Learning Styles, Communication Styles and Relationships

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Author, speaker, diversity facilitator and change agent - Brian V Moore has a unique ability to engage, involve and unite people from any background. He speaks English, isiZulu, Afrikaans fluently and gets by in many Nguni languages. Known as the Peacemaker on the Dusi Canoe Marathon, during the 1990s. He was received a Sanlam/ Sunday Tribune Community Builder award from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Learning Styles, Communication Styles and Relationships
How your learning style affects your relationships and how you can get better results, yourself and with others.
Now that we know that we have a unique learning style, it is important to note that – as a result of that style – we also have unique ways of interacting, communicating, listening and behaving.

This impacts our relationships and our ability to build relationships with others.
Dominantly Visual Learners

They learn easily, see things quickly and find it easy to give their views and vision. They expect you to “get the picture.”

Their challenges are:-
  • Their inability to listen to an extended auditory presentation, or conversation.
  • Their habit of giving their answers, to other people’s problems, before they fully understand the challenge.
  • The speed with which they speak – this comes from the need to share “their picture” – in words. As pictures are formed immediately and words only come out one at a time, this slows down their ability to communicate – hence their need for verbal speed.
  • Their impatience with long speeches from Auditory learners and the time taken by Kinesthetic learners – when answering a question.
 What to do when communicating with a visual learner.
Keep their attention by:-
  • Demonstrating, showing or sharing with them through pictures, diagrams, maps and written instructions – with diagrams, graphics or pictures.
  • Using landmarks, visual and picture words.
  • Being concise and brief with your words, descriptions and conversations.
  • Use emails with an opening overview paragraph – just like a newspaper column. In this way the auditory and visual learners can quickly see if it is relevant to them to go to the next paragraphs – for additional information. Attach pictures and graphics to the email. Refer to another source/ link for any additional information.
  • Dressing smartly and by keeping your environment, workspace or home, tidy and clean. (If you are in a relationship, show them how much you love them, with flowers, dinner in a beautiful setting and always make sure that you look delectable!)

 Dominantly Auditory Learners

They understand fairly easily and simply love to tell their own view of the story – often before you have finished talking. 
If they think that you don’t, or may not understand – they will tell you the same thing – in many different ways. They invariably start telling you everything – right at the beginning. Don’t stop them – they may start their story again!
Their challenges are:-
  • Their inability to listen. They actually prefer the sound of their own voice and will try to take over the conversation.
  • Their habit of giving their answers, to other people’s problems, before they have fully heard the challenge.
  • They have a story with a moral – often very long – for most situations.
  • They often repeat themselves.
  • They love to impress with their grasp of language and will keep on talking as long as there is a listener (victim) to speak to.
  • They disregard pictures and will get you to “tell” them, everything!
What to do when communicating with an Auditory Learner.
  • Make sure that you do not try dominate the floor – tell them what you want to say and give them a time limit to give you their input, or feedback. (They will normally over run their allocated time anyway but there will at least be some time limitation to their “contribution.”)
  • Give them something written or recorded for them to review in their own time.
  • Use parables, quotations, stories and power words in your descriptions.
  • Be prepared to listen.
  •  Use emails with an opening overview paragraph – just like a newspaper column. In this way the auditory and visual learners can quickly see if it is relevant to them to go to the next paragraphs – for additional information.
 Verbal praise works well for Auditory Learners. Tell them what you like about them. And be prepared to tell them over and over again. (If you are in a relationship, tell them how much you love them. And then tell them again!)

Dominantly Kinesthetic Learners

They understand fairly easily “through doing and like to take time to store the experience. They seldom express their feelings, or input – unless comfortable with the people in the group.
As observers, doers and listeners – they are in touch with everything going on around them.
Their challenges are:-
  • The time that they take to come up with an answer to a question. This can put them under a lot of pressure. As they learn dominantly through doing and experience they refer to experiences for answers. This can take some time – and is very frustrating for visual and auditory learners. Visual learners normally pressure them for a “quick” answer and auditory learners will keep on repeating the question in different ways – until they get an answer!
  • Their inability to speak up – or say “no”, when asked to perform a task or do a favour.
  • Their habit of talking to people they are comfortable with about their problems with other people. This never resolves the issue.
What to do when communicating with a Kinesthetic Learner.
  • Make sure that you do not shout or embarrass them in any way. This will “hurt” them and they will not speak, participate or feel like working. (If we get our tone wrong – our highly kinesthetic 5 year old son says “You hurted my heart!” And then runs away and hides! This is equally true of Kinesthetic adults – they emotionally hide, when hurt.)
  • Make sure you make them feel safe and good about themselves.
  •  Let them get hands on experience to ensure long term retention and skills development.
  •  Step by step games, plays and movement are keys to transferring knowledge.
  •  Be prepared to empathise.
  • Use feeling words and warmth in chats and documents.
  • Use emails with an opening overview paragraph – just like a newspaper column.
  • A pat on the back or warm praise works well for Kinesthetic Learners. They must feel that you care and to feel safe. (If you are in a relationship, a hug works far better than flowers or love poems!)
Visual Auditory.
This combination of VA means that you have a person who is good with words, says what they want to and looks for the answers through pictures and words. They have little challenges in communicating, teaching, presenting, or learning – but can be a bit too straightforward, at times.

When Kinesthetic meets Visual (VK or KV)

  • VK – the more visual – the faster the speech and the easier it is for the VK to communicate.
  • KV – The more kinesthetic – the less likely they will speak up when “emotionally” injured. They will most often store their upsets – until they form the basis of an explosion. In the interim they may talk to people they trust and feel safe with. When they finally explode it will come out at loud and at high-speed. Once they have fully revealed their feelings, they will happily move on. 
They often do not take into account the damage, their explosion as caused in their relationships. “Oh I am so glad I spoke to you about this!”
They may not remember all of the details of the arguments/ explanations. As long as the big picture is removed from their hearts – they will be happy.

When Kinesthetic meets Auditory (AK or KA).

  • AK – The more Auditory, the more easy it is for an AK to speak up. They will explain and explain the issues – to whosoever will listen – because their “story” runs around in their heads for a long time.
  • KA – The more Kinesthetic the less easy it is for a KA to move on from a perceived or real emotional “injury.” They too will most often store their upsets – until they form the basis of an explosion. In the interim they may talk to as many people as they can – who they trust and feel safe with.
When they explode they will have a heated verbal go at the latest “perpetrator.” 
They begin their stories from the first time that they felt this “pain.” They will then remember and bring up everything similar that has happened in their lives. They will repeat their stories ad infinitum – to their trusted friends and the “perpetrator – now victim!”
They often go back, again and again until the pain has left their “hurted” heart! And if the person they are angry with raises any other issues the AK/ KA will have many examples of associated stories to justify their anger.


Often they feel bad about their behaviour and have to go back and apologise. At this point – do not be surprised if they start giving lots of historical reasons for their behaviour!
What we can do to Prevent such Communication disasters.
If you are strongly Kinesthetic – it is critical to learn to speak up, when you are not comfortable with the way that you are being treated. 9 times out of 10, this will NOT upset the person you are speaking to. What will hurt them will be the shock explosion, that comes from your own inability to get uncomfortable issues out of the way. 
Talk clearly, openly and with respect. If you cannot change the situation, or are faced with a perennial abuser – move on. You do not deserve to be stuck in an abusive relationship. Nor do you need to become the abuser – when you are stretched to your emotional limit.
If you are strongly Visual – and/ or Auditory make sure that you listen more carefully. Do not say everything that comes into your mind – without thinking of the human being in front of you. Adjust your tone and attitude, to suit them.
If you are very Auditory – respect the fact that other people are also intelligent. Reduce the number of ways that you use to explain “things.” Ask more questions, listen more and don’t talk so much. Use pictures for the Visual and models for the Kinesthetic learners.
Visual Learners may need to use more words, than they want to use – with Auditory learners and exercise patience when waiting for answers from Kinesthetic learners.
 It always helps if you draw a picture of the conversation (block diagram), to keep your attention focused on the talker and what they have to say.
Please comment and add your input. We will be delighted if you share this blog.
Brian V Moore and Arthie Moore – Copyright
29 June 2011
Celebrating Humanity International Communication, Learning, Diversity, Team Building and Team Conflict Resolution Specialists
+27 79 643 4457
Arthie and Brian Moore
CelebratingHumanity International – Copyright
South Africa.
Email: info@africa-dreams.com
Website: www.africa-dreams.com
Mobile: +27 79 643 4457

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