Writing, brain research and being a better salesperson

How does the act of writing affect your brain? This is an interesting question that Rebecca Accadia, Barrett’s resident organisational psychologist, posed to us when she presented some research and facts she found on brain science thanks to Benjamin Starr, managing editor of Visual News.

As highlighted in a previous post, Take Note, we emphasised the importance of taking notes in client meetings and why it is so important to our success as salespeople. Now we have some brain science facts to back it up. Here’s what Rebecca found and why we, as sales professionals, should take note.

First, some brain facts

“The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is associated with speaking and writing. This area of the brain is also responsible for movement, reasoning, judgment, planning and problem solving.

The parietal lobe is also important in writing. This part of the brain interprets words and language. Research has shown that patients with damage to this part of their brain often have trouble spelling and writing by hand.”

In sales it is very important that we can gather information and infer meaning from that information to then use it to guide us as to what to do next i.e. ask another question, explain a concept, introduce a new topic, paraphrase, solve a problem, generate an idea, etc.  You can now see which parts of your brain are involved in that process.

So how does writing things down help us remember? And, more importantly, help us be better salespeople?

The importance of writing

“When you write something down using a pen/pencil and paper, you are stimulating a collection of cells in the brain known as the reticular activating system – RAS.”

Many of you who have worked and trained with us will remember the RAS – a system that helps us filter and sort information. It also directs information to our conscious brain and helps us pay attention to what we are currently focusing on.

Benjamin Starr goes on to say that: “The physical act of writing brings information to the forefront and triggers your brain to pay close attention.”

Paying close attention to what is being said, and understanding and interpreting that information, is greatly enhanced by writing things down. Watch good salespeople and you will see them writing lots of notes.

Interestingly, in the digital age, I have taken to typing my notes on my tablet instead of handwriting them on a piece of paper. It has taken some time to transition and I did have to train my brain to listen again as I got used to typing.

However, taking notes digitally has allowed me to gather information quicker and then be able to turn a proposal around more effectively and faster than before. If you can I would recommend trying out taking notes via your tablet or PC. It will seem clunky at first but like anything, your brain will get used to it. Either way the lesson is – takes notes.

One final interesting note is that: “Writing can have similar effects on the mind as meditation. Your breathing slows down and you get into the ‘zone’ where words flow freely from your head. This can make stream-of-consciousness writing a very effective method for de-stressing.”

A fact I can attest to, now having written some 400+ sales articles plus trend reports and eBooks. I have found it very therapeutic to write as it de-clutters my brain for one thing and I find it a lovely way to express myself. I hope you too are benefiting from my writing output.  

Remember everybody lives by selling something.


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