NLP Practitioner

NLP Practitioner

NLP Practitioner – Getting Another Perspective

There are times when other people only see things from their own point of view. Occasionally they may get stuck in that mode of thinking and are unable to understand a situation from any other perspective. They become immersed in their own model of the world.

How would you like to discover a technique that allows you to be able to view a situation is a multi dimensional way, so that you can easily create and maintain rapport, communicate better, demonstrate empathy for others, resolve conflict and, in a business setting, negotiate effectively, improve customer service and develop marketable products. That would be extremely useful, wouldn’t it?

At our NLP Practitioner training you’ll find that by systematically shifting from one perceptual position to another  you can make available information about a given situation, that may have otherwise been out of your conscious awareness.

There are three main perceptual positions: first, second and third position. These involve seeing things from our own perspective (first), from another person in the situation (second or other), and then from a detached viewpoint (third or observer).

When we want to expand our awareness and understanding of a situation, we can either use the other and observer positions in an ad hoc way, quickly ‘trying on’ those different stances or carrying out a complete Perceptual Positions exercise from our NLP Practitioner training.

First position

How we naturally perceive our environment and the people in it is from first position; it’s where our sense of ‘self’ resides. We use words such as ‘I’ and ‘me’ to describe our experience and in this position we’re associated, seeing through our own eyes, hearing through our own ears (plus our internal dialogue) and are aware of the feelings in our body. (If we can see ourself in our mind’s eye we are dissociated, and not in first position).

Benefits of  first position

There are many benefits to using first position, it’s useful when you are deciding on an outcome. It’s the position from which people are assertive, expressing their view, and pursuing their own goals. It’s also useful for when you are carrying out an ecology check in terms of goals and outcomes to ensure they create a win-win situation for all concerned.

Times when first position is not useful

In first position we only think about how things affect us because all we are aware of is our own perspective. If we only operated from this position we could become egotistical, insensitive and have little regard for other peoples feelings.
Second position

Second position is when you imagine stepping into the shoes of someone in a particular interaction and  then experiencing the world through their eyes.  You see, hear, feel, taste and smell their reality. Dissociating from your own thoughts, feelings and beliefs and associating into the ‘other’, you ‘see’ yourself through their eyes – and think of that person as ‘you’, not ‘I’. As you do this you increase your awareness of what things might be like for the other person. The more you can take on their beliefs, values, Meta Programs and other aspects of their internal representations, the more accurate you will be.

Benefits of second position

By adopting second position we obtain important new insights about our relationship and the interaction with the other person.  We can gather useful data about ourselves in the process too. We’re able to develop empathy and compassion for the other person.  In our mind’s eye we can look at ourselves, see our own facial expressions, add body language, hear our voice, and get a sense of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of our own behaviour. This means we have increased choice about how to interact with them, which is especially useful when we can’t understand why they are behaving the way they are.

Times when second position is not useful

Those who get ‘stuck’ in second position can become easily influenced by others, and prioritise their needs over their own. Accepting other people’s version of things can lead to a loss of self-confidence and hold us back from fulfilling our potential. When we continually put ourself last there can be a tendency to take on other people’s problems, which can leave us emotionally drained.

Third position

This is the observer perspective. In third position we see, hear and feel what an interaction is like from an external perspective. From this viewpoint we’re able to stand back and perceive the relationship between ourselves and others. This places us outside the communication process and allows us to act as a witness to what takes place. In third position we are associated but detached from the interaction, which allows us to feel resourceful and analyze what’s happening. The information we gather can then be taken back to first position.

Benefits of third position

The objectivity we get from standing back or taking an observers view can be extremely valuable. When we’re in the situation our emotions can get in the way of noticing what’s going on, particularly when there’s conflicting behaviour. Third position is sometimes also called ‘Meta’ position, and features in many NLP patterns and change techniques, providing an opportunity for the person to stand outside their own experience when that’s required.

Times when third position is not useful

If you operated by third position as your modus operadi than you could end up becoming detached. Not only would you lack feelings, you would come across to others as motionless, a bit like a robot.

NLP Practitioner – Perceptual Positions technique

1. Select a relationship or situation you want to improve in some way. To start with we recommend  you choose a small problem and as you become more experienced at using the technique you can progress to larger problem.

2. First  position: Begin by considering the situation from your own perspective.  Re-experience it through your own eyes, as if you were looking at the other person. Listen to what they might have to say to you. See the expression on their face. Become aware of how you feel. Use first person language when you speak as if you were actually talking to them; you can  do this inside your head or out loud.

3. Break state – allow the scene to fade.

4. Second position: Now imagine you’re standing in the shoes of the other person. Become aware of how this person experiences the situation. Replay the interaction from this person’s viewpoint. Pay attention to the thoughts and insights that surface as you observe the ‘you’ over there. Use second person language to describe what you experience, i.e.  refer to yourself as ‘you’

5. Break state.

6. Third position: Next, move to a detached place where you can observe both first (self) and second (other) position. Once again replay the situation as if you were watching and listening to a film. Be curious about what unfolds before you. Note the learnings you gain from this perspective.

7. Return to first position, bringing the learnings and insights from the other perceptual  positions with you. Pay attention to the difference in your experience. What did you learn? How is it different now?

8. Repeat the cycle as many times as necessary. Ending with first position helps to consolidate the changes you make in how you will respond in the future.

The Perceptual Positions technique provides a systematic way of gathering insights from first, second and third position.  At our NLP Practitioner training, you can see exactly how useful this technique is when there are problems  or conflict in a relationship. This exercise can be repeated as many times as necessary – each cycle brings new information, insights and learnings that can be used to dramatically improve the situation and resolve the problem.

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