Ink Your Insights: A Stage Actor’s Secret to Mastery in Business and Life

How do you increase your emotional intelligence (EQ) with the frantic pace of business life, and its relentless flow of data, information, conversations, and meetings? There’s one straightforward, yet profoundly impactful strategy I’ve embraced, both during my tenure on the stage and in my business career: I call it “Ink Your Insights.”

The Power of the Pen: Lessons from the Stage

In my five plus decades as a stage actor, I discovered a potent method that not only facilitated swift and accurate memorization of lines but also deepened my connection with the characters I portrayed. This method is straightforward: handwriting my lines. The practice of writing out my lines long hand has helped me memorize as well as internalize the emotions and motivations of my characters, as it causes me to slow my processing, reflect and imagine as I write and rewrite the lines. Something so simple was actually profound in its outcome. Providing a foundation for a more authentic and spontaneous performance.

Handwriting my lines has become a ritual through which I explore the intricacies of my role. This technique didn’t just make me a better actor; it influenced how I approached communication and understanding across all facets of life. That is where I discovered there was a tie to my business career.

Ink Your Insights in Business

The virtues of handwriting extend well beyond the theatrical world. In business, where clarity and accuracy are crucial, Ink Your Insights can revolutionize how we digest and retain information. Handwriting compels us to slow down and deeply engage with our thoughts, improving our understanding and memory of the material, as well as allowing us to reflect more deeply on the topic.

Clarity and Creativity

When we choose to write by hand, we activate different areas of the brain than we do when typing on a keyboard, reading, or just hearing what is being said. Research, such as that conducted by neuroscientist Audrey van der Meer and published in the journal *Frontiers in Psychology* in April 2020, indicated that handwriting enhances brain connectivity more significantly than any other form of input (typing, reading, hearing). This increased connectivity is essential for forming memories and encoding new information and was a key element in fostering learning and creativity, her study found.

Furthermore, studies using functional MRI (fMRI) have shown that handwriting engages the brain’s motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, and the areas involved in language processing, such as the Broca’s area and the frontal lobe. In contrast, typing predominantly activates the frontal lobe and doesn’t engage the sensory motor areas as extensively (James & Engelhardt, 2012). This broader neural activation during handwriting contributes to better retention and comprehension of information.

Emotional Intelligence

How then does this connect to Emotional Intelligence?  Handwriting nurtures self-awareness by encouraging us to reflect on our thoughts and emotions. This reflection is vital for developing emotional intelligence. In the business environment, grasping your emotional landscape is key for empathetic leadership and effective communication. By routinely jotting down thoughts and reflections, leaders can better understand themselves and, consequently, those around them.

A study published in the “Journal of Educational Psychology” found that students who wrote their notes by hand had better understanding and memory retention compared to those who typed their notes (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014). This suggests that handwriting not only helps with cognitive processing but also with emotional processing, which is crucial for emotional intelligence.

Practical Application: Handwriting to Harness EQ

Here’s how you can apply “Ink Your Insights,” in your professional life:

  1. Daily Reflections: Allocate a few minutes each day to write down critical insights from meetings and conversations. Consider not just what was said, but how it affected you and why.
  1. Preparation for Interactions: Before an important meeting or presentation, manually write out your key points. Predict potential questions and prepare your answers in writing. This not only solidifies your material but also sharpens your responsiveness.
  1. Summarize to Understand: After absorbing new information, summarize it in writing as if explaining it to a child. This practice confirms your understanding and ability to communicate the concept simply and clearly.


Just as handwriting has enabled me to more authentically embody characters on stage, it can empower professionals to engage more thoroughly with their roles in the business world. Whether you’re leading a team, managing a project, or navigating complex negotiations, “Ink Your Insights,” is a powerful tool for enhancing understanding, creativity, and emotional intelligence. So next time you consider typing out notes during a meeting, perhaps reach for a pen instead. Handwriting is not merely a nod to tradition—it’s a time-tested avenue to deeper understanding and more effective communication.

If you are looking to enhance your professional and personal communications skills, consider evaluating our Braintrust NeuroCommunications programs, we would love to share how we help individuals and companies communicate with more purpose, power, and impact.

Related Posts