Make the Differences Between People Work for You

Craig Woolven, Principal – Thoughts By Design

How can 2 rational, well grounded business professionals hear the same presentation, review the same data or witness the same event, and walk away with totally different understandings, beliefs, decisions, responses, feelings…a totally different view?

Often we may think “were we really in the same room when this happened?”

Or perhaps a more popular thought when one gets an unexpectedly emotional response to a seemingly innocent comment, “where did that come from?”

The answer lies in the individuals thought patterns of processing what we see, hear and touch. The matrix of an individuals patterns of processing constructs impressions and perceptions that are unique to them, and probably vastly different to yours.

Of course, none of this is inherently good or bad, it is just important to know how the similarities and differences impact your life.

These patterns are reflected in how you, and everyone else, thinks, talks and behaves. This makes interaction – the communication between people, an interesting challenge.

The good news is that far from being random and unpredictable, these patterns can be identified. And once identified and examined at a deeper level, we can work with them. Applying this new skill to your everyday life is very powerful.

Imagine being able to bypass all the obstacles and obstructions normally presented by the mismatch between your communication and their rigid thought processing patterns.

Understanding how the conscious and unconscious minds work to build our perception of the world is key.

Lots of information comes into our mind every second. We develop standard ways of possessing this information to make our thinking efficient, easy and consistent. This happens unconsciously, we could not possibly consciously think through the volume of information that comes in every minute. Over time, quite rigid patterns of processing form, greatly influencing everything we think, say and do. So it all becomes second nature, our lives running on auto-pilot, processing, reacting, generating emotions and taking action, our lives governed more by our “standard” ways of processing than you might realize.

Once we understand this, and learn the structure and effects of some of the basic patterns, much of our perception about ourselves and other people changes – it is easy to see how a particular pattern present in one person generates a very different response to your own when presented with the same situation.

And that delivers the opportunity to massively increase the effectiveness and influence of all your communications.

So what are some of the basic patterns?

– Towards/Away – You have no doubt heard the saying – “is the glass half full or half empty?” – the classic “moving towards” or “moving away” pattern. May seem simplistic until you map the pattern across your company’s marketing message and the language your sales people use. Is this all well aligned for a particular prospect? Are you telling people how to move away from a problem when they are super eager to move towards a solution? Should your towards/away message be the same for every potential client?

– Options/Procedures – Are the majority of your staff driven by options, unhappy to proceed with an action without investigating various approaches or fired up by having a well documented procedure? Does this fit well with the desired outcome?

– Through Time/In Time – Do you know people who are incredibly time conscious, always punctual and annoyed with those that are always late? Do you know others who are totally lost in time and could not arrive on time to save their lives?

– Internal/External – Ever had an acquaintance who simply could not believe a claim without some external frame of reference – they had to hear it from someone else as well?

All of this shows us how incredibly different we all are – how the matrix of similarities and differences make-up your version of the world around you. It also shows us how, in reality, incredibly close to each other we can be with a little understanding of these patterns and adjustment of our communication accordingly.

Dozens of patterns have been identified and documented. Developing your understanding of these and working with them will greatly increase your effectiveness as a communicator and leader.

Our flagship program, “The Meta Living Matrix”, is presented by Craig Woolven. The program runs regularly in Sydney. Over 2 days you will learn the 17 most common processing patterns, with a focus on the everyday patterns used in situations such as making buying decisions, assessing business opportunities and staff recruiting. You will also learn multiple ways to identify and effectively work with the specific patterns that most influence you, your family, co-workers, staff, suppliers – everyone you come in contact with.

To register your interest in the program, or perhaps get individual coaching, visit

Thoughts By Design Principal, Craig Woolven, is a Certified Member of the Australian Board Of NLP and a Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Trainer and Coach. During a career spanning over 30 years, Craig has worked with everything from one-man startups to some of Australia’s largest companies in technology, marketing and business development. With a reputation for delivering engaging presentations with a healthy injection of humour and real-life stories, Craig ensures the material being presented is practical, entertaining and above all, valuable.

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