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Why Multilinguals Are More Creative And Have Sharper Minds

Why Multilinguals Are More Creative And Have Sharper Minds

Good news multilinguals, if you haven’t had the chance to step into the creative world or try your hand in business, maybe it’s time that you consider doing so just because you have the sheer advantage to excel in it. Being conversant in multiple languages not only makes you sound cool like Jason Bourne, it also makes you more creative and have a sharper mind. Here’s why:

1.Enhanced Memory

There are definitely times when we suffer mental blocks and can’t remember an English word we want to use and for most of us, it’s probably the only main language we speak. But for a multilingual, that struggle is multiplied especially when they need to use the right word, grammar rules and structure when shifting in culture and context. So it is no surprise that multilinguals are blessed with better working memory than monolinguals.

2.Better Creative Process

According to a team of experts in Europe, they had concluded that being multilingual helps your brain develop more neuronal connections. By learning a new language, your brain is being worked like a muscle, stimulating and developing more neuronal webs which can lead to a higher capacity for generating more creative processes.

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Medical Daily reported on a research done to observe 120 9-year-old students. Half were monolinguals and the other were bilinguals. The children were then tested on problem solving and creative thinking. The results? The children who could speak more than one language scored better at the tests. In terms of creative thinking, the bilingual children demonstrated a difference in the level of detail and richness in description.

3.Better Problem-Solving Skills

Research conducted at the American University of Sharjah had shown that multilinguals approach the same problems with different perspectives compared to monolinguals. This is due to the practice of being exposed to different cultures when learning a new language, therefore they are more open-minded when faced with a situation.

Studies have shown that multilinguals are better at filtering out unwanted information because they use more of the executive function of the brain. By doing so, they are efficient in focusing on the problem and yet bring about new perspectives to tackle the problem at different angles.

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4.Masters at Multi-tasking

To be able to handle twice or thrice as many words efficiently, the brain has no other choice but to use more focus and resources to be able to switch between languages quickly. Research has shown that because of this, multilinguals are able to switch between multiple tasks and shift their attention quicker than monolinguals.

Not only that, but because the brain of a multilingual has to look out for mistakes and errors during the task of switching languages, this would also be applied efficiently to reduce errors when switching between tasks.

5.Sharp Decision Making Skills

A study in Chicago University had revealed that multilinguals are more likely to make the right decisions as compared to monolinguals. Being able to speak multiple languages allow multilinguals to see the bigger picture and to understand more complex situations better.

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The study also showed that when we speak a different language with a less familiar language, we tend to be less biased when making a decision. What this means is that we become more rational when we speak in a second or third language which in turn, helps us to make a better decision.

Multilingualism makes you smarter

Concrete evidence have shown us that being a multilingual can bring about many benefits and as proven in the workforce, it can also be an advantage when searching for a job. Job applications require us to fill in the types of languages we speak as being multilingual is seen to be an asset by employers.

Being a multilingual truly has its perks, so why not get started on a new language right away?

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Featured photo credit: Tom Hiddleston via flic.kr

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Lim Kairen

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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