All information that comes to us is processed through three channels. Visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Visual is what we see, auditory is what we hear and kinaesthetic is what we feel. We are able to read within the other person, which of these three channels they are using, and then match that channel with our own verbal and non-verbal behaviours.
People do generally tend to use one of these channels more than the other two. Some people tend to rely more on their visual channel, and we generalise and call them “Visuals.” Others prefer the auditory channel and we will call them “Auditories.” Lastly, there is a group who prefer the kinaesthetic channel, and we call this group “Kinos.” This does not mean that we only use one channel to the exclusion of the others. But we do tend to have a primary channel, and then use the others as and when we need them.
By picking this up and matching it, we are able to develop rapport quickly and efficiently. This will give us a whole batch of behaviours that we can match and mirror.
“Reading” Visuals, Auditories and Kinos.
We need to be able to read the signals that will indicate whether a person is a Visual, Auditory or Kino. One excellent way, is through eye access cues. The way people move their eyes will tell us how they are processing information. Also their choice of words is a good clue. Plus there are some very specific behaviours, besides their choice of words that will allow us to determine this information.
Visuals tend to speak with slightly higher pitched voices. They seem to sound a little breathless, and their voice tempo is fast. Often they don’t complete sentences, as they seem to be rushing from one subject to another. They have a very good ability to describe things well. They appear to be shallow breathers, using just the very top of their chests, which accounts for their slightly breathless manner.
They tend to favour “visual” words. Words like: see, show, glance, view, look, perspective, focus, outlook, appearance, clear, bright, graphic… So typically a Visual would say “I see what you mean.” As opposed to an Auditory who may say “I hear you.”
Their eye pattern, is to look upwards when not looking directly at the other person.
Auditories tend to breath from the centre of the chest, and their voices are deeper and appear more melodious. Their voices have more rhythm and are generally more pleasing. Their sentences are fuller and they use their voices well.
They use more auditory words like: listen, hear, pace, ring, tone, tune, buzz, note, chord, shout.. So typically an Auditory would say: “I really like the sound of that. It sounds like a good deal.”
They tend to look more to the side, at about ear level of the person they are with.
Kinaesthetics or Kinos.
They generally breath from very low in the chest. It’s often a little difficult to pick up their breathing pattern, because it is so deep. Their voices tend to be slow and hesitant, and there are usually gaps and pauses in their communication, as they stop to think things through.
They use kinaesthetic or “feel” words. Words like: feel, grip, handle, move, touch, vibe, grasp, catch on, irritate, sensation. So typically a Kino would say “That has a really good feel. It gives me a good vibe.”
They have a strong tendency to look downwards.
What to match.
There are many different areas to match. Some that we’ll be looking at are: breathing, voice pitch, pace and power, words, gestures, movements and eye movements. When I put that list up at our seminars, people usually do a double take, and wonder how it’s ever possible to mirror another person at so many different levels. In fact as you go through them, you’ll see how one just leads into the next. Before long, you will find yourself mirroring people in all these areas, without even consciously being aware of the process, and developing rapport along the way.
Initially you will be so consciously aware that you are doing it, but after about 21 days, the skills become internalised, and you move onto auto-pilot. At that stage the skills have really become a part of you.
This is perhaps one of the easiest of all of the movements to mirror. Having sensory acuity of course is the prerequisite for all of these areas. Without being able to notice the movements, you can’t match them, so first develop the ability to read the other person.
As you notice the rise and fall of the chest, get into concert with it. Change your own breathing pattern to match. It may be necessary to breath a little faster, or perhaps a bit slower, but match, match, match. As you do this you will start to feel a certain synchronicity with the other person, as the two of you get into tune with one another.
There are three primary ways that the voice may change. They are pitch, pace and power. That is how high or low the voice is pitched, how fast the delivery is, and how loud it is.
Here it is important that you don’t make your voice sound un-natural. For example if a deep voiced male is speaking with a high pitched female, it would sound totally artificial if either party tried to match the other. One should not move more than one or perhaps maximum two octaves in either direction.
This one is much easier for anyone to match. As the other person talks faster.. speed up your delivery, and vice versa. You will probably have already seen at this point whether the person you are with is primarily visual, auditory or kinaesthetic, so you will have a natural pattern to follow. Remember, Visuals fast, Kinos slow and Auditories medium paced.
If the person talks with a louder than normal voice, follow the pattern. If quieter, match that. Just for a moment think about a communication, where one person is speaking loud and fast, and the other is responding softly and slowly. There is a vast mismatch. It is like transmitting a signal at 702 MHz, and trying to pick it up on a radio tuned to 94.7 MHz. To have rapport, we need to have both transmitter and receiver set to the same frequency.
The words that a person chooses are called predicates. We looked a moment ago at the different predicates that Visuals, Auditories and Kinos use. Visuals preferring “see” type words, Auditories going for more “hear” type words and Kinos favouring “feel” type words. So again we determine what is the primary style of the person we are with, pick up what predicates they are using, and then match them.
Does this sound familiar? Ronald – Visual: “I just wish you could see what I mean.”
Danny – Auditory: “Ronald, I hear you but it just doesn’t have a good ring to it.”
Or. Lisa – Kino: “I just can’t grasp your drift. I’m trying my best, but I just can’t get a handle onto what you want.”
Melanie – Visual: “If you would just open your eyes, you would see it clear as a picture. Your perspective is all wrong.”
Often we run into communication breakdowns because we are using the wrong type of words. It’s virtually as if we are speaking different languages, and to some extent we are. Maybe even from different planets! By matching predicates we are getting onto the same wavelength as the other person.