Effective communication: Using Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic words

In business, and especially Silicon Valley, you need to learn to be an effective communicator. An effective communicator is not someone who can waffle on for hours on end but someone who is effective in getting results from their communication. Extrovert or introvert, it doesn’t matter. An effective communicator gets heard & understood. If you are a great engineer but cannot effectively communicate then you are missing out on an important part of your career influence. Being able to communicate effectively is within everyone’s reach. It is something most humans are capable of doing and with the right tools can sharpen.

To be an effective communicator you need to learn & be always aware of the 3 human primary modes that people use to process thoughts during communication. They are Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Just like being right-handed primary, each of us uses one of the 3 modes as our primary form to convey messages during communication. Understanding which one the person you are speaking with is using is a step forward to being a better communicator.

Primary modes

head-positionsThe following applies for right-handed people. For left-handed switch everything I tell you below to the other side i.e. right to left and left to right.

Visual

  • Speaker will primarily look up / up and to the side as they process information (answers to your questions). As if looking into the sky for an answer.
  • These people are known as “the fast talkers” because visual memories are a lot quicker to process and put into words.

Auditory

  • Speaker will primarily move their eyes left to right / right to left (from ear to ear) as “they need to hear” what they are saying.
  • These people are moderate speed talkers.

Kinesthetic

  • Speaker will primarily look down and to the right as “they need to feel” what they are saying.
  • Typically these people will be slow talkers because to feel their response before speaking, this takes longer to come out.
  • Kinesthetic people usually have beards.

Note: Don’t get confused with people looking down and to the left – this is common when people are having internal chatter like reciting a preplanned script e.g. actors or individuals during an interview with a pre memorized script/s.

Communicating effectively

people-communicatingYou may have come across individuals where you just couldn’t click together or something was not right after your discussion. Like you did not understand each other. There is a high chance this may have been the choice of words you used to communicate with. The other party’s primary mode of communication might have been different to yours and thus the two of you did not really understand each other hence the feeling of disconnect.

To avoid this happening again, try to recognize the other person’s primary human mode. Once recognized, add (or change) some words & sentences in your communication. It isn’t about changing what you say but how you say it.

Step 1 – Identify there (speaker’s) primary mode

  • Listen to their choice of words, how their eyes move and speed of speech. My previous post on understanding each other using primary human modes talks about other indicators you can use to get this information.
  • Ask about the weather “how is the weather today?” – always a favorite. Is the weather, sunny (visual), warm (kinesthetic) or windy (auditory). Or, “is your car” – yellow (visual), safe (kinesthetic – Volvo drivers) or noisy (auditory). etc… you get the drift right?

Step 2 – Add the appropriate “words” into your communication

Here is a list of keywords you can throw into all your communication in order to get a “better” message across and be heard or simply understood.

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic
see
look
bright
clear
picture
foggy
view
clear
focused
dawn
reveal
illuminate
imagine
hazy
an eyeful
short sighted
sight for sore eyes
take a peek
tunnel vision
bird’s eye view
naked eye
paint a picture
heartell
sound
resonate
listen
silence
deaf
squeak
hush
roar
melody
make music
harmonize
tune in/out
rings a bell
quiet as a mouse
voiced an opinion
clear as a bell
give me your ear
loud and clear
purrs like a kitten
on another note
grasp
feel
hardun
feeling
concrete
scrape
solid
touch
get hold of
catch on
tap into
heated argument
pull some strings
sharp as a tack
smooth operator
make contact
throw out
firm foundation
get a handle on
get in touch with
hand in hand
hang in there

Step 3 – Add the appropriate “sentences” into your communication

Step it up a bit and use appropriate sentences to respond back with or ask questions. Some of the common ones you can use for each primary mode include:

Visual Auditory Kinesthetic
Let’s look at it differently.
See how this works for you.
I can’t quite picture it.
Let’s draw a diagram or map.
I’d like to get a different perspective.
I never forget a face.
That sounds about right.
That rings a bell.
It’s coming through loud and clear.
Tune in to what I’m saying.
Clear as a bell.
That’s music to my ears.
That feels right to me.
I can’t get a grip on this.
Stay in touch.
Get in touch with.
That doesn’t sit right with me.
I have good feelings about this.
My gut is telling me.
I follow your drift.

Step 4 – Have fun!

Don’t forget that having fun is when you are having the most effective communication. Once you are connecting and communicating effectively with the other person doors open to opportunities and you really get to learn and grow from the experience. Everyone has a story to tell and once you are listening and communicating effectively the world is your oyster.

Has this helped you in any way? Please share your story below.

Ernest

Understanding each other: primary human modes of communication

I’m sure you’ve wondered why sometimes we come across people we click with instantly and sometimes we struggle with others. Even after using common topics of interest like talking about them / their interests, their family, news et al, there is still something not sticking. You may walk away thinking it wasn’t meant to be or that geez that person was hard to communicate to. But what if it didn’t have to be like that and you can change it. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to “click” with everyone – of course it would! This is where understanding each others primary human mode of communication helps. Let’s dig into this further.

0009b30d_mediumNicholas Boothman, an NLP practitioner and ex-photographer shares the following in his book: How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less

“There are three primary modes that people use to process thoughts (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — both emotions and physical feelings), and remembered and imagined versions of each one. Understanding individuals primary mode can help you build rapport and connect with them.”

Understanding these primary modes and how to apply them is the secret recipe here.

So what does this all mean, an example

Let’s assume I’m a sales person going to sell you a car. After finding out what your primary mode is, I would use one of the following sales techniques to sell you the car.

a. Primary Visual: “seeing and reading” – I will say, imagine the look on people’s face as they see you driving in this red sporty car on a beautiful sunny day. Is this something you see yourself driving in?

b. Primary Auditory: “listening and speaking” – I will say, hear the growl of this V8 twin turbo engine as your plant your foot down. It’s pure horsepower. Throw your favorite track of Mozart or Guns’n’Roses on and it’s music to your ears. How does that sound?

c. Primary Kinesthetic: “touching and doing” – I will say, imagine yourself strapped in pure comfort into those body hugging Recaro bucket seats in this A class safety approved sports car – you know you are safe. You are bound to have a fun and an amazing time. How does that feel?

Did you notice the use of cue words specific to each primary mode? This doesn’t just apply to sales people. Each day when you speak to people you are always selling yourself, your ideas and stories through your communication.

If you are still skeptical, I’m sure you have heard stories of couples miscommunicating. It probably played out like this: wife to husband: “you’re not listening to me”, husband to wife: “I am, but you’re not seeing what I mean”. Right there; lay’s the key to that form of miscommunication. The wife is auditory and the husband visual. Of course the wife cannot see his point because she needs to hear it.

Understanding the person’s preference – how to use this knowledge

The “clues” to understanding a person’s preference mode are tied in eye movements and choices of words.

a. Eye movements

This applies for right-handed individuals. For left-handed the sides are switched.

  • Visual individual will always look up / up and to the side as they process information. They are also the fast talkers because visual thoughts are a lot quicker to put into words.
  • Auditory individual will move their eyes from ear to ear (left to right / right to left) as they need to hear what they are saying. This group is moderate speed talkers.
  • Kinesthetic individual will look down and to the right as they need to “feel” what they are saying. Typically these people will be slow talkers because to feel and speak is a longer process. Don’t get confused with people looking down and to the left – this is common when people are having internal chatter like reciting a preplanned script e.g. actors or during an interview – all types exhibit this behavior.

b. Choice of words
Listen to the following used in one’s conversation and use the same choice of words to respond.

Visual

  • Let’s look at it differently.
  • See how this works for you.
  • I can’t quite picture it.
  • Let’s draw a diagram or map.
  • I’d like to get a different perspective.
  • I never forget a face.

Auditory

  • That sounds about right.
  • That rings a bell.
  • It’s coming through loud and clear.
  • Tune in to what I’m saying
  • Clear as a bell.
  • That’s music to my ears.

Kinesthetic

  • That feels right to me.
  • I can’t get a grip on this…
  • Stay in touch.
  • Get in touch with…
  • That doesn’t sit right with me.
  • I have good feelings about this.
  • My gut is telling me…
  • I follow your drift.

Don’t assume

Just like being right handed one can also be a mix of both sides. Do not make quick assumptions about a persons mode. A person can be a mix of modes like primary visual and secondary auditory, and so on. Understanding this will help you use the right choice of words in your communication at the right time and in no time you will be in a position able to hold a conversation with anyone and build rapport quickly.

Enjoy your new found knowledge and share your experience below in the comments section.