Each one of us will “Filter” information we receive, we will delete, distort and do what we need to do with it to make it “fit” into our own unique version of the world and our own unique perspective on how the world is. In NLP these are known as Meta programmes.
Answering the following questions will help you understand a little more about your Meta programmes or filters which in turn can help you understand other people’s filters! Please answer the questions before reading on, (no cheating!) It is important to understand there is no right or wrong answers and just answer the questions based on how you perceive them, and all will be revealed!
What’s important to you in a job?
How do you know if you have done a good job?
What’s the relationship between this job and your last job?
Why did you choose this job?
If you are not working at the moment, then you can apply the answers to a previous job. It doesn’t have to be a job you were paid for, can be a volunteering role.
This is an NLP technique that is designed to establish an individual’s filter programme.
The first question “What’s important to you in a job” relates to the Directional/Motivational filter.
We are motivated by either going toward something or moving away from something. The answers given to this question, will help establish which one is yours.
“I am at my best at my ideal weight” would be toward, it is moving towards what I want
“I am better at my ideal weight” would be away, as it implies moving away from where I am now.
“I want to achieve my target” would be moving toward
“I want to improve so I can reach my target” would be away from as it implies I want to improve from where I am now.
Any answer that includes “Get there” “Be there” “I will” “achieve” is toward language.
Any answer that includes “More” “Better” “Improve” is away language, it states the individual wants to move away from where they are now.
Of course, this is not set in stone, and these filters can change, particularly if we feel under stress, which we do want to get away from!
Your answers may not include words that can be immediately identified as toward or away language, so you may have to do some digging to establish. Ask a question such as “Why is that important?”
The second question “How do you know if you have done a good job?” refers to our Frame of Reference filter.
We are either external or internal. External means we would seek evidence outside of ourselves to know we have done a good job, such as stats, praise, other people, feedback etc. Internal means we just know within ourselves if we have or not, despite what anyone else says.
It is important to remember when dealing with an individual who is external, that they do thrive on praise, feedback, being told what a great job they are doing etc. The internal person on the other hand, may find it quite patronising and uncomfortable. They would not for instance, enjoy being singled out in a team for special recognition, with a huge fuss being made in front of others, whereas an external person would. The internal would prefer a quiet well done in a non- patronising way out of the spotlight.
If the answers you give are 50-50, then ask “What’s more important, feeling it inside or what other people think?” to help establish.
The third question “What’s the relationship between your current job and your last job?” refers to the Relationships filter.
In any situation and in life we are either seeking the similarities, or seeking the differences.
The word relationship is used in the question, so as not to influence the answer. If the question asked “What’s the difference between your current job and your last job?” your answers would focus on the differences, even if your filter is similar.
Again, the answers will give an insight into your preferred filter. If you answer dealing with people in both, customer service in both, similar hours etc., then your filter is seeking the similarities. If you answer that the job is totally different, different role, different people etc., your filter is seeking the differences.
It is interesting to note that you can have two people who do the same job, come up with different answers, because of their relationship filter. Some will mention the similarities, some the differences.
The fourth question “Why did you choose your current job?” relates to the choices filter.
We either make a choice through a logical, step by step process, which is the Procedural filter or we look at our variety of choices that are available that appeal to us, without having any connection, which is the Optional filter.
The answers given, will reflect your preferred filter. If your filter is procedural you will tend to give a longer detailed answer, with related reasons. For example, “I was working as a customer service agent in finances in my previous job and felt I had gone as far as I could in that area and I wanted to develop my skills in another area, so this job has given me the opportunity to develop my skills and knowledge in billing, which means I have gained further experience in order to help me become more knowledgeable in all round customer service, which means I can further develop my career.”
If your filter is optional, you will tend to give a shorter answer, with unrelated reasons, such as “Experience, more money, better working conditions, meet new people, develop new skills, better company.”
It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong answers. Everything relates to how we perceive the world from our point of view. How the world is for us.
Understanding this will help you to improve your communication skills and build great relationships, as you are relating to people, based on their own meta programmes/filters and their own model of the world!
And remember! You truly are a totally unique, one off, individual and that is exactly how you experience the world and the world experiences you!
Article Blog, written by Janet Wilks, NLP Practitionor and Coach.