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NLP Perceptual Positions

Gain New Understanding Through Seeing Things from Different Perspectives

By: Vadim Kotelnikov, Founder of Inspirational Business e-Coach

NLP Micro-course Stive to understand your and other people’s perceptions if you wish to learn how to control your state of mind and enhance your communication.


NLP Perceptual Positions - Neuro-Linguistic Programming - People Skills


Perceptual Positions Defined

Your perception of any experience depends on the position from where you perceive it.

Key Benefits

Taking different perceptual positions enables you to step out of what you are currently experiencing and gather new information by seeing things from a different perspective. You can also check out how your own words and behavior may be impacting on other people, and how they may be feeling about you and your actions. This new knowledge will help you make the necessary changes in your behavior and thus achieve desired outcomes.

Creative Problem Solving: Reframing

The Four Perceptual Positions

  1. The first Neuro-linguistic perceptual position “Self” is a total self-reference, and operates from the self or from ones own eyes. Explore what you think about the relationship. Label both your own and the other person's behavior. Change the state – shake off all bad feelings.

  2. The second perceptual position “Other” enhances your ability to empathize. It gives you the ability to see another person’s logic especially when you are in an argument. You can also get some insight into your behavioral characteristics, and what someone else thinks about you. It is also an important model for strengthening rapport. Explore the relationship from the other person's point of view. Imagine how they experience your behavior. What sort of label would they put on it? How do they feel? Shake off that emotional state before continuing.

  3. The third Neuro-linguistic perceptual position “Observer” is a complete dissociation from the entire conversation or experience. Go outside the relationship, become a detached observer – imagine a stage and see both of you on stage. See that other person doing what they do, and see yourself responding to them. Shift your question from 'How can I change that person's behavior?' to 'How am I reinforcing or triggering that person's behavior?' Explore how else you could respond to him or her.

  4. The fourth perceptual position, defined as a “We”, is the viewpoint from the perspective of the system as a whole. In order to take the fourth perceptual position, step aside and take on the perspective of the whole arrangement by considering the best interest of the unit as a single entity. Associate yourself with the whole system. Here your aim is to contribute to this single unit, by considering “our” common goals.