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At the age of 3 my daughter loved jigsaws. But she was never very good at them. She struggled to understand the difference between sides and middle pieces. She didn't get matching pictures. 

I love jigsaws. I found it really frustrating doing jigsaws with her and she loved it so much she asked to do them all the time!

It got me thinking. What is it that means some of us can do jigsaws and others can’t?

There are a number of different ways the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) has suggested we like to interact with the world.

Visual

“This is how I see things”

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!). As a visual person, when studying or doing exams I always found I did best when there were drawings and illustrations involved. To study effectively I had to write things down.

Auditory

“This is how it sounds to me”

This is where sounds are more significant. Memories are triggered by the music that was heard at the time etc. People who are auditory often like to talk a lot because hearing things allows them to make sense of them, even if you aren’t responding. To study, they find they can do best if they have the right music to listen to while studying. Recalling the song allows them to access their memory for the facts.

Kinaesthetic

“It feels like this…”

This is where the way things feel is the most significant. Memories are triggered by how someone felt or by the feeling of something. Kinaesthetics probably have a harder time of it than the other two because things need to be tangible for them to understand them. For studying, burning a scented candle and then having that scent on a hanky or something could work very well for helping them learn and remember.

Audio Digital (AD)

“I think it’s like this"…”

An AD 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’. 

These are just the highlights. There is obviously a lot more to it. People may have one primary rep system and another coming in a close second. I am almost equally AD and Visual. Some may be well spread out. But most of us have a preferred one.

It helps to understand how people see the world because it helps us communicate with each other more effectively and work within our strengths.

So back to the jigsaw.

As a Visual AD then it is fab for me. I have a puzzle and something I can see for the output. For my husband it just doesn’t fire him up. He would much prefer to work out the chords to a song on his guitar.