Let’s thank God for making us all very different and unique. We all develop different personalities and ways to interact with the world around us. Could you imagine how boring our world would be if we all responded to the same stimuli in exactly the same way? There would be no variety or spice to life. However, having all these differences does make our relationships and our attempts at learning a bit more complicated. Once explained, people’s communication and learning styles do become much easier to understand, especially with practice. Before I begin discussing these communication and learning styles, keep in mind that no two people are alike and most people have a blend of more than one style. Some people may even have a communication style that is different from their learning style. The three styles are visual, auditory and feeling oriented people.
Visual people tend to want to use their sense of sight. They may say things like: “Can’t you see that I love you?” or
“I see how you solved that math problem.” They like to use words and actions that suggest sight or other visual
stimulus. Some other words or actions that visual people may use, include (but aren’t limited to): look, see, show, etc. They will need to see a task done before they can do it themselves and if they are trying to explain something, they will want to show you or write down instructions.
These people need to see body language and facial expressions to fully grasp what is going on. They probably think in pictures and appreciate visual displays such as diagrams, signs, written instructions or notes.
Auditory people tend to want to use their sense of hearing. They may say things like: “Did you hear what I said?” or “The answer to that problem sounds good.” They like to use words that suggest sound or other auditory stimuli. Some other words or actions that auditory people use may include (but aren’t limited to): tell, listen, told, etc. They will need you to explain the instructions to them before they begin. If they are trying to explain something, they will be very detailed in their directions.
These people enjoy discussions, listening to what other people have to say and talking things out. They listen and make judgments based on tone of voice, speed and pitch; written information means very little until it is heard.
Feeling oriented people tend to use their sense of touch and feelings. They like to
move and absorb information. They communicate by doing and touching. They may say things like: “I don’t feel like you understand me,” or “The answer to that problem feels right.” They will need to perform a task rather than watching someone else or listening to instructions in order to understand it.
Feeling oriented people tend to rely on feelings and touch. Some other words they use may include: feel, touch, experience, etc. They may think it’s important to shake hands or they may be the one who gives out a lot of hugs during the holidays.
These people enjoy a hands-on approach to relationships. They actively explore the world around them. It may be hard for them to sit still for long periods of time and they may become distracted without the ability to explore.
These are the 3 basic communication and learning styles that you encounter. Remember that most people are a combination of more than one style and probably will not fit neatly into those described above. As with anything, these can be made much more complicated, if you want. I prefer to stick to the basics and the “KEEP IT SIMPLE” method; it works better. Learn to recognize these traits in others and when it comes time to communicate with them, or teach them something, using your new knowledge in this area, you will be able to make the experience as smooth and comfortable as possible for everyone involved. As with anything, the more you practice recognizing and adapting to other people’s styles the better you will get.
Michael at R2W
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