Have you ever done something and only noticed what you were doing halfway through the act? What was it that led you to do it in that way? What happened in your brain as a result of what you heard, saw or felt?

In NLP we talk about something called metaprogammes or “attention filters.”  They are the sorting principles and models people use to organise all the sensory inputs they receive.

Our brains receive a huge amount of information all the time, perhaps as much as two to three million pieces of information a minute!

Most of this information is processed unconsciously.

In order for the brain to deal with this vast array of information, it needs to organise the information into categories.  That organisation process uses many attention filters.

Attention filters have a significant influence on what we do and what we do not do. They determine, to a large extent, our attitude and approach within a context.

To give you a simple example of one of many attention filters: there are two basic ways humans operate mentally when we work with data.

1)      We can look for what matches what we already know (sameness)

2)      We can look for what differs or mismatches (difference).

This attention filter plays an important role in our overall thinking patterns.  It is a key focus when judging, evaluating and deciding.

Attention filters are largely automatic behaviours and processes. Of course, as with all behaviour, having awareness of what you do and why you do it is the first step on the journey to self-development and change.

Now that you understand what attention filters are, you can see how important it is to understand your client’s dominant ways of ordering information so you can help them bring their behaviour into awareness and control their outcomes.  Use that information to craft custom programs and approaches that will resonate with their deepest, most unconscious ways of making sense of the world.  When you do, they’ll get better results.

For more information on how learning NLP can dramatically improve your life, professional pursuits, and relationships, read our groundbreaking FREE ebook, ” How NLP Can Improve Your Seven Life Streams“.

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Roger Terry

Director of Training and Coaching at Evolution Training Ltd
Roger Terry is one of the world’s leading experts on applying NLP to drive excellence both professionally and personally. Roger leads seminars and consults with companies all over the world, including in the UK, USA, Europe and Middle East. He is the author of several books, including The Hidden Art of Interviewing, NLP and Qualitative Research, NLP for Teachers and The NLP Toolkit.

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