Have you ever read something – perhaps a Facebook post, a landing page, or just a newspaper article – that was perfectly clear and a subject that interests you, but that somehow just didn’t really speak to YOU?
Do you ever worry that the same thing is happening to the content you put out there? Or that it happens because you’ve done something wrong?
The truth is that it’s not a simple right-or-wrong answer. The fact is that different people process information in different ways. But the good news is that you can plan your communication and your content in a way that suits most audience preferences.
What do we mean by preferences? Well, imagine that you need directions to find somewhere; do you find a map easier or do you prefer a list of step-by-step instructions? Imagine you’re house-hunting and you’re looking at property details; can you imagine the layout before you visit the property? And if so, what makes more sense – the written descriptions or a floor-plan? Imagine someone is reading something out to you – can you take in the information, or do you absorb it better if you read it yourself?
Most people use all their senses, but typically have one dominant preference (or, to use the technical term, modality) when it comes to processing information – visual, auditory or kinesthetic. In other words they prefer to see, hear or experience information for it to make most sense and to stick.
Known as the VAK theory, this model is used extensively in training so that new information is shared in a way most likely to be retained. Effective trainers will use a mix of images, demonstrations, talks and role-play to appeal to all three preferences – and they know the clues to watch for so they know what learning types they have in the room.
VAK theory can help you get more impact from your business communication too. In this final instalment of our four-part series of blogs on transforming your content, we look at two ways you can use the VAK theory to get your audiences and customers to take more notice of you.
COVER ALL BASES IN THE WAY YOU COMMUNICATE
First of all, think about ways you can communicate to most appeal to the three VAK senses. If you can, use the VAK theory to select the communication format and channel you use.
For example, visual people will really appreciate pictures, infographics and video. Auditory people will most happily listen to your video, your presentation and your podcast. Kinesthetic people will be happiest with something they can touch and feel – a product or a sample, a taster of your service, or even advertising merchandise.
From video to podcast, from posters to events and experiences – they all have a big impact for different people, which is why an effective communication strategy has a good ‘media mix’.
COVER ALL BASES IN THE WORDS YOU USE
For many, the communication channels available might be limited – for all sorts of reasons, such as budget, time, expertise or reach.
We are so lucky these days, though – we all have communication tools and platforms at our fingertips that only a few years ago would have required big budgets and expert help. Smartphones, software, apps and social media platforms offer accessible opportunities to make all sorts of communications without needing to hire people, technical equipment, studios and so on.
Even if your only communication is on social media, you can use photos, video, audio podcasts, infographics, exercises, challenges, quizzes…the list is long and getting longer all the time.
But what if all you have is words? What if your only communication is a blog, for example?
The good news is that you can still use the VAK theory to increase your impact. Choosing words that resonate with all three senses will help your readers feel like you are talking directly to them. Try this framework as a reminder and a checklist to use visual, auditory and kinesthetic words in your content:
- I SEE what you mean.
- I HEAR what you’re saying.
- I know how you FEEL.
And most important is this – remember, you have a VAK preference of your own, and you almost certainly default to that type of communication and language. That’s great for those of your audience who share your preference – but you could be missing the opportunity to maximise your impact if you speak only in your own language.
Whatever you’re writing or creating – think VAK. We know that people see, hear or feel – is your message engaging all of them?
Let us know how you get on with these ideas…and if you’d find regular and FREE teach-ins on getting better results through great communication, let us know in the ‘follow’ section (on the right or at the bottom, depending on the device you’re using to read this). We’ll send you info like this directly to your inbox so you never miss a thing.
Until next week – have a great week!
Lucy & Emma | The Communication Coaches
PS – Did you miss any of the first three instalments in this mini-series? Check them out here: