Dealing with difficult people using NLP

  • Identify a specific person that you have difficulty with.
  • Identify a specific type of situation that has happened a number of times in the past and is likely to happen again in the future.
  • Check for ecology of exploring this to improve the situation.
  • Set up lst, 2nd and meta positions. As a rule of thumb, the meta position should be twice as far away as the 1st position is from 2nd position. Set up the meta position as the ‘anthropologist’ position in which you are completely detached from the situation of those two people over there. If it helps, imagine a plexiglass screen between meta position and 1st and 2nd.
  • From meta position notice the behaviours of the people in 1st and 2nd. Ensure you are looking from your own eyes and ears. Describe the behaviours of each with an adjective (eg. defensive, angry, etc). Use third person personal pronouns e.g. he, she, they. ( From 1st position fully associated (using your own eyes and ears) describe what is going on for you. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs about the situation and yourself. What is your good intent, and what would that get for you? Use first person personal pronouns e.g. I, me, we, us.
  • From meta position notice any ‘news of difference’ in the situation now that you have more information about your own situation in it.
  • From 2nd position fully associated (step inside the person’s skin and adopt their facial expression and use their mannerisms. Imagine what is going on for you (them). (If in doubt, guess). Describe your thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the situation, yourself and the person in the other chair. What is your good intent and what would that get for you?
  • From meta position review the situation again and notice any news of difference. Establish what the person in first position could do differently now they have a different understanding of the situation. Generate ideas for new and different behaviour that would be ecological in the situation. (If necessary revisit any of the positions to gather extra information.)
  • From 1st position ask yourself ‘Can I do this new behaviour?’ Make any necessary adjustments and when ready. Future pace.
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