Secrets of engagement

Effective communication is so important to business, and there are methods we can all use to boost our message. POLLYANNA LENKIC

Pollyanna Lenkic

By Pollyanna Lenkic

Do you ever get frustrated because you feel others just don’t get you? It may be that you are not talking their language. 

In your business environment, think about the differences in communication styles between marketing and finance? Does it often feel that these two professionals are speaking different languages? Often they are, and today’s blog will give you a tool to use to help you communicate more effectively with others.

Being understood and understanding others continues to be a challenge for a lot of business owners. Communication is one of our greatest and often underdeveloped skills, which is why today I am going to share a model with you that has helped me have more effective communication with everyone I meet as opposed to only those who are “like me”.

I promise that if you take the time to understand the different styles it will help you have more effective conversations. This understanding will help you understand others, create greater rapport and communicate your message effectively. Importantly it will help you understand how others like and need to be communicated to.

All of which equals better results.

Recently I was delighted to witness a business relationship between the CFO of a company and the director of human resources move from one of complete intolerance of each other to one with the beginnings of an understanding, all due to them getting the others’ style through the use of this model. Once they understood each other’s preferred style of giving and receiving information they were able to adapt and match each other’s style. The rest as they say is history, and I’m delighted to report a happy ending.

What is it?

The model I am talking about is called “representational systems”, and examines how the human mind processes information, the way we take in, store and code information in our minds.

The main representational systems that we use are:

  • Visual.
  • Auditory.
  • Kinesthetic.
  • Auditory digital.

It’s important to note that we use all of these all of the time, and we tend to favour some over the others.

The secret of good communication is not so much what you say, but how you say it. And by using this model will you be able to create rapport by matching the other person’s preferred styles (people usually favour two styles).

How do you uncover another person’s preferred style?

You can uncover a person’s preferred style by simply listening to the language that they favour and watching their eye patterns.


People who are visual often stand or sit with their heads and or bodies erect, with their eyes up. They often sit forward in their chair and tend to be organised, neat, well-groomed and orderly. They memorise by seeing pictures, and are less distracted by noise.

They often have trouble remembering verbal instructions because their minds tend to wander. A visual person will be interested in how your product LOOKS. Appearances are important to them. If presenting to a visual person include pictures and diagrams.

You can identify a visual person by the words and phrases they use. Some examples are; tunnel vision in light of, see the light of day, clear cut, hazy idea, looks like, minds eye, dim view, appears to me. All of these phrases and words create a picture.


Auditory people typically talk to themselves, they are easily distracted by noise (some even move their lips when they talk to themselves). Their eyes move from side to side. They can repeat things back to you easily, they learn by listening, and usually like music and talking on the phone.

They memorise by steps, procedures and sequences (sequentially). An auditory person likes to be TOLD how they’re doing, and responds to a certain tone of voice or set of words. If you are selling them something they will be interested in what you have to SAY about your product.

A sure way to upset an auditory person is to tap your pen while they are talking as the noise will be infuriating to them after a very short time. Loud voices in an open plan office will be hell for this person; sit them away from the loudest person in the room.

You can identify an auditory person by their phrases and words. Some examples are; clear as a bell, call on, loud and clear, I hear you, to tell the truth, word for word, tuned in, tuned out, on another note, rings a bell, that resonates.


Kinesthetic people often move and talk very slowly. They respond to physical rewards and touching (not always recommended in the business environment!). They also stand closer to people than a visual person. They memorise by doing or walking through something. They will be interested in your doing business with you if it FEELS RIGHT.

You can identify a kinesthetic person by the phrases and words they use. Some examples are; cool/calm/collected, get in touch with, get a load of this, make sense of, figure it out, heated argument, get a handle on, firm foundations.

Auditory digital

An auditory digital person will spend a fair amount of time talking to themselves. They will want to know if doing business with you MAKES SENSE. They need to understand the logic and how it fits with their needs. The auditory digital person can exhibit characteristics of the other major representational systems.

To identify an auditory digital listen to their phrases and words. Some examples are; pay attention to, describe in detail, make sense of, without a doubt.


No one is only auditory digital, visual, kinaesthetic or auditory. All of us operate in all of these ways to different degrees at different times/contexts. While any of these may be our preferred or lead representational system we are not limited to one system.

When presenting

It’s important to mention that when presenting or addressing a group to ensure that you use an inclusive style by balancing all of the representational systems in your presentation.

Let the visual people in the room see what you are saying. Let the auditory thinkers hear you loud and clear. Give your kinesthetic thinkers in the audience an experience so they can feel and therefore grasp your meaning. Ensure that you give the auditory digital people in the room the logic, the process and how it makes sense to them and their business. How does this fit in?

By using an inclusive communication style you will capture the whole room as opposed to only ones who share your preferred style. Always engage the kinesthetic people in the room first, they are the ones that get bored quickly. It can be as simple as getting them to raise their hand to a question.

You can also identify a person’s preferred style by watching eye patterns. If you are interested in knowing more, do a Google search on NLP Eye Pattern charts and have a look. I have used Introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour as a reference for the explanations above. It is available in most bookstores or online.

Have some fun and start communicating in a way that others prefer and enjoy the results. There is quick test that you can do to quickly access your preferred style and those of your team. If you are interested email me on [email protected] and I will email it to you.


Pollyanna Lenkic is the founder of Perspectives Coaching, an Australian based coaching and training company. She is an experienced facilitator, certified coach and a certified practitioner of NLP. In 1990 she co-founded a specialist IT recruitment consultancy in London, which grew to employ 18 people and turnover £11 million ($27 million). This blog is about the mistakes she made and the lessons she learned building a business the first time round and how to do it better second time round. For more information go to

 For more Second Time Around, click here.



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