. As we know we have five modalities like Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, and gustatory.

In NLP submodalities we get into finer distinctions of each modality, For example, if you are visual you may store memory in pictures or movies, it can be colorful or black and white.

We take information from our five senses and process it to make a memory or experience. In terms of NLP, we all are creating our maps of the world with these modalities and submodalities. 

Everyone has different maps based on these submodalities, for example, I process the experience in visuals and my friend also processes it in visuals. I see images with light colors while she sees the images with bright colors.

NLP Submodalities

NLP Submodalities list 

I have created an NLP submodalities checklist pdf along with this post for you for free to download.

However, here is the brief list of NLP submodalities for each NLP representation system.

Visual Submodalities

Framed or panoramic

Near or far

Flat or 3D

Clear or Fuzzy

Color or Black & White

Still or Movie

Associated or Dissociated

Focused or Defocused

Bright or Dim

Center, Left or Right

Auditory Submodalities

Direction of sound

Duration of Sound

Volume High/low

Pitch High/low

Tempo Fast/Slow

Internal or External

Rhythm Regular or irregular

Kinaesthetic Submodalities






Movement fast/slow



NLP Submodalities checklist PDF

Click to download – Submodalities checklist

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Importance of Learning NLP submodalities

I have found that modalities and NLP submodalities are the base of every technique, presupposition, and exercise in NLP.

This can help you to learn better, communicate even better, you will be able to understand other people more easily.

As we learned in NLP representational systems and NLP presuppositions, We are continuously building a map of reality in our head.

If you can understand the map of others in even more detail, Imagine how beneficial that will be for you?

For Example, A person has a bad memory which he wants to forget, when we elicit the NLP submodalities we can know a subset of this bad memory. 

Just for the example purpose let us assume that it has visuals, with dark images, high pitched noise, heaviness in the chest, and foul smell in the environment. If you could change the color, reduce the noise, shift the heaviness away, and replace the bad smell, you can change the whole experience of a bad memory for that person.


Learning NLP Submodalities will also help you to understand other people better like if the person with whom you are communicating is more visual, you can use more colors in your presentation, if he/she is auditory you can use a smooth voice, if he/she is kinesthetic you can allow him/her to try your product or give them experience.

If you study this more in detail, you can also decide on which NLP submodalities will suit the need and get the results you want. 

Types of NLP Submodalities

Critical submodalities

These are the submodalities, in which making changes will have a greater impact on the overall experience. 


For many people critical submodalities are location, size, and association/dissociation, which can make a difference in two given experiences.

For example, Your boss is shouting at you and you just hate his high pitched voice. Later you can imagine he is speaking like a cartoon character maybe Donald duck. The same experience may make you laugh.

We all have critical submodalities that highly depend on our preferred representation system or modalities.

Driver submodalities

These are the submodalities that drive other modalities to react in certain ways.

Let’s continue with the boss shouting at you. You will feel annoyed, heaviness to breathe, you may not enjoy the view, or have a strange feeling in your stomach. 

If the pitch of the voice is Driver’s submodality, the experience will fade away easily.

So this submodality practically has an influence on all of your other NLP representational systems or modalities.

Identifying critical and driver submodalities has eased my work in therapy. Choosing the appropriate NLP techniques becomes so much easier.

Analogue Submodalities

Analogue submodalities have a wide range in them, like low to high and light to heavy. 

For Example, Brightness can be High or low or it can also be medium.

Size can be huge or tiny or anything in between them, Volume can be high or low or somewhere in between. Weight can be heavy or light or somewhere in between.

Digital Submodalities

Digital submodalities have either or this thing or another kind like you can have yes or no.

For Example, You can imagine that are either associated or dissociated, black or white, 3D or flat likewise.


Identifying Analogue or Digital Submodalities is crucial for many of the NLP techniques like Swish, Visual Squash, and VAK overlap.

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Eliciting submodalities

If you have found out that the submodalities will be the proper technique to help yourself or your client you should first elicit the submodalities.

Follow some tips to elicit submodalities

  • Build rapport with your client, make them as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
  • Submodalities are everyday experiences and you must use everyday language to know what they see, hear, or feel.
  • Be clear and direct, and ask them to see what they saw, listen to what they heard or feel what they felt. Do not assume anything on your part.
  • Ask questions like is it a picture or sound? If the picture is moving or still? Is it colorful or black & white? Do not simply go by submodalities checklist like strict school teachers. Be more flexible.
  • Eliciting submodalities is a change process. So I must keep the pace a little quick. If the conscious mind identifies the change it may change its submodalities.
  • Do not make any suggestion at this stage, ask questions with a soft tone, inviting answers.
  • You can develop your own shorthand and later transfer the data in the submodalities checklist 

NLP submodalities are the heart of many NLP techniques and crucial to building rapport. Where are you going to use this in your real life? Please comment below. If you want me to write more about NLP submodalities please also mention that.

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  1. An insider’s guide to submodalities – Richard Bandler and Will Macdonald
  2. Change your mind and keep the change – Steve Andreas and Connirae Andreas

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