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MSBCoach Blog

Michelle Braden, President MSBCoach

I remember early in my leadership career, I hated meetings. I had to attend so many of them that I could hardly get my job done. I remember thinking, “what a wasteful use of everyone’s time and the company’s money”.

One of the many reasons the meetings were so dreadful was because they (more often than not) lasted way to long and whoever was leading them only spoke one language… “theirs”. When you are a leader, it is valuable to know your own language (this is self-awareness), but you also need to know how to speak the language of others. Each brain (person) is unique in the way they think,  and behave, even how people gain or lose energy is different. At MSBCoach we primarily use a tool called Emergenetics  Human Behavior Assessment to help leaders learn this important information. Emergenetics is a brain/science based tool to help individuals better understand how their brain works, what gives them energy and what drains their energy. It also helps them understand the brains (thinking, behaviors and energy patterns) of others. This is important if you want to be an effective leader and lead meaningful (not wasteful or boring) meetings that engage every brain.

We do not all think or behave alike. This is not rocket science to you I am sure, yet it is amazing how many leaders lead their people and run their meetings all the same way. Running effective meetings is brain science and Emergenetics can help leaders to be successful. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t understand  the science behind effective meetings and and they do what they know as the “best way”… which is the way “they” prefer to think and behave. This may be effective with people who are just like them, but, the opposite happens with people who have different preferences from them. Take for example, Erica is the boss, and is structural/left brained. Her meetings always start and end on time, they are by the book, expected and predictable. People always know what to expect. But what happens when Steven who is social/right brained wants some time to connect with people and he never gets it? or Tom who is analytical/left brained and wants to discuss the research and data but tends to get shut down because his topic is not on the agenda? Anthony who is conceptual/right brained and wants to share his ideas and possibilities for the future, and he is told to, “focus”. What happens is brain science, these team members disengage and Erica with the best of intentions has lost them, and is not leading effective meetings with her team.

Emergenetics divides the brain into four thinking preferences and three behavioral preferences:

Thinking Preferences:

Green – structural – prefer consistency, procedures, tradition, practical, predictable, learns by doing
Blue – Analytical – prefer credible data, logical, clear thinker, rational, learns by analysis
Yellow – Conceptual – prefer ideas, brainstorming, imaginative, visionary, learns by doing
Red – Social – prefer people, connecting, working together, socially aware, empathetic, learns from people

Behavioral Preferences:

Expressive – may prefer to get energy from being quiet, alone or in small groups or the other end of the spectrum prefer getting energy from being a gregarious and a performer
Assertive – may prefer to get their energy from being quiet, maintaining peaceful energy or the other end of the spectrum and prefer to get their energy from driving hard and fast to get things done
Flexible – may prefer to get their energy through sticking to decisions once they are made or may prefer to get their energy to being open to what others want

The thing to remember as a leader is that there is not a right or wrong, it is just different. Each one of the behavioral and thinking preferences brings strength to the team.

Here are four tips to help leaders bring brain science into their meetings and make them more effective:

  1. Be self-aware of your own thinking and behavioral preferences when leading meetings – you will have a bias to lead out of them because they are familiar and comfortable to you
  2. Recognize there are several other combinations of thinking and behavioral preferences and their preferences need to be met in order to keep good energy, ideas, information, structure and connection in the meeting room and to the team
  3. Leveraging and valuing all seven of the preferences will greatly benefit you and the team
  4. Be sure your meetings tap into all seven aspects of the brain:
  • Have an agenda and send it out in advance
  • Be sure to include time for the following:
    • People to connect
    • Sharing of ideas
    • Giving credible research and being practical
    • Pace the meetings so they are not too fast, nor to slow
    • Be sure to have energy with expression but not over the top
    • Be open to new possibilities and ideas even if a decision has been made
  • End on time
  • Set meeting ground rules
  • Only schedule meetings when necessary and not just because it is time for a meeting
  • If you want someone to present then know their preferences, they may need advance opportunity to prepare. Be careful ever putting people on the spot, even if it is information they know.

If you put these tips into practice, I guarantee you more effective meetings. Do you have any effective meeting tips you have discovered that work? If so, please share them with us, we would like to learn from you.

If you would like to learn more about Emergenetics for yourself personally or for your team, please contact us at or give us a call at 804-502-4319.

Michelle Braden

 20101006 Michelle BradenMichelle Braden is the CEO of MSBCoach, an ICF certified business. Michelle is an ICF and TED Certified Coach and received her Advanced Human Behavior Certification and Wellness Coaching certification from the Leadership Institute of America.  She advanced certified associate of Emergenetics, Int. and advanced trainer for DiSC. Michelle has worked with notables from Morgan Keegan, Capital One, the University of Virginia, General Dynamics, LexisNexis, and the City of Charlottesville, and has served in leadership, coaching and training positions for corporations such as Robert Half International and Retirement Unlimited Incorporated. She has written two leadership training manuals for The Church of God International and is a freelance writer for Thought Leaders Blog, Lead Change Blog, Leadership Courseware Blog, The Business Networker, and Forward/Adelante magazine.  Michelle has also been a key note speaker for notables such as: Virginia Government Officers Association, National Organization of Rheumatology Managers, Virginia Recreation and Park Society and SHRM.
Michelle is the founder of the Emerging Executive Leadership Program and the Authentic Leadership Summit and serves on the leadership board of the Building Goodness Foundation.




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4 Responses to Meeting All Brains

  • Mike Henry Sr. says:

    Michelle, great tips. One other that I learned from the book Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli was that you need to decide what type of meeting you’re conducting. If it’s to inform, that’s one style. If it’s to brainstorm, that’s another style. And if it’s to share responsibility and try to distribute decision-making, those are to be avoided. Deciding what type of meeting it is will simplify the effort.


  • Jonena Relth says:

    Good info. We’ve used DISC and MBTI for years and would be interested to know the differences between the three tools. Will look into it.

    Thanks for your input, too. I’m going to add: “Meeting Type” to our our agenda form. Can you guess that I’m an Green/Blue in Emergenetics?

    • MSBBlog says:

      Hi Jonena,

      We also use DISC and MSBTI; however, Emergenetics has become our tool of choice. Feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about the tool and the differences –

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