Heads of Comms, are you managing your team according to their ‘type’?  (PLUS free download)

09 Dec 2015 by Sarah Leembruggen.

You will have no doubt noticed that each time you set out to deliver any kind of training to your new recruits or the existing members of your team, the way they internalise and apply the information and skills you are imparting is different – often wildly so – every time. That’s because most people possess a preferred or dominant learning style. This learning style is also a reflection of the type of person they are – how they perceive things and the way that they relate to the world.

To understand the learning styles of your team, there is a simple test they can take that will show you what type of learners they are, characterised by the way they link and relate to the world around them. The test is based on the idea presented by Michael Brooks in his book “Instant Rapport” that every action you take, or sentence you say, is preceded by one or more of four internal Representational Systems – visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and auditory digital. By getting your team to take the test, you can identify which type they are, which will pinpoint their strengths, helping you to tailor the way you deliver your training – and generate more effective results.

These are some of the characteristics that define the learning style of each type:


Visual learners prefer to take in information by seeing and often process it in pictorial form. They like to read handouts, look at graphs and use symbols. Demonstrations, displays and films are also incredibly effective for visual learners. If you just talk at them with no visual aids, they will soon switch off.


Auditory learners prefer to listen and take in information by what they hear. They favour lectures and discussions over reading. They like to be told how they’re doing and respond to a certain tone of voice or set of words.


Kinaesthetic learners learn by experience and particularly by tactile exploration of the world. They prefer to learn by practical hands-on methods and experimentation.

You’ll find that they make a lot of their decisions based on whether something ‘feels right’. They love a hand-out too.


Auditory digital learners will often work things out by talking to themselves; they want to know that what you are saying ‘makes sense’ and like to understand and size up what they have been told.

As well as paying attention to the way a member of your team learns, you will also build a much better rapport and effective communication channel if you match their style of speaking. The words someone uses reflects whether they are thinking using their visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic systems, and this gives you an insight into how their brain is sorting information. Knowing this is a direct link to translating your language to their representational system, which creates a very deep rapport, and influences at an unconscious level.

For instance, a visual person will use words like ‘see’, ‘look’, ‘view’. An auditory person will make use of internal dialogue and use words such as ‘hear’, ‘listen’, ‘speak’. A kinaesthetic person will use phrases such as ‘get a hold of’, ‘touch upon’, ‘it feels’.

Once you have identified the ‘type’ of employees you are managing, you can tailor the words you use to suit their representational system, and present your message in a way that they understand:

To a visual person – ‘I see what you mean.’

To an auditory person – ‘I hear what you are saying .’

To a kinaesthetic person – ‘I understand how you are feeling.’

To an auditory digital person – ‘That makes sense.’

If there isn’t clear communication between you and your team, everything can and will eventually go wrong. As human beings, we innately want to be understood. Knowing how to communicate with each and every player according to their types will facilitate the building of a relationship that will generate a deep mutual understanding – and outstanding results and achievements.

Take the 1-minute ‘type assessment’ here and read the explanation of styles here.

The Works specialise in placing high flyers in PR and corporate communications. We have a strong track record of placing with professional services and offer career-making advice. Do get in touch if you would like our support building your team.

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