The NLP ‘Different Perspectives’ Technique

Reading time 3 mins

The Different Perspectives or Perceptual Positions technique is a great NLP tool for improving relationships – at home, at work and socially.

It enables us to get an idea of what a situation is like from the other person’s viewpoint – from their ‘perspective’ – through their eyes – and to then use this insight to chance and improve how we communicate with them.

It is one of the simplest and most useful NLP  technique for improving your ability to communicate with others.  

This is why it’s one of the first techniques which we introduced on our NLP Core Skills course.  

You can use the Different Perspectives Technique to:

  • Improve your understanding of other people
  • Think more flexibly and creatively
  • Give yourself an opportunity to stand back and consider issues dispassionately
  • Appreciate the impact of your verbal and non-verbal behaviour on others – and the impact of their behaviour on you.

How to use Different Perspectives

Use it to review an interaction with another person – or to prepare for a forthcoming one.

Do two rounds.

The first round provides insights into the current situation. The second round enables you to benefit from the insights gained in the first round – while mentally ‘wiring in’ the learnings.

Round 1

1st Perspective

See the situation through your own eyes. Run through the meeting or interaction as if you are there in it. Pay attention to your own thoughts and feelings. Consider your own needs.

2nd Perspective

Imagine what it is like to be the other person. Put yourself in their shoes – as if you are looking back at yourself, seeing, hearing, and feeling as the other person. How is ‘that you over there’ coming across to you. Are they in rapport with you? Are they respecting you? Is he/she taking your views into account?

3rd Perspective

Take a detached viewpoint. Imagine you are looking at yourself and the other person ‘over there’ – seeing the two of them speaking, gesturing etc. Pay particular attention to non-verbal behaviour such as the body language and the sound of their voices. Then consider, as a result of taking this view, what advice you wish to give ‘yourself’ about how you are handling the situation.

Round 2

Now repeat the process using the insights and advice from the Round 1. Run through it with the new behaviours – first as yourself, then as the other person, and finally the detached view.

Finally, think of up-coming events in which these insights may be useful. Mentally run through these while imagining that you are incorporating your new learnings.

Use it daily – for a month!

Use Different Perspectives daily on just one interaction from the day. 

  1. Take one interaction (meeting, argument, sales visit, phone call, etc.) and review it from each ‘perspective’
  2. Think of when you will next communicate with this person
  3. Now imagine how you will communicate more effectively with them as a result of running the technique just now.

Do this each day for a month and notice how your ability to effectively communicate with others improves.


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