Club Workspace, Clerkenwell Workshops

EVENT: Better Thinking - How an understanding of the brain can help you communicate in the workplace

LOCATION: Club Workspace, Clerkenwell Workshops

DATE: March 21, 2012


Reporting by Ben Goldsmith.

On Wednesday 21st March, PCG brought another freelancer event to Club Workspace. The event was held at Clerkenwell Workshops in association with Miradorus.

The audience were welcomed to the fully-booked seminar at Club Workspace and the evening began as Jenny Powell and Sue Farmer from Miradorus introduced both themselves, and the theme of ‘whole brain thinking.’

Ned Hermann’s Brain Model

Farmer began by discussing the model used by Ned Hermann to explain the brain. There are two halves of the brain, left and right. The left half is analytical, the right is creative. These halves can be halved once more. The two quadrants on the analytical left side are the ‘analytical’ and ‘organisational’ quadrants. The two creative quadrants on the right are primed for ‘strategising’ and ‘personalising’.

The ‘analytical’ quarter is logical; it can think critically and is rooted in realism. It is money-minded and knows how things and systems work. The ‘organisational’ quarter takes preventative action and establishes procedures.

The ‘strategising’ quarter takes risks and is impetuous. It always has an idea and doesn’t care about failure. Meanwhile, the ‘personalising’ quarter is chatty, expressive, and overly caring.

After discussing this model it was explained that as a rule, finance and legal professionals are left brained; whereas, marketeers and advertisers are right brained.

It was also underlined that people are not simply defined by one quadrant, but can operate across all four; however, it is possible that a person has one more dominant quadrant.

In essence, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to how your temperament is constructed from the four quadrants.

Left and right brained communication

Guests were invited to take part in a number of games from which it was discovered that left and right brained people some times struggle to understand each other’s point-of-view.

For instance, when the analytical left-siders explained that they looked for fuel-consumption, engine size and resale value when buying a new car, they were met by cries of derision from the right siders who wanted to drive and feel the car.

It was explained that people who are dominant in one particular quadrant speak and listen in the language of their quadrant.

In the workplace

A good understanding of the brain as well as how a bias to a particular quadrant or side can define a group of people can be useful tool to have in the workplace, particularly in terms of communication.

You need to ask yourself: To whom are you communicating? Why are you communicating? What are you communicating about? How do you communicate it?

The first question will, perhaps, give you some insight into ‘what kind of brain’ they have. For instance, if you’re presenting to a room full of accountants, veering wildly to the left may be a good idea.

If you’re communicating to left-brains, the best way to articulate your points is with goals, facts and details. Perhaps include lists, organised plans and step-by-steps guides.

If you’re presenting to a room full of marketeers and advertising professionals, perhaps a right-leaning presentation style is the way forward.

To ignite a right-brained audience you have to care about them and treat them like individuals, rather than merely battering them with facts. Perhaps talk more informally, adopting a relaxed style. Also, speak in terms of ideas, and of big visions. The big concept is more interesting to right-brainers than the small-figures.