mindtools personal development neuro linguistic programming nlp meta model nlp deletion nlp unspecified verb
A verb that deletes specific information in any way as to how, when or where is called in NLP Unspecified Verb. Unspecified Verbs are verbs (the doing part) in a sentence that don’t fully describe the action taking place. They don’t give enough information to let you know what is going on for them. People usually fill in the gap with their own experience – called Mind Reading. When people use unspecified verbs, all it means is that they do not have the descriptive way of representing what they mean and/or understand.

Some examples

Sometimes it is useful and sometimes it prevents them from expressing themselves well or changing their views of behavior freely in response to new information or in new contexts. This is another area in which the line is thin between information gathering and intervention, because getting more detailed information is sometimes enough to allow changes that would not have taken place beforehand. NLP Unspecified Verb.

  • As you were learning to speak…
  • We are having a lot of fun!
  • People err all the time.
  • It is wonderful to grow isn’t it? NLP Unspecified Verb.

Are you able to picture the events in the statements? If you can’t, or the process is fuzzy, there is probably an unspecified verb (or noun) lurking. Try it “He sat on my foot” – I can make a movie of this. “He hurt my foot” – I am trying on different things in my movie. NLP Unspecified Verb.

Closely related to unexplained verbs are nominalizations, which are unclear verbs we twist into nouns. First the process is “Delete” then “Distort” is touched. My frustration with the boss makes me exhausted. (“My boss frustrates me” becomes a solid thing) NLP Unspecified Verb.

To some extent, every verb is unspecified. We would be overwhelmed if we specified everything. What will you gain by having more information on a particular verb? NLP Unspecified Verb.

How to Challenge

A good question to recover and gain more information is to ask: “How specifically…” And still as you want to explore this pattern in more depth, you can ask questions like:

  • What specifically were you doing in order to learn to speak?
  • Ho do people have fun? What makes this fun for you? NLP Unspecified Verb.
  • How do people err, specifically?
  • Grow in what way? NLP Unspecified Verb.

As an exercise today, write out 20 verbs, for which you would have unanswered questions to: How? When? Where? NLP Unspecified Verb.

More Information

In NLP Unspecified Verbs is part of the higher chunk called Deletion which is part of the Meta Model.

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