Identify Learning Styles
A quick quiz can help you find your strongest learning style
If you’re working extremely closely with someone (like a direct team member or manager), consider identifying their learning style as well. The way people absorb information is closely tied to the way they work; plus, you can use this to avoid misinterpretation and miscommunication.
According to Howard Gardner, a Professor of Education at Harvard University, there are seven (or more) basic types of intelligence. His Multiple Intelligences Theory states, “the mind is better described as consisting of eight or nine relatively separate faculties.”
While every person has every type of intelligence, they’re usually stronger in one or two and weaker in the others. Unsurprisingly, it’s easiest for them to learn in a way that reflects their primary intelligence.
Here are the seven types of learning styles:
It’s usually easiest to identify your coworker’s primary intelligence by asking them. Shoot them an email with a link to this test and pay attention to the words he or she uses.
For instance, if you say, “Could I please get your feedback on my lead gen ideas?”: Of course, a single answer can’t tell you what their primary intelligence is—but if you keep track over time, you should notice a trend.
It’s also helpful to observe how they naturally communicate.
•Do they default to drawing on a whiteboard or sending you screenshots and screencasts? They’re probably a visual thinker.
•Do they use their hands and physical objects to explain their ideas? They’re probably a kinesthetic thinker.
•Do they send you detailed emails, write reports, and give presentations? They’re probably a linguistic thinker.
•Do they spontaneously come up with jingles or raps during conversations? They’re probably a musical thinker.
•Are they reflective, calm, and the go-to person in a crisis? They’re probably an intrapersonal thinker.
•Are they charismatic, universally well-liked, and a natural leader? They’re probably an interpersonal thinker.
•Are they one of the first to spot a pattern or discrepancy in the data? They’re probably a logical-mathematical thinker.
Once you’ve figured out which category your colleague fits into, tailor your communication method appropriately. Let’s say your boss is a linguistic thinker. Instead of sending her your monthly report in a Powerpoint deck, like you usually do, consider sending a straightforward text document.