How many times have you said or heard that saying, “now I see it from your point of view”? Usually when we say it or someone else does, we have a new way or seeing things which now seems far easier to deal with or even has a new level or sense. But do we mean, “from another point of view”?

This seems to be a metaphor that’s used without much thought to what it means and if there is something we can learn from it and even use to our advantage.

In the world of NLP this is known as Perceptual Positions and as the name does not reflect is actually quite simple to understand and use. In these examples i’ll use 3 ways to demonstrate how these work.

First Perceptual Position

Thi first position is in a fully associated viewpoint (You are looking out of your eyes) this represents your own subjective point of view. Questions like “how does this look on me”? tie in quite nicely. “How did i feel the first day at the interview for my new job”. Anything really with first person language. Another example is think of something which makes you relax. Got it? Well, mine was reading in the shade on the beach, bet yours wasn’t, of course it’s not, this is your subjective view of what you think things are.

Second Perceptual Position

This is the second view of someone else within the context of what’s going on, for example. You could be in a meeting thinking that is was not particularly effective (First Position) and then wonder how one of your colleagues was viewing it. (Second position) In order to do this imagine stepping inside someone else, literally, sit where they are and gain as much of that experience from their “point of view” as possible. We associate this with positions of empathy, or “putting our self in someone else shoes”. The skill of putting your self into this second position is you’ll have a more accurate picture and clearer information than just wondering how someone feels.

Third and Nth Positions

When using the 3rd position, view everything from an outsider point of view, almost as a fly on the wall, someone who is wholly objective and would be talking a disinterested scientific viewpoint. You can also open it up to infinite positions by simply adopting the viewpoint of a casual observer and even moving that person from person to person.

While there are no best positions it’s important ot know that each Perceptual Position has it’s importance, it simply differs from the other circumstances and allows and new perception of experience to be formed.

Exercises for Perceptual Positions

  • Think of someone you usually do not get on with and take the second position, see, hear and feel how they do. Notice the change in your our attitudes and behaviour towards that person.
  • Think of something which you don’t like, take the Third position and notice how differently it feels.
  • You can also take the role of a Film director and take the Third position, just evaluating what needs to happen from that point of view.

Most of all have fun! Make the feeling and images you want richer clearer and brighter, and the ones you don’t want, step into someones elses shoes and look at it from their point of view.

You can learn a whole host of useful day to day NLP techniques by visiting Absolute Mind in Milton Keynes

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