Making Sense of the World Around Us – Part IV – Characteristics

Do you prefer to see, hear or feel the message?  I’ve talked a number of times now about representational systems and our preferences for absorbing information via our 5 senses – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory and olfactory (see, hear, feel/touch, taste and smell).  I’ve also covered a simple set of questions that allowed you to test your own preferences and how to score your test to find out if you prefer to gather information visually, by hearing the message (auditory), feeling what’s happening (kinesthetic) or if you’re focused on that dialogue in your head (auditory digital) .

But how do you find out which rep. system someone prefers without handing them a long questionnaire?  Well you listen to the words they  use.  ‘I don’t understand’ could be ‘I’m in the dark’ for a visual person, ’it’s all Greek to me’ for those that prefer auditory and ‘I can’t make head or talk of it’ for kinesthetic.  On the other hand ’I understand…’ could be ’I see what you mean’ for visual, ’that rings a bell’ for auditory, or even ’that feels right’ for kinesthetic.  These words – see, rings a bell, feel etc. – are called predicates and when a person uses them frequently they hint at their preferred rep. system.

Our representational system preferences also affect the way we act and can be spotted by how we behave.  Here’s a few ideas….

Visual people tend to:

  • Be organised, neat and well-groomed – they want to “look” good and appearance will be important to them.
  • Stand back from people to see their body language – they want to see what they’re thinking.
  • Use visualization to remember things and to make decisions – they need to gain insight.
  • Speak fast – as they have a picture in their mind they need to describe before it changes.  Sometimes they almost can’t speak fast enough and so they can have trouble putting their thoughts in to words.
  • Remember faces more easily than names – this one is so me.  I always remember a face, but remembering names is a challenge.  Friends taught me years ago to imagine an appropriate object on a person’s head that reminded me of their name – works a treat when I remember to do it!

Kinesthetic people tend to:

  • Speak slower – they want to take some time to get in touch with their feelings….
  • Be more sensitive about their bodies and what they feel/touch – they respond well to physical rewards and touching.  Watch out for them getting in your personal space….
  • Dress for comfort rather than how they’ll look.
  • Make decisions based on feelings and perhaps not so much on logic or data.

Auditory people tend to:

  • Be more sensitive to people voices in terms of the tone, the speed the person talks and the pitch.
  • Learn by listening and then asking questions of the teacher or trainer.
  • Prefer to communicate and discuss through spoken word – face to face or via the phone – instead of emails and the written word.
  • Like to have someone as a sounding board to talk through problems.

Auditory digital people tend to:

  • Need to make sense of the world by figuring things out, thinking them through and understanding concepts.
  • Talk to themselves…..
  • Have conversations with you in their head and can forget they didn’t say things out loud!
  • Believe that logic, facts and figures are important for making decisions.
  • Memorize by steps and procedures.

So do any of those descriptions ring any bells. look familiar or feel just right to describe the people around you?

(Picture credit – NLP THIRTEEN and a thank you to my beloved husband that actually took the shot!)

© 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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