How to Use VAK Learning Styles to Communicate at a Higher Level
Can you relate to this…? You’re teaching a new concept – maybe to a coaching group, your employees or even your children – but there’s one person who just doesn’t seem to grasp the concepts you’re trying to convey no matter what you do or say.
You know she wants to get it, but she’s struggling, and you feel so frustrated. What can you do? Discovering her VAK learning styles should be your first step.
We all have preferences in the way that we learn, whether we’re aware of them or not. Great communicators understand these different learning styles or NLP representational systems. It’s this understanding that allows them to relate to people more deeply and effectively.
Let’s examine the VAK learning styles – visual, auditory, kinesthetic or digital – so you can learn to adapt to the VAK learning style your client, employee, child or friend predominantly uses and how you can reach her more effectively.
Visual people tend to:
- Do and say things quickly, because they have movies playing in their minds, which cause their thoughts and conversation to jump around a lot.
- Visualize the big picture concepts in order to remember and make decisions.
- Prefer person-to-person interactions so they see how the other person reacts.
- Speak in a higher pitch.
- Sit erect on the edge of their seats with their eyes up.
- Gesture a lot.
- Be neat, organized and well groomed.
- Find it difficult to remember verbal instructions because their minds wander.
- Breathe more shallowly from the top of their lungs.
- Say, “I see what you mean” or “I get the picture”.
People with the visual learning style need color coded materials such as maps and flow charts. Use checklists, flashcards and note cards so they can organize their thoughts. And as much as possible incorporate images, photos, drawings so they can grasp hard-to-understand concepts.
Auditory people tend to:
- Do things rhythmically.
- Speak in a mid range level.
- Be aware of subtle changes to the tone of voice.
- Be able to repeat instructions back to you easily.
- Be distracted by noise.
- Love to converse and are excellent listeners.
- Use some hand gestures and they tilt their head to one side in conversation.
- Memorize things in sequence.
- Like to be told things and hear feedback in conversations.
- Breathe from the middle of the chest.
- Say, “that rings a bell” or “that clicks”, or “I hear you”.
People with the auditory learning style need to be engaged in conversation about the subject. Ask her questions and have her summarize the material back to you. Provide recordings of all your sessions.
Kinesthetic people tend to:
- Do and say things slowly, because they need time to get in touch their feelings.
- Speak in a deeper voice and have long pauses between statements.
- Learn by doing.
- Respond well to being touched.
- Choose comfort over fashion.
- Make decision based on their feelings and are interested in how you feel.
- Stand close to people so they can feel the person’s energy.
- Memorize by walking through the process or doing it.
- Breathe from the bottom of their lungs.
- Say, “I want to get a handle on it” or “get a grip”.
People with kinesthetic learning style respond well to checklists and diagrams they can physically copy and trace. They especially like textured paper and a variety of writing tools that feel good to write with. Role playing and tactile objects help them learn concepts. And body movement such as snapping fingers and pacing helps them remember better.
Digital people tend to:
- Need to make sense on their world.
- Talk to themselves and carry on conversations in their mind.
- Place a high value on logic and detail.
- Avoid spontaneity and are more reserved.
- Memorize by steps and procedures.
- Be less emotionally attached to outcomes.
- Breathe from the lower abdomen.
- Say, “that’s sensible”, “that computes with me”, or “let’s analyze this”.
People with the digital learning style need facts, figures and logic so they can work things out for themselves. Give them plenty of time and space to work things out in their mind.
Remember that some people have a combination of VAK learning styles. Understanding these differences will help your communication be far more effective, whether you’re speaking to a large audience, a small group or one-on-one.
Did you know VAK is just one aspect of NLP? If you want to learn more about how to communicate a much higher level, please sign up for our newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date on our NLP training techniques slated for 2017.