Getting Touchy Feely

Hi Persuader,

In a previous blog post, I gave an overview of VAK (Unraveling VAK) and it’s use in persuasion and gaining rapport. I also went into more detail about the ‘V’ in VAK in ‘Seeing the Light‘. Obviously, with a title like ‘Getting Touchy Feely, I’ve moved on to the ‘K’.

To gain rapport we have to learn how people construct and make their reality. And we have to learn how they interact with that reality. For kinesthetic oriented people, that interaction is through touch and feel.

The way you know that you’re interacting with a kinesthetic or feeling oriented person is that they tend to grasp for the way in which things are going to come across. They’ll want to bend with you and walk, step by step. They’ll often want to stick with things and grasp a hold of the kinds of things you’re going over with them. Sometimes they’ll even strain and work hard to tackle the task at hand. This is what kinesthetic oriented people do and sometimes they’ll even touch their arm or their leg and rub it while they talk. They’re kind of getting in touch with the way they feel about what’s going on. They also sometimes talk about balance and merging together and catching up.

Bill Clinton is a perfect example of a kinesthetic person. One pretty famous quote of his, which was turned into parody by his notorious predilections, was ‘I feel your pain.’ That’s the epitome of kinesthesia.

If a visual person speaks pretty quick and they’re zipping right along and an auditory person speaks a little slower and sometimes in a very sing-songy voice or in a flat monotone that you can easily detect they’re doing, then a kinesthetic person, in contrast, often speaks much slower and they struggle for the next thought.

Kinesthetic people obviously use kinesthetic words. These cover the tactile sense of feeling-hot, cold, firm, a firm touch, vibration-as well as the emotional sense of feeling-love, happiness, joy, anger.

Another thing kinesthetic oriented people do is they love to stand close so that they can reach out and touch. You can touch them on the shoulder, you can give them a hug, all within the realm of being respectful of course, but you can be right in their face. They love it. They’re not using their pictures like the visually oriented person is (at least consciously) so they don’t need to be able to see them.

That’s another major difference between the three groups that will help you to identify them. One of the biggest ways though, for me, is that they, struggle . . . for their words. . .

In contrast to visual people who look up, and auditory people look side-to-side or level, kinesthetic oriented people will look down, in general.

Along these lines, but as sort of a side note, a few weeks ago I read a story online about a junior high school student in Virginia who had been cited for two infractions by his school for hugging a friend. Why? His school has a ‘no physical contact’ policy. This includes no handshakes, no high fives, no pats on the back, no hand holding-no touching of any sort.

My initial thought was, wow, that’s really strange. Then I thought of the kinesthetic kids who might be going to that school and what a disservice is being done to them. I mean, I understand the need for clear boundaries, but no physical contact whatsoever between friends? Seems like a dangerous road to travel down.

Coming soon: Auditory Adventures.

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland

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Sam Palazzolo - February 22, 2008


You’ve hit on something very powerful, and unfortunately very unnoticed! My daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I was devastated. She is in the 3rd grade and has struggled with school (Her 1st grade teacher left the school and became a pharmaceutical rep…Others said that her mind was not on teaching her class for the majority of the school year while she was looking for her “new gig”.).

I don’t like to place blame, I just want the answers. With this mindset my wife and I swept the internet in search of an answer, or solution to ADHD. I am not a big fan of medication, and I wondered if it was possible to cure/treat through diet/exercise/surrounding/mental activity. The story does not have a happy ending…Yet!

What I realized about a month ago was that my daughter is extremely kinesthetic…She loves to hug! With this in mind we’ve begun working with her from that perspective (Touch/Feel/Grab…). We are making progress and that is so encouraging!

When I talk with other parents about ADHD, to my surprise they were interested in the topic! So I did what anyone else that wants to help others (Like YOU!) did and wrote a book about it. It took me a lot of time to overcome the thought that my daughter was the way she is. However it’s just like my Grandma used to say “If you think you’re the only one who is going through this, you’re not!” Love that line…

Thanks for all you do!


Sam Palazzolo

Dave - February 23, 2008

I can completely relate to this touchy feely thing and how some children interact with the world.

When my son is awaiting a sporting event he is participating in, he vibrates; it could be a leg, or his whole body. I can just see an untrained teacher or coach telling him to visualize how the event will go as opposed to getting into the winning mood.

Using the correct mode from the VAK universe can cause the listener to tune into the virtual symphony, envision the perfect portrait, or grab ahold of the most compelling passion.


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