In our fast-paced and information-driven working world, it is crucial that information is communicated promptly, effectively and comprehensively. Especially as a manager, it is important to reach all team members. We are responsible for a shared understanding of the situation, external influences and the goals and tasks set. It is important that every team member understands what is expected of them and why.
But how do you do it?
The key lies in addressing all the channels through which people absorb information. Renowned educators such as Neil Fleming and Frederic Vester have discovered that people have different preferences as to which senses they use to best grasp information and put it into a context that they can remember.
Visual people prefer to receive information in the form of pictures, diagrams and graphics. A shared visual representation can lead to a common understanding within the team. Managers should therefore take care to translate complex information into visual formats in order to reach this group effectively.
Auditory people benefit most from information that they can hear. Podcasts, lectures and discussions are ideal formats for them. Stories and narrative approaches can appeal to both visual and auditory learners and create a strong emotional connection to the information.
Cognitive-intellectual people access information by reading and writing and critically analyzing the content. They prefer text-based information and group discussions. They learn effectively by taking notes, writing reports or reading texts. Giving them the opportunity to elaborate information themselves can improve their engagement and understanding.
Kinesthetes prefer to absorb information through practical experiences, movements and processes. Activities such as role-playing, simulations, model building or interactive workshops enable them to internalize information through action.
Use clever combinations
Most people take in information via a combination of these four perception channels. This enables them to process information quickly, comprehensively and efficiently. The challenge and at the same time the opportunity for managers is therefore to address as many channels of perception as possible with their way of communicating.
The upcoming change can be described as a journey and displayed graphically at various stages. This ensures greater shared understanding, especially for complex projects. Critical stages of the journey can be analyzed, questions discussed and possible next steps simulated. (auditory, visual and kinesthetic)
Video conferences with interactive elements such as breakout sessions or surveys and supplemented by accompanying documentation address all 4 channels of perception. (auditory, visual, kinesthetic and verbal)
So when we as managers take care to embed information in a context that is relevant to our team, give an example from day-to-day business and explain how one situation or another would affect and make us feel, we are consciously addressing all channels. Our words, the team members' imagination and their association with the situations and associated emotions ensure that the information is absorbed holistically.
If knowledge is to be acquired and applied in a short space of time, a multimodal approach is required. By considering and consciously appealing to different senses, managers can ensure that their information is communicated effectively and reaches all team members. Using stories that are both visually and auditorily engaging can also create a strong emotional resonance, increasing the perceived relevance of the information. A diverse approach to presenting information can therefore improve inclusivity and accessibility, creating a shared understanding. A decisive success factor for efficient collaboration and agile change processes.