Sensory acuity is the ability to have a keen awareness through your senses, specifically what you see and hear. According to various studies, only 7% of communication comes from the verbal words you say; the remaining 93% is based on the voice and body; making up non-verbal communication.
You cannot not communicate – everything you do, every way you move, every intonation has some meaning. Over the years, psychology has taught us to pay attention to micro movements and to be aware of others. NLP has taken this one step further and will help you to develop sensory acuity with others and with yourself.
When you are sensory acute, you are observing and being aware of subtle changes or affects of a person’s movements and voice. This may be a twitch of the leg, rubbing of hands, squinting of the eyes, a breath, muscle tension, a sigh, sweat, a stammer, change in volume, pitch or tempo, eye movements – or a range of other things.
While NLP teaches you to be aware of these things, unlike many non-verbal communication books or articles, NLP does not assign meaning to them. The meaning to everything is very personal and individual; sometimes the meaning changes in the moment. Along with sensory acuity, NLP teaches you how to calibrate for meaning. That is, NLP helps you to understand what these changes mean. And, instead of guessing or mind-reading, NLP will help you to either observe over time to ascertain meaning or ask a question.
Most people are unaware that a change has just occurred, so when you ask someone “I just noticed you crossed your arms when talking about your boss, what do you think that means”, you are in essence asking them about an unconscious process and bringing it to their conscious awareness.
By being more sensory acute, not only will you start to pay more attention to the subtleties in a conversation, you will be more aware to respect someone’s model of the world, ask better questions and not mind read for meaning. In turn, this simple tool can elevate you into an exquisite communicator.