How Do You Know? (Part II – Meta Programs)

Knowing whether you’re doing a good job, and understanding how you can convince those around you that you’re doing a good job, is important to almost every one of us.  Finding that out is quick and easy with 3 simple questions.

I’ve written about Meta Programs more than a few times now – you could call them the conversational personality profiling tool if you wish.  By talking through a specific collection of questions, or just dropping odd ones in to everyday conversation, you have the opportunity to learn about what makes a person tick.  Or think about them yourself to understand what makes you tick!

So far I’ve covered five Meta Programs that I think are most useful, especially if you’re in sales or in business.  Now I’ll move on to understanding a person’s preference for how they judge the results of their actions and whether they’re doing a good job (Frame of Reference filter) and how they become convinced that someone else is doing a good job (Convincer Representational and Demonstration filters).   Could be kinda handy information, right?

Frame of Reference  Let’s start with a simple question to ask yourself or other people.  “How do you know if you’re doing a good job?  Do you know inside or does someone have to tell you?”  Listen to the person’s response and compare it to the common groups as outlined below.  Remember, as I’ve said before, there are no right or wrong answers in all this and everyone is an individual so it’s a continuum from one extreme to the other.

  • A) “I feel/know it inside…” – that’s the ‘internal’ person.  They know within themselves and don’t need any external reinforcement.
  • B)  “My boss told me…” – that’s the ‘external’ person.  They need another person to tell them they’ve done a good job, they find it hard to judge for themselves.
  • C)  “I feel/know it inside and my boss told me, both are equally important to me…” – this is the ‘balanced’ person, they judge for themselves, but equally they also need external reinforcement
  • D)  “I feel/know it inside, but I like my boss to confirm…” – this is the person that knows inside themselves, but they really appreciate a bit of external reinforcement too.  So they’re ‘internal with an external check’.  This is me…
  • E)  “My boss told me, and I guess I knew it inside too…” – this is the person that relies most on feedback from others, but they know it inside to some extent too.  So they’re ‘external with an internal check’. 

In customer-orientated businesses, such as sales and hairdressing, the most advantageous filter will be strong ‘external’ so that they are focused on the clients wishes and client’s response.   I guess I should be happy I have at least some external in there considering I’m in sales! 

‘External’ people also need to be closely managed/supervised as they will always be looking for your feedback if you’re their manager.  Compare that to a very ‘internal’ person who’ll be happy to do their own thing and won’t feel they need feedback from you as their manager.  Fine as long as you’re aligned and agree – not so fine if you’re not!

When selling it’s important to understand what your client prefers in order to communicate with them effectively.  For an ‘internal’ person the key words will be “…only you will know…” for them to make the final decision.  For an ‘external’ person providing references from other clients may be the key to getting the final sale.

 Convincer Representational Filter  So how do you know if someone else is doing a good job?  This filter tells us how someone becomes certain or confident that something is true.  You can ask simply “How do you know when someone else is good at what they do?”

  • A) “Do you have to see them…?”
  • B) “Do you have to hear about them…?”
  • C) “Do you have to read about them or read something with them/from them…?”
  • D) “Do you have to do it with them…?”

The person’s answers will help you know the appropriate method to present information to that person to convince them.  You can then adapt how you present your message.  Provide it as pictures if they need to ‘see’ the information; call them to talk if they need to ‘hear’; have them talk to references, give them hands on experience of the product if they a ‘doer’; or give them reports, data, letters of reference or newspaper clippings if they prefer to ‘read’.

So now you know how the information needs to be provided to the person to convince them.  But what is the sequence of events for them to become convinced?  This is the last piece of the puzzle.

Convincer Demonstration Filter    And this is the filter that helps you find that sequence.  Ask “How often does someone have to demonstrate competence to you before you’re convinced?”  And again listen carefully to their answers.

  • A)  “I give them the benefit of the doubt…” – this is the person that is ‘automatically’ convinced unless proven otherwise.  Beware as a sales person this guy will be easy to sell to, but he’ll buy from anyone!
  • B)  “Once, twice etc…” – this is the ‘number of times’ person.  They need to see you do whatever it is a number of times before they’re convinced.  I’m a two or three kinda gal.
  • C)  A day, a month… – this is the person who will be convinced after a ‘period of time’ has elapsed.
  • D) Never convinced… – this is the ‘consistent’ person who is never convinced and you’ll need to prove yourself time after time after time.  Beware if this is your boss!!  But perfect for QA-roles.

Get out there and try out the questions.  Find out about yourself and those around you.  “I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.” (Douglas Adams)  Make use of the information to communicate better with yourself and with others.  It’s going to be an interesting journey….. so have a great day!

© Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jacqui Gatehouse and NLP THIRTEEN with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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