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What is a strategy?

The definition of a Strategy by Tad James:
A strategy is a set of internal and external (in terms of sequence and syntax) representations that consistently produce a specific result/outcome.

In more simple terms; a strategy is a sequence of steps that we run through in order to achieve a specific outcome. Human experience is an endless series of representations.

All our daily activity is generated & maintained by strategies. The strategy is the structure behind the "how" we do the things we do. We have strategies for.... Loving, Making decisions, Relaxing, Motivate yourself , Learning, Feeling happy, Making Fun, Forgetting things, Having Sex, Parenting etc

We develop strategies from an early age. At a young age people combine various internal and external experiences together and take certain decisions. Later in life, when you notice it works, you generalise the process that you had previously used for making these decisions. You then say (mostly unconsciously) to yourself: "This is a good way to make this decision", after which you continue to use this process.

By discovering your own strategies, you can change them if they are no longer functional, unsuccessful or ineffective for you. Knowledge of strategies helps to stand on the side of the cause. Moreover when you discover successful strategies of others, you can install / apply that strategy to yourself. (modeling)

What do we do with strategies within NLP?

  1. Discover (elicit)
    The first step is to discover someones strategy by obtaining information.
  2. Utilise
    The next step is to make the strategy useable by giving the information back to the person on the way and order in which it was discovered.
  3. Change (design)
    The next step is then to be able to change to the strategy. To make changes so that it produces the desired result.
  4. Install
    We can then install a new strategy, if needed.

Components and elements

A strategy is the sequence of internal and external representations of experiences that lead to a specific result. All our experiences consist of an infinite series of internal and external representations. To deal with this infinite series it is useful to set the terms in results. In other words: Which series (strategy) gives what outcome? A strategy consists of the following components:

  1. The elements (VAKOG).
  2. The sequence of the elements (series)

A memory is a retrieval from stored information. It presents itself on the way it has been perceived at that time.
A construction is a new view built up from many different aspects of the experience. Knowledge of eye pattern is neccessery to retrieve information.

Strategy notation - the elements

Ve = Visual External
Vi = Visual Internal
Vi c = Visual internal Constructed
Vi r = Visual Internal Remembered

Ate = Auditory Tonal External
Ati = Auditory Tonal Internal
Ati c = Auditory Tonal Internal Constructed
Ati r = Auditory Tonal Internal Remembered

Ke = Kinesthetic External
Ki = Kinesthetic Internal
Ki c = Kinesthetic Internal Constructed
Ki r = Kinesthetic Internal Remembered

Ade = Auditory Digital External (talking)
Adi = Auditory Digital Internal (internal dialogue)

Syntactic Symbols




strategy examples


For example:

Strategy example


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