Ever see a master locksmith work? It looks like magic. He plays with a lock, hears things you are not hearing, sees things you are not seeing, feels things you are not feeling, and somehow he manages to figure out the entire combination to a safe.
Master communicators work the same way. You can figure out anyone’s mental syntax – you open the combination to the vault of his mind or your own by thinking like a master locksmith. You have to look for things you weren’t seeing before, listen for things you weren’t hearing before, feel things you weren’t feeling before, and ask the questions you didn’t know to ask before. If you do that elegantly and attentively, you can elicit anyone’s strategies in any situation. You can learn how to give people precisely what they want, and you teach them how to do the same thing for themselves.
The key to eliciting strategies is knowing that people will tell you everything you need to know about their strategies. They’ll tell you in words. They’ll tell you in the way they use their body. They’ll even tell you in the way they use their eyes. You can learn to read a person as skillfully as you can learn to read a map or a book. Remember, a strategy is simply a specific order of representations visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory – that produces a specific result. All you need to do is get people to experience their strategy and take careful note of what they do specifically to get back into it.
Before you can effectively elicit strategies, you must know, what to look for, what the clues are that which part of a person’s nervous system he is using at any moment. It’s also important to recognize some of the common tendencies people develop and to use them to create greater rapport and results. For example, people tend to use a particular part of their neurology – visual, auditor, or kinesthetic more than others. Just as some people are right handed and others are left handed people tend to favor one mode over the others.
But before eliciting someone’s strategies, we need to find out his main representational system. People who are primarily visual tend to see the world in pictures; they achieve their greatest sense of power by tapping into the visual part of their brain. Because they’re trying to keep up with the pictures in their brain, visual people tend to speak quickly. They don’t care exactly how they get it out; they’re just trying to put words to the pictures. These people tend to speak is visual metaphors. They talk about how things look to them, what patterns they see emerging, whether things look bright or dark.
People who are more auditory tend to be more selective about the words they use. The have more resonant voices and their speech is slower, more rhythmic, and more measured. Since words mean a lot to them, they are careful about what they say. They tend to say things like “That sounds right to me” or “I can hear what you’re saying” or “Everything clicks”.
People who are kinesthetic tend to be even slower. They react primarily to feelings. Their voices tend to be deep, and their words often ooze out slowly like molasses. Kinesthetic people use metaphors from the physical world. They’re always “grasping” for something “concrete”. Things are “heavy” and “intense”, and they need to “get in touch” with things. They say things like, I am reaching for an answer, but I haven’t got a hold on it yet.
Everyone has elements of all three modes, but most people have one system that dominates. When you’re learning about people’s strategies to understand how they make decisions, you also need to know their main representational system so you can present your message in a way that gets through. If you’re dealing with a visually oriented person, you don’t want to amble up slowly, take a deep breath, and speak at a snaillike pace. You’ll drive him crazy. You’ve go to speak up so your message matches the way his mind works.
Just by watching people and listening to what they say, you can get an immediate impression of which systems they ate using. And NLP utilizes even more specific indicators of what’s going on in someone’s mind.