Written by Shawn McQueen, Two-Brain Coaching Mentor
If you didn’t read Part 1, where we introduced some basics of effective communication, you can review it here
In this follow-up post, we’re going to dive just a bit deeper and take a look at the nervous system to better understand how to maximize our effectiveness when communicating with clients.
To take information in, we have 5 senses that do the job:
V = Visual (hearing)
A = Auditory (seeing)
K = Kinesthetic (feel, sensation)
O = Olfactory (smelling)
G = Gustatory (taste)
All the experiences we have are processed through these 5 senses. While some use all 5, others use only a few at a time. Going the other way, you also communicate outwardly with those senses, though primarily through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic means. Most of us, as human beings, don’t communicate with taste and smell as primary.
Here’s an important point to remember: each person has a strength, or preferred method, from which they take in information. If I said to you “I’m right handed,” it doesn’t mean I don’t I don’t use my left – it just means I go to my right first. It’s my strength.
When a person identifies a preference, you’ll notice that they will communicate through that medium in specific ways. For instance, visual communicators use hand gestures and say things like “picture this, come on and take a look at this.”
Kinesthetic communicators are more touchy and feely. They talk slowly, relative to the auditory communicators. They’ll say “I need a more concrete example” or “It doesn’t quite feel right to me” or “I don’t know I need a better sense of it, ya know?”
And those who lean towards auditory communication use more words, talk louder and faster, and are always looking for different words to explain something. “Let me say it another way.”
Let’s point out the obvious thing we’re all thinking – all of us can identify as using all three styles, right? I’m all three for sure! Of course, but the point is that you and I have a preference, a strength.
So when it comes to coaching, why does this even matter? Knowing someones strength can help you understand why subtle visual cues work for some and not others. Or why just saying the workout audibly doesn’t connect with half the class. On a deeper level, it can provide insight into why relationships (business, personal) do and don’t work. Sometimes styles can be so radically different that it separates you.
If you really want to be an effective communicator, you have to learn how to change styles quickly, that way it doesn’t matter what style your client is in – you can enter their world rapidly!
If they’re visual … “Yeah I see that, I can picture that!”
If they’re auditory .. “I hear what you’re saying, that clicks for me.”
If they’re kinesthetic … “I feel what you mean.”
Pattern recognition will give you a big advantage in connecting with people more effectively than someone who hasn’t taken the time to develop that skill.
In big groups, like a fitness class, you must hit all three with tremendous effectiveness.
Be a VAK (communicate visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and there is no limit to the number and quality of people you can influence in your lifetime for good.
If you don’t do that, you’ll have to settle for something less.
Takeaway: start paying closer attention to your clients’ preferred method of communication. Not sure where to start? Just ask them!