NLP Perceptual Positions

Do not judge your neighbour until you have walked a mile in his moccasins”

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Turtles All The Way Down, page 200.

We have referred to Rapport as meeting somebody in their model of the world and we have looked at / discussed how you can achieve this through Matching and Mirroring – as you Match and Mirror a colleague, and Pace them, you are in stepping into their shoes, and once there, in their world, you will be able to see things from their perspective or from their point of view.

To assist us further in this quest, of stepping into our colleagues shoes and being able to truly see things from their point of view NLP describes three positions, often referred to as Perceptual Positions.

HOW TO SEE THINGS FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES POINT OF VIEW, BE ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH AND STEP INTO THEIR SHOES

1st Position: Looking at the world from your own point of view, through your own eyes. You are totally associated and not taking account of anyone else’s point of view.

Ask the question:
How does this affect me?
2nd Position: Considering how things would look, sound, and feel for example for a colleague. Looking through your colleague’s eyes; appreciating the other point of view.

Ask the question (s):
How would this appear to them?
How would it sound to them?
How would they feel?

The stronger rapport you have with another person, the easier it will be for you to appreciate their reality and achieve second position.

3rd Position: This is a neutral position from which you can observe the interaction between 1st and 2nd positions. From 3rd Position you see the world from an outside point of view, as an independent observer, as someone who has no personal involvement in the situation.

How would this look to someone who is not involved?

This creates an objective viewpoint from which you can generate and evaluate some useful choices in a difficult situation.

All three positions are equally important; ideally we move between them freely, taking the information gained from each. This allows us to have a multiple perspective in a situation so that we can be even more flexible and have greater influence.

Finally, a different point of view:

‘Before you criticize someone you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes!’

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