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The human brain is programmed to pull disparate bits of information together and to do everything it can to make sense of chaos to create a "whole" that it finds comprehensible. This is the essence of Gestaltism, the need for the brain to fill in blanks in search of solutions. This is a very important concept for communicators, for educators and for marketers to understand and to use in their lives and careers. The video slideshow offers ten organizational patterns that the brain loves because they make it easy to understand anything. These patterns let you more easily communicate with, and persuade, anyone. Information is drawn from the eBook Think Well & Proser, by Steve Bareham, Selkirk College. The book is available at all online eBook retailers.

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organizational patterns


How ours brains make sense of the world

supercharge your life think critically
Supercharge your life:Think Critically

From the eBook

Think Well & Prosper

by Steve Bareham

Available at all major online eBook sellers

our brains crave order
Our brainscrave order…

To make sense of our world, the brain takes every possible shortcut to make incoming stimuli conform to known patterns, forms, and knowledge.

Mr. Lightman photo

our brains crave order4


Our brainscrave order…

If you wish to communicate well, persuade people powerfully, market effectively, simply plan to….


use 10 organizational patterns
Use 10 organizational patterns
  • Spatial/visual
  • Chronological
  • Topical
  • Problem/solution
  • Analogical
  • Contrast/compare
  • 5 W’s & the H
  • Problem/solution
  • Residues
  • Sequence

Let people visualize your points; use photos or graphics

gestalt psychology
Gestalt psychology

Suggests that the mind/brain function in a holistic manner with self organizing tendencies.

The principle maintains that our eyes see objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts.

the sequence pattern
The SEQUENCE Pattern

Present events in logical order, e.g. steps to launch a new PR strategy, or the sequence for a construction project, for e.g.

Construction of the high rise will take place in five stages:

  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Detail
the sequence pattern11
The SEQUENCE pattern

Also used in resumes when applying for jobs

Most business situations have a preferred sequence that you can articulate in writing and speaking

chronological chronos means time
Chronological(chronos means “time”)

A chronology adds another dimension to a series of events or steps in a sequence.

“We’ll examine how the marketing plan has evolved over the past five years:”


Cover letters and resumes are also chronological when listing work history

Any time you use time in a sequence, you use a chronological pattern

topical or categorical
Topical or categorical

Applies meaningful labels for logical topics and subtopics. For e.g.

In today’s talk, we will cover four topics relevant to sales success:

  • personal power
  • organizational power
  • verbal power, and
  • sales power.
Problem &

Identify a problem to focus people, explain the symptoms and consequences, and follow with proposed solutions. Brains love solutions:

“Revenue at our resort is down 30% this year. I’ve identified three key causes and I believe I have solutions to turn the situation around.”

contrast and compare
Contrast and Compare

Get people to evaluate alternatives by calling attention to differences and similarities:

“In this report, we examine what other organizations have experienced when using internal staff expertise versus contracting outside consultants for projects. We’ll analyze how each approach stacks up?”

the 5 w s and the h
The 5 W’s and the H

Standard journalistic questions referred to by author Rudyard Kipling as his “best friends”: who, what, why, where, when, & how

“A White Rock man sustained deep bites, and his Labrador dog is also being treated for numerous bites, after a rabid pit-bull attacked them at Coles Bay Park Saturday.”

method of residues
Method of Residues

State a problem and propose several solutions. Then, explain why each of the proposed solutions is not satisfactory EXCEPT the one you want. Finally, give reasons for adopting the solution that remains.

“The problem is terrorists. We could leave them alone, try to negotiate with nations that harbor them, or we could go after them. Let’s examine each option…”


Help people understand your message by using language that evokes strong images:

“Hailstones leapt from the pavement like maggots frying in hot grease.”



  • She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  • Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
Content for this show isfrom the eBookThink Well & Prosper:A Critical Thinking GuideAvailable at all online retailers