better relationships using sensory words and phrases

By Laura Zohman, MA

This technique from Bandler and Grinder’s NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) is a process which affects the nervous system through words and language. It is used by lawyers, salesmen, marketing specialists, advertisers, hypnotists and lovers as well. The book, “How to Make a Man Fall in Love with You” by Tracie Cabot refers to the use of sensory words and phrases to create better relationships.

Here are 4 ways to create better relationships and to get into sync with someone. They are:

1. Breathing together
2. Matching body positions
3. Matching voice and words
4. Using sensory-based words and phrases

Our 5-6 senses are: Visual, Kinesthetic (feeling), Auditory (hearing), Smell, Taste or Just Knowing. You can have enhanced sensitivity of many senses or one will stand out.   Most people in the USA are visual. Thus advertisements have to look good.

The auditory person is a talker and says - “I hear you."  But what he wants to do is hear himself.  Many times, he will speak with his arms and hands waving in front of his chest. Usually, he doesn’t shut up. He is one example of a blabber mouth salesman. 

The person who is gustatory (taste) or olfactory (smell) will speak in cooking and food terms. She might say, “That is very vanilla. I am boiling over. I am cooked - done.”  This person usually has the abilities and sensibilities to be a chef. 

I am a person who is predominately visual and kinesthetic. I can feel colors. My oldest son is visual - everything has to be perfectly coordinated and neat - clothes, furniture, decoration etc. My youngest son is kinesthetic.  He feels everything.  He doesn’t care what the couch looks like as long as it is cushy and comfortable.

Words and Phrases Reveal Our Primary Senses 

Sensory Based Words

VISUAL - Look, picture, focus, imagination, insight, scene, blank, visualize, perspective, shine, reflect, clarify, examine, eye, focus, foresee, illusion, illustrate, notice, outlook, reveal, preview, see, show, survey, vision, watch, reveal, hazy, dark. 

AUDITORY - Say, accent, rhythm, loud, tone, resonate, sound, monotonous, deaf, ring, ask, accent, audible, clear, discuss,  proclaim, remark, listen, ring, shout, speechless, vocal, tell, silence, dissonant, harmonious. shrill, quiet.

KINESTHETIC - Touch, handle, contact, push, rub, solid, warm, cold, rough, tackle, push, pressure, sensitive, stress, tangible, tension,  touch, concrete, gentle, grasp, hold, scrape, solid, suffer, heavy, smooth. 

NEUTRAL - Decide, think, remember, know, meditate, recognize, attend, consider, understand, evaluate, process, decide, learn, motivate, change.

OLFACTORY - Scented, stale, fishy, nosy, fragrant, smoky, fresh, smelly. 

GUSTATORY - Sour, flavor, bitter, taste, salty, juicy, sweet.

Sensory Based Phrases

I see what you mean. I am looking closely at the idea.
We see eye to eye. I have a hazy notion. 
He has a blind spot. Show me what you mean. 
You'll look back on this and laugh. This sheds some light on the matter. 
It colors his view of life. It appears to me. 
Beyond a shadow of doubt. Taking a dim view. 
The future looks bright. The solution flashed before his eyes. 
In my mind's eye. Sight for sore eyes. 

On the same wavelength. Living in harmony. 
A lot of mumbo jumbo. Turn a deaf ear. 
Rings a bell. Calling the tune. 
Music to my ears. Word for word. 
Unheard-of. Clearly expressed. 
Give an audience. Hold your tongue. 
In a manner of speaking. Loud and clear. 

I will get in touch with you. I can grasp that idea.
Hold on a second. I feel it in my bones. 
A warm-hearted man. A cool customer. 
Thick skinned. Scratch the surface. 
I can't put my finger on it. Going to pieces, 
Control yourself. Firm foundation. 
Heated argument. Not following the discussion.

Smell a rat. A fishy situation.
A bitter pill. Gresh as a daisy.
A taste for the good life. I can almost taste it.
A sweet person. An acid comment.

Finding which words and phrases someone uses and mirroring back the same sensory words and phrases will create easier relationships between people.