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What’s the big fuss about representational systems?

April 3rd, 2011 by dimpledbrain

By now you have probably heard of representational systems in NLP

If you are not familiar, have a look at the picture below ( the arrow points at the direction of the eye movement, i.e. up, middle, down)

V – Visual – driven by what I see

A – Auditory – driven by what I hear

K – Kinesthetic – driven by what I feel

(image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ignoring Ai (which I’ll talk about shortly) the image above is a typical right handed person facing you

(1) What is it like being a visual, auditory or kinesthetic person?

A visual person (i.e. a person who processes visually) uses words like see, view, seeing, visualizing, look, picture, illustrate, observe, perceive, perception, notice, vision, outlook, image.

‘I see your point’, ‘My observation is…’

An auditory person uses words like hear, listen, ask yourself, noisy, rings a bell, deaf, quiet, silence, noise, hush, mute, voice, sound, echo, volume, hum, loud, tune in.

‘Does it ring a bell to you?’, ‘I hear you’

A kinesthetic person uses words like feel, touch, caress, handle, texture, feeling, hold, grip, cuddle, hug, rub, weighty, heavy, burden, oppressive, stifling, sticky, uncomfortable, pressure.

‘I strongly feel that…’, ‘I feel uncomfortable doing…’

(2) Why should I care about the left eye or right eye movement?

Referring to the image above (bearing in mind it’s a typical right handed person), when a typical right handed person speaks +

  • eye movement to the right, it means something remembered from memory (i.e. real/actual experience)
  • eye movement to the left, it means something constructed (i.e. created/ not actual experience)

Isn’t this amazing? This eye movement is like a reflex reaction if you like (i.e. with very limited conscious control) even for a trained person.

Tip: The way I memorize the above is simple. Assume the person is facing me ( that is to say my left hand side is where the person looks to his/her right. Look at the picture again if you don’t get me). The alphabet C (for constructed) always comes before the alphabet R (for remembered). Hence

  • My left hand = C
  • My right hand = R

Caution: 2 things to note however (a) that the above is for a typical right handed person (b) it’s the opposite for a typical left handed person. In reality there is still a possibility, albeit low that the eye movement is the other way round for a typical right handed person. Thus you need to calibrate this with the responses from the person (i.e. via asking some questions that you know of the answers & gauge the eye movement)

What is Ai (auditory digital)? – it’s really Kinesthetic (remembered). However, the special term is to describe a group of people who need to make sense of things. Like an internal dialogue if you like. An auditory digital (Ai) person uses words like this makes sense, logical, understanding, criteria, appreciate, aware, analyse, believe, comprehend, choose, decide, reason, system, experience, integrate, learn, consider, perceive, process, realize, remember, sense, think, vague, wonder.  Most leaders belong to this group.

(3) What can I do with the above?

  • You wonder why some people can just connect with strangers instantaneously? You can start using words that appeal to certain groups like visual words for the V group
  • How do you know if someone is telling the truth? Tip: is it constructed or remembered?

Happy trying BUT one word of caution in your zealous endeavour: don’t ever appear to your ‘subjects’ like the following…

p/s: Try this out with younger crowd first like primary/secondary school kids. That will be much easier to read for a start…

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