Modeling Someone you Don’t Know


I read your article on modelling with great interest.

How would you model someone you do not know – someone you have seen on TV, someone who works in a different department, someone who lives nearby etc. You cannot get close enough to most people to start asking intimate questions or get to know them well enough to model them or understand them properly.


When we are children, we learn by modeling. We are designed to copy and take on all sorts of gestures, mannerisms, ways of speaking, Meta programs of people we think are important. This is a built-in function of humans. This is how we learn from others naturally, before we are conscious.

Of course we may take on all sorts of things that may or may not be useful. If we want to play football like our favorite star we might find we also adopt some of her more unsavory characteristics like swearing, or parts that are irrelevant to the skill like a really raunchy laugh. We take on the whole caboodle without much discrimination.

NLP outside modeling

Later we might refine the skill by integrating other aspects from other experts, but it’s all a bit hit and miss. That is the NLP modeling process is so powerful. By analyzing the sequence of submodalities, representational systems, physiology, Meta programs and references, we can weed out what is irrelevant to the actual skill and even refine the sequence until we get the best leverage. For instance if we understand the structure of a skill like spelling there are many aspects that while helpful in developing references are a separate requirement to building the actual skill.

Inside Modeling

So how can we take on the skill if we don’t have access to the model? Part of NLP modeling and gathering information is called inside modeling. This involves our pre-conscious way of modeling as children. We identify with our model. We take a second position shift to understand the skill from the model’s perspective.

One way to do this is to use an NLP technique called deep trance identification. It is done with another person as a guide to keep you on track and to stay with the alternate identity for a set time period. Use a pre hypnotic suggestion to bring back all necessary learnings.

The basic process is:

  • Using Time Line go into trance and go back in time to before you were born – to the beginning of your personal timeline and then even further.
  • Then take on the identity of our chosen model for a specific time
  • Experience what it is like to be that person performing the chosen role.
  • Have the guide talk to you as though you were that person, discussing what it is like to perform the skill, share hints etc
  • Come back onto your personal timeline into yourself and your identity
  • Debrief with your guide and recall the additional information about that skill.

When you do this, be sure to set a lifeline and establish a strong present state identity before you start. Also be clear about your intention to take on specific parts of the skill and not unresourceful or irrelevant behaviors of the model.

Are you really in that person’s body? Of course not. Are you really experiencing what the model experiences? No. But we are designed to walk in another’s shoes by way of special mirror neurons. That is how we can empathize. Your unconscious will have picked up enormous amounts of informations about the other you aren’t aware of.

My experiences of inside modeling have been extraordinary. I once took on the identity of a trainer I admired and found she saw the audience in terms of cool spots — places she needed to bring alive. Did she really do this? I have no idea, but it was helpful in what I wanted to do. My unconscious was able to pick up a great deal of information from observing the trainer’s mannerisms and movements that consciously I wouldn’t have thought of.

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