The Hierarchy of Ideas is a model of communication that assists us in moving through different levels of abstraction. We can go from ambiguous and vague to concrete and specific. There are three techniques you can use to go through the different levels: chunking up, chunking down and lateral chunking.

Our conscious minds can handle 5-9 chunks of information at any given time.  By knowing this and how to use the NLP Communication Model, you are able to be in control of conversations by asking specific questions.  People love to talk, if you can keep them talking about what you want them to, you are in control.  You may be only talking 5% of the time, but you control the conversation just by “chunking” your questions.

The ideas you talk about in a conversation can be controlled though this simple method of getting specific, abstract or along the same lines of what you were talking about. Take your time with this and practice one idea a day to get acclimated with it.

The Structure of Intuition is the ability to chunk up to find relationships and connections. Once you find something similar, chunk back down and relate it to your current situation.

The diagram below is from Transform Destiny website to give you a good picture of what the rest of this post will entail.  As you keep reading, refer back to this fantastic diagram.

Chunking Up

When you chunk up you are going for the big picture with what was said.  A great reference is the Milton Model.  With this technique you are being abstract and looking for an agreement.  This also helps find a vision, mission or purpose.  Most people are not big picture thinkers so this will help them to start thinking big.  Details in chunking up are obsolete, they do not matter.

Ask questions such as:

  • What is this an example of?
  • For what purpose…?
  • What is your intention…?

Chunking Down

When you chunk down you are going for the details, something that is specific.  The details are what most people worry about, think about and talk about.  When you chunk them up you are taking them away from this thinking.  This technique is to get them more specific and create distinctions. A great reference is the Meta Model. You are looking for what, who and/or how specifically in this technique.

Ask questions such as:

  • What are examples of this?
  • What specifically..?
  • What are specific examples of this?

Chunking Laterally

When you chunk laterally you are looking for what is in the same group or category. If you look at the diagram, it starts with cars which is a mode of transportation, you can get them talking about other modes of transportation through chunking laterally. Here, you are moving from one idea to another. A great use of chunking laterally is in negotiation and sales.  Get good at this one because you are always selling something no matter who you are.

Ask questions such as:

  • What are other examples of…?
  • What is it like?
  • What is it similar too?

Share you stories of chunking up, down or lateral!


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