NLP Preferred Representational System

Written by Lee Avery

Fireworks seem to be loved by the vast majority of people. They impact our senses through colour and light, sound and sensation. They are truly multi-sensory and activate our entire range of major representational systems.

The knowledge of, and application of the representational systems is an important part of NLP and understanding how to spot an individuals personal preference can be vital to being successful in the use of NLP.

Although (barring disability) we all have access to the complete range of Representational Systems it is usual for an individual to have a preferred representation, the one that they are most practiced and most fluent in. It is usually one of the three primary systems (VAK) and it will present itself in a variety of ways, from the language used through to the closeness of interactions.

Visual Preference

Some individuals will be primarily Visual in their approach and will easily construct mental images and use language that is full of visual predicates. They will approach the world through the visual medium and will use pictures and images to describe and navigate their way around the world. Ask the visual person directions and more often than not they will draw you a map, they will love to use Powerpoint to make a presentation and their world will be neat and tidy.

The Visual preference will be evident in their communication style and personal approach. They will often stand back from the person that they are talking to, to take in the whole picture, their language will be peppered with visual imagery and they will talk at a moderate pace. They are likely to be very articulate with a great deal of movement and hand gestures.

Auditory Preference

Some people just never seem to stop talking, and when they are in full flow the speed at which they perform is incredible. The Auditory preference will call clearly to those who listen out for it, the language will be fluid and contain audio based language cues, they are likely to be interested in music and listening to the world around them. They will often give long, detailed descriptions of activities and instructions and will prefer to learn by listening. In a business setting they are more likely to prefer to talk things through and will produce lengthy documents.

Their communication style will be highly talkative and at a medium distance. They will alter pitch and speed of conversation rapidly and will listen intently.

Kinesthetic Preference

Have…you…ever…listened…to…someone…speak…and…you…are…waiting…for…them…to…get to the point? This is a clear indication of someone with a Kinesthetic preference who is likely to think deeply about every word before they say it. They may stand a little too close for comfort too. These are people who feel their way through the world, who value comfort over style and substance, they will communicate in phrases that suggest tactile feedback rather than the images and details of the visual and auditory preferences. They will have to be comfortable with a solution and be in touch with the needs of others.

These are slow talkers who really want to get close to the people that they communicate with. They are often tactile and are likely to touch the person they are talking to (which can be a little disconcerting for some) and will approach situations and discussions from how it feels to them. They will use language patterns that show how they are feeling with deep emotional content often working on ‘gut feel’ and ‘instinct’.

About the author

Lee Avery

Professional Therapist, Clinical Hypnosis & NLP Trainer with over 25 years of experience in training new professionals and treating clients. He specialises in Trauma related Psychological health issues. After years of running training classes Lee has decided to publish his training materials online to further the accessibility of NLP and Hypnosis. He is an advocate for Clinical Hypnosis Excellence and is constantly looking to improve the professional standing of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy within the medical community.

He also runs Achieving Greatness a software development company producing mobile apps for the mental health community.

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