Reading time: 90 seconds –

ALL DAY LONG, we give away vital keys as to what motivates us— through our body language, our tone of voice, our eye movements and our choice of words. We simply can’t help it. As we grow up we learn to rely on one sense more than the others to help us make sense of the world. Once you can determine another person’s preferred sense you can tune-in to this wavelength and communicate with maximum impact.

To the untrained eye (or ear), all of us look, sound and feel just like ordinary folks; however, to the trained person there are subtle but important differences. As you might imagine, an individual who gives primary importance to the way things look will be concerned with and influenced by appearances. Similarly, someone to whom sound is important will respond to the way things sound, and a person who experiences the world through physical sensations will be concerned with the way things feel, both internally and externally, through touch.

I was listening to two politicians being interviewed on the radio. They were both thinking of running for the leadership of their party. When the interviewer asked them to “voice their plans,” one said, quite thoughtfully, “I’m leaning heavily toward giving it a shot.” The much quicker response from the other man was “Now that we have a clearer view of the future, I can see the possibilities.” The interviewer responded, “Sounds like you’re both ready to announce your intentions.”

What do you reckon? Can you grasp the distinction? The interviewer, using phrases like “voice your plans” and “announce your intentions,” was probably Auditory. (In all fairness, that would be natural language to use on the radio, but still a surprising number of radio hosts turn out to be Auditory.) The first aspiring leader used physical language—“lean heavily,” “give it a shot”—and spoke deliberately, indicating a Kinesthetic inclination. The second hopeful candidate had “a clearer view” and could “see the possibilities,” and therefore came across as pretty Visual to me.

Of course, no one is totally Visual, utterly Auditory or 100% Kinesthetic. Naturally, we are a mixture of all three. Yet, in every person, one of these systems (rather like left- or right-handedness) dominates the other two.