What are individual “lead patterns” and how do you recognise and use them?

V A K O G  is an abbreviation and one I’d like you to remember as it could be the formula for the most exciting changes you can make in your life and your ability to communicate and be communicated with “effectively”!

It stands for Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory and I’ll help you make more sense of it, what it means and why it’s so important to know and understand.

It is basically the “modality” or preferred system of communication that an individual will use to process information and to relate that information back to you.

For example, someone who thinks of things in terms of pictures or moving images is primarily a visual person and the modality that they use would be Visual.

A person who thinks in terms of sounds and words is primarily an auditory person and the modality that they use would be Auditory.

A person who thinks in terms of feelings and emotions is primarily a Kinesthetic person and the modality they use would be Kinesthetic.

Not quite as important and not used as much in everyday communication but still worth mentioning is a person who will think in terms of aromas, maybe someone like a wine taster or perfume sales person for instance and their preferred modality would be Olfactory.

And again not quite used in everyday communication is the person who thinks in taste, such as a chef or wine taster and their preferred modality would be Gustatory.


All well and good I hear you say but what the heck does that have to with me and why is it so important.

Here’s an example.

If you were primarily a visual person and therefore all your thought processes were in images and moving pictures and you were trying to get across a message to a person who might be primarily kinesthetic and thought in terms of feelings and emotions what kind of conflict do you think that might create?

A visual person by the very fact that they think in pictures and moving images will tend to speak very quickly and breathe shallowly and quickly from the top of their chests and will process information very quickly.

A kinesthetic person by contrast will think in terms of emotions and feelings and will therefore by proxy internalize their feelings and process their responses internally before responding, a much slower process than a visual person, they also tend to breathe deeply into their tummies and speak at a slower pace.

Does this now start to make a little more sense; do you see where we’re heading with this?

Let me elaborate.

A visual person by his very nature will expect an immediate response and will use words like “can you see what I’m saying”?

Of course the kinesthetic person can’t “SEE” what the other person is saying as they are not thinking in pictures and images; they’re using their feelings and emotions and therefore will be slower to respond.

If you as the visual person were to recognize these signs, how powerful do you think you could become at communicating, assertively and confidently.

Using words like “can you feel what I’m saying” you immediately send them a message in their own “feedback sandwich” using terms that they can understand and equate to.

By the same token, if the other person is primarily auditory and thinking and processing in sounds and words, by simply changing your speech patterns and asking “can you hear what I’m saying” you are again communicating in THEIR language and their unconscious mind can then process the information you are giving them in their “own language”.

An auditory person will breathe from the middle of their chests and will think about something and analyse it before responding.

Learning to recognize and understand these signs and “modalities” are a very powerful way of increasing your understanding of human nature and the way that individuals operate, and are a fantastic TOOL that you can use.

Clues to watch out for are in speech patterns.

What kind of words are the people in your office using?

Visual:  Look, picture, focus, imagination, insight, scene, blank, visualize, perspective, shine, reflect, clarify, examine, eye, focus, notice, watch.

Auditory: Say, accent, rhythm, loud, tone, resonate, sound, monotonous, deaf, ring, shout, remark, listen, speechless, vocal, silence, shrill, quiet.

Kinesthetic: Touch, handle, contact, push, rub, solid, warm, cold, rough, tackle, push, pressure, sensitive, stress, tension, touch, gentle.

Olfactory: Scented, stale, fishy, nosy, fragrant, smoky, fresh.

Gustatory: Sour, flavour, bitter, taste, fishy, salty, juicy, sweet.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun, create some games with your colleagues and guess what kind of “modality” they are.

Then spend a morning conversing with each other in the correct modalities for each other and see what kind of effect it can create and how it can make a huge difference in the way that messages are “sent” and “received”.

Of course all this is a very simplistic way of presenting this and there is obviously a lot to be learned that can only be taught in a controlled and fun environment, but this is a start and will initiate your thought processes and at the very least it will give you a much deeper understanding of the power of speech and the effect it can or can’t have.

All these exercise and much more can be experienced firsthand by booking Garth Delikan, The Lifestyle Guy where all these principles and techniques will be taught to you and your department in a fun role play situation where you will gain a greater understanding of everything covered in this article.

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