I once took a course in communication skills which taught me the value of VAK. VAK stands for a learning style or a way in which a person learns and understands. V is for a visual learner. A means they are auditory and K is for kinestetic. Most people have a primary sense that dominates and secondary sense which allows them to understand and make sense of what is going on. However when you use the third sense with them they can not understand you or get frustrated as if you don’t understand them. Recently I was talking to a mother who was frustrated with her child. She was auditory. Everything about what she was telling me was about how she told her son, he did not listen, I tried to explain etc…. When I asked her what the son said she said that her son was saying things like…. It does not feel right, I don’t sense that my coach likes me, I will know when the timing is right. As I explained to the mother that she was talking a different language than her son, it became obvious to her that they were not communicating. All we needed to do was teach mom a new language to use with her son so that communication would improve on both ends.
After using this for a while it has taught me how to be more mindful of what my clients want and how to best communicate back in the same language as them. It is quite easy but takes mindfulness and staying focused on what they say and do.
A great example of VAK is 3 people who tell me their experience about the same house.
Client A who is visual uses phrases such:
- Look at that beautiful landscaping
- I like the colors on the wall
- I can see myself sitting in this room watching the sunset
Client B is an auditory communicator and will make statements such as:
- Sounds like a good plan
- I heard this is a great place to live
- I enjoy the echo the music makes when in this room
Client C is a feeler type and which includes taste and smell and says things like:
- This home feels so cozy
- As I enter this home it reminds me of the times when mom filled the room with the scent of freshly baked cookies
- I love the fact that the sun sets in the living room
How does that help me to help you? The truth is that if I go to a visual person and tell them that it does not feel right, they get frustrated and annoyed. For the auditory clients who are wanting to hear what is wrong can not really relate to me if I say I see a flag. Instead by talking the 2 or 3 languages at the same time I can communicate to all and have a good outcome. So in the case where something does not feel right to me I would say something which includes the 3 learning types to make sure it is understood. Here is what I would say that incorporates within my concerns the VAK.
“Something does not feel right (Kinesthetic), I see a red flag here (visual), I heard a doctor tell me that sometimes something like this can lead to big problems (auditory)”.
This is just one of many skills and tools that I have learned over the years. If you are like me, you will often close your eyes to allow the other senses to be heightened. You can enjoy a concert with your eyes open where you see all the lights and the performers on stage with all their bright costumes. You can also have the same experience of closing your eyes at the concert and listen to the sound of the music, hear the lyrics and the perfect beat of the drum. You may even feel the vibration coming from the speakers and the way it reminds you of the first date in the school auditorium. Play with your senses and let them guide you to the answers you seek.