Instead of making things complicated with the use of jargon and technical terms, today I would like to share with you Modalities and Representational Systems in the simplest terms possible.
We as humans have five senses, namely, sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. These senses are termed as ‘modalities’, as these are the different modes on the bases of which we experience things. These modalities also develop our representational systems, as it is on the bases of these modalities that our experiences get represented in our mind and the projection of which we exhibit in our behavior. Therefore, modalities serve as the bases for representational systems.
Besides the exceptional cases of a fragrance assessor or a wine taster, we usually rely on the three modalities, namely, listening, seeing and touching. These three are commonly put into practice and every one of us uses a different modality to form our own representational system. For instance, a musician would rely on a sense of listening, whereas a painter would build the representational system on the bases of sight. Besides these three there is another modality as well, and that is the cognitive modality in which people rely on their mind and trust its judgment.
Let me share with you what kind of characteristics do people with different representational systems exhibit.
The representational system of such people is built upon visual and sight. The major characteristics of such people are as follows:
- As these people rely on visuals, therefore, they themselves want to be clean and presentable and they expect the same from other people as well. Therefore, those of you who always remain well dressed and praise the dressing and grooming of someone, have a representational system built on visual and sight.
- In order to memorize things, these people rely on visuals and images, this is why they wish to get insight into things in order to remember them better. Similarly, as its all visual, therefore, such people are highly imaginative and their mind creates all the images.
- They speak fast compared to others as they have pictures in their mind and the thing with pictures is that it speaks a thousand words. Therefore, to present what they have in mind they speak fast.
- Such people are more distracted by visuals than by noise and because of their affiliation with visuals, they remember faces better than names.
The representational system of such people is built upon the modality of listening. Some major characteristics of people with such representational system are:
- Such people are very keen when it comes to judging the change in voice tone. So, if any of your friends on the phone judges that you are sad, then it means that he or she has an audio-based representational system.
- These people learn things by listening to them, contrary to the others who have to see things demonstrated in order to do them. Moreover, when it comes to remembering or taking direction, such people are after because of their reliance on audio.
- Noise is a major distraction for such people, and they are always in search of those who can listen to them and with whom they can share their voice.
These people rely on their sense of touch to develop their representational system. The thing that needs to be kept in mind pertaining to this representational system is that the sense of touch is not limited to the touching only, rather the feeling that touch produces is also an integral part of it. The major characteristics of people with such a system are:
- These people are sensitive ones, as their touchy feelings are always prominent and dominant in their behavior.
- The purpose of dressing and grooming for them is to make themselves feel comfortable instead of focusing on how they look.
- These people stay close to others in order to feel the energy of the other person and then on the bases of that they proceed with a particular relationship.
This representational system has nothing to do with the senses, rather it all takes place in the mind. These people utilize their mind to make sense of their life. The major characteristics of people from this representational system are:
- These people are always trying to find answers, and making sense of this world and try to figure out how things work and the way they are connected with each other.
- For such people learning is done by working out things in their mind and they don’t need anyone to think over things, rather they do it on their own in their mind.
- These people favor logic and in terms of their behavior in speech, they can often turn out to be absent-minded.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Which representational system do you fall in? Have you always been of the same representational system? As always, I love reading your comments. Please feel free to comment below!
Thanks for sharing this interesting post. I think myself fall into the Auditory Digital. =)
I definitely fall into the visual now with my line of work, and reading your post cements that belief. I used to fall into the audio category because of my music, and I only use listening when it comes to podcasts now.
Great post Nate! I am blown away at the detail that you went into about the different senses.
While I know this isn’t based on “senses” but Vanessa Van Edwards is a Body Language specialist. I bought her program that teaches body language signs for Entrepreneurs, such a good course! You might like it
Interesting, the Auditory Digital description suits me perfectly!
This was a really good post, thanks Nate!
I am a very visual person.. i would go with that..
Well I’m new here and I really liked your writing style and the points you’ve listed out in this post. I think discovering modalities in any one is really important.
Interesting article, Nate. I fall primarily into the visual category. I love to have things down on paper so I can make circles, arrows, underlines and notes. If I’m at a lecture, I can’t just listen to remember. I have to write it down. Good article. Thanks!
Neat breakdown Nate! Visual folks interest me, as I sway in that direction.
Interesting article. I definitely tend to lean towards the visual.
I am more visual. Knowing people’s modalities is very important!
WOW, that is really an awesome explanation of the modalities and their respresentational systems.
I think I lean to be more of a visual person although also some of the characteristics of the Auditory applies.
That’s one great article Nate. Thanks for sharing and wish you a great rest of the week.
This was very interesting! It is quite something to consider, and would be nice to know where each of us fall, or where our strength is. Thank you for sharing.
WOW! What an interesting article! I feel that I fall into the visual category. I like to have a pen and paper, take notes, scribble and write down my thoughts.
Thanks, Nate! I just found out I am a combination of Kinesthatic and Auditory. Learned something new today! Thank you. Will share this to friends, too! 🙂
No doubt about it, I’m visual. I wish google were, too. Google seems to want too many words for my taste (no pun intended)! Pictures, pictures, pictures! Oh, one more thing: I tend to read from the bottom up! Yes, the last page of Time Magazine first. Yes, the final paragraph of a blog or newspaper article first, then the first paragraph, and then, if it’s interesting, the middle. (for most newspaper articles, the only paragraph that says the truth is the final one!).
Valuable presentation of how different people engage … even more valuable to marketers who are attempting to engage with potential customers. As we develop our marketing strategies, we need to think of how to “touch” different people where THEY engage … so we need to factor in more than just one if we want to succeed.
I have always been visual/kinestetic and have a hard time learning any other way. Wish more used your info when they take on teaching.
This is so much fun!! I am pretty sure I’m mostly visual (I wonder if most people are!).
This is a fun exercise. I am definitely visual. I am pretty in tuned with auditory too. It does help to know which area you are stronger in
I think I’m a bit Visual, but more Auditory Digital. This an interesting way to understand ourselves.
Excellent article, Nate! I am in the visual category. This has been an interesting concept to revisit with regards to how to market to different modalities.
I would have to say I’m visual! If I hear something, it doesn’t stick in my head unless I see it on paper.
Because I recognize this within myself, when I’m marketing, I have to be aware that I don’t only communicate visually. I have to be mindful of the different characteristics I’m trying to convey to others.
Therefore, before I get to a final draft, these are things I do keep in mind.
I think it is important for all of us to understand these in order to have effective communication.
I am definitely a visual, I can remember so much by Visual memory at times it’s like I have photographic memory! Great write up Nate!
I don’t know which to choose because am kinda confused.I will go with Auditory. It feels good,