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[Freeing the Mind][Self Development Contents]

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Ken Ward's Mind Mastery Course

Your owner's manual for your brain - that you never received or never read.

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Modalities - How to read a person's mind from their words

We perceive the world through the 5 senses and these senses are sometimes called modalities. Each person has a preferred modality that they use to think. For example a visual person will, especially when deeply thinking, will use visual words. This page draws your awareness to how we reveal ourselves in our speaking and writing.

Suppose someone says, You have a bright future. Just take a minute to think and ask yourself, what exactly does it mean? Whatever we might mean by future, are futures ever bright or dull? Yet to a visual thinker this is how they see a good future - one where they are getting what they want.

How about if someone says, of a cream cake, It is crying out to me to eat it. What does that mean (unless the person thinks cakes talk!) To an auditory person who uses sounds to think, then this is full of meaning.

We may be advised, To grab all the knowledge we can. But how can you reach out your hand and clench your fist on a bit of physics! But this is the way that the kinaesthetic person thinks about the world and all real meaning involved physical actions actions or sensations in the body.

When you are in certain states of mind, you may have a preferred modality that you use to think and express yourself.

Visual Modality

When you communicate with a person who is operating in visual mode, then that person will tend to use visial words and think in pictures. That person will also tend to understand visual words rather than words associated with other modalities.

A person in a state where they are thinking visually will tend to use words like see, and refer to colours, shapes and sizes. He or she will refer to things being near or far, or in or out of focus.

So a visual person might inspect a problem, or look into something. In visual mode, you would see a sparkling future.

Kinaesthetic Modality

A person who is in a state where they are thinking in terms of feelings or physical actions will also tend to use words that reflect this.

So he or she will speak of how rough or smooth something is, how much pressure there is, or will refer to physical actions. The word feel may be used often.

A kinesthetic person might grapple with a problem or grope around for a solution. In Kinesthetic Modality, you would feel a future where you eventually get your desires within your grasp.

Auditory Modality

In an auditory state, we tend to think in terms of sounds or language and our speech and writing will tend to contain auditory words. In an auditory state, you will use the words hear and listen quite often, and refer to things by their loudness or quietness, their timbre (distinct quality of sound), or by their frequency.

So an auditory person may try to get into harmony with the situation and listen for any hints to the solution. A little bird might tell you the answer. Something might tell you that you were playing the right tune and your future would be great.

When we speak normally, we might use visual, auditory and kinesthetic words, but in some states, when we are thinking in a certain way, we will use words that represent the Modality we are using for thinking.

There little point in giving a list of words for the different states because they never sound right and often appear contrived. But when you attend to the words that people are using, escpecially when they are being very serious or emotional, you will be aware of how they use the Modalities.

Eye positions

When in visual mode, your eyes will tend to be either focussed ahead without actually looking at physical things, or your eyes will move to your upper right or left. When your eyes move to your right then, you are imagining something in visual form. When your eyes move to the upper left, then you are remembering something.

In auditory mode, your eyes move to your left or to your right. If they move to the right, then you are imagining or rehearsing a sound. If to your left, then you are remembering a sound.

If you look down to your right, then you are experiencing a feeling. If you look down to your left, then you are experiencing inner dialogue.

Noting eye positions along with the language the person is using tell you a lot about what is happening in their minds.

Physical actions

In auditory mode, you will tend to turn your ear to the other person. In visual mode, you will tend to look straight at the other person. In kinesthetic mode, you will tend to touch the other person.

In visual mode, you may appear to be looking at something as you talk. In kinesthetic mode you may move your hands a lot as if doing something. And in auditory mode, you might look down and away from the person you are talking to (giving precedence to the ears).