Have you ever wondered about what it is exactly, that we refer to when we use the expression “we clicked” or “we were on the same wavelength” or “the chemistry was there”? Sure, we all know what we mean when we say that but what is it that makes us click? Is it a sense of humour, a dress sense, visual identity or is it something more?

For many of us Christmas is a time for family and friends. No matter how much we love them, there are always those members with whom a few limited, but annual moments in front of the fire, is quite unbearable. Quite why we torture ourselves and remind ourselves we are doing our ‘duty’ each year escapes me. Well the answer is at hand – not just for abhorrent friends and family but equally useful for deployment with visitors at an exhibition.

It goes under the rather grand name of Neurolinguistic Programming – or NLP for short! In order to do the topic justice I would need to write a similar length column for approximately twenty seven and a half years. Indeed a six month ‘practitioners’ course on NLP exists for those who are more deeply interested. Instead, I propose to address the issue in a nouvelle cuisine style (without the extortionate price tag).

At the epicentre of NLP is the proposition that we all communicate and learn in channels – three of them to be precise. In turn these are Audio, Video and Tactile (or Kinaesthetic to give its full name). We identify the channels people use by the words they use. Simply put, Audio people communicate by saying things like; “Can you hear what I mean?” and “How does that sound to you?” The emphasis is on audio expressions. Video people conversely rely on hearing, so they might say things like; “How does that look to you?” or “Can you see what I’m saying?” Finally the Tactile or Kinaesthetics amongst us would be more physical in their descriptors, adding comments like; “How does that grab you?” and “I can’t quite get my head around that”. We also learn best using these same channels. For example an Audio individual would retain and absorb information better if it were presented in an audio fashion, such as listening to a speech or learning through a pre-recorded CD. It follows that Video people will not be so impressed or enlightened using the same means. In their case they need to watch a demonstration or see a film. Finally the Tactile folk would need to play with the apparatus and feel for themselves in order to best absorb the finer intricacies of your product.

In a nutshell, that’s very much it. All you have to do now is respond to them using the same channel. Suppose someone used the phrase “Can you see why I’m upset?” and your response was say Audio, such as “Yes I can hear what you’re saying.” the appellant would not believe you or feel at all connected. You do not have to be a mimic and respond parrot fashion, “Yes, yes! I can see what you mean!” rather use the same channel and remark, “Yes. Looking at it from your point of view, I can see that.” Suddenly you will appear to have clicked!

Likewise you are best to remember that the typical visitor to an event will be made up from one of the three channels so think about how best to convey your message on your stand. Too many graphics and they are lost on Tactiles and Audios. Too much talking and you lose the Tactiles and Video visitors. Ideally have a mix so visitors can touch, feel and hear your presence at your next event. Happy clicking!