Communication Is All

"Age does not guarantee wisdom, but it certainly demands it."

Twenty-five years ago, I worked as a Conference & Events Co-ordinator, it was a significant role, and I have lots of fond memories. The only fly in the ointment was that the Head Chef and I would often bang heads. Here’s an example of a typical conversation at the point where his face looked exasperated, and my frustration was ready to boil over.
“I hear what you’re saying Sharon, but don’t you think…”
“No! No! No Chef! Here’s the information, see for yourself what the client wants?”

What was going on here? How was it that two salient adults who were both trying to achieve the same aim, had such difficulty?

In a Coaching forum, recently we were discussing communication and the impacts that different learning styles can have on how well we communicate.

Every person has a dominant learning style, and this trait can often be detected in the words and phrases we use in communication. The learning styles are, visual, auditory and kinesthetic. It led me to wonder if learning styles had ever caused communication problems between colleagues and me.

Here’s the thing, and it relates to our friend Head Chef. My learning style is a visual and kinesthetic, which means that I couldn’t care less whether someone,
“Hears what I’m saying.” I only feel understood when they, “See my point of view.”

And Head Chef what was his learning style? Well, he heard what I was saying so, auditory perhaps? Which means I’d have got a better result by using words that resonated with his learning style such as,
“I sounded out the client and what they want is…”

Time is a great healer and reflecting on these memories made me chuckle because, Aha! When someone says that they hear me, they really do get the picture.

What learning style are you? Read a few of the phrases below and see if they give you a clue:

"I see what you mean" Visual
"I hear what you are saying" Auditory
"That feels right" Kinesthetic

"I get the picture" Visual
"That sounds right" Auditory
"That touches a nerve" Kinesthetic

How could knowing this information help you to better communicate?

Photo Credit: Kai Oberhäuser