When You Meet for the First Time

By mixing three learning style preferences together, you will all get more from your next discussion.

By Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA

When you’re meeting with someone—for example, a new customer or a potential vendor—you will get more from that meeting if you understand learning preferences. During a discussion, I once heard a client say, “I have a clear picture of what you’re talking about.” I did not understand—we were on the phone, and I hadn’t sent anything to look at ahead of time.

I knew that people have different learning preferences but didn’t really think too much about it. But by mixing the following three learning style preferences together, you will all get more from the next discussion:

Visual: People who “can picture it” or “see what you’re saying” like to have something to look at. Print a document or make a slide to gain their attention.

Auditory: People who “hear it once and understand.” Share a concise story that outlines the topic of the meeting so they can listen and gain a clearer understanding.

Kinesthetic: People who have to “get it” or “feel it” to understand. Ask them to underline key words in a handout, write certain notes or phrases down, or get up and walk to the other side of the room as they think about something.

The next time you meet with someone, plan to share information in all three ways. And pay special attention to what they tell you. During the conversation, listen carefully as they might tell you how they believe they learn best.

For more information, visit www.womackcompany.com or www.twitter.com/jasonwomack or e-mail mailto:Jason@WomackCompany.com.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.