When to Choose Visual Over Verbal Communication - Michael Grinder & Associates

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When to Choose Visual Over Verbal Communication

How can you increase the long-term memory of your students or audience? Know when to use visual over verbal communication.

If you’re a teacher who is tired of having to repeat yourself, this video is for you.  In his work on five continents, Michael Grinder has consistently found that the two concepts most essential for educators are:

  1. The pause.
  2. Go visual with information.

In fact, Pause and Go Visual is the foundation of Michael’s best-selling book, ENVoY: Your Personal Guide to Classroom Management. The setting of this video is a classroom, but the skills are equally useful in corporate settings.

When to Choose Visual Over Verbal Communication Transcript

Mr. Paul is a high school English teacher with three students at the back table: Sam is a slow worker who needs a quiet atmosphere to study; Rachel, who mimics the atmosphere of the class, and Xander, a capable student who is easily distracted and would rather socialize than dig into Shakespeare.

Midway through class, Xander decides to get some attention by texting a friend and tapping out drumbeats on his desk. Mr. Paul must redirect Xander swiftly and quietly, or risk disturbing Sam and exciting Rachel. 

As the students file out at the end of the period, Mr. Paul smiles to himself. He remembers how frustrated he used to get with Xander–just a few months ago. Many times he would loudly say, “Xander, focus! Xander, be still!” — Only to watch the entire class deteriorate into noise and chaos. His loud “teacher voice” would sidetrack the class as much as Xander’s fidgeting. He learned from his mistake! Now, he has a simple, visual method to improve the classroom atmosphere without alienating a promising student.

He quickly writes two alternatives on a note and silently places it on Xander’s desk, then returns to helping Rachel without looking back at Xander. The note simply says: “Study! Or sit in the front seat. It’s your choice.” Xander respects his teacher’s reputation for following through, so he stops the texting and drumbeats and returns to Macbeth.

The other day, somebody asked Mr. Paul, “Well, what if a kid crumples up the note and throws it down?” “Yeah, that does happen. But if your kids know you will follow through with the 2nd option if they choose not to work, the note with two choices will work.” 

Mr. Paul now has the confidence to deal with misbehavior VISUALLY; he stays quiet, consistent, and unemotional. Xander can’t disrupt things like he used to, and the whole class can study peacefully.

Mr. Paul likes dealing with management by using a note without eye contact. The relationship between teacher and student stays positive.

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