Communication skills

NLP: Speaking the language of your client

- July 27, 2009 2 MIN READ

Great communicators are able to speak the language of the people they are talking to. If you want to build quick rapport with clients, you need to learn how to speak their language. This empathy is at the heart of successful communication.

If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words.” All very well, but how do we actually do this?

This is where the ‘Neuro’ of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) comes in. Learning about the different communication modes that people use gives us vital knowledge about a person’s model of the world, and once we know more about their model, we can match ours with theirs, resulting in increased rapport.

There are three principal communication modes to be aware of at this point: Visual (the sights we see), Auditory (the sounds we hear) and Kinesthetic (how we feel about something). Many people will have a preferred communication mode, and there is no better or worse, it’s just a natural preference that occurs.

If someone is more dominant in visual, how they process information will be very much to do with pictures, colour and images. If someone is more auditory, they will hone in more on sounds, volume and tone. If kinesthetic, it will be more about instincts; how things feel, and physical touch.

How can you know which preferred communication mode you tend to use? Try this little test. If you think about when you ask for directions, do you find it easier to follow them if:

Want more articles like this? Check out the  communication skills section.

  • You have a map to refer to, or visual indicators such as descriptions of buildings you need to look out for? (Indicates visual preferences)
  • You listen to the person’s voice, the details of ‘right / left / straight ahead’ and the distances that they give? (Indicates auditory preferences)
  • They use gestures or give you an idea of spatial references? Or alternatively, you don’t even ask and you just go where your gut feeling takes you? (Indicates kinesthetic preferences)

How can you use this knowledge to speak the language of your clients? Simply by paying attention to the pattern of words they tend to use and incorporating the knowledge into your sales process. For example:

A visual person will use or relate to words and phrases such as: ‘it appears to me’, ‘clear cut’, ‘in view of’.

Or auditory: ‘clear as a bell’, ‘give an account of’, ‘sounds good to me.’

Or kinesthetic: ‘come to grips with’, ‘get a handle on’, ‘it feels right.’

Once you start tuning in to what people are saying around you, and matching your language with theirs, you will find that they will understand your message more clearly, therefore helping you to increase rapport.

It is a well known fact, common sense in fact, that people like people like them. This is one small step to discovering who your clients are.

Spend some time thinking about how can you incorporate this into your sales process, and if you don’t have a sales process, I recommend you develop one very soon!

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"