Do You Have a Bad Memory Or Just Different Learning Style?

also the choice of wording appeals to different types of people

also the choice of wording appeals to different types of peopleI want you to start taking notes. What do you grab, a pen and paper? Or a laptop or iPad to start typing. Or maybe you use a voice recorder?

If you chose pen and paper it’s not because you’re old fashioned. It’s because your kinesthetic: You wouldn’t remember anything if you typed your notes down on a computer. That’s for visual people, and auditive individuals either store everything they hear straight on their “inner hard drive”, repeat stuff out loud or record some notes for later.

I’m for example a kinesthetic person. I need to use a pen to take notes, but once I’ve written something down I usually don’t need to check my notes afterwards. Maybe for some detail, but in most cases I already learned the keys of the lesson by heart.

If I read a book and don’t take notes, I don’t remember much anything. One time I read a 260 page book in Kindle, and almost on every page there was the same two terms. After reading I was able to remember one of them. I knew the purpose of the other, but couldn’t repeat the exact term, even though I have an excellent memory.

Sounds crazy, right?

If I would have written it down the first thing, I wouldn’t have had a problem: It’s the “choreography” that ties the things together. (This is probably one of the reasons I rather read books on one sitting, too, regardless the length. The next day most of it is gone already.)

Visual people learn by watching and for them words are just images. That’s why they can take notes using a computer, as the mechanical performance forms the images they need to see in order to remember and learn.

These differences are the reason why as a coach it’s advantageous to offer different choises of media to your students; video, audio, workbooks and transcripts, because you never know which type they might be.

Around 5 to 15% of the people are primary auditive learners, 5 to 15% kinesthetic and up to 70% visual. The fourth group is analytical, the nerdie type. For them everything is about logic, and their share is 5 to 10%.

But it’s not just media, but also the choice of wording that appeals to different types of people.

Let’s say you’re a coach and you’re having a strategy session with a potential client. You’ve laid out your solution and then you ask for their response.

Talking to a visual person, it makes a difference if you say “How does this look to you?”, rather than “How do you feel about my suggestion?” or “How does this sound to you?” And in this same situation, the geek rather hears “Does this make sense to you?”

We don’t have a problem “getting” these words and sentences, but for a marketer this can be another ace in the sleeve. For instance when writing sales copy it’s easy to improve it and address to more people simply by adding a variety of expressions:

  • “See, look, appear, reveal, take a peek” appeal on visuals
  • “Listen, tune in, ring a bell or tell the truth” sound good for auditory
  • “Feel, grasp, tap into, pulling strings and start from scratch” move the kinesthetic
  • “Experience, understand and think” make most sense to the analytic.

(Please remove the long link at the end before tweeting!)

Which type are you and do you utilize these in your communication?

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22 Comments

  • Sue Hines

    Reply Reply October 28, 2014

    Very interesting take on the topic, Eve. You’ve provided a valuable reminder that we don’t have to adapt to the medium, but can adapt it to suit our style. Thank you.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      Thanks Sue! Fortunately these days we have the choices and I love that.

  • Susan Cooper

    Reply Reply October 28, 2014

    I am more of a learn by doing, hands on, type of person. But because I know that everyone learns differently, I use not just text and instructions on my blog, but pictures and videos too.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      You’ve been very lucky to grow into that Susan, and your students have been (and continue to be) very lucky to have you as a teacher!

  • maxwell ivey

    Reply Reply October 28, 2014

    Hi eve; this is a totally new approach to explaining when and how to use the various types of content marketing. great work, max

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      Thanks Max! I don’t think a lot of people talk about this, and certainly not in the internet marketing world, though it’s actually a big deal. I don’t think they realize that by sticking to video only they in fact repel 30% of the market.

  • ikechi

    Reply Reply October 28, 2014

    This is a great post. Understanding your learning style is very important. It makes learning effective. Thanks for sharing your insight on the topic.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      Thanks Ikechi!

  • I was identified at at early age to be a kinesthetic learner. Thankfully, my parents recognized this, as they were both teachers. It makes sense that a coach should identify the type of learner that they are coaching!

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      Lucky you! I in fact only discovered it a couple of years ago and a lot of things in the past started to make sense.
      I know that being aware of the differences can improve the results quite a lot. And that’s what coaching is about, right? Results.
      A simple way to find it out is to ask a person to close the eyes and describe a peaceful environment. The choice of words usually gives them up.

  • Jon Jefferson

    Reply Reply October 29, 2014

    Visual learner. I see the words in my head and form pictures to associate with them. The hard part for me at times comes when someone asks me a question verbally. I can’t picture what it is they are saying. My kids do this all the time when they don’t understand something in their homework. I need to see their book to figure out what it is they are asking me.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 29, 2014

      I can totally understand the difficulty there Jon. It’s been said that for visual people verbal communication and instructions can be challenging.

  • Meredith Wouters

    Reply Reply October 30, 2014

    I’m the same way about taking notes! Glad to know there’s a good reason. The good thing is I can reread books several times because I immediately forget everything. I love the phrases and words you’re suggesting for marketers – really helpful!

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 30, 2014

      Thank you Meredith! I’m the same, I read the same books over and over again. If it’s good, it is good so why bother changing :)

  • Jason B

    Reply Reply October 31, 2014

    I am a big note taker. I have note pads in my living room, bedroom and even my car.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 31, 2014

      Me too! I’ve got piles of them, and never one at hand when needed, so I write on whatever I grab first. My notes are not, and don’t need to be organized. They just have to exist.

  • Niekka McDonald

    Reply Reply October 31, 2014

    I have to write stuff down. Even if I type it I will not remember. I can read something over and over and not remember anything.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 31, 2014

      Considering the responses here it’s hard to believe we’re a minority :)

  • Lenie

    Reply Reply October 31, 2014

    Hi Eve – I used to manage a charity that provided community training and the most effective way we found was multi-media (before computers and other techie stuff). We used lecture, reading, videos and hands on training. For myself I find I need to write and read things on paper – using the computer just doesn’t work for me.

    • Eveliina

      Reply Reply October 31, 2014

      Technology is great, but it’s not everyone’s first choice and it doesn’t have to be.
      I’ve been in situations where this difference has caused misunderstandings among my co-workers and back then I wasn’t able to explain why. Now I know :)

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