Tactile Kinesthetic: Few but mighty
After a break and dealing with some more immediate communication topics, I want to finish up the four styles of learning that we began a couple of months ago. Auditory and visual learners make up the majority of audiences. But tactile kinesthetic, though a small minority are important members of your audience to engage. Engaging them, can deepen the engagement with the entire audience. Here is why.
This group is the smallest percentage of your audience, 5% or less, and the most challenging for many environments. They differ from primarily tactile learners. In addition to touch, they need to move! However, if you are pursuing excellence in your communication and want to maximize the reception of your message to as many listeners as possible, it is important to consider these people.
With careful attention to your message and its main focus, you need to find a way for your audience to do something. Design ways for them to manipulate an object, move their hands or feet or head, or their entire body when it is possible, so that they are actually doing something physically related to your message. How often you plan these tactile kinetic applications depends on the demographics of your audience and the length of your presentation. If you do not provide some constructive physical components these listeners will be fidgeting, doodling, adjusting their clothing, changing body position, and generally distracted (and distracting others near them) because of their need to move. Worse case scenario, they will get up and leave.
When speaking to a small group in a small space there are a lot of possibilities. In a less formal and more intimate setting you can engage your audience in all kinds of tactile and kinesthetic ways. With any size audience a simple handout with fill in the blanks or space to take notes will suffice for some folks. If they are going to doodle, you might as well give them the materials to do it and to doodle in a form that reinforces your message. A speaker or presenter can have the audience writing down a name of a person, a favorite location, an obstacle they face, or some other one or two-word notation related to the message. With younger audiences, I have engaged them in drawing simple pictures to help them pay attention to the message. With a little more creative time and planning you can have them fold or manipulate a piece of paper so that they end up fashioning an object that symbolizes the message.
There are risks
Almost everyone over the age of 12 knows how to make a paper airplane. Perhaps your message is on soaring in life rather than just crawling. One fold at a time, every five minutes, in a 30 minute presentation and every member of the audience who cooperates will have a paper airplane by the end of your talk and as a closing illustration can send it soaring. Of course, this idea also runs the risk of leaving a messy venue and you will need permission to do this ahead of time! It also runs the risk of some quick studies who will figure out what you are planning, will fashion their airplane quickly, and send it flying before you are ready. With creativity there is always risk.
You have to think and plan ahead
I was asked to speak to a group of people about the value of every human being as unique creations. After carefully crafting the message I spent a couple of weeks collecting rocks. I was on the lookout for unique rocks of all shapes and sizes. This idea was aided by my access to beach walking where the waves bring in a lot of stones. As people entered the room where I would be speaking they were handed a stone. It gave them something to fiddle with while they were listening but it also was a visible example of the main point of the message. Every stone was different. Smooth, rough, light, dark, black, multi-colored, the stones represented the uniqueness of every human being. And, in addition to the one they were holding, the people in the audience could see several stones around them. Taking it home with them, if they kept it, the stone could remind them of the message for a very long time to come.
Making distractions work for you
But the larger the audience and the larger the venue more creative thinking and planning will be required and actual physical objects are more difficult. Unless you have them manipulate something they already have. In this day and age, phones are always a possibility. Instead of people surfing the web and reading email, as a speaker you can direct the use of their devices to assist in your communication. The possibilities are endless. Have them take a selfie. Have them google a definition. Or just call attention to the distraction these devices can be and use it as an illustration about distractions in life that keep us from experiencing the moment! Having your audience repeat words or phrases helps them pay attention and if you have them turn and say it to the person behind or in front of them, your tactile kinesthetic folks get engaged in moving at the same time. Its a win-win!
Whatever you do, you can’t afford to leave these folks behind. Though a small percentage of the audience are tactile kinesthetic, almost everyone enjoys a creative active moment in the midst of being seated and listening for any length of time. Attending the tactile kinesthetic members of your audience can make your talk or presentation more interesting for everyone. Try it. You’ll like it, too!
Ordinary to extraordinary
Your audience is more than ears. They deserve your best and they deserve a chance to receive the message in their primary way of learning. Ordinary communication is transformed to extraordinary when the communicator takes the time to imagine and plan ways to engage the visual and tactile kinesthetic learners as well as the auditory learners.
Get a few ideas here https://www.studyingstyle.com/tactile-kinesthetic-learners/