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How Do You Roll?

We have all heard the analogy about left-brain and right-brain thinkers: right-brainers are usually more creative and left-brainers, more analytical. Communicating with those that are not on your wavelength can sometimes be difficult.

At the recent SMPS Northeast Regional Conference, the session Communicating with Your Whole Brain took this analogy further. The speaker, Jennifer Hebblethwaite from Graceworks Inc., brought to light four distinct “thinking preferences” or ways people “like to roll” when communicating. The session was informative and provided ways to identify communication preferences and effectively communicate with people who process information differently than you do.

To kick-off the session, each attendee was given a sheet that listed the four color-coded preferences: Rational (blue), Safekeeping (green), Experimental (yellow), and Feeling (red). Ten words were listed below each preference to identify characteristics of someone with that thinking preference.  Examples of Rational thinkers included Authoritative and Analytical, Safekeeping: Organized and Sequential, Experimental: Risk-taking and Innovative, Feeling: Empathetic and Expressive. We were asked to circle three words on the sheet that were most indicative of our own thinking preferences and draw a box around one word that identified a style we did not like. I could tell from this exercise (and kind of already knew) that I identify or roll the most toward the Feeling quadrant.

Following some discussion around the words we chose, we were given colored squares to represent the four quadrants and asked to pair off. Using the topic of planning a birthday party, we each had to hold a square and communicate as the person within that quadrant might act. For example, someone who leans more toward the red/feeling cluster may care more about the birthday girl’s feelings. They may focus more on who to invite to the party because they want the birthday girl to feel special. Same subject, but someone who is in the blue/rational cluster, may be more concerned about how many people are being invited as they care more about what the party costs. Trying to see the other person’s point of view and working toward a successful outcome was a very helpful exercise. It opened my mind to why communicating with certain people can be more frustrating than others and provided insight into my own communication strengths and weaknesses. This session, and the others I attended at the conference, all provided useful information I could take back to my firm or use for my own self-improvement. Karyn would like to thank SMPS Boston for providing the scholarship so she could attend Northeast Regional Conference.

SMPS Boston is proud to offer its members scholarships for professional development opportunities. Karyn Tirabassi was one of the recipients of this year’s SMPS NERC Scholarship, which covers the full cost of registration. Learn more about all the scholarships SMPS Boston offers.

Karyn Tirabassi, CPSM, is the Senior Manager of Marketing and Business Development at Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc. She serves on the Board of Directors for SMPS Boston and is the Director of the CPSM Committee.


Karyn Tirabassi is the Director of the SMPS Boston CPSM Committee and a Market Development Representative at eClinical Solutions.

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