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These can all be same place and same holiday. Which one appeals to you more? One key element of communication is way we process, or “represent” words.
None of above is “better” than any of others. The fact is, we are either “visual”, kinaesthetic (feelings based), or auditory. Although we all have a capability of using all three, we will almost certainly have a preference for one of these, possibly with another as a back up. So, when we are remembering events we will use whichever of these is more natural for us. Someone who naturally uses visual channel we will tend to talk abut their holiday experience in language which paints pictures. They can see those clearly in their own minds and, therefore, will use words to share picture with others. No problem for an audience who can also go into their visual channel. Not so effective for those who are stronger in one of other channels. I wonder which you are?
When we are planning to talk to others, whether in your teams at work, potential customers or suppliers it helps to realise that not everyone shares your preferred style for processing information. The first step is to recognise which might be your preference. It is probable that you will use language which fits this when you are expressing yourself. This is why we are suggesting you need to develop your flexibility.
When we talk about “think before you speak” we are encouraging you to do a few things. As a first step, think about receiver, or receivers. What do you know about them, their likely response to your message (given your filters) and their level of understanding? When you have taken time to consider this information you can aim to pitch your message at right level for audience.
The next step can be to think about receiver and consider where they might be on visual, auditory or kinaesthetic scale. This is obviously easier when you are dealing with individuals. When addressing a group, it is reasonable to presume that you need to think about covering all three, although visual and kinaesthetic will probably be majority.
To build up your awareness of others, you can look for some indicators. They may not give you whole answer, but they can steer you right way. “Visuals” will often talk with language that use picture-type words. Colours, images and scenes will be in their vocabulary. They paint pictures with their words. They will also tend to talk more quickly, be more animated and their gestures will be wider – using their hands to reinforce picture. They may well be gesturing from chest upwards and outwards too.
“Kinaesthetics” will use feeling language. They talk about how they feel, need to grasp things, and so on. Their feeling language may be about tangible feelings, ie getting hold of something, how hard or soft it is, or it could be more about emotion. They will often speak more slowly, taking time to think about things and their feelings and checking them before speaking. They do not gesture expansively, and may well move hands towards themselves, especially to their centre and even touch themselves or hold something.
“Auditories” will enjoy talking about things! They often question a lot, want to discuss things. They want to know that things sound right! Their clues are harder to spot in many ways as they can be more subtle. Listen for words to do with hearing, sounding right. Their gestures might be more rhythmic and are often addressed to mouth, head and ears.
This might seem like a lot to consider before you speak. The trouble for all of us is that we spend much of our life talking - and it works to some extent. When it does not, we can have a tendency to blame others for not understanding. Well, it is not their fault! As a sender of a message, we have a responsibility to pitch it to be right for receiver. We need to not only do basics of considering their level and likely response as mentioned earlier, we also need to do our best to deliver it on their wavelength. We need to remember they may not be tuned in to same one as we are sending on! By taking some time to think about our own preferences, we can identify which processing styles we might be missing. From here, we can work on increasing our flexibility to use right language to cover others.
Remember – “the meaning of my communication is response I get”.
Graham Yemm a founding partner of Solutions 4 Training Ltd. He has worked with many different organisations around the world conducting both training and consultancy assignments. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP and an accredited trainer for the LAB profile programme – “Words that Change Minds”. Contact, <Back to Page 1