Establishing Elegant Rapport Through Elegant Communications

Apr 1, 2005

During my over-25 years as a Recruitment Trainer, I have developed a repertoire of some 45 different presentations, and the one I am asked for, over and over again, is the one entitled, “Establishing Elegant Rapport Through Elegant Communications.” This presentation deals with understanding the three different communication modes that we all face in our daily personal and business lives. It is based on the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

One of the keys to success in any business or endeavor is to be able to recognize not only which mode in which we best communicate but, most importantly, to have the ability to change ‘chameleonishly’ to another mode if the situation calls for it. As the great communicators say, “We need to be noted for our flexibility!” This is also known more formally as “The Principle of Requisite Variety.”

Be prepared in this presentation to learn to speak two ‘foreign’ languages that, while English, are not where you usually process information. I will give you ‘shortcuts’ with which to master these languages so that you will then be able to truly communicate with all of our clients, candidates and colleagues, not just the one-third that communicate in the same way you do. By so doing, you will finally be able to reach that highest plateau of human communication where the establishment of ‘Elegant Rapport’ takes place on each and every interaction.

Have you ever wondered why you can make five identical presentations, say to the hiring manager, four go extremely well, and one doesn’t go well at all? It’s just terrible. You hang up the phone from that one call, and say to yourself, “That guy didn’t understand a word I said.” Well, you are correct. According to NLP, you might as well have been speaking a foreign language to that hiring manager because you were speaking to that hiring manager in ways that the manager does not process information.

Everybody has a certain “world” view, and a way in which they process information through their brain. To be effective communicators, we want to know which process they are using. Whether it is Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic. Keep in mind the old adage, “You sell what John Brown buys when you sell through John Brown’s eyes.” You must establish rapport. People must like, believe, trust, and understand you before they will openly receive ideas and information from you. Also, remember the famous Abraham Maslow quote, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” In this presentation, you are going to be given some more tools so you can handle different situations, within certain circumstances, with a varying set of tools depending upon those circumstances.

In this article, I will cover:

1. A brief history of Neuro-Linguistic Programming;

2. How it can be used from a recruiter’s standpoint;

3. How to understand the three different types.

4. The “Sensory Modality Check List.” This was developed so that you can actually check yourself, and discover your primary modality.

Then, when you are dealing with people who are predominately of the other two types, you can change, like a chameleon, and be like those people, at least when you are communicating with those people. By so doing, your presentation will become irresistible to them. Keep in mind that the most successful salespeople are the best communicators.


NLP started back in the early 1970’s at the University of California, Santa Cruz when two individuals, John Grinder, a linguistic who was a professor there, and Richard Bandler, a psychotherapist who had led Gestalt groups (and was also a mathematician), got together and decided to start investigating “patterns of excellence” of outstanding individuals in the field of psychotherapy. Initially they chose three experts to study: Virginia Satir, a founder of Family Therapy; Fritz Perls, the co-founder of Gestalt Therapy; and Gregory Bateson, Anthropologist, Social Scientist, Cyberneticist. Later they added Milton Erickson the famous Psychiatrist and Hypnotherapist who used ‘indirect induction’ to hypnotize his clients (actually using their words to get into their world). What Grinder and Bandler discovered when they were analyzing these four famous people was that these experts could actually mesmerize, and in some cases hypnotize, their audiencesometimes without realizing what they were doingbecause they were entering those people’s worlds.

Finally, Grinder and Bandler came out with a “world view” that we are all divided into three major communication categories: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. And although one of these categories usually predominates, we use all three. Then, if we could discover which one predominates in the people we were communicating with, we would become better communicators. We would, in a sense, become “blood brothers” and “blood sisters” with those people with whom we were communicating. NLP is a way that we can try to figure out how people communicate, how they process logic.

Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic

Following are thumbnail sketches of the three types. Try to figure out which type you are.

Visual: SIGHT is the way these people process logic the way they deal with their world. They tend to be quick, short breathers; they tend to have high hand gestures up towards their eyes when they are talking. They’re Type “A” people very energetic, divergent, generalists, real fast talkers. Men tend to be Visual. They look you right in the eye when they’re talking to you. They assume a lot; they tend to be ‘know-it-alls’; they interrupt a lot, and talk in sentence fragments. They see everything clearly. There are four or five plots in the world (in their minds), and all they need is minimal information, and they are going to fit what you give them into one of those plots. They never finish a sentence; they tend to be emotional; they talk in word pictures; everything is their world; they tend to be generalists, and some of the words and phrases they use (a longer predicate list will be given later) are: “perspective”; “if you could see it the way I see it”; “paint a clear picture”; “get things in focus”; “the clarity of the issue.” This is a thumbnail sketch of a Visual person.

Auditory: HEARING is the way they process information through their ears. They are mid-breathers; use hand gestures in the middle of their body when they talk. They tend to be convergent people and much better listeners. Women tend to be Auditory. Slower talkers; their head will be tilted with an ear toward you because they don’t want to miss any words. They are Type “B” people; methodical; into themselves and totally into details. They use predicates like: “quiet”; “listen”; “noise”; “say”; “tell”; “talk”; “discuss”.

Kinesthetic: FEELING is the way these people process information it has to “feel” right. They have long, low breathing patterns; low hand gestures. They are very delicate, and very involved in feeling. These people are very easily hurt, especially by the Visual types, and also by the Auditory person. They say things like: “it feels good”; “we’ll try it”; “we’ll test it”; “touch”; “smooth”; “firm it up”; “I’ve got good feelings about this”; “gentle.”

Let’s now examine in more depth how these people act.

Visual: Everything is either black or white. When you’re talking to a Visual person, they often look at their watch. “Gee, Bob, I need to talk to you.” The first thing Bob does is look at his watch, and says, “Okay. Go ahead.” In other words, Bob is timing you. If they went to the Grand Canyon, they would want to hike down to the bottom of the canyon, and then hike back up, visit all of the shops, etc. They have a very clear idea of their world in their mind; four or five plots, and so all they need are 10 or 15 words, and they can figure out the rest. Therefore, they tend to cut people off. In fact, those people in the other modes see them as rude.

Visual people are note takers because they never really listen in the first place. If you notice them in an audience, Visual people will be taking copious notes because they know that after the talk or seminar, they are not going to remember anything.

They think of many things at the same time. Words are not important to them. As they are listening, they will be wondering what they are going to be doing later; they are going to be listening to the air conditioner; they will be watching the people next to them. It’s very hard for them to keep a constant train of thought for any long period of time because so many things are going on in their brains. Words, to them, are only vehicles that they use to get somewhere.

Auditory: They are not the best note takers, but they don’t need to be because they hear and remember everything. They can repeat back to you, a lot of times verbatim, exactly what was said, yet take very few notes. An Auditory person wants to talk in paragraphs, in pages, while a Visual person wants to talk in sentence fragments.

(*Note: I’ll mainly talk about the Auditory or Visual people because they comprise most of the business people in our culture. In the recruitment industry, I have noticed that we tend to have a lot of managers/owners who are Visual and a lot of rank and file recruiters who are Auditory.)

The Visual vs. Auditory Scenario

Now let’s look at a scenario between a Visual and an Auditory person. Let’s pick a husband and wife. The husband is Visual and the wife is Auditory.

The husband can come home from work, watch television, read the paper, play with the child, pet the dog, and listen to his wife tell him what took place during the day all at the same time. The wife, on the other hand, is saying, “Pay attention to me when I’m talking to you. You never pay attention to me anymore.” Or, “Can you at least turn the television off.” The worst thing that a Visual person can do is to turn the sound off, because the picture is still on the television, and that is what attracts the Visual person, and they will not be able to divide their attention between the two. He can’t give complete attention to his wife. She’ll say, “I want to watch you listen.” The husband will think, “Gee, she must be crazy. Why does she have to watch me listen?”

On the other hand, what if a Visual person says, “Tell me about the movie you just saw.” The Auditory person will take longer to tell about the movie than the Visual person would have spent watching it in the first place. Why? Because the Auditory person listened intently to, and picked up everything about, the movie.

If the Visual husband misses five minutes of a TV program, it will take 15 minutes for the Auditory wife to explain the five minutes that the Visual person missed.

It’s very difficult for a Visual and Auditory person to communicate. In fact, only one thing will take place, and it’s tragic when you think about it, because it takes place a lot with hiring managers. Let’s say that the recruiter is Visual, and the hiring manager is Auditory, what is going to happen is that the Auditory person will simply stop talking. “If you are not going to watch me when I talk to you and not pay attention to me, obviously my words are not important to you.” At this point the hiring manager will simply stop talking, because they won’t be constantly offended that way. So, the Visual recruiter is going to have to realize that. If you don’t actively listen, the Auditory hiring manager will merely stop talking to you. Relationship over!

The Predicates

Since most of us spend some of our most critical time making presentations, we need to know what words the different types of people use. Now let’s go over their predicates, or action words:









































































































Fluff: (Words that do not fit into any category)
















Got It

We’re Late


Eye Movements

If you have the opportunity to go and talk to the hiring managers, or candidates, face to face, you can watch their eye movements. Because, when they are processing information, their eyes will move in certain directions.

Picture, if you can, a person’s face. This would be a typical right-handed person and they would be looking right at you.

  • If their eyes go up and to your left, that’s what we call VISUAL CONSTRUCT. They are actually thinking about something they haven’t seen yet, but they’re trying to visualize it.
  • Up and to your right…VISUAL MEMORY. They are actually remembering something that took place.
  • To the side and to your left…AUDITORY CONSTRUCT. They are trying to hear sounds that they’ve never heard before. They are trying to construct those sounds.
  • To the side and to your right…AUDITORY MEMORY. They are actually hearing sounds that they have heard before.
  • Down and to your left…KINESTHETIC. They are getting into a feeling mode. They’re feeling something that took place before.
  • Down and to your right…AUDITORY DIGITAL. They’re actually having a conversation with themselves.

If the individual is left-handed…flip-flop the pattern.

You should be able to tell, as the person is looking at you, in what mode they primarily access information. NLP experts say that certain parts of the brain are responsible for certain responses, and the eyes can mirror what the person is thinking. You can actually watch this take place when somebody is talking to you.

A way you can prove this to yourself is to think back to the first house that you can remember. Now try to concentrate on which way your eyes move as you are thinking back to that first house. Assuming that you are a right-handed person, if your eyes went up, it’s most likely a visual response. You are visualizing the house. Side-ways, you’re trying to remember sounds in the house. Down and to your right (if you are right-handed), you’re getting a feeling of what the house was like. Down and to your left, you’re actually having an internal conversation with yourself about the house.

If you want to prove the correctness of your mode, move your eyes in an opposite direction as you think of your first car. If your initial response was correct (when you were thinking about your first house), it should be difficult for you to think with your eyes in this new direction.


The Sensory Modality Checklist assesses the strengths of each of your major sensory modalitiesAuditory, Visual and Kinesthetic. Use it to discover your preferred cognitive for learning and self-expression

There are ten incomplete sentences and three choices for completing each. All of the options may not apply to you. You have a maximum of 6 points to score on any given question. If one answer is perfect and the other two answers are not like you at all, score 6 points on the perfect answer and give the other two answers 0 points each so that the total points equal 6. If all three answers are right for you, score 2 points on eachagain equaling 6 points total. You can distribute the 6 points any way you choose on each of the questions. Ready? Let’s try the checklist.

1. When I want to learn something new, I usually:

a. ( ) want someone to explain it to me.

b. ( ) want to read about it in a book or magazine.

c. ( ) want to try it out, take notes, or make a model of it.

2. At a party, most of the time I like to:

a. ( ) listen and talk to two or three people at once.

b. ( ) see how everyone looks and watch the people.

c. ( ) dance, play games, or take part in some activities.

3. If I were helping with a musical show, I would most likely:

a. ( ) write the music, sing the songs, or play the accompaniment.

b. ( ) design the costumes, paint the scenery, or work the lighting effects.

c. ( ) make the costumes, build the sets, or take an acting role.

4. When I am angry, my first reaction is to:

a. ( ) tell people off, laugh, joke, or talk it over with someone.

b. ( ) blame myself or someone else, daydream about taking revenge, or keep it inside.

c. ( ) make a fist or tense my muscles, take it out on something else, hit or throw things.

5. A happy event I would like to have is:

a. ( ) hearing the thunderous applause for my speech or music.

b. ( ) photographing the prized picture of a sensational newspaper story.

c. ( ) achieving the fame of being first in a physical activity such as dancing, acting, surfing, or a sports event.

6. I prefer a teacher to:

a. ( ) use the lecture method with informative explanations, and discussions.

b. ( ) write on the chalkboard, use visual aids and assign readings.

c. ( ) require posters, models, or in-service practice, and some activities in.

7. I know that I talk with:

a. ( ) different tones of voice.

b. ( ) my eyes and facial expressions.

c. ( ) my hands and gestures.

8. If I had to remember an event so that I could record it later, I would choose to:

a. ( ) tell it aloud to someone, or hear an audio tape recording or a song about it.

b. ( ) see pictures of it, or read a description.

c. ( ) re-play it in some practice rehearsal using movements such as dance, play-acting, or drill.

9. When I cook something new, I like to:

a. ( ) have someone tell me the directions, a friend or TV show.

b. ( ) read the recipe and judge by how it looks.

c. ( ) use many pots and dishes, stir often, and taste-test.

10. In my free time, I like to:

a. ( ) listen to the radio, talk on the telephone, or attend a musical event.

b. ( ) go to the movies, watch TV, or read a magazine or book.

c. ( ) get some exercise, go for a walk, play games, or make things.

That’s it. You’re finished. Now, add up the columns…the “A” column…the “B” column…the “C” column. Each column will range from 0 to 60. Together, they will total 60. In other words, you should have a total maximum (all columns added together) of 60 points.

Analyzing The Results

The “A” answers are Auditory choices. The “B” answers are Visual choices, and the “C” answers are Kinesthetic choices.

The Auditory score means that you learn and express yourself through sounds and hearing. The Visual score means that you enjoy learning and expressing yourself with your eyes…seeing things written, colors, and imageries. The Kinesthetic score means that you learn and express yourself through physical and muscular activity and practice.

If the scores are within four points of each other, you have a mixed modality, which means that you process information in any sensory modality with balanced ease.

If there are five points or more between any of the scores, you have a relative strength in that modality as compared to the others. You may have two modalities that seem stronger than the other one. This means that you learn more easily and express yourself more naturally in the modality with the larger score(s).

There are, of course, no right or wrong choices of sensory modalities. This checklist is a criterion-referenced achievement scale, revealing the sensory modalities that you have learned to depend on and enjoy the most. You can practice to improve your skill in any modality with the goal of achieving a mixed and balanced modality of sensory strengths.

How To Use The Checklist

The goal of the Checklist is to help you to understand which mode you most identify with how you process logic. What I am trying to say in this whole discussion on Establishing Elegant Rapport Through Elegant Communication, is that first I want you to understand your main type. Then I want you to understand the other two types, always keeping in mind that all of us are made up of all three, but one mode tends to predominate.

Now, when you’re dealing with people like you, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t even have to think about it because you will deal with those people perfectly. However, with the other two types, you are going to have to change the way you communicate. If you are Visual, for instance, and you’re dealing with an Auditory person, you had better slow down try to relax, take deep breaths, etc. If you are Visual and dealing with a Kinesthetic person, you are going to have to slow way down.

If you are Kinesthetic and you are dealing with a Visual person, you are going to have to speed up. You are going to have to talk in sentence fragments. You are going to have to give information quickly because that is how it’s going to be absorbed. If you don’t, the Visual person is going to become very frustrated with you. In fact, that happens a lot when there are many Auditory recruiters, and there are a lot of Visual hiring managers … the recruiters want to go on and on about the full picture behind the candidate, or get the full understanding about the job order. The Visual person is going crazy … they’re saying, “Gee. Just give me the bottom line. The specifics are not that important. I’ll know when I talk to them. I’ll know when I see them.”

You need to change depending upon the type of person with whom you’re dealing. Hopefully, the predicates can give you some clues as to what kind those people are, who they are, but also be mindful of the speed of your speech. So, first of all, PACE. If you don’t want to get involved in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and you don’t want to read books by Grinder and Bandler, then, at least, PACE with the hiring manager. If they talk fast, then you talk fast. If they talk slower, then you talk slower. If they talk real slow, then you talk real slow.

To reiterate, first, PACE … speed with speed; second, use their words; and third, if you want to get more involved, actually try to figure out, maybe through the use of the predicates or the eye movements, what kinds of people they are. Write it down, put it on the file card you use, so that when you start dealing with these people you will know if you have to quicken up your presentation, slow down your presentation, or really slow down your presentation. This will depend upon who they are, what you are, and how you will have to change, like a chameleon, to enter their world.

Elegant Communication is extremely important. In fact, NLP could be the most important synthesis of knowledge about human communication to emerge since the explosion of humanistic psychology in the 1960’s. We know it works. We have recruiters that are using it right now. In fact, a lot of people use NLP without even knowing what they’re doing, but they know it works. They’re the ones we say have a certain “charisma” about them. They are the speakers before large groups who will use Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic words … they use all three … so they can appeal to every segment of their audience without knowing of which those parts are comprised.

So be aware of the differences in all of us. Understand how you can establish Elegant Rapport with the people around you, and if you use it, it should greatly expand your success … expand your ability to develop rapport with both hiring managers and candidates, and thereby, increase your production, your number of placements. In the final analysis, if this helps to make you a better communicator, it should also make you a happier and more successful individual!

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