We have all had this experience with at least one person in our life, no matter how many times we try to get through to them (or perhaps they try to get through to us), we can’t seem to understand each other. It really feels like we are speaking two different languages. Guess what? It might be because you are!
Now, of course your words sound like the are the same language. Perhaps you were both born and raised in the same place. How are you speaking different languages? I am referring to the language of your mind, the language of the way you learn.
There are three different main types of learning styles. Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Generally speaking, each person has a primary and secondary learning style. When you are a visual learner and trying to explain something to someone who is not a visual learner at all, this can led to huge issue. Perhaps you are trying to teach your child how to wash the dishes. You both stand at the sink and you demonstrate how to wash the dishes. Your child then tries and doesn’t do it correctly. You show them again, and again your child isn’t doing it. You start to get annoyed and think the child is disobedient on purpose. The child is starting to get upset, and wonders what it is that would make you happy.
The good news is, you can learn how to communicate! The first step is figuring out which learning styles you both operate in. There are many ways to do this. Here is a link to an online quiz. It is a little more “fun” than some of the others but there are tons of VAK quizzes available.
Another way is to think about how you learn. Visual learners like to see things. Often they will use phrases such as “see here” and “do you see what I mean?” Auditory learners like to hear things explained to them. They use phrases such as “listen to this”. Kinethetic learners are hands on learners. They learn best by doing.
Once you have an understanding of how you both learn best, you can then adapt the way you are teaching or even the way you are being taught. It might take a little more effort from you but you can explain how to wash the dishes, instead of showing. If someone is trying to explain something to you, and you are a visual learner, you can say “I am just not understanding it. Could you show me?” Perhaps even explain “I learn better when I see someone doing the task first. Can I watch you do this?”
Having a basic understanding about the learning styles can really help you communicate with more people effectively. The next time you feel frustrated with someone who doesn’t seem to understand you, take a step back and think about this.