Have you ever noticed your reaction when you work under stress or face problems with a project?
If you respond calmly by closely examining the project and getting all the details, you already possess some analytical thinking skills.
On the other hand, if you get stressed and confused, and unable to think clearly, you might want to practice analytical thinking.
But, what is analytical thinking? And why do employers highly value it?
Let’s learn more about this.
Who is an analytical thinker?
When you go for an interview, the employer searches for candidates who investigate complex issues and solve them promptly.
The skills required to investigate and solve these complex problems are analytical thinking skills.
You are using your analytical thinking skills while brainstorming ideas, observing, interpreting, finding patterns, making decisions based on multiple factors, etc.
Solutions can be either found by a methodical approach or a creative approach.
Either way, finding a solution within the proper time requires strong analytical thinking skills.
Top Qualities of Analytical Thinkers
An analytical thinker will research and gather all the data to identify the core of the problem. It is one of the critical parts of analytical thinking.
Part of the research also involves knowing what information is important and what to discard for solving the problem.
Research can be as simple as asking coworkers about the problem, or as complex as doing extensive online research. It all depends on the situation.
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is an important part of every job from entry-level associates, entrepreneurs to CEOs.
Critical thinking allows you to question an idea or assumption presented before you.
Suppose, if you have been told that a particular work is impossible to do, you will go deeper to search for the root of the issue as a critical thinker.
You will ask questions like:
- Why can’t it be done?
- Will having time, manpower and money allow me to solve this issue?
- Is investing resources in this issue worth it?
Critical thinkers take the time to understand the problem and find out if it is worth solving.
Okay, you have done your research and found a good solution. Now what? You need to communicate this solution with your team and stakeholders clearly and concisely so that everyone understands it.
Analytical thinkers are often clear communicators. The ability to communicate your analysis with others is just as important as researching the problem and understanding what course of action to take.
4. Data and information analysis
Data and information analysis is one of the significant parts of the analytical thinking process.
Once the problem is identified, it is essential to use the data collected in research to find a way to solve the problem.
For solving the problem, it is important to have the right data. And to get the right data, you need to know the right questions to ask.
Most people believe analytical thinkers cannot be creative thinkers. However, the combination of both analytical thinking and creative thinking is what makes the best employees.
Adaptability is the need of the hour. People are both creative and analytical, and understand the importance of adaptability.
Since these people bring both skills to the table, they are much more flexible than people who are analytical but not creative and vice versa.
Creativity helps find new ideas and ways of doing things. Coming up with an effective solution needs innovation. And employees with high creativity are often good at making groundbreaking improvements to solve problems.
How to develop analytical thinking skills?
If you don’t resonate with any of the qualities of analytical thinkers, then don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here are the top ways to develop analytical thinking skills.
1. Start noticing things
If you think you already notice everything in your surroundings every day, you might be surprised to find how many things you miss regularly.
Analytical thinkers are great observers. They are exceptionally good at paying attention to small details.
Without paying attention to details, you will not know the ins and outs of the problem. Hence won’t be able to come up with a better solution.
You can start practicing today by analyzing company reports. You can compare the current reports with the past ones.
Try finding out what improvements were made in those years. Is there any room for improvement further? If yes, then where?
Another thing you can practice is, when you meet someone, remember their name. Pay attention to what they are wearing, their expressions, and any features that set them apart from others.
2. Practice Your Problem-Solving Skills
For every problem, there is a solution. Your job as an analytical thinker is to find the most efficient way that will save your money and time.
To practice problem-solving, you can do the following activity.
Take a problem and then try to prepare two or three best solutions for the said problem.
Compare these solutions and find out the most logical and best from all.
3. Read every day
To improve your analytical thinking skill, you need to keep your brain active and running. Analytical thinkers are always alert to their surroundings.
Reading books proactively will keep your mind running, force your brain to think in new ways, and encourage you to view ideas differently.
Moreover, reading books and newspapers will increase your knowledge base. The more you learn about new things, the better tools and information you will have to understand and solve problems.
While reading, question what you read. Highlight the important things, speak out loud. In simple words, be an active reader.
4. Play Brain Games
Brain games are one of the easiest ways to improve your analytical thinking skills. What’s even better is they are fun to play.
Brain games such as chess, scrabble, crossword, and puzzles force your mind to think deeply and analyze the situation.
For example, a chess master will think of two or three ways to move the pawn efficiently without getting attacked by the opponent.
In scrabble, you rack up your mind to come up with new spellings. This again forces the mind to think deeply.
And so much more. You can find more on brain games on our blog here.
5. Ask questions
When people ask questions, it is often for clarification and better understanding.
Children ask questions because they are curious about something.
Research is an integral part of analytical thinking. And for great research, you need to be able to ask the correct questions.
By thinking about why things are the way they are, you will be able to develop a better understanding of the world.
Expressing curiosity in knowing things allows you to see the solution from others’ points of view and compare it with your own opinion. Sometimes asking questions can lead to great findings.
Analytical thinking skills are frequently sought by small and large organizations alike.
Analytical thinkers can weigh the situation, do in-depth research, and think critically to provide the most efficient results.
Use the above tips to develop or improve your analytical thinking skills.
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1. How can I improve my analytical skills?
You can improve your analytical skills by doing the following things.
- Reading more
- Paying attention to details
- Playing brain games
- Practicing problem-solving
2. What are top analytical skills?
Top analytical skills are as follows:
- Data and information analysis
- Critical Thinking
- Clear communication
3. Can analytical skills be taught?
Absolutely. Analytical skills can be learned, taught, and improved with practice.