3 Brilliant Keys to Building Trust

by Jerry Lamigo

Let me ask you a question…

Would you trust someone you felt didn’t care for you? What if they didn’t see your point-of-view? How about if your opinions went unheard?

The fact is, when you have created a connection and built rapport with someone, they are more likely to trust you. When trust is established, the doorways of communication are open and you are one step closer to influencing them. Understanding a person’s primary modality, or “preferred representational system” (PRS), is a way to respectfully and elegantly enter someone’s world. It makes them feel you are just like them. Don’t we all like people that are like us that we can relate to?

What is Primary Modality?

As humans, we understand and interpret our world using our 5 senses: visual, auditory, kinesthetic (touch), taste, and smell. When building rapport with someone, it’s valuable to understand the primary senses that person uses to process their world. This not only helps you create a connection faster, but also gain their trust. When someone trusts you, they’re more likely to listen to you. In this article, we’ll focus more on visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues of primary modalities.

There are 3 keys to better understand a person’s primary modality:

Notice eye movements and match modality
Listen and use their predicates
Understand people are not just one modality
By using these tools, we can positively influence others and become even better leaders.

Notice eye movements and match modality


Here are the cues you may notice as you face the person:

  • Vc – Visual Constructed (Up Left)
  • Vr – Visual Recalled (Up Right)
  • Ac – Auditory Constructed (Side Left)
  • Ar – Auditory Recalled (Side Right)
  • K – Kinesthetic (Down Left)
  • Ai – Auditory Internal Dialogue (Down Right)

These are examples of the most common eye cues of a typical right-handed person.

*Keep in mind, there are few instances in which this may be reversed.

Pay attention to a person’s eye movements when they speak to you, they can be clues to how they are interpreting a situation. Visual is upwards, Auditory is sideways, Kinesthetic is down right, and Auditory Internal Dialogue is down left. For example, if someone says, “I can imagine what I heard…” it’s likely they look briefly to their left side as they speak because this indicates an Auditory experience they Recalled. If asked to describe a vision for the future, they may look up and to their right because they are Constructing a Vision. When asked about the time they felt the most loved, it’s likely they will look down and to their right because that’s where the Kinesthetic feelings are. An easy trick to remember this specific cue is remembering the saying, “I feel down-right happy”.
Use these cues as potential clues as to how someone is interpreting what they describe. Knowing this can help you better understand the person you’re interacting with and make a connection more rapidly. For example, if they describe what they saw in bright, vivid colors, it may be useful to describe your experience in visual terms as well.

Listen to and use their predicates

Which of the following would you rather have done?

You ask someone a question and they…

  • Show you the answer
  • Give you the answer
  • Tell you the answer

Essentially, these all have the same meaning, but the predicate is a descriptive word that gives you a clue to how a person interprets a particular event. Here are more examples of predicates for each of the modalities:

  • Visual – see, look, bright, clear, view, picture, point-of-view
  • Auditory – hear, tell, sound, silence, loud, quiet
  • Kinesthetic – grasp, feel, solid, get a hold of

Using their predicates will help the other person see, hear, and feel you as one of them. This will bring you closer together as you build your connection and eventually, trust.

Understand people are not just one modality

The biggest mistake people make is when they label someone as a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic person. Sure, someone might use visual predicates, but that doesn’t mean they’re always visual. It’s just where they are “hanging out” for that particular situation. What that means is that, that is the modality or PRS their brain used to process that particular event.
Two people can experience the same situation, but interpret it two very different ways. The best thing to do is to simply listen to how they describe it and use the same language as they use, but keep in mind, they may use other modalities to describe other events. It can vary by the situation, personal history, or simply which cue was more memorable and “stuck” with that person at the time.

Your challenge:

The next 7 days, challenge yourself to use these 3 keys to understand and appreciate the world of everyone you come into contact with.

  1. Notice eye movements and match modality
  2. Listen and use their predicates
  3. Understand people are not just one modality

See how many people you can notice using eye movements as they describe something, pay attention to their predicates as they describe, and understand they can use different types of cues. Then SHARE your experiences with others by posting on the comments section below.


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