I used to wonder why I hated to see spreadsheets presented in meetings and why some people preferred tables of numbers to graphs. It became obvious the reason why when I studied the VAK learning styles.
Someone with a VISUAL learning style has a preference for seen or observed things, including pictures, diagrams, demonstrations, displays, handouts, films, flip-charts, etc. These people will use phrases such as “show me”, “let’s have a look at that” and will be best able to perform a new task after reading the instructions or watching someone else do it first. These are the people who will work from lists and written directions and instructions.
Someone with an AUDITORY learning style has a preference for the transfer or information through listening: to the spoken word, of self or others, of sounds and noises. These people will use phrases such as “tell me”, “let’s talk it over” and will be more able to perform a new task after listening to instructions from an expert. These are the people who are happy being given spoken instructions over the telephone and can remember all the words to songs that they hear.
Someone with a KINESTHETIC learning style has a preference for physical experience – touching, feeling, holding, doing, practical hands-on experiences. These people will use phrases such as “let me try”, “how do you feel” and will be best able to perform a new task by going ahead and trying it out, learning as they go. These are the people who like to experiment, hands-on and never look at the instructions first!
Personally, I am a mixture of Visual and Kinesthetic. I glaze over if someone starts barking instructions out. I am much happier looking at pictures and diagrams than details.
It’s very useful to have an understanding of your own learning style as well as the styles of those with whom you interface regularly. Try to adapt to suit the other person.