Triple perspectives (or multiple perspectives) give us more information, and depth. The ability to take multiple perspectives is an essential leadership skill. It is also vital for parenting, teaching, coaching and counseling.
We can easily become stuck in one particular way of thinking about a situation (our maps). Some can only see things solely from their own point of view. Some habitually take the others view or an observer perspective. There is no one right way to understand any event. Having more than one view is an essential skill to improve understanding and insight.
Triple perspectives video
In this hilarious video, Alec Baldwin unwittingly demonstrates the power of this NLP technique (not quite in the order we would do it)
Tracey first is seeing things from his own perspective, while Jack (Alec) plays his father, mother and stepfather. Then he asks Jack to play himself (Tracey) and has the opportunity to see the entire relationship dynamic.
This is a useful technique for understanding a relationship or other communication problem. The process involves stepping physically and cleanly into each position. You don’t need another person playing the other roles – imagine what each would be like.
Moving to a different location enables you to anchor these different viewpoints kinesthetically. The key to the process is making sure you step cleanly into the state, and cleanly out. Contamination of the positions only muddies the waters.
- Seeing from my perspective (first position).This involves standing in your own physical space in your own posture fully Associated considering your own feelings, perceptions and ideas. Consider fully your assumptions, beliefs, thoughts feelings and ideas about the situation.You will not be seeing yourself in the picture – (dissociated). This is your body mind and map of the world.
- Imagine the other’s point of view (second position).There may be more than one other person and therefore more than one second position. Take on the physiology (breathing and posture), together with their map of the world.Imagine what it is like to be in their shoes. What are their assumptions, feelings, beliefs and ideas? What are they experiencing? Imagine how you appear to them. What is your communication like from their perspective?
- Experience the whole interaction as an observer (third position).Here you are not associated to either yourself or the other person. You are however using the information gained from first and second position. You now have information about both sets of ideas beliefs feelings and thoughts.
- Robert Dilts adds an additional perspective, that of the system as a whole (fourth position).It is a synthesis of the other three positions. This is optional, usually third position includes an understanding of the system as a whole, but for issues that are more complex it could be useful to separate it.
We can also take the perceptual positions of other people. How would an artist see this situation as opposed to an engineer? Consider Edward de Bono’s six hats thinking to overcome habitual ways of thinking and improving problem solving. Evaluating a situation from a logical perspective provides different information than using an emotional perspective.