Which Hat Should You Wear to a Meeting?




At a recent workshop in Shannon, organised by Shannon Chamber  and delivered by Noel Caffrey of the 2C Company, members were introduced to the concept of ‘Six Thinking Hats’, developed by Maltese physician Edward de Bono, an author, inventor and consultant.

Each of the thinking hats has a colour: white, red, black, yellow, green and blue and each colour is related to its function.

White Hat – white is neutral and objective, and is concerned with objective facts and figures.

Red Hat – red suggests anger, rage and emotions. This hat gives the emotional view.

Black Hat – black is sombre and serious. The black hat is cautious and careful and points out the weaknesses in an idea.

Yellow Hat – yellow is sunny and positive. This hat is optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking.

Green Hat – Green is grass, vegetation and abundant, fertile growth. The green hat indicates creativity and new ideas.

Blue Hat – blue is cool and is also the colour of the sky, which is above everything else. This hat is concerned with control, the organisation of the thinking process and the use of the other hats.

Each hat has a particular function at a meeting and these skills can be used singly to request a type of thinking or in a sequence to explore a subject or to solve a problem.

Commenting on the workshop, Shannon Chamber’s chief executive said: “It gave attendees great insights into how to separate out thinking so that they can do one thing at a time. They learnt how to enable attendees at a meeting to switch thinking from one mode to another; to separate ego from performance; to signal what thinking process they are going to use next; to expand from one-dimensional to full-colour thinking; and to explore subjects in parallel and also allow specific time for creativity.

“Each of us has a hat that we feel most comfortable using and there are hats that dominate the thinking of an organisation and team; we can however use this to our benefit.  As managers and leaders, we need to continuously question whether meetings are necessary or if we do have a meeting with will happen?   We need to establish if the right people are at the meeting, particularly if it’s not beneficial for them to be there. Managing this process saves time and money and creates efficiencies that will become transparent over time.”


Sharon O’Connor, CPA, Chief Executive Officer, The PacNet Services Group of Companies added: “ I thought the workshop was an insightful and engaging morning leaving participants with plenty of food for thought when attending and facilitating meetings in a work environment. It helped broaden my perspective and realise you need to have a variety of “hats” on to be effective in any given meeting and eliminate the tunnel vision perspective that we too often fall foul of. I would certainly recommend the seminar to others particularly in a managerial role.”