I bet you've heard people talk about whether they're 'visual' or 'auditory' people. You probably have an idea about yourself. Do you think about the things you see, notice the way things look, use words like, 'I see what you mean'? If so, you're probably quite visual.
If you use phrases like, 'that rings a bell,' and if you remember things by hearing them rather than by writing them down, you may be more 'auditory'.
Or you may learn by doing. Maybe you notice how things feel and say things like, 'I don't feel comfortable with that.' That makes you a 'kinaesthetic' person.
It's sometimes surprising to find that other people are different, and that they may see/hear/feel things differently. By noticing how others think, and tailoring the things you say to them, you can get on the same wavelength as them. Here's an example:
Jenny and Sarah are talking on the phone about their ‘girls only’ holiday. Jenny wants to persuade Sarah to go walking in France. Jenny likes to feel fit and she relates to the way she feels. She says: ‘Look, you’ve been worrying about getting fat and if you lie on the beach you’ll feel worse. Let's have a healthy walk each day and if we get too hot we can stop for a while and have a cold drink’. Sarah's not convinced.
Let’s rewind so Jenny can try another approach. This time, she thinks about the clues Sarah can give her. She knows that Sarah wants to appear tanned, she likes to look good and she worries about being too fat. Conclusion: she cares about appearances. She tends to think visually. So this time, Jenny talks Sarah’s language.
‘There’s the most fabulous view across the sunflower fields, and when the sun goes down the light is amazing. There are some nice easy walks, just enough to get our legs toned up so we’ll look good in shorts.’
Talking someone’s language is a great tool in your communication kit, especially if you want to be persuasive and win someone round to your point of view.
I write this Communication Blog
Frances Evesham: on the run around Europe for years, with only a husband, three children and a succession of opinionated cats to keep me out of trouble. Somerset stopped me in my tracks. Now I walk in the country and breathe sea air. I will get around to cleaning the house soon.
I've been a speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper. I sometimes work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs.
I smell the roses, lavender and rosemary as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. Writing historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.