Persuasion, Truth-Seeking & The Six Thinking Hats

When I was in primary school, I loved debates. I was thrilled when I could rip my opponents’ arguments to pieces. It allowed me to feel very smart.

When I was in insurance sales, I was trained in the art and science of persuasion, specifically in persuading prospects to buy insurance from me. I attended lots of training. I read lots of books on it. But I was never very good at it, because I was often agonising over what is the BEST PLAN OUT THERE for my prospects, instead of focusing at persuading them to sign a plan with me. Quite a self-destructive habit for an advisor.

After leaving the insurance industry for a decade, I recently stumbled upon an excellent teaching by Edward De Bono. It’s called “The Six Thinking Hats”. It teaches a system of thinking and discussion with a focus on finding the truth, instead of everybody pushing for their own agendas.

It is very refreshing to me, and very enlightening too. I wish I knew this tool back when I was an advisor. It has the potential to transform my interviews with prospects to be something even more enriching.The Six Thinking Hats are:

WHITE HAT (FACTS): Laying out known facts on the subject

RED HAT (EMOTIONS): Laying out emotions and gut feelings on the subject

BLACK HAT (CAUTION): Laying out potential pitfalls and weaknesses on the subjects

YELLOW HAT (POSITIVITY): Laying out constructive ways to make thing work pertaining to the subject

GREEN HAT (CREATIVITY): Laying out creative ideas and new approaches on the subject

BLUE HAT (FACILITATES): Directs the use of various hats, channel the focus of discussion, moderate the participants in following the rules of using the hats

The beauty of this system of thinking, I am persuaded (haha) is that the truth needs no persuasion. Stakeholders involved in a discussion using THE SIX THINKING HATS should see the obvious, natural conclusion to a subject without each party trying to persuade others to accept their views.

I am no expert in this excellent system of thinking. Feel free to read Edward De Bono’s excellent books on thinking. I can almost guarantee that it will enhance your thinking

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