Metamodel Ultimate Overview – Free Training, Exercises and Clear Examples

The metamodel ensures that you never have more noise in your communication. It is a very useful tool in all situations in your life where you communicate with other people, with the exception of social situations, such as parties. This article contains all questions with which you create new possibilities or discover that someone has no idea what he is talking about (bullshit detector).Learn the complete metamodel in this article!

Practical example NLP model

Before we start with the Metamodel: first read the story below …

A businessman was ready and the light was turned off in the store when a man appeared and demanded money. The man opened the cash register, the contents of the checkout were taken out and the man went off quickly. A police officer was quickly informed.

True or False? Answer these questions about the above story, and let other people answer these questions:

  1. A man appeared after the owner had turned off the light from the store.
  2. The owner of the store was not present in the store at that time.
  3. The robber was a man.
  4. The robber demanded money.
  5. There is no talk of a robber.
  6. The man who quickly ran away is the same man who cleared the contents of the checkout.
  7. The police have been contacted as a standard security procedure at the end of each day.

Compare your answers. This looked like a very clear story. We also all had a good picture of the story, of what happened. And yet everyone had a different image in their head when you put the answers next to each other. Do we know at question 1 whether the owner is the same person as the businessman or maybe two different persons? Do we know at question 4 whether the robber demanded money? Not necessarily. Conclusion: if after a meeting of a company you think everyone agrees, it can turn out badly in a week.

Applying the meta model means making ‘small chunks’. With big chunks you get the above story …

The metamodel provides transparency and removes noise in communication

metamodel provides transparency

Think of a number of master influencers, fictional or real. What do they all use that makes them so influential? Information! Information = influence. In addition, they do not give away information themselves because they use  vague language (‘Milton language’) themselves .

The metamodel is the remedy for generalizations, distortions and omissions , which is taught in the universities as ‘noise in communication’. Use the metamodel to get out of deadlock, gain new insights, come up with arguments, dismantle manipulative people and put problems and obstructive thoughts in a new perspective. This is how you shake up a person’s world model. You create new choices and possibilities by giving the other person (and yourself) access to the information that is missing in the verbal expression. That way you create clarity.

So you ask yourself: what is the experience behind the words? The depth structure can thus be communicated to the surface structure. A ship can sink as a result of the deep structure of an iceberg. It is not clear. This is important, for example, in the business world, where absolute transparency about finances must exist in order not to go under.

The solution is the metamodel: bringing information to the surface. The more specific, the less powerful and the more visible the false evidence becomes! You can then analyze the information, analyze it and then you can make changes. So you can do that with your restrictive thoughts. Put them in a different perspective and dismantle them.

Metamodel questions that you can ask: let’s start with the light models

Metamodel questions

The intention of the light models of the metamodel is that you ask yourself the question: ‘Which question has the most effect?’ This does not make you a ‘meta monster’. Let’s discover these light models.

Metamodel ultra light # 1

These questions are, in the order given, applicable to almost all vagueness:

  1. ‘How do you know that…?’ How do you know something? 
  2. “What causes (that happens) …? / What is done so that that happens? / In what way (does that work)? ‘ How are you going to prove that it is so (sensibly perceptible)?

Questions 1 and 2 can be repeated endlessly on the same subject. Continue to use language softeners.

Metamodel ultra light # 2

This short version of the Metamodel is ideal for meetings in organizations.

Step 1: Make the framework, the goal and the intention clear.

  • Determine the framework of the conversation. For example: the meeting will last 2 hours with everyone giving input. This conversation is meant to come up with more ideas about our market penetration strategy.
  • Determine the intent of the conversation: We conduct this conversation so that we can do more effective expansion.

Step 2: use the word ‘specific/precise’ to have the specific tasks clear.

  • With nouns: who / what / which is it specific / specific?
  • With verbs: how / when / where / with whom  exactly / specific?
  • Always think about the consequences: what would happen if you did / would not do that?
  • Challenge generalizations: are there exceptions?

Step 3: paraphrase some sentences possibly to make sure that everyone has meant and understood the same thing. In the meantime, keep calibrating the others to make sure that it is correct and congruent.

Meta model ultra light # 3

You only think about going down-down in terms of logical levels: ‘Which parts do not go well in your study?’ “Give me an example.”

The meta model in the depth …


Omission: Nominalization

Communication is lacking here.

  • Who does not communicate?
  • Who does not communicate to whom?
  • What did those people do or did not do, resulting in lack of communication?
  • How would you like to communicate?

Earlier, nominalizations , one of the most important building blocks of encouragement, were already mentioned. Vague terms such as change, creativity and (bad) treatment are nominalizations. Ask the following metamodel questions:
1. Who (with whom)? Preferably ask this question first!
2. What specifically?
3. How?


“There is frustration in the room.”
Add actors (who ‘does’ that frustration?) And make it a verb (frustration frustrates) for more info: “Who frustrates who and how?”

“I’m in a bad financial situation.”
“Who does what in what way to make the situation bad?” “What do you mean by bad situation?”

“It’s bad with my personal relationships.”
“I wonder, what exactly is wrong?”
“Since I changed my old friends are negative.”
“Who exactly?”
“A friend … Oh, that’s actually but one. ”
” How specific is it wrong? ”
” Which part of it is specifically a problem? ”

Omission: Unspecified verb

You do not care about me.

  • What do I specifically do that I would not care about you?
  • How did I do that?
  • How specific do I care about you?

Omission: Simple omission

I feel uncomfortable.

  • What about / About whom do you feel uncomfortable?

Omission: Omission of part of a comparison (Comparative Deletion / Half comparison / Comparative Omission)

Huntelaar is the best.

  • In comparison with whom?
  • Where is he the best?

Omission: Missing / unspecified reference (Lack or referential index)

They do not listen to me.
They do not understand me.

  • Who is she’?
  • Who does not listen to you?
  • Who specifically?


Generalization: Universal everything-0f-nothing-statements (Universal quantifyers)

She never listens to me

Dismantle by:

  • To repeat: “Everyone? Always?”
  • “Can you name an exception / case where things went well? Is there someone who listened to you? “
  • Recognize patterns: always, never, everyone …

Generalization: Modal operator of necessity

“I have to work (necessity).”

Dismantle by:

  • “Why do you have to do that now?
  • “What do you have to do specifically?”
  • “What stops you?” What stops you?
  • “What would happen if you did not (Never:” What would happen if you did? “)?” You can go deeper into this. For example: “Then I would not make money” “What would happen if you did not make money?”

Generalization: Modal operator of (im) possibility

I can not tell him the truth (impossibility).

  • What would happen if you did?
  • What would happen if you did not?
  • What stops you?
  • What makes that … / How is it that …


Distortion: Lost performative (Source-less record / eternal truth)

It is customary here to be polite. 
That is wrong.
This is the right way.
It seems to be raining today.
It is bad to judge

Dismantle by:

  • Who says it is bad to judge?
  • “According to who, and for whom (does it apply)? Who says that?”
  • “What do you think of it yourself?”
  • “How do you know that (is wrong)?” Who says that? How did you come up with that?
  • What concrete evidence do you have to substantiate this belief?

Distortion: Reading Thoughts (Mind read)

You can not me.
You can not stand against authority.

Dismantle by:

  • “How do you know that?”
  • “What makes you think like that?” And then further clarify.
  • What did you perceive (sensory specific) that caused you to think so?

Distortion: Cause and effect (A → B)

You make me sad.
You make me angry

Dismantle by:

  • “In what way does x ensure y (specific)?”
  • What behavior of me has caused you to become angry?
  • What exactly has changed because of what I did?
  • How does it work that what I do causes you to become angry?
  • Is it only because of that that you have become sad?
  • Who says that? How did you come up with that?

Distortion: Complex equivalence (A = B)

She always yells at me: she can not take me.

Dismantle by:

  • How does her screaming mean exactly that she does not like you?
  • Have you ever screamed at someone who you really love?

Distortion: Presupposition

If you understand how important school is, you would study harder.

  • What makes you assume that I do not know the importance of school?
  • What makes you assume that this statement also applies to me?
  • What makes you think I’m not studying hard?

More metamodel (like) questions

Silence tolerance

We start this extra list with something that is not really a question: silence tolerance! Just be quiet so that the other person automatically gives more information.

Questions about concrete observable behavior: Visual and Auditory

‘What have you seen / heard that gives you that impression?

The 5 W questions

You can also think of the 5 w’s. You can ask ‘ who, what, where, why and when ‘ as a child by asking to come to the core problem, the causes and the solutions.

Incidentally, do not literally use the word ‘why’. Metamodel questions go beyond a simple ‘why-question’. Just ‘why’ does not work as well, because it creates defense: you call someone to account and the other person only wants to justify and justify himself. Moreover, you get a whole range of history in this way without getting the case clear in the here-and-now.

Or the other person will say: ” Because I said so. ” The literal word ‘why’ evokes resistance, and is therefore not included in the meta-model. Yet this question is very powerful and enriching for a conversation. How do we solve this problem? Simple: by putting the why question in other words.

These are the alternatives to the literal word ‘why:’

  • What is the reason that …?
  • What makes that …?
  • How is it that…?
  • How do you think that’s coming?
  • Why is that?
  • ‘That’s interesting’, plus:
    What makes you say / do / ask?

‘When a question starts with’ why ‘, explanations are often asked for. The sound of these questions is usually, why do you do that? You feel it, the chances are that the receiver will shoot in the defense. It evokes resistance. He then has the idea that he or she has to justify himself. This does not create equality (connection) in a conversation, but rather discussion and / or struggle. It often seems that the questioner knows better (for the recipient), but often he or she thinks differently about something (and that is allowed). ‘
– Arnout van Nieuwkoop

Other questions

  • What do I do specifically what makes you choose to feel bad?
  • Ask to define a word: “What does perfect mean for you?”
  • Compared to what?
  • What do you base that on? What is your interpretation based on?
  • What have you seen / heard, which gives you that impression?
  • Ask for the quantity: how much?
  • According to who?
  • Between who / what?
  • How do we know that?
  • Who / what is it exactly?
  • In what way (are those people disgusting?). (For the verb / adjective)
  • How specific …. (For the verb / adjective)
  • Which specific?
  • Who specifically?
  • What do you mean? (Chances are that he will answer broadly so ask more specifically than: add the word “exactly”)
  • How bad is it? / How much?
  • How often does it happen?
  • At what times? Always or sometimes? In certain context?
  • Believe / do YOU think?
  • What makes you think that?
  • Which criteria do you use?
  • Take them in reverse order:
    1. start with deformation.
    Listen and discover the metamodel pattern (vg or w)
    2. Ask the right question:
    Important in case of distortion: who says that? What proof? How do you know that? How does x exactly lead to y?
    Important for generalization: what would happen if I did not …? When did I decide that? Is this claim true and do I have something to do with it?
    Is that always the case? Always, nothing excepted? What would happen if?
    Important when omitting: tell me more about it. Who, what, where, when?
  • It is a stupid day. What is so stupid about it?
  • Is that true? Is that absolutely true?
  • What kind of actions should be taken for (eg recognition = nominalization)?
  • Define words specifically or create verb from them
  • What causes that exactly?
  • What exactly has changed?
  • What happens if you do not?
  • What is the worst thing that can happen?
  • What do you understand by {nominalization}?
  • What stops you?
  • Compared to who / what?
    For example, in a sales meeting, explain what you get when they say it is too expensive.
  • Universal quantifiers: so you have not spelled your word well all your life?
  • Nominalization: What do you do? How do you do it?
  • What are examples of this? Can you give an example of that?
  • (You name x) and what else?
  • Tell me about it.
  • Tell!
  • Can you explain that?
  • How is that?
  • What do you mean exactly?
  • Can you tell me something about that?

Comments on the Metamodel

Comments on the Metamodel

Before you get started with the metamodel, it is important to pay attention to the following:

  • Be careful: use your report techniques to compensate for the hard questioning nature of the metamodel. Even better: make sure there is a report first.
  • You can also soften the hard character by using language softeners: “I am curious” or “I wonder”.
  • Take a soft voice and be tactful.
  • Know what you want to achieve, so you do not get irrelevant info.
  • Tune in: maybe someone just wants to complain. Then it is time for ‘vibing’: to go along with the emotions and the vague complaining. Do not use a metamodel and vote on the site! In certain sitauties, you do not use the metamodel to criticize or to disagree with something. Someone can say: “I really need a beer. Let’s get one. “Then the sub-communication is:” Let’s socialize. “Another example:” Wow man, look at that building, that’s really the biggest of them all! “Then you do not say:” But you have seen New York? That city is easily crushing this place. “But it is:” Wow, that’s super big man! “
  • The metamodel you prefer not to challenge, but to create new perspectives and ideas, to obtain source convictions and to develop other perspectives.
  • Pretend you do not understand or know about anything, instead of playing the ‘all-knowing coach’.

Practical example of this NLP model

Practical example NLP model

Are you with something?

– Soon I will have a period with exams.

You told me that you find it difficult?

– It concerns housing and rental law. It is the fifth time that I am doing the exam, it is for my Propedeuse, and it is quite complicated.

Why do you think it’s difficult?

– They make the exam so difficult.

Who is she?

– The teachers.

The teachers make the exam difficult.

– And how!

And how do you know that?

– This is the fifth time I have to take the exam! Many students have already stopped the study.

How do you know that?

– They said that themselves and I saw it on the percentages.

Would they have stopped for that reason?

– Yes, because I received a postponement so I remain in charge of the training, but the rest was not allowed to stay on.

And the rest: how many people are that exactly?

– I do not know.

Are there many or few?

– For me there are many, because I do not see many students anymore, and I had heard of someone else.

When I see you like that, you are someone who can have the focus to go to the library on Saturday to study.

– You have to.

Who should do that?

– Of my own. Yes, I was so lazy last year, I did not feel like it at all. And this year I decided OK, now I’m really going for it.

But what if you do not?

– Then I will not get it again, and I will have to go for a resit.

Yes! Then there is nothing else than being focused here studying

– Very good, then I am curious, because you are well prepared, but still it seems difficult.

Now I am working on other legal subjects, and soon I will start studying.

– And what is coming soon?

This week.

– And this week, is that next Monday already or …

Now that you say so, just have a look … next Tuesday.

– You said that you will be well prepared, but you are not entirely sure yet?

Yes, I’m ready, I know, I can handle it, but when I get the exam in front of me it just stops.

– What exactly stops?

I think then: What exactly is here? Do I get it right or not right?

– So that focus is suddenly less clear, while it was clear when you were learning it.
But how do you know that it is not going well on that exam?

Because it is really very difficult.

– Is it really difficult?

The questions are asked at university level.

– Are there exceptions, so questions that are very easy?

Yes, that also happens, but most are of a high level.

– And with most you mean? Half or …

More than half. 25% is really easy, but 75% ….

– And, really?

Many answers are similar, so you really do not get out.

– And you are convinced that you will not get out of it.

Yes, I just can not figure it out, then I think late, it does not work.

– Yes, I can make it, but the answers just look alike, that’s it!

The answers are similar. Which answers?

– There are always those instinkers.

I closed the conversation a bit more positively. Another example:

Who is getting older?

– Me.

Older compared to what?

– Older compared to myself in the past.

The older?

– Slower, body does not do what it used to be?

What can not your body do?

– It’s getting slower, stiffer, older, and that’s a logical process too.

How does that aging process work?

– Just ask God. Or to your biology teacher.

How do you know that you are getting older?

– The age, the time.

What does old mean to you?

– Wise, experience.

It is not really a problem, but I only notice that the forces are declining somewhat. And that I can no longer do the things that I could do before.

– What specifically?

Bending, kneeling, standing in the store for long days. And my eyes go backwards, and I become deaf, I do not hear well anymore.

– What do you base that on?

On experience.

– What did you experience?

That it is harder, that it is more difficult.

Statements from the conversation according to the meta model


frame of reference: – They make the exam so difficult.
– Who is she?

Missing frame of reference:
– I received a postponement so I remain in control of the program, but the rest was not allowed to stay on.
– And the rest: how many people are that exactly?

Missing frame of reference:
– Yes, I can make it, but the answers just look alike, that’s it!
– The answers are similar. Which answers?
– There are always those instinkers.

Comparative deletion:
– Now I am working on other legal subjects, and soon I will start studying.
– And what is coming soon?
– This week.
– And this week, is that coming Monday already or …
– Now you’re saying, just have a look … next Tuesday.

Simple deletion:
– Yes, I’m ready, I know, I can handle it, but when I get the exam in front of me it just stops.
– What exactly stops?

Simple deletion:
– Yes, that also happens, but most of them are of a very high level.
– And with most you mean? Half or …
– More than half. 25% is really easy, but 75% ….


Value judgment or opinion in which the source is missing:
– The teachers make the exam difficult
– And how do you know that?

Value judgment or opinion in which the source is missing:
– A lot of students have already stopped the study.
– How do you know that?

Value judgment or opinion in which the source is missing:
– But how do you know that it is not going well on that exam?
– Because it is really very difficult.

Modal verb of necessity:
– It must.
– Who needs that?
– Of my own.
– But what if you do not?


Universal all-or-nothing designation:
– Because it is really very difficult.
– Is it really difficult?
– The questions are asked at the university level.
– Are there exceptions, so questions that are very easy?
– Yes, that also happens, but most of them are of a very high level.

Exercise: recognize and reproduce the metamodel

Exercise recognize and reproduce the metamodel

Write each metamodel pattern on a card. A holds up a card with a pattern. B makes an example sentence. C does not see the card, but hears the example sentence from B. Then C mentions which pattern it is, and whether it is a deletion, generalization or distortion.

Exercise: making a story with the Metamodel

Create a circle. Every person contributes 2 sentences to the story. So you go past the circle. Every time it is his turn, he uses a certain metamodel pattern (go down a list) to further construct the two sentences of the story. Make sure that everyone has been at least twice per metamodel pattern (small circles).

Exercise: training with the Metamodel as a coach

After doing this exercise you can now recognize vague language when you come across it. Then you can choose to defuse it or ignore it. Use the steps from this exercise with all parts of the milton model, which is the opposite of the meta model.

  1. A says a sentence that contains vague language. For example: “They treat me badly.”
  2. B identifies the vagueness and asks a metamodel question.
  3. A answers.
  4. B calibrates: how does A feel after that information and how does that express itself in his body language and voice?
  5. Optionally, B can then further specify a layer deeper with an extra question (you can go on forever or until you get a hit).
  6. Person C calibrates constantly on the inner and the outward appearance of A and B, but especially on A, and compares the differences between first and after. Optionally let C appoint the name of the meta model pattern. After the metamodel questions, the problem may have been visualized, more specific, concrete and less abstract for A, and he is happier and more focused on what he wanted to tell.

Combination exercise

Do the same exercise, but A no longer says one, but two and then three vagueness in one sentence. For example: “It’s a habit to drink tea in the afternoon and I know you do not like it, and it makes me angry with you.”

Understand all patterns

Each indicates with which metamodel part he still has problems. Just treat those patterns while doing the above exercise.

Exercises to use the Metamodel in the wild

  • Talk to someone and ask metamodel questions with the goal to get to the heart of the problem or the other person’s opinion. As always, you observe yourself after the conversation from the third position and give yourself feedback.
    Record the conversation and write which statements of the other person were a ‘violation’ of the meta-model (at least one in each main category: omission, distortion and generalization). Write afterwards what you would have done differently / extra in the conversation, based on all the options that the meta-model offers.
  • View a business letter/ article/report/ memo/minutes and check which metamodel questions can be asked to make the message clear to everyone.
  • Ask a question to an instance/ organization/store and find out for yourself which metamodel questions you can get more precise information.
  • Every time you receive an assignment, for example at work, you ask metamodel questions so that you know exactly what is expected of you and what the other person means by the assignment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *