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HOW DOES YOUR SOCIAL BRAIN AT WORK HELP YOU SUCCEED IN YOUR BRM ROLE?

On our last day at the BRM Connect, we had the privilege to interview Daniëlle Hellebrand, a keynote speaker of the event, about her research. We were excited to learn more and to share the details with our readers. Daniëlle Hellebrand actually worked in the Human Resources field for 20 years before quitting her job to enter into the world of psychology, neurobiology and cognitive neurosciences. Now, she’s an executive coach, a columnist and a keynote speaker. This is what she shared with us.



Daniëlle’s curiosity for the science of human behaviour and relationships at work brought her to do research. She found out that we are more connected, and we influence each other more than we ever though, and we have to be aware about the way we interact with other people and within a group. Our workplace, where we spend most of our day time, is in fact the biggest social environment our brain can experience. If we don’t deliberately build good relationships with each other, we develop a toxic work culture, and this comes at a great cost of losing productivity. On the contrary, if we motivate each other, work with a purpose and if we’re good to one another, the revenues grow with 10-20-30% (Research from Adam Grant). It’s important to understand that negative emotions come from different “areas” of the brain once crucial to survival. However, the more we let these feelings of negativity and fear flourish, the harder it is to get a good human to human connection. As for BRMs, relationships lie at the core of the role and every interaction counts. Therefore, the language, thoughts and ideas expressed in daily work life must be positive in order to generate positive outcomes for the organisation.


Establishing a positive work culture and atmosphere, and being able to “read” facial expressions and body language, is key to BRMs. It’s all in the art of listening. Our brain is constantly providing us with feedback from our social interactions. As Daniëlle says, we have nearly 70 000 thoughts a day, of which 60 000 are the same as yesterday and the day before. The moment we don’t interact, we stop learning from each other and we stay stocked with our own ideas. Interrupting when someone is speaking means spreading data which already known. So, if we want knowledge from others, we must listen. The problem is that we all like to talk, it makes us feel like we’re in control. In fact, we can speak up to 225 words per minute, but we can listen up to 500. So, the difference of 275 words are possibilities to take in the competence from someone else. Therefore, BRMs wanting to grow their capability must surround themselves with people they trust and get the ideas from every acquaintance. Then, they can transfer the knowledge throughout the organization to optimize value co-creation.


In conclusion, Daniëlle’s research and studies make it hard to refute; we are wired to connect. Our brains don’t operate in isolation from one another and every interaction continues to build on each other. As Business Relationship Professionals we must trust in order to enable resources, knowledge and workloads sharing. Simple tricks, like looking at the positive side of things can make life at work easier and less complicated.

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