Three channels of information continually hit our brains with information. These channels are through our ears, eyes and the rest of our bodies.
You can’t turn these senses off, so your brain has to develop a strategy to assess and prioritise the information it recieves.
During your childhood, you developed a preferred channel that you are probably using today. This doesn’t mean you don’t use all of them all the time; it simplt means you have a preference for one (or maybe a pair) over the others.
Creating a long-term business relationship with other people is based on the process of communication between them. We tend to concentrate on our side of the conversation, like ‘Am I saying the right things in the right way?’ or ‘How can I make my point here?’
Instead, try to remember that people have what is known as a dominant, primary word catalogue. This is the mind’s way of gathering information, knowledge and experience based on our main senses. This catalogue also makes an association of meanings to words. Just like you have a dominant arm or leg, ear or eye, you will have a dominant catalogue for how you express your opinions, ideas, feelings and goals.
So people will describe these concepts and thoughts in terms of words that reflect the main wiring in their brains, the preferential one being the ‘default’ method for accessing the catalogue of experiences.
You can therefore note other people’s word catalogue by listening to how they express themselves and the type of language they use in their conversations. People with a primary visual word catalogue will use visual keywords more frequently than others to describe their experiences.
Try this exercise. Check the last ten business emails you sent to customers or colleagues. Check they’re not too short to make any meaning in this context. Make a note of how many visual verbs you used (words that reflect you were thinking visually), then ‘hearing‘ words (words that reflect your were thinking in terms of sounds or listening or hearing) and finally those words that reflected feelings, commonly known as ‘kinaesthetic‘.
Check your list and see if there was any dominant words you noticed in the way you communicate. If so, you have found your preferred language and have identified your word catalogue that you are comfortable using.
Now, make a note to listen to the next conversation you have or the next meeting you hold, and just mentally identify the preferences in the room. That way, you will find it easier to talk to them in their language and maybe have a better understanding between you.
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.