When we add a beautiful frame to a photograph or a painting, it enhances the beauty of the
art. What if, the frame is in contrast of the art? It reduces the beauty.
So the frame, or context, in which we view something affects the way we see it and the
meaning it has for us.Lets's look at some of the standard frames that NLP has identified, and
how we can use them.
You will also be discovering at least two methods of reframing ideas or statements to get
people to change their minds, by changing either the context in which they are seeing an
event, or the meaning that they give to it.

The ‘Outcome Frame’ is about evaluating events in the light of the desired outcomes or
goals you have set for yourself. These outcomes should of course be ‘well-formed’ (see the
glossary). The Outcome Frame gives you a firm basis for evaluating any action or anything
that happens: does it help you to achieve your desired outcome, or take you further from it?
This is about the effect of an event or action on the larger systems of which we are a part:
family, team, organisation, community, or the planet as a whole. Does your proposed action
respect your integrity as a human being, and the integrity of others involved? If you feel
incongruent about something, this is usually a sign that you need to pay attention to ecology.
The ‘As If’ frame is a way of exploring possibilities for creative problem solving. What would
happen if some element of the situation were different?
● “What would Richard Bandler do in this situation?”
● “Where will we be six months from now, and how did we get here?”
● “What’s the worst thing that could happen, and how would we handle it?”
The ‘As If’ frame is the basis of contingency planning, computer systems testing, and
science fiction.
You can also use the ‘As If’ frame with a group to get them into the same frame of mind as if
they had already achieved a desired outcome, by asking them what the outcome will look
like, what they will see/hear/feel, what effects will it have, and so on. This will help them to
believe in the outcome and feel more motivated to act.

The ‘Backtrack Frame’ comes in handy in meetings, discussions and negotiations. To use it,
you would recapitulate what has been said using the other person’s key words and tonalities.
Doing this checks agreement and understanding of what has been said, helps to build
rapport, and is useful when new people join the meeting. It is also very useful to backtrack to
the last point of agreement when a meeting gets stuck, so you get a chance to start over at
the point before the disagreement happened.
This is another frame that’s useful in meetings. If a participant in a meeting speaks or acts in
a way that is irrelevant to the agenda or the desired outcome, the question “how is that
relevant?” can be used to bring the meeting back on track.
Here are a couple of ways you could use the ‘Contrast Frame’:
If you are aiming to build motivation or explore possibilities when considering your future
course, you could contrast a desired outcome with the present situation or an alternative.
This puts the outcome in more perspective and makes more choices available. Obviously
which aspects of the present situation you choose to highlight, and which alternatives you
contrast the desired outcome with, will affect how the outcome looks.
In selling and persuasion, you can contrast one choice with another to put your favoured
choice in a better light. For example, showing a very expensive item first will make the next
item feel better value – even if it is still quite highly priced. Similarly, if you are asking your
team members to take some action, it will feel easier to them if it’s contrasted with something
much more arduous and difficult.
This is used in NLP trainings. An ‘Open Frame’ on a course or in a meeting or presentation
provides an opportunity to ask any questions or provide any comments about the topic or
subject area under discussion. For example, the trainer might ask: ‘Is there anything
whatsoever you want to ask about NLP?