During this time of change, we’ve all been on a steep learning curve. Some have learned quicker and more effectively than others. As a leader, it’s important to understand the learning styles of your team members so you can communicate effectively with them, especially if you are still working remotely.
There are three primary modes that people use to process thoughts during communication – Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (VAK). Once you are able to recognise the learning styles in others, you can adapt your communication approach. It isn’t about changing what you say, but how you say it.
So how do you determine the learning styles of your team?
Firstly, we can run a quick and easy VAK assessment for you (click here) and send you a report.
Alternatively, here are some tips to figure it out for yourself:
Visual communicators and learners absorb and express ideas through imagery. You can recognise a visual person because they are often fast talkers. You may notice that they access visual representations by looking up often when they are talking. Visual intelligence is often characterised by perfectionism. They tend to get our attention by being well dressed in bright colours. These people may also display facial expressions and gestures that attract you and get them to look at you. They often stand face to face with direct eye contact.
These people learn by remembering what they saw, so you either need to give them documents to read, draw pictures on a board, use infographics, mind maps, diagrams, etc or you can change your language to verbally paint a visual picture in their minds. You will lose them with long speeches and extended presentations. Give them summaries, overviews, step-by-step instructions and graphics. If you have a client or boss who is a visual communicator, you need to dress smartly and keep the environment or workspace tidy and uncluttered.
Auditory communicators learn by listening. If people are primarily auditory, they take in information through sounds. Remembering may be like replaying a voice recording. You can often recognise an auditory communicator because they typically access auditory mental representations by looking side to side when speaking or thinking about things. Auditory people often have strong personalities, great will power and work hard. These people speak well, allow others to finish their thoughts, and they want you to listen to what they say. They are easy conversationalists in formal situations, family gatherings or professional environments, and reveal their sense of humour in the context of a story rather than by making faces or acting out a story. They easily and readily organise group activities.
To communicate with an auditory team member, you need to tell a story, use profound quotations or phrases like, “Do you hear what I am saying?” Let them talk, and be prepared to listen, but they will need a time limit because they often process their thoughts verbally. To get the best performance from an auditory communicator, give them regular verbal praise and tell them why they are the best person for the job.
Kinaesthetic communicators are hands-on learners who remember things by how they felt. People who are primarily kinaesthetic respond to internal bodily feelings or tactile sense and are driven by comfort and pleasure. A kinaesthetically dominant person is likely to be more personal and intimate towards you, with a tendency for physical contact. Their conversations include “feeling” words and they speak in a slower pace, and often in a lower voice. They often speak less than others and communicate by innuendo which can lead to great “complicity” with certain people or great misunderstanding with others. They wear clothes that make them “feel” a certain way, rather than “look” a certain way… whether it’s comfortable, or sexy.
To communicate with kinaesthetic people, you need to evoke feelings and emotions and make an emotional appeal. They need to feel safe and good about themselves and may need more reassurance than others. Be patient, as they are often slower to respond as they refer internally to past experiences before responding. Do not shout or embarrass them in any way, as they will hide emotionally. They need hands-on experience to retain new skills so use step-by-step instructions to transfer knowledge. Use warm words and personal introductions to your emails to show you care.
Learning Styles Team Build
Discovering your learning style and the learning styles of your team can be a fun team building exercise, which not only improves the effectiveness of your communication, but builds self awareness, awareness of others and unites remote workers.
If you are interested in setting up an online webinar with your team to explore how you can communicate better with others, let us know… It’s quick, it’s fun and it builds communication skills and a better understanding of how to get the best out of everyone!