Brain Talents

EQ in Action, Avril Kidd, Brain Talents
Written by: Avril Kidd
A 'brain talent' is like an App on your phone; it is a capability that your brain has. It is what your brain finds easier to do.

Your brain has the capacity for learning that is virtually limitless, which makes every human a potential genius.


A ‘brain talent’ is like an App on your phone; it is a capability that your brain has. It is what your brain finds easier to do. Through extensive research Six Seconds came up with 18 of these ‘apps’ or talents and aligned them with the 3 areas of the Brain Brief Profile of Focus, Decisions and Drive, creating 3 clusters.

The talents I would like to share with you in this article are arranged around the focus clusters. Our brains will have a preference for either an emotional or a rational focus.

Rational Focus

In the rational focus there are 3 capabilities that enable people to process rational data effectively and efficiently, namely …

Data Mining, Modeling and Prioritizing

With so much happening in the world today, it’s easy to miss subtle cues of what is important and this can be overwhelming as we can get caught up in the non-essential noise. This is where the talent of Data Mining is effective as it makes you more alert to the important details, and what really matters. It enables you to see clues and patterns about your own behavior and how people may react; and it lets you focus on what really matters. It’s like sorting out the pieces of a puzzle. When we don’t have good data, we can’t make good decisions.

To improve data mining, look for links and sequences of events and ask yourself: if I could put aside all my assumptions, what would I see?

When things are chaotic. We may not always see a clear way forward. The talent of Modeling allows us to create links between pieces of information. Being able to see logical paths creates simplicity and clarity so that we see possible paths and map out possibilities from available data.

To improve this capability, consider how one factor links to the other. Identify other possible scenarios or ways that this can play out and then choose the best possible option.

Managing complexity is time consuming, so we need to decide what is important. Prioritizing is being able to process information to determine which is the most important. It is being able to distinguish between urgency and importance.

You need to consider which options are most important to achieve your goal, then consider the value of your time and what will make the most difference. If we don’t prioritize we may find our time management more challenging. 

In Elon Musk’s words …

Focus on signal over noise. Don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t actually make things better.

The emotional intelligence skill of Recognising Patterns, will help you to develop your rational talents. Let’s also look at how we can process emotional data more effectively and efficiently.

The 3 capabilities in this cluster are …

Connection, Emotional Insight, and Collaboration

Isolation reduces connection and affects wellbeing and productivity. The talent of Connection enables us to build rapport as we open ourselves to tune into the ‘Human Wifi’. We need to accept that emotions provide us with data and are essential to our teamwork. Increasing connection enables us to have positive relationships. This can better enable us to influence others, build trust, and have difficult conversations.

To develop this capability, we need to practice active listening. Listen to more than just the words. Be cognizant of what is behind or beneath the words. Understand what others really want by moving out of ego and being fully present. Listen to both what is being said and the unspoken. Pause to reflect and ask yourself: what do we have in common and how can I build on that?

This understanding of others, both emotionally, cognitively, and without judgment, is Emotional Insight. It is the ability to notice words, body language, and tone. It is understanding whether the task is more important than the relationship. Look for cues and genuinely ask with curiosity, “Do you feel … ?” or “ do you mean … ?”

Collaboration and teamwork are essential for success. We need to be able to balance the multiple needs of ourselves and others as well as finding commonality. These actions will build Trust. Ask yourself: what do people involved in this situation need? How best can you support people to achieve the best possible outcome for themselves and the team?

Remember the famous quote, “No man is an island … ” Every person is a piece of the whole. To build effective relationships you need to balance multiple needs and create the right emotions for people to be in synch.

The emotional Intelligence skill that will help you to develop in this area is Increasing Empathy.

How are you developing your brain?

Due to the neuroplasticity of our brain, we can develop the areas or talents we choose to focus on. Are you giving your brain enough emotional data or suppressing it in favor of only rational data or vice versa?

We are at our most powerful when we can balance both emotional and rational data. This is when we achieve true insight!

How are you using your brain talents?
Could you benefit by strengthening these focus talents?

There are 2 psychometrics that show your individual brain talents, namely the Brain Talent Profile which shows your top 6 talents as well as your brain profile, and the Brain Discovery Profile which focuses on your top 3 and lowest 3 brain talents. The Team Dashboard shows overall EQ, the mix of Brain styles within the team, as well as the 18 brain talents in descending order.

If you are interested in finding out more for yourself or your team, please contact me. If you want to learn to administer these profiles, then consider applying for upcoming certifications.