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NLP Perceptual positions

There are many times during daily life that it is useful to be able to see things from a different perspective. Understanding things from a different viewpoint and finding commonality leads to greater understanding and to easier resolution with things, to better results.

In relation to your significant other, or while making important decisions at work, knowing how the other person is thinking and perceiving the world around them. These are the keys to broadening your own understanding. Knowing this when you communicate gives you a good idea of where the other person is coming from. This means you can work with them to find solutions that work for everyone…

But how do you actually do that? What’s the mental mechanism for changing your perspective?



NLP Perceptual Positions

According to the NLP Perceptual Positions model, there are actually three different ways of perceiving a specific experience.

This technique allows you to adopt each perceptual perception as needed. If you’re not understanding how or why a specific situation unfolded in the manner that it did, it might be useful to change up your perception of it and view it from a different mental space.



Why should you learn Perceptual Positions?

Having the ability to change our perspectives in order to adapt to certain situations can be useful in a multitude of different situations.

Whether you are a parent, boss, student, teacher, in fact, any role in life including just being you, having the ability to see things from a different perspective will benefit you.



What are the positions?


There are three positions to consider.

Looking at the situation

  1. through your own eyes, your own perspective
  2. from the point of view of the other person
  3. from an impartial external perspective.


How do I use them?


Go consciously through the process of shifting your perspective and thinking about things from each position.

Being structured in your approach can be very helpful. If for example you are dealing with an issue of conflict resolution perhaps ask yourself the same question in each position. Something like “how is this specific aspect of this situation affecting the situation when I look at it from this perspective?” Compare notes between the three positions and look for where there is commonality and agreement. After all – it’s much better to start any negotiation from a position of agreement rather than a position of conflict.

How about where there is no conflict? Think about a situation when you’re working with someone on an important decision for example. Using perceptual positions in this scenario is also very useful. You’re both looking to have a good outcome from your decision of course. It may be that when you look at it from the different perspectives you realise that the outcome of the decision you had in mind may not really be working for the other person at all! What a great thing to realise! Now you can adjust your position slightly so that you can still get what you want and importantly now the other person does too. It’s a win / Win!

How about if the person you are working with is feeling stuck, or you are yourself? Have a look at our post ‘using perceptual position for people who feel stuck‘ for some great insights into how to get moving again.  

The NLP Perceptual Positions model does not advocate one position over another. It merely clarifies each position and gives you more understanding of a situation, and with more understanding comes greater choice. The more information you have to base a decision on the better the decision is going to be.

Have a go, it’s a simple, really useful technique and it really works!

Would you like to know more?

Our blog page has many more articles for you to read.

Alternatively, head over to our NLP glossary where you can find a list of NLP terms with lots of links to articles.

Thanks for reading!


ABNLP Trainer
Founder: Insights NLP
Phone +62 (0) 812 3895 2053


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