Improve your communication through sensory language


How often do you overhear a conversation where the words make complete sense but the people having the conversation do not seem to understand or accept each others statements?

One of the key elements at play is how people translate the external speech to their internal representations of the situation.

For instance:

Salesman: "How can I help you today sir?"

Not a bad opening. At least it avoids the "no" option that would have been possible had the question been "Can I help you?"

Customer: "I'm looking for a new CD Player. Can you show me what you've got?"

This sounds like a straight forward statement, but notice the use of visual language (looking, show)

Salesman: "Well I've got the new Technics. Has a really nice bass sound, and the trebles good too. Would you like to hear it?"

The salesman is concentrating on the sense that is important to him right now, and in respect to CD players, that is auditory which 'sounds' right if you're talking about audio equipment.

Customer: "Can I have a look?"

How many people buy a new music system based on what it looks like rather than what it sounds like? It's more than you would think.


Customer: "Ah that looks nice. But it looks very expensive. I feel uncomfortable about spending that much."

The customer is still judging on looks, but needs to feel right to make a decision. The customer's decision will always end up being about the feeling.

Salesman: "Ah yes sir it does, but if you just listen to the bass, you can really hear the quality."

I assume you don't really need any further explanation, and hopefully you should realize just how frustrated the customer could become here.

Perhaps this would be better:

Salesman: "How can I help you today sir?"

Customer: "I'm looking for a new CD Player. Can you show me what you've got?" 

Salesman: "Well I've got the new Technics. They look cool and really modern. The flashing lights are subtle too. It isn't the cheapest but you do have to pay a little more to get exactly what you want"

That's better. Talk about things that slot straight into the internal representation the customer is making, and also flatten the objection about cost too.

Customer: "Ah that looks nice. It seems very expensive. I feel uncomfortable about spending that much."

Salesman: "Ah yes sir it is a little more expensive, but you're paying for the better finish. The cheaper models start to look a bit worn fairly soon, with finger prints and scuff marks. Imagine, in five years how good you will feel because this unit still look as shiny and new as it does today."

Now there is quite a lot going on here.

Firstly the customers objection is paced (agreed with), then the customer is moved forward in time to imagine a time after they have bought the product, and are feeling good.

During your conversations notice what sensory modalities are being used. Here are some examples:


Looks like a good idea, I see what you mean, Show me, paint a picture, sight for sore eyes, clear-cut, short-sighted.


I hear what you're saying, loud and clear, rings a bell, word for word.


It just feels wrong, get a load of this, hot-headed, get a handle on.

You will find that the more you speak to people in the modalities they prefer, the easier the conversation will be.