©Arlene R. Taylor PhD

Your sensory preference impacts not only the career path toward which you gravitated but also your situational comfort level while trying to complete key tasks. Following are examples of career paths that might be selected by individuals based on a strong sensory preference.

Visual Preference 

Airline pilots
Fire fighters
Sharp shooters, marksmen
Entertainers (TV, movies, videos)
Artisans, designers, models
Sign-language translators
Tasks that require marked visual acuity (e.g., traffic controllers)

Auditory Preference 

Speech therapists
Talk show hosts
Public speakers
Radio broadcasting
Telephone communicators
Foreign Language translators

Kinesthetic Preference

Computer programmers
Artists (especially forms that use the hands as in sculpture, painting, pottery, carving)
Physical or occupational therapists
Sign-language translators

Real Estate Sales

George (not his real name) is a very successful real estate agent. When others are moaning and groaning, he regularly manages to connect buyers with sellers because he understands the sensory systems. Initially he asks prospective buyers to describe exactly what they want in a home and then observes their body language, listens to the words they use, and tries to sense their motivation. Then he matches his sales pitch to their sensory preference. If the customers appear to be visual, he may tell them that there are windows everywhere so they can see outdoors or ask them to notice the craftsmanship from the carving on the doors to the trim over the portico. To tap into the auditory system, George may mention that there is plenty of insulation to block out undesirable sounds, or call their attention to the rustling of leaves on the full-grown trees surrounding the property. He may suggest that the gentle babbling of the brook nearby can provide restful sounds from nature for them to enjoy.

If George is addressing the kinesthetic system, he’ll draw the clients’ attention to the fine finishing detail and plush carpets. He may talk about the house being soundly constructed and suggest they touch the wood on the railing to feel how smooth it is. He may remind them that the way in which the kitchen window is positioned allows the warmth of the sun to permeate the room. He may talk about the potential for sitting on the wide patio in order to soak up the perfume from the wild flowers that are growing in the lot next door, or how they will enjoy the raspberries that are growing on bushes near the fence. If he’s uncertain about his clients’ sensory preference, George just makes sure to address all three!

Some of his colleagues poke fun at the scientific way in which he approaches sales and accuse him of using manipulation. George says that he just understands human nature. He never tries to sell people a home they do not want. He just tries to present options to them in a language that they can understand and can relate to quickly. And people love to buy from George. They recognize that he speaks their language even if they can’t explain how he does it. His colleagues certainly notice his successes!

Health Counseling

Victoria (not her real name) uses a similar approach when working with people who need to change their lifestyle in order to regain their health. When encouraging smokers to quit she tells auditories how nice it will be not to hear wheezing and gasping for air whenever they climb stairs or exercise, reminds visuals how great it will be to avoid nicotine stains and burn-holes, and encourages kinesthetics reminding them they will enjoy enhanced tasting ability to say nothing of sweeter breath.

When discussing dietary changes, Victoria explains to visuals how a healthier diet and an exercise program can help them to look better, how they can regain a glow to their skin, tighten up flabby muscles, and see a spring return to their step. She reminds auditories how pleasant it will be to hear other people tell them how much healthier they appear. She helps kinesthetics realize how much better they will feel on the new program (e.g., their clothes will soon fit better, they may sleep more soundly, will likely experience a resurgence of energy) and that within three weeks their taste buds can readjust to enjoy low-fat/salt/sugar foods.

Victoria has discovered that her clients are generally much more willing to accept change and to invest the time and energy that it takes to foster personal growth when she communicates in their sensory preference. When making presentations she keeps in mind the estimated incidence of sensory preference in the general population and does her best to include stimuli that engage all three sensory systems (e.g., stories, word pictures, tangible objects, multimedia, handouts, overheads, PowerPoint®). No wonder she is sought after as a speaker!