In the complex process of communication, understanding words is important and recognising and appreciating the structure which supports the words is critical.
The framework of our language is made up of a layered structure, only a small proportion of which is evident externally to self. There are an infinite number of semantic combinations which make up comprehensible sentences in every language globally and the range of human descriptions of our world and the experiences within it are endless. The structure of language however, is limited and is governed by sets of rules. An understanding of structure is the first step to eliciting true meaning.
We use our language in several ways. Language is our way of moulding a unique representation of our experience to create a model of the world that makes good sense to us. By distorting, deleting and generalising the information that continuously assaults our neurology, we generate our perception of experience at the unconscious level. We also use our command of language to communicate our model of the world to each other.
As we communicate through the medium of language, the words we use and their order and structure are rarely selected at the conscious level. Whilst we fill our world with unconsciously selected language, the process of communication continues to follow a tightly bound structure. The behaviour of communication is therefore a rule-governed behaviour. Each speaker in every language spoken globally, intuitively knows if a particular sentence is well formed, is structurally sound, complete and makes good sense. The words we hear are the 'surface structure' of language. Behind this surface structure lies a 'deep structure' and the process of transformational linguistics has brought this previously hidden aspect of our language to the fore.
Our unconscious choice of language forms a representation of our deep structure and by doing so, changes its very nature, without destroying the semantic meaning. The words which we use and which are heard therefore, are not true representations of our internal model of the world, but a stripped down approximation.
In order to understand a communication fully, it becomes necessary for the listener to listen to what is not being said, the deeper structure which is a true representation of a person's experience. To this end, we have Meta Model thinking.
The Meta Model of transformational linguistics provides a questioning framework which unveils the deeper structure of a person’s thinking. The deep structure can often be lost to the individual, creating conflicted and problematic thinking. By recovering deep structure for a person, we can eliminate the boundaries which confine problems and easily lead them towards alignment and congruence.
You may have heard the term ‘active listening’ at some point in your life. I recall first hearing this terminology during a coaching course I too back in the 2000’s. The accepted definition which was offered to me a that time was, ‘Active listening is hearing what someone says and paraphrasing it back to them to demonstrate your understanding.’ Hmm, not very indicative of deep listening! As a Master Trainer of NLP, I now have the tools to understand the true meaning of listening actively. To hear someone at a deeper level of meaning, you must listen to what hasn’t been said, the deep structure that sits in the silence between the words uttered. To achieve the interpretation of nothing, you must hear the assumptive presuppositions that a person is using to describe their model of the world. Let me give you an example, when you hear simple words like ‘have to’ and ‘must’, you are hearing what we call in NLP jargon, Modal Operators of Necessity. Without telling you, a person using this language is letting you know that they feel they have no choices available to them in the context of the communication. That’s useful information that you can use to step into the deeper waters of understanding and communication. Listening between the lines is a skill that I will teach you when you attend out Enhanced NLP Coach Practitioner Certification Training.
The wealth of information present in any language is unsaid and encapsulated within the person's neurology. A simple model of thinking and enquiry is all we need to become ultimate masters of communication.