Visual Representational Systems: See The Light

Representational systems, we all use them whether we’re oriented visually, auditorily or kinesthetically. In previous articles, I’ve given an overview of VAK. These are the ways we view the world. There is tremendous value in gaining rapport with your affluent clients and prospects by focusing on their representational system. This article focuses our gaze on visual language.

When people use visual words to represent what they’re thinking, words like ‘bright’, ‘vibrant’, ‘I see what you’re saying’, they are processing information visually. If they use these words a lot, visual is their dominant system and the one they are most conscious of.

A visually oriented person speaks with their hands, they gesticulate a lot, their eyes may wander and stare into different areas above your head, off in the distance, as if they’re looking at something they need to remember. They may talk faster than non-visual people (as in, a picture is worth a thousand words and they’re trying to describe the picture for you).

If you put a picture in your mind and try to describe that picture to me, you may find yourself talking a lot. You may find the words just start flowing and you talk faster and faster, maybe with a higher pitch. The pictures are flipping through your mind without you being able to keep up with them.

If you read the last paragraph out loud, you will have an idea of how a visual person may relate something to you about the pictures they see in their head.

Some other things you might become aware of with a visually oriented person–they may breathe higher in their chests, they need distance between themselves and whoever they’re talking to so as to give enough room to see the pictures in their heads.

Here’s something you can use to see if someone is visually oriented. When you talk to them, move close and see if they get uncomfortable. See if they move away or fidget. Play around with this, in and out of their comfort zone. (If you’re visually oriented, this might be a bit more difficult for you.)

Here’s something else you can do with a visually oriented person: if you notice them looking off into space, point to where they’re looking and slide the area around. This will confuse them and open a space for you to persuade more easily.

Just play around a little bit with it. You’re not going to hurt anybody doing that. It’s not like you’re going to cause trauma, or anything, contrary to what others might lead you to believe. But it will start to help you understand what happens when someone is highly visually oriented.

I love finding someone oriented this way because they can be very powerfully persuaded.

When gaining rapport it is valuable to understand the representational system that the prospect is using, but as we will discover in future articles, there’s a shortcut. For now, just see if you can identify five visually oriented people this week and notice how they speak and gesticulate.