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Perceptual Positions    




























































NLP Perceptual Positions

A Powerful Tool For Coaching And Improving Communications!

Gaining A New Perspective
Use this technique to prepare for sensitive conversations and learn from miss-communications.

The NLP Perceptual Positions technique is one of my favorites for business coaching. It is quick, easy and very effective!

Perhaps because of our cross-cultural exposure to the concept of standing in the other person’s shoes,
most people need little in the way of set up or pre-talk before associating into Perceptual Positions.

And so far in my experience, this technique always creates a shift, even when someone desperately wants to hold on to their own Model Of the World.

After completing the technique some individuals may not be ready or even able to tell you what they learned. And that’s okay.

With your sharpened sensory awareness, you’ll already know they discovered something of value.

If you are a Practitioner of NLP
This will be a quick review because you probably already know the value of Perceptual Positions use it with ease.

If NLP is New To You
Simply think of a personal experience where your communication didn't go as well as you would have liked, and follow the instructions below to discover what you could do differently to be more effective the next time you encounter a similar situation.

Or when assisting others at a time when co-worker or client is upset or voices dissatisfaction with the result of a communication. This may take the form of:
  • They always take what I say the wrong way
  • I didn’t mean ...
  • They over reacted
  • I don’t know how to talk to (that person)

And usually finishes with something that translates to:

  • Why can’t the they (the other person) change?
After pacing (yourself) your client’s words and emotions you begin to lead, chunking up by asking them to consider something like:
  • The only person you can change is yourself and if you change the other person will too!
Get Permission
Set the frame with something like:
  • I wonder if there is something you can learn from that conversation that will help next time? (pause for a moment)
  • Would you like to give it a try?
If you get a yes, roll right into Perceptual Positions.
The three positions we'll use are”
     1st Position   =  Self
     2nd Position  =  Other
     3rd Position   =  Observer (neutral)

Begin With Eyes Closed
Eye closure assists people to associate into the event - to relive it - rather than reviewing it in a dissociated state - like viewing a movie on a screen.
So suggest eye closure:
Some people find this easier to do with their eyes closed, so if you could, would you go ahead now and close ....

A full script follows:

1st Position
  • Okay, go ahead and imagine you are back having that conversation NOW. Be with the person, saying what you said, and noticing how they respond to your words.
  • Now come back and make a mental note of what you saw, heard and how you felt.”
2nd Position
  •  Now imagine that you can float over into that person’s body and be there now, looking back at the you over there. Now, replay the conversation seeing through their eyes (the other person.) Pay attention to what you see and hear and how it feels.
  • Now come back and make a mental note of what you saw, heard and how you felt. What you  discovered.
3rd Position
  •  You're going to replay the conversation one more time. This time imagine floating to a third position, becoming a neutral observer. Replay the conversation and watch the interaction between those two people out there. Notice what there is to see and hear, and what might you learn from that.


Debrief by checking that something was learned or discovered, something they (or you) could do differently next time to improve your result:
  • What did you notice, what may have contributed to the conversation going off track?
  • What might you do differently next time.
    Or simply ask
  • Did you notice anything that you could do differently next time to be more effective?

Future Pace: 
Repeat each Perceptual Position this time giving yourself, co-worker or client an opportunity to try on a new behaviour and notice how beneficial it is.

If you got a no at the debrief, you may ask the person to consider that the more they do of what they’re doing the more they’ll get the same response ... so why not give it a try.  After all what have (you) they got to lose?
This will either get a yes or move them closer to the real issue. (At which point you will want to ask permission before you go any further.)

Try it. Have fun. And remember there is no one right way to do anything, so use your own words. The script above is just one way ...

Interested in taking an NLP training or business workshop?
For more on NLP visit: NLP Training And Coaching