They don’t understand me!

Ever come across those people that you can’t seem to get through to. Every interaction with them is really frustrating? And yet with other people we feel like we click instantly.

Often this is just because we process information and communicate information in very different ways from each other.

Did you realise the direction that people look in can give you a clue as to how they communicate?

The following diagram is thanks to NLP (it’s based on a right handed person)


Seeing (Looking up and left)

“This is how I see it”

“How do you see it working?”

In order to make sense of things we need to see them. Memories are triggered by images. For me, once something has formed a picture in my head, I understand it. I describe things visually. Everything turns into a picture in my head (you can imagine that whole “imagine people naked” technique for alleviating nerves in presentations just makes me blush!).

Hearing (Looking to the side and left)

“This is how it sounds to me”

“How does that idea sound?”

This is where sounds are more significant. Memories are often triggered by the music that was heard at the time etc. People who are hearing focussed often like to talk a lot because hearing things allows them to make sense of them, even if you aren’t responding.

Feeling (Looking down and right)

“It feels like this…”

“How do you feel about that?”

This is where the way things feel is the most significant. Memories are triggered by how someone felt or by the feeling of something. Feeling people probably have a harder time of it than the other two because things need to be tangible for them to understand them. Experiencing something is how they understand it so they tend to be more practical. There is no point trying to explain something to them. Until they experience it they are unlikely to fully engage.

Thinking (Looking down and left)

“I think it’s like this”…”

“How does that seem to you?”

An thinker has a constant internal dialogue going on in their head. They are never alone because they are always talking to themselves! Everything has to make sense for them to ‘get it’. If you are communicating with them they won’t be listening half the time because the cogs in their head are whirring. The rest of the time they are unlikely to accept something without understand how.

So next time you are struggling to communicate, spend time trying to work out the other persons communicate preferences and then try and match it (you don’t have to move your eyes!) and see how much of a difference it makes!

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