The next preference that I will discuss is auditory. Auditories make up approximately 20% of the population. This means that they process information most efficiently and effectively based on information they take in through their ears. Keep in mind, this does not mean that they don’t use their other senses. It simply means that the best way they process information is based on what they hear. Also, remember that you may have some auditories that process almost exclusively with their hearing while others have developed the ability to use their other senses quite well.
It is also interesting to note that, in general, research shows that there are a higher percentage of females that have this as their sensory preference. This may be due, in part, to the potential for multiple speech centers in the female brain in comparison to the male brain. I will discuss this in more detail in the unit on brain gender differences.
I will now go through, in some detail, the personality traits you will most often find dominant in those who have this as their sensory preference. Keep in mind the bell curve that I discussed earlier.
Childhood as an Auditory
Remember that it helps to determine an individual’s innate preference by looking at activities and actions during childhood. Once they are old enough to start making decisions for themselves they may make choices based on facets of their personality. Listed below are traits that you might notice in others, or remember about yourself as a child, or that you can ask a client you are coaching:
- They will tend to talk out loud to themselves a lot.
- They tend to be easily frightened by sounds; for example, they may be the children that are afraid of a thunderstorm, insisting that they climb in bed with mom and dad for security.
- They will be very sensitive to the tone of voice used when they are being talked to; perhaps picking up the parents or other people’s emotions through listening to their voices.
- For the auditory child, harsh words can be particularly destructive. At a young age, they may be able to recall in detail the names or words used to describe them. Whereas, those with other sensory preferences may not remember words said to them with such detail.
- Auditory children need, and even thrive, on positive verbal reassurance. Hugs will not mean as much to them as hearing their parents say, “Good job” or, “I’m proud of you.”
- They will have a true love for books and reading. Again, this can present itself at a young age. While other children may sit and play with toys, auditories may grab a book and read. My son, Kasey, made it perfectly clear to me that he was an auditory learner when, by the age of 12, he was devouring 500-600 page small print books like they were candy. He would often read through them in less than a week, begging me to go back to the store to purchase more. To this day one of his favorite stores is Barnes and Noble.
Auditories and Their Brain
- Love to read. I am a strong auditory and I cannot put into words the excitement I feel every time I get a new shipment of books or walk into a bookstore. Even though smell and touch are very much kinesthetic preference markers, the touch and smell of books makes me feel good. As strange as that may sound to others, this is a very normal personality trait for an auditory.
- In learning, the auditory prefers the words. They enjoy hearing lectures (as long as the subject material matches their BQD) and doing reading assignments.
- They enjoy study groups or situations where they can engage in active conversation with others. They may be the one that does the most talking in a conversation. Get a few auditory communicators together and be prepared not to be able to get a word in edgewise.
- Auditories may be the last to leave a party or event because they tend to lose track of time when having a conversation.
- They may tend to learn best in a group setting where they can “talk” about it.
- When assembling a project (such as a bike or a bookshelf) the auditory will most likely pull out the instructions and read through the steps only referring to the pictures if they get stuck.
- Even as adults, the auditory can be found talking to themselves out loud so they can hear their own voices.
- Their reading material does not necessarily need to be filled with pictures. They are fine with just words. Because they hear the words repeated so well in their head, pictures are not needed.
- They may remember things better if they verbalize out loud to themselves.
- They may have strong language skills and a well-developed vocabulary.
- You may find the auditory to be a person that can often be found humming to themselves.
- Words and conversation are very important to them.
- They will pick up on auditory cues fastest.
- Their preference may even be apparent in their speech. They may use terms like:
- That sounds good to me.
- If I hear you correctly…
- That didn’t sound right.
- What you are saying is…
- My internal voice is telling me…
- You were really silent when…
- He really bent my ear.
- I was speechless.
- That rings a bell.
- What I read between the lines is…
- The tone of your voice told me…
Auditories and Their Environment
- Auditories will not be overly concerned with their appearance being “just right,” as do the visuals. They may not coordinate things as well, but they will be able to explain verbally why they chose to dress the way they did.
- The sounds in their environment will be very important to them. They are easily irritated by odd sounds: that jingling of keys or change in a person’s pocket, the dripping of water from a faucet, the tap of tree limbs on a window, the small rattle in the car–all of these can easily drive an auditory crazy. To illustrate: One evening, after my husband and I said goodnight and turned out the lights, I noticed an odd sound. When I asked my husband what it was, he quickly responded that he didn’t hear anything. I got up turned on the lights and the noise stopped. I returned to bed and once again heard the noise. Again, my husband heard nothing but, for me, there was no way that I would sleep with the noise continuing-no matter how faint. After this repeated a few times, I finally figured out that it was a bug that kept hitting the mirror in the bathroom every time I would turn out the lights. Needless to say, the poor little guy met an untimely end and I finally was able to fall asleep.
- They will choose their clothes based on the sound that they make, or don’t make. Yes, clothes can be quite noisy. Think of taffeta, corduroy, leather: they all make sounds that could be uncomfortable for the auditory brain.
- Their furniture choices are often made based on the way it sounds rather than comfort or appearance.
- As with the visuals, they may choose pets that match their brain. They may not want the cute, perfect looking, little Pomeranian because the bark can hurt their brain. When my children were little, they had a turtle named Michael Angelo. His pen sat on the counter next to my desk. Often times, he would annoy me because I could hear him eating the lettuce that he had just been fed. Yes, even a turtle can be noisy.
- They may have the television or radio playing in the background, even if they are not actively engaged in watching. They just want to hear the sound of voices.
- You may find fountains to be a part of their household or yard décor. Possibly even wind chimes-if they don’t find their sound to be annoying.
Good Careers for the Auditory
In coaching people, or yourself, in making career choices, all of the Brain Personality Connection facets should be considered. Below is a list of good choices for auditories, but remember, you must factor in the whole brain.
- Counselors, because they are good listeners
- Field of music
- Radio or TV talk host
- Public Speaking
- Speech therapists
- Voice-over work
Now that you have a good idea of what is present in the personality of the auditory sensory/communication modality, let’s look at some application to improve your communication with, and coaching for, this personality type.
Auditories and Relationships
What they hear is much more important than what they feel or see. So, let’s look at the same scenario of a husband and wife, but this time apply it as if the wife is an auditory. Remember, she has been hard at work all day. Upon coming home, she works to straighten up the house and prepare the evening meal. Now, the husband, who is not an auditory, arrives home. He may be a visual, so he is careful not to make too much of a mess as he comes into the house. He may walk into the kitchen, give his wife a big hug and gentle kiss on the cheek. At this point, he proceeds into the living room and sits down to relax. How will the wife feel? What will be her response?
Well, remember her brain is going to register what was said first, and with the most impact. The husband did not make a huge mess (visual); he hugged her (kinesthetic); but he neglected to say anything to her. Her brain could be thinking, “He doesn’t care for me,” after all, he said nothing. At this point, she could become moody or upset, and the husband has not a clue why or what he did wrong. Again, he could now be completely confused, get frustrated, and a heated discussion could ensue; perhaps no communication at all.
Again, while this seems to be an exaggerated event, in reality things not so different from this have happened. At the heart of it all: miscommunication between the two brains. Imagine what a powerful effect this would have on all marriages if just this one BPC facet was taught as a prerequisite to marriage?
Understand that the application in a work environment is equally important. If you have an auditory individual that you are interacting with, or a client you are coaching, be sure to use words to communicate well with them.
Addressing the Auditory Needs of Clients or in Presentations
As with the visuals, you will want to pay attention to your speech. The words that you use can have an impact on how their brains pay attention. Look back over the phases mentioned earlier and see if you can’t include more auditory terms in you language when communicating with the auditory. If you are doing a first consultation, listen carefully to the terms they use and mirror those.
When presenting to the auditory, you will not have too much difficulty if you provide them with well written proposals; just be really sure to listen to what they are saying. To be adequately heard is important. It is also to your benefit to make sure that the environment is comfortable for the auditory. In your meeting place, beware of using chairs that may have distracting squeaks or sounds. If you are meeting in a public setting, make sure that it is one that has a minimal amount of auditory distractions: a busy coffee house or restaurant may not be ideal.
Again, I need to emphasize that, if you are doing a presentation for a group of people, you need to be sure to address the needs of all three sensory modalities.
This concludes the section on the auditory sensory preference/communication style. We will next discuss the kinesthetic portion of the population.
 Brain Personality Connection