Understanding these can assist communication channels immensely as human beings process information by using the five senses of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. These allow the mind to code and understand what is happening. Some will be more developed or favoured than the others and it is these preferred senses that will be used to represent their world.

Once aware of this, you can detect the preferred sense of anyone you are talking to. Then you can adapt the way you speak to enhance the other party’s understanding.

Eg Jill “I feel like he’s not in touch with his team”, Mike “I hear what you’re saying, we seem to be on the same wavelength but how do we get him to listen?” … Jill is obviously tactile whereas Mike is auditory.
Here are some commonly heard conversational clues to see which area people feel comfortable in:

‘Seeing’ or ‘Visual’:

• I get the picture
• See what I mean
• That is colourful, coming from you
• Show me what you mean
• We’ll look back on this someday

‘Hearing’ or ‘Auditory’:

• Sounds good to me
• Clear as a bell
• I just turned a deaf ear to…
I hear what you say
• Ah, that’s music to my ears

‘Feeling’, ‘Tactile’ or ‘Kinaesthetic’:

• I feel good about this
• He’ll get the sharp end of my tongue
• I cannot get a grip on this
• I felt right at home
• The pressure to complete was incredible

‘Smelling’ or ‘Olfactory’:

• This smells fishy
• I smell a rat
• As sweet as a rose
• He had a nose for which direction to go

‘Tasting’ or ‘Gustatory’:

• Let us chew it over
• Like eating a piece of cake
• It left a nasty taste
• She’s so sweet

Although the last two are rare, a further clue is that olfactory types will often sniff before they make a decision – to see if it smells right and gustatory people may smack their lips or make swallowing sounds – to get the taste.

As fast as you can, using the answer that immediately feels right for you, tick one from each of the three options given in the sections below.

I like to learn by…
( ) Seeing how to do it
( ) Hearing a talk
( ) Having a go, hands-on

I make decisions by…
( ) Getting a clear picture
( ) Finding out how it sounds
( ) Attending to my gut feeling

I buy things based on…
( ) Colour, style and appearance
( ) Its description, sound or salesperson’s patter
( ) The feel of the thing

I find it easier to…
( ) Draw a picture
( ) Sing or hum a tune
( ) Play sport

By opting mainly for the first statement, you are probably primarily visual.
Selecting the middle option suggests that you are primarily auditory.
The third option indicates a kinaesthetic preference.

Improved communication and productivity can be obtained by listening first, understanding the other person’s preferred thinking sense and conversing in that style. It will assist in offering clarity and a stronger likelihood that your message will be understood.

If you want to better understand the way you communicate to others and how you can increase engagement, contact Coaching to Success’ Neil Nutburn, email neil@coachingtosuccess.co.uk or call 07761 187238 to set up a meeting to discuss areas that could help.

Coaching to success is all about creating successful businesses, firms and organisations. We’re here to insure you succeed.