Perceptual Positions. Improve your key relationships.
In this video, Michael introduces NLP Perceptual Positions.
Perceptual positions are a form of modelling that allows us to step into somebody else’s shoes, and see what they see, hear what they hear, and feel what they feel.
Perceptual positions help us get a much better impression of the client’s ‘reality’.
This is because when we imagine we’re sitting or standing as someone else, in their posture, speaking with their voice, we pick up a lot of information about what they’re thinking and how they are feeling. The scientific explanation for this is that adopting the other person’s position triggers our mirror neurons, enabling us to better understand others than would otherwise be the case.
In NLP, this process makes it possible for us to improve our interpersonal results by seeing (and hearing and feeling) things from someone else’s perspective.
The five perceptual positions.
We can adopt five positions to fully understand another’s point of view. These positions fall under different types :
- 1st position is where we are associated, and we see things from our own point of view.
- 2nd position, we dissociate from ourselves and imagine we’re in someone else’s body. We see things from their point of view.
- 3rd position is where we’re an independent observer and can watch the interaction between positions 1 and 2. We see things from an outside point of view.
There are also a 4th and a 5th perceptual positions, which I only use very occasionally.
- 4th position is observing the 3rd position in relation to the 2nd position; i.e. how neutral are we as observers?
- 5th position, you observe how you relate to yourself as an observer.
Perceptual Positions exercise.
Let’s say that you have an important meeting coming up with a client or stakeholder :
- Imagine yourself in 1st position. Imagine a 30-second movie of the meeting from your perspective; now describe the meeting in one word.
- Imagine yourself as the client in the 2nd position, then replay the movie. In a word, describe the meeting from the client’s perspective.
- Imagine you’re an independent (invisible) observer in 3rd position, and now replay the movie. Are the participants showing the same or different behaviours? How is each affecting the atmosphere of the meeting
- (For example, are they both being aggressive, friendly, respectful etc. or is one being friendly and the other unfriendly, or is one being aggressive and the other passive?)
- Then, go back to to the 2nd position and play the movie again from your client’s perspective. Has anything changed?
- Finally, think about what you could do to improve the meeting, then play the movie in 1st position again, incorporating your improvements. Now, what’s changed?
Most of my clients are surprised by how much they learn about their own clients – and themselves! – from this exercise. Consequently, the additional information helps them to improve the relationship.
In the next section, we consider the fast phobia cure. A robust approach to dissolving phobias.
Full NLP Techniques List
Interested in NLP Training?
Our NLP training is certified by Richard Bandler and the SNLP. Available worldwide.
Key NLP Techniques Section Index
1: NLP Techniques
3: Amplify feelings
4: Bad memories (Dissolving)
5: Bad memories (Exploding)
6: Belief change
7: NLP Coaching
8: Perceptual positions
9: Fast phobia cure
10: Hypnosis and meditation and separately Free Hypnosis MP3s
12: Mental Rehearsal
13: Metaprogrammes, Profiles and Preferences
15: Progressive dissociation
17: Self Compassion
19. Six step re-framing
21: States and anchors
24: Timeline therapy
25: Visual Squash