Thinking Styles and Clear Communication

We all know about the left-brain/right-brain split, but current science shows that’s not such a neat division of upstairs labor. Yes, our brains have two sides. We also have front and back, in addition to diverse, tangled interconnections. As in many other realms, it’s a case of both/and, not either/or.

Learning how all the elements work together keeps scientists, artists, and human resource managers busy.

It’s our analogies that can’t keep up. Human brains are not computers, clocks, or anything resembling the mechanical or digital artifacts we find (and create) in the world. While we have lots of words to describe what we see, feel, and experience, putting those words into meaningful strings remains one of our biggest challenges.

Good Questions…
What’s the actual message your audience gets when you think you’re communicating with them? What do you know about how the brain works and how people think? How can such knowledge help you distill your message and communicate clearly?

Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist, in a fascinating take by RSA Animate, describes current brain science in such an accessible way, you’ll appreciate how our capacity for empathy helps us relate to each other — and communicate better.

The Divided Brain: Iain McGilchrist

Personality Assessments, Thinking Styles, and Communication
A related approach to this brain stuff and how it affects our relationships — all of which depend on multiple forms of communication — can be found in an assortment of personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC, and Caliper, among others, including the four-quadrant “Whole Brain” model developed in the 1970s by Ned Herrmann for IBM.

Known as the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)®, this assessment offers an interesting way to consider how our various personal preferences affect what we see, hear, think, perceive, and do as a result of the stimuli we encounter.

The HBDI distills these human preferences into four large categories: analysis, innovation, organization, and comfort/feeling. While humans use all four all the time, each of us typically exhibits at least one or two strong preferences — and these preferences affect the ways in which we extend and receive communication.

Ever wonder why the same message seems to hit the mark with a few folks while totally missing the boat with others? When you explore the HBDI’s four-quadrant whole brain model, you’ll discover how an awareness of thinking/communication styles can help you craft more effective messages.

Besides, when we engage all of ourselves — our whole brains — we function better than if we try to compartmentalize left, right, front, back, work, home, private, public, and on and on. Why wouldn’t you want to reach as much of your audience’s brain as possible?

Follow Interesting Tangents
Our perceptions color the way we communicate. As we keep learning about the magical mystery tour inside our heads, the better chance we have to connect with the humans who are important to us, whether that’s for business reasons or just because life’s a lot more fun that way.

What tangents do you follow to help you communicate better?

©2012 Jill J. Jensen / Clarity from Chaos

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