In NLP strategies are documented using a simple notation which looks similar in form to that used in algebraic equations.
The notation illustrates the sequencing of the internal and external representations which make up the strategy in a simple linear format.
Let's look at an example:-
This is a representation of a visual spelling strategy for a person called Pete. To explain what's going on let me break this down into individual steps and walk you through the entire process.
At each step I'll explain what's going on and then show the form of written notation for that step. Here goes:-
- The trigger for and very first step of a strategy is usually external to the person running the strategy. In this case somebody asks Pete to spell a particular word. This step is an Auditory external, which is written in notation form as:-
- Pete repeats the word to be spelled to himself silently, in his mind. At the same time he has a sense in his jaw of the mouth movements he would have to make to say the word in question. This combination of two sensory modalities firing simultaneously is known as a synesthesia. Add these first two steps together and we get:-
The steps of the strategy are linked together by arrows showing the direction of the process flow. Braces are used to group representations which occur simultanously.
- Pete recalls a picture of the word (Visual remembered or recalled) and can therefore see how it is spelled, which gives us:-
- As Pete looks at the internally recalled image of the word to be spelled he notices his internal feelings (Kinesthetic internal) - he has feelings about the picture of the word and about whether that word is spelled correctly or not, which takes us to:-
If Pete were to vocalise the Kinesthetic internal feelings that he has at this stage about the Visually recalled image he might say 'It looks right to me' or 'It just doesn't look right'. If he thinks that it doesn't look right this happens:-
As long as Pete's Visually recalled image looks wrong to him his associated feeling(s) are negative (signified by the minus sign adjacent to the arrow) and he loops back to step two of his strategy and continues the process from there until:-
- Pete get's a positive feeling (signified by the + sign under the arrow) about the Visually recalled image - he feels that it looks right and exits the strategy with an Auditory external - he spells out the word verbally using the internally remembered image.