What's Your Process?

lead modalities

lead modalities

You are sitting in a meeting, it's barely been 30 minutes since it started, everybody is sitting still, and at the head of the table there is a talking head. Your eyes are crossing, your vision is getting blurry, you don't understand what people have said and all you hear is "Wah wah wah wah WAH wah Wah wah wah wha."

Does that sound familiar?

Chances are, you are not an auditory processor or learner.  There are 3 different modalities and we are all a combination of all 3:

  1. Visual (V)
  2. Auditory (A)
  3. Kinesthetic (K)

I lead with Visual (V), back up with Kinesthetic (K) and have challenges with Auditory (A).  So my type is VKA.

When it is important that you connect with someone and communicate with them, knowing their lead modality can be very helpful.  Matching the other person's modality  helps create rapport, learning and understanding (this could also be extremely useful with your spouse...)  You can observe the other person's language, tempo, posture, breath and eye movements for the following clues:

Visual processors:

  • Like to highlight text
  • Learn best by using graphics or video
  • Tend to use walls of words
  • Talk fast and high
  • Hold shoulders straight
  • Breathe fast
  • Use visual language like "I can't see what you mean", "it appears that...", "it is crystal clear...", "in hindsight...", "I will watch out for..."
  • Eyes go to upper left when remembering something, upper right when constructing something.

Auditory processors:

  • Read aloud often
  • Like to talk things through
  • Use music to teach skills
  • Encourage peer discussions
  • Talking tempo is between visual and kinesthetic processors
  • Cock their head, listening
  • Breathe into diaphragm and long exhale
  • Use language like "that's clear as a bell", "I can't hear myself talk", "something tells me...", "that's unheard of"
  • Eyes look straight to the left when remembering something, straight to the right when constructing something.

Kinesthetic processors:

  • Like to role-play
  • Provide props for retelling
  • Prefer a “walk-and-talk” format for peer discussion
  • Incorporate energizing movement regularly
  • Talk more slowly, in deeper tones
  • Hold shoulders relaxed
  • Breathe more deeply, into the stomach
  • Use language like "I don't feel...", "I am reaching for...", let me bounce some ideas", "I am clutching at straws", "get in touch..."
  • Eyes look down to the left when remembering something, down to the right when constructing something.

If you are a teacher, trainer of presenter, this means, bring in something for everyone if you really want your audience to get you!  Demonstrate, move around, talk in different tempi and tones, use visuals, stories, get them up and moving and most of all, what all modalities have in common, use humor and have fun:)!