We receive so much information on various topics during the course of a lifetime, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it, or at least that’s the case with me. I don’t know how many times I say, “I heard that …” or “They say that …” but I have no idea where I heard it or who ”They” are. Most of the time, the Internet helps me out with that dilemma.
Recently I was thinking about something I heard in one class or another quite a few years ago. There was a field of study based in part on the idea that word choice matters and that the words people use reveal how they perceive the world. So I decided to look this up to see whether I really heard this thing once upon a time or whether it was a figment of my imagination.
To my surprise, a Google search returned results for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which is an approach to psychological counseling, but has also been adapted for the fields of business management and self help.
As per Wikipedia, there is some controversy as to whether this approach has any scientific merit, and though my search was by no means exhaustive, respectable literature on the subject seems to be scant. The part of it I was taught is just a small piece of the larger picture, but from what I remember and what I can piece together from the Web, people can roughly be categorized as perceiving the world in three different ways:
Visual People process the world mainly through sight and express themselves in visual terms. For example, when agreeing with you, they are more likely to say, “I can see that,” rather than saying, “I hear you.” In everyday conversation, I tend to fall into the visual category. Other common phrases and words you may hear from a visual person are as follows:
can you picture that
can you imagine that
looks good to me
I get the picture
Auditory People are those who experience the world through hearing. Common phrases and words are:
it rings a bell
Finally, Kinesthetic People rely on touch or physicality to make sense of the world. Common words and phrases:
get a hold of
It feels right to me
I can’t grasp the point
I catch your drift
I’ve heard tell that in order to make friends quickly or to strengthen existing bonds, listen to the words a person is saying as noted above and when you talk to them, mirror them by using similar words.
So, that’s what I heard. I’m sure there’s more to it but that’s pretty much all I know. Now that I got that off my chest, I’ll just … vaguely … trail off …
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2010