One method we can use to identify the preferred representational systems of other people is to listen carefully to the words that they use when describing their experience of the world.
In particular we are listening for a certain class of words known as predicates and certain groupings of words known as predicate phrases.
This is another area of NLP in which your sensory acuity is particularly useful.
In traditional English grammar a sentence is divided into two main parts:-
- The subject
- The predicate - that which is written or said about the subject
Here's a few examples for clarity - the predicate is underlined in each example:-
John kicked the football
Sarah listened to the rhythm of the rain beating against the window pane
He saw for the first time what had been right in front of his eyes all along
Notice that the predicates in the above sentences can be associated with certain particular representational systems - kicked (kinesthetic), listened...rhythm...beating (auditory), saw......right in front of his eyes (visual).
During normal conversation people will use a mixture of predicate phrases, but they will tend to favour predicate phrases from one of their representational systems - V, K, A or Ad. The one that they favour is an indicator of their preferred representational system.
To illustrate, here are some examples of predicate phrases that you might hear and be able to use to identify another person's preferred representational system:-
- That looks good to me!
- Let's get a bird's eye view, look at the big picture first and then we can focus in on the detail
- He was a sight for sore eyes
- The clarity of his presentation style revealed brilliant insight and really cleared the fog
- That sounds great, it's music to my ears!
- Lend me your ear for a moment and I'm sure what I have to say will really resonate with you
- Take a moment to really tune in to the words I'm using and you'll get the idea loud and clear
- It's been a pretty bumpy ride but now I finally feel that I've made it
- Just the thought of it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my kneck
- This should go smooth and steady, like a walk in the park
- I really want to get a handle on this and ensure I've grasped the concepts
- If you could just describe it in a little more detail I'm sure I could make sense of it
- I need to process what we've just experienced in order to fully make sense of it
- If you're sensitive to the changes in another person you'll gain a distinct appreciation of their individual thought processes