One of the presuppositions of NLP is that we experience reality through our senses which NLP calls modalities. Our neurological system translates the information gathered from our senses and turns it into an internal representation. Internal representations are the pictures, sounds and feelings that we create within our own mind and these internal representations come together to form our map of the world.
Most of us rely more heavily on one representation system over the others. For example, I’m highly visual, meaning I store data and access the world through pictures. I had a girlfriend many years ago who was highly kinesthetic. When we would enter a room, I would look around and observe what was there. She would walk around touching everything because she wanted to get a sense of what things felt like. At the time, not understanding that she was “wired” differently than me, her behavior seemed strange, even weird to me.
One way to access another’s preferred representational system is to listen to the words they use. For example, visual people use words and phrases like: see, look, appear, what looks best to me, I can see your point of view, illuminate, foggy and envision.
Auditory people, who access the world through sounds, use words and phrases like: hear, listen, sounds good to me, I’m all ears, I’m speechless, audible, and silence. Kinesthetic people, who access the world through their feelings, use words and phrases like: feel, touch, grasp, hold, my gut feelings, I’m not in touch with your feelings, let me share my feelings with you, and tap into.
Why this is so important is that visual, auditory and kinesthetic people are very different and you really need to understand these differences if you want to create rapport. Visual people usually stand or sit with their body and head erect, their eyes often look up, they usually breath from the top of their lungs, etc.
Auditory people move their eyes side to side, usually breath from the middle of their chest, tend to talk to themselves, are easily distracted by noises and learn by listening. Kinesthetic people typically breath from the bottom of their lungs, they often move and talk very slowly, respond to touch, stand closer to people than a visual person.
Have some fun. Start noticing the differences in the people you interact with on a regular basis. It might just open up a whole new understanding.