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People experience the world through their five senses - seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. They also communicate with each other based on their preferred senses. This can generate misunderstandings at work, with friends and with family. Learning about your preferences and how to spot them in the people around you makes you a better communicator.
Learning Through Observation
Taking a neurolinguistic programming (NLP) class will guide you through the processes of identifying people's sensory preferences. NLP training is a good way to immerse yourself into the world of sensory communication. But you can also discover a lot about preferences by watching how you and others respond to the world.
For example, ask people to describe walking on a beach and from their verbal response you'll get an idea of their preferred sense:
The visual person's language includes visual words (watching, seeing, blue water, white sand). The auditory person's words are based on hearing (sound of the waves, wind rustling), and the kinesthetic person uses feeling words (warm sand, splashing, sun on skin).
Also, note that they each use some feeling words such as "relaxing" and "takes my stress away." People tend to have a primary and secondary sensory preference. You may be a visual person with kinesthetic as your secondary sense. Or an auditory person will express how sounds make them feel, showing that they are auditory and kinesthetic.
Using Your Knowledge of Preferences to Improve Communication
You're in a business meeting, and you presented a new project proposal. You're a visual person so you have lots of charts and graphs on the wall showing how the project will succeed. One meeting participant says "This sounds like an expensive project and I'm not hearing where the funding will come from."
You'll have a challenge using your visual language with this auditory person. Learn to speak with people in their own sensory preference and you'll create rapport and trust during the conversation. For example, instead of responding to this auditory person with "As you can see from this chart, we'll be watching our costs closely in the beginning to minimize our expenses," try saying, "I hear your concerns and we will ask our project managers to keep their ears open to ways to minimize expenses."
The more you know about the sensory preferences of people, the better you can communicate with them. You can practice observing others and yourself, or take an NLP class to learn about sensory-based language and how you can use it in all areas of your life with the people around you.Share