We were all born with five senses, each helping us to make generalizations
about the world. You should engage all five sensations when trying
to persuade an audience. However, keep in mind that there are
three dominant senses we gravitate toward. They are sight, hearing,
and feeling, or, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sensations.
When we learn, 75% comes to us visually, 13% comes through hearing,
and 12% comes through smell, taste, and touch. Most people tend
to favor one of these perceptions over the others. As a Master
Persuader, you need to identify and use your prospect’s dominant
perspective on the world. Granted, we generally make use of all
three senses, but the point is to find the dominant perception.
As you determine the dominant mode, consider the size of your
audience. If you are speaking to one person, for example, you
would want to pinpoint the one perception that is most dominant
in that person. If you have an audience of one hundred, on the
other hand, you would need to use all three styles.
For example, if you were to ask an auditory person
to be an eyewitness to a robbery, he would describe the situation
something like, "I
was walking down 1st Ave. listening to the singing birds when I
heard a scream for help. The yelling got louder, there was another
scream, and the thief ran off." A visual person might describe
the same situation this way: "I was walking down 1st Ave.
watching the birds playing in the air. I observed this large man
coming around the corner. He looked mean and attacked the smaller
man. I saw him take his wallet and run from the scene." The
kinesthetic person would use this description: "I was walking
down 1st Ave. and I felt a lump in my throat, feeling that something
bad was going to happen. There was a scream, there was tension,
and I knew that a man was getting robbed. I felt helpless to do
The most commonly
prevalent of the senses is sight, or visual perception. One study
showed that those who used visual
tools (slides, overheads, etc.) were 43% more persuasive than subjects
who didn’t. Also, those using a computer to present their visual
aids were considered more professional, interesting, and effective.
Visually oriented people understand the world according to how
it looks to them. They notice the details, like an object’s shape,
color, size, and texture. They say things like, "I see what
you mean", "From your point of view…", "How
does that look to you?", "I can’t picture it" and "Do
you see what I mean?" They use words like see, show, view,
look, watch, and observe.
perceive everything according to sound and rhythm. Phrases you
would commonly hear would be, "I
hear you", "That
sounds good to me", "Can you hear what I’m saying?", "It
doesn’t ring a bell" and "Let’s talk about it." They
tend to use words such as hear, listen, sounds, debate, silence,
harmony, rings, say, speak, discuss, verbalize.
people go with what they feel, not only in a tactile way, but
also internally. They are very into
feelings and emotions.
A kinesthetic person would say things like, "That feels right
to me", "I will be in touch with you", "Do
you feel that?", "I understand how you feel" and "I
can sense it." They use works such as feel, touch, hold, connect,
reach, unite, grasp, tension, sense, lift, and understand.
One last word on visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sensations:
A general way to tell which type describes a particular person
is to watch the movement of their eyes when they have to think
about a question. Ask them a question, watch their eyes, and make
sure the question is difficult enough that they have to ponder
for a moment. Generally, but not 100% of the time, if they look
up when they think, they are visual. When they look to either side,
they are usually auditory. When they look down, they are kinesthetic.
I am simplifying a complicated science, but if you try it, you
will be amazed at the accuracy of this technique.