Last year Cadbury changed the shape of it’s dairy milk bars and received a whole host of complaints that they had changed the recipe for the worst. The truth was, they hadn’t changed the recipe at all! It was just the customers perception of taste had been altered by the change in shape.
Assuming you don’t have any organic brain problem that stops you from utilising one of your senses, we perceive the world through ALL FIVE senses at once and by changing the input of one sensory channel effects how we represent the world as a whole.
- Certain colours create certain associations with taste, emotion, etc (we often use colours to describe moods).
- Sounds can create powerful emotional responses.
- Words, both spoke (auditory) and written (visual) create an emotional response (kinaesthetic).
- We make picture of what people look like from hearing them talk.
- Smells and tastes can conjure up whole memories or experiences. As Marcel Proust demonstrated in his Magnus Opus “In Seach Of Lost Time“!
This natural propensity for us to create our internal representation out of all five senses means we tend to fill in gaps. This phenomena is known as Synesthesia. Usually the term Synesthesia is use to describe people who have extreme multi-sensory experiences (they perceive shapes or colours when listening to music for example) but in NLP we consider Synesthesia as a broader naturally occurring phenomena that we all experience to a certain extent. We naturally “cross over” senses when creating an internal representation.
How is this Important?
It is essential to recognise that we perceive the world in this holistic manner and draw from all five senses when creating our internal representation (NLP is often misquoted as saying that we have a preferred sense that we understand the world through. That is in fact a misunderstanding – NLP actually states we tend to have a preferred sense in which we COMMUNICATE our experiences of the world – the sensory predicates we choose to use). By changing one seemingly inconsequential sensory channel (changing the colour of packing of food for example) we can radically alter someones experience as a whole..
If you are in a field were influence is important, you need to consider how what the person sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels in that experience.