Representational Patterns

Individuals have distinct internal representational (IR) patterns. One person’s internal representational pattern may suggest that friendship must involve agreement while another person has an IR pattern that feels the importance of honesty and debate as a part of a strong friendship. If people with differing internal representations get together, there is high scope for misunderstanding as the person who expects concurrence feels that the debate brought up by the friend is a sign that the friendship is under threat. This may seem to be a simplistic assumption but this pattern is the brain’s way of making sense of the loads of data that it receives and transmits all the time. The first friend has coded debate and argument as bad in a friendship and will take action on the basis of the coding. This simplifies the many relationships for the person in varied circumstances.


IR patterns impact the way we see the world and make sense of it. Some of us are highly visual. The external appearance is perfect. Such people are quick to understand physical cues and quick to learn with the use of graphic aids. Pictorial representations like graphs, art and colour coded data make abundant sense to these people. The learning is also visual and requires pictures that explain large volumes of text. When asked to describe a scene, the visual learner will talk about the colour of the sea, the golden hues of the beach and so on.


Some people are high on auditory learning. Reading out text, discussions and conversations are important learning grounds for such people. These people are often oriented to music and art that involves hearing. Such people tend to articulate their words clearly and are sensitive to verbal cues. Tonality and pitch help this person to gauge the feelings and intent of the person they are communicating with. These people are avid listeners at events involving communication and they have the capacity to capture and retain the information they have heard rather than what they have read. These learners may listen to tapes of their text and learn it in this manner. When asked to describe a scene, the auditory person will describe, ‘the howl of the wind, the roar of the seas’ and display their sensitivity to the auditory experience that they went through.


Audio digital people are also sensitive to verbal cues. These are the learners who need to read out their text to enable smooth learning. As they read out loud, their mental grasp of the subject increases exponentially over the experience of hearing the text being read in a classroom session.


Kinaesthetic people are the hands-on type. They learn by trying. These people can come up with remarkable handiwork and need to be given the opportunity to experience the process of learning by doing. Kinaesthetic people are also sensitive to the unsaid and unspoken word. Their ability to accurately sense the intent behind the words and expressions helps them to gauge whether a person is being genuine or otherwise. Kinaesthetic people are quick to understand the language of thought and emotions. They are the ones who like to practice subjects by carrying out experiments to see whether the written word is carried out in reality. A kinaesthetic person will describe the feelings drawn up as ‘overwhelming’ visit to the beach, and bring up a description of the feelings associated with the event.


When people with different orientations and learning preferences come together in a relationship, there is a high possibility of misunderstanding. An auditory person may like to hear about the feelings of the partner in a romantic relationship while the kinaesthetic partner prefers a display of romance by doing small things that show caring. The kinaesthetic person may tend to shun verbal displays that the partner longs for.


Authors, playwrights, scriptwriters and others cater to wide audiences with varied learning preferences. They cannot afford to display their personal learning preferences when putting their work to the public. A good author has the capacity to write in a manner that captures sound, visuals and feelings in the mind of the reader. If you are planning to communicate with a wide audience, you will need to use a mix of these approaches in order to capture attention and retain it. If you are aware of the specific preferences of a niche audience, you need to cater your message in a more specific manner. For example, a sculptor will expect to attract people with visual and kinaesthetic learning preferences and may prefer to attract the audience with descriptions relating to the look of the final work and the feelings that have gone into preparing it. A musician will evoke interest by referring to the vocal harmony felt while in the course of creating and performing a musical feat.


A broad based audience for a product must however, is attracted with the right mix. When advertisements come on the screen, we see that colour combinations are used in line with the packaging or logo of the brand. The music and text are intended for the auditory viewer and there is movement and emotional emphasis along with a display of what the product really looks like and how it works for the kinaesthetic viewer.


What happens when two people with different proclivities get together in a personal or a business relationship? The visual person will look for perfection in the physical appearance of the partner and draw conclusions about underlying intent on the basis of this. When the business partner provides information that lacks enough graphic representation, the intent will be seen as underhand or designed to suit the preferences of the partner.


In a romantic relationship, a bad hair day may be viewed as the beginning of the end of the relationship. Looking good is considered synonymous with caring and is a serious basis for perception. This highlights the cues that the individual draws from the visual world around.


The same perceptive filter will be applied to business associates and employees. If two business associates are visual in perceptive style, there will be a high degree of understanding between the two. If the partner is more auditory, the understanding on the part of the visual partner can be distressing. The auditory person is sensitive to what the person is saying and the tone being used. These misunderstandings can be minimised by following a business process that takes care of the styles of the business partners, so presentations can have graphic and verbal explanations. A kinaesthetic person looks for value statements and feelings within the business material. So, a discussion on profit increase must offer a perspective of how the organization will benefit and the feelings that will ensue within.


In a personal relationship, a mutual understanding of the sensitivity to look, tone and emotion can ensure a lasting understanding. At times, we get so caught up in our feelings, how we appear to the partner, how we look and making the right impression that we miss out on reading what the partner is searching for.


At BreakState, we value human bonds and help businesses understand the importance of reading the audience’s mind with the help of NLP techniques. We assist couples to understand each other better and renew their relationship and are also good at helping singles to find that special person by increasing their sensitivity to the types of people they come across.