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Expressing thoughts, how can I improve myself?

FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
edited January 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I've never been someone that talks a lot, and often when I speak or write I have a hard time transforming my thoughts into words in a coherent and structured manner.

But I'm not quite ready to call myself downright stupid. For example, in school I've always been one to understand and apply new teachings quite fast (at least, compared to the average student). But trying to explain the same thing to somebody else will be difficult for me.

It's something that sometimes bothers me and I wish I could improve myself. I just don't know how to do it.

(Hey this post is probably a good example of me not expressing myself in a very coherent way! :lol:)

Fireflash on
PSN / XBL: PatParadize

Posts

  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Practice. It can be difficult for intuitive thinkers to place their thoughts into a linear format. Try talking to yourself in front of a mirror while you get ready in the morning, or perhaps try writing down your thoughts for a paragraph or two every day. Just a little extra verbalization or writing can make a dramatic improvement, its a skill like any other, and the more you do it, the better you'll get.

    Edcrab wrote: »
    "See," said Lucifer, "God's an asshole."
  • seasleepyseasleepy Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Practice is the main thing.

    For writing, you could start keeping a journal or a blog. If you have some particular aspect of your writing you want to work on (expressing emotion, explaining how to do things, etc), you can probably find prompts or exercises online to help with that. Don't just write -- also review your writing regularly to help identify problems.
    For speaking, you can practice it yourself, but you also might look into Toastmasters, cause this is pretty much their thing exactly.

    It was amusing to have Massachusetts as part of our country, but now, of course, like so much of the coastal nation, it no longer qualifies as America.
  • starmanbrandstarmanbrand Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    If you are old enough, take a critical thinking course at a community college. If not, pick up the book "Beyond Feeling" by Vincent Ryan Ruggiero. Get a used copy from amazon or something. I am using it in my current critical thinking class and it is an incredible book about thinking. Also, learn about public speaking. Once you feel confident in your thoughts, opinions, and how you present yourself and how you speak, it will come as second nature.

    And I will go ahead and second everything that Seasleepy said.

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  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Re: writing.

    Are you too verbose? Do you find yourself tripping over your own words to the level where the original point is no longer obvious? I tend to do this. The best thing I found was to make whatever point I was trying to say in as few words as possible. Simple. Uncluttered. It's very easy for me to use more words to say something in order to look more intelligent. Once I have the skeleton, then I go back and flesh out each sentence more.

  • Sword_of_LightSword_of_Light Registered User
    edited January 2008
    It can also be helpful to create a style that you're comfortable with. For instance, my writing styles often constist of a number of the following:

    I'll start an idea from left field and work my way to it - I like to come out of nowhere to illustrate my idea, because, well, thats how I think. Like talking about my Civil War ancestor and making my way to the point against Inteligent Design in schools (Confederate ancestor > Reb. flag on state buildings > public buildings must represent each individual who may need the service of that agency> public schools have to be blind to religion because they're public > a portion of ID rests in 'belief' and cannot be proven, thus its religion, not science)

    I sometimes use a discussion between imaginary characters as a method of getting my point across.

    'Two thoughts' - I've done that a couple of times here, because I seem to have at least two perspectives on any given issue. So I often put down the two most coherent. They dont always make sense, because, well, they make sense in Planet SoL, but you folks arent me, thus garble.

    I write the way I speak. If I'm talking about something I have some expertise in, I'll adopt the Scholar tone (chapparal is a multi-species landcover type that often has either fire-resistant or fire-adapted members within a given type), otherwise, I'll shorten words and use pauses, 'cause thats how I speak. In other words, you can hear me when I write. Yeah, I do go on, dont I?


    So, you need to ask yourself, well, how do I think? What do I feel comfortable with? How can I best convey what I think? How can I be me here?

    "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. "
  • SpecularitySpecularity Registered User
    edited January 2008
    I wholly support the suggestion of talking to yourself. I talk to myself all the time (I make myself laugh, too, which makes me look like a loony, but at least we're having a good time. Me and...me). I'll imagine, say, someone making a statement in class that I don't agree with. I'll ramble on, trying to refute everything, and using really absurd, unnecessary words to make my point. The best part about this is that you can take all the time you need to find a better word, to work on your syntax, and to really practice thinking on the fly while staying on topic. Simply practicing, as said before, can really do wonders.

    A strategy I use for studying, too, can also be used to increase your coherency. Try explaining a subject you already get to someone (imaginary someone, if you'd like). And nothing big: just, say, the proper usage of a semicolon, or why koalas aren't bears. Try explaining these things in as much detail as possible. Use as many unnecessarily explicative, precise, technical and/or fussy words as you can, and then break those words down. Try explaining them in multiple ways (i.e. "Oh, you don't get it? Well, what if I put it this way..."). If you get to the point where you can articulate something you know very well, it'll soon become much easier to articulate things about which you aren't so clear, or have a question about, or simply have a serious passion for.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You could read more stuff or listen to more speeches written by eloquent people, like Martin Luther King Jr. or whatever.

  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Writing never came naturally for me, but now I'm a very successful english major.

    It takes a lot of effort and as people have said, practice. I recommend putting more thought into how you construct your sentences, your arguments, and even the general skeleton of an argumentative essay. You can do this in your free time by blogging about a particular issue, joining a debate team, an online book club, etc.

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  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You could read more stuff or listen to more speeches written by eloquent people, like Martin Luther King Jr. or whatever.

    Read a lot. Then read some more. Read books by different authors in different genres. Read poetry of all different types from Shakespeare to Poe to Dickinson. If you have a passion for one particular genre/author/poet/whatever start there and then look for other authors/etc. that are similar and find how they are unique in their own way. Experience as much as you can. Take from it whatever you want.

    Last semester I was forced to read a book a week for 14 weeks (all fiction... except for parts of the Tolkien reader) and write a 1 page paper (250-320 words) every week with the express intent of "enhancing the reading of the 'intelligent senior' in the class" the "intelligent senior" being an imaginary student that reads the books and attends lectures alongside the class and retains EVERYTHING said in lecture and every plot related event and some simple deeper meanings present in the text.

    This accomplished many things, but mainly the 2 following:

    1) Critical thinking. We got torn up in grading if our idea was obvious/mentioned in lecture (anybody that read the book could get it the first time through or the prof explicitly gave a similar interp. in lecture) or not well supported with textual evidence. The hard grading came with some great teaching. Trying to follow the prof's logic as he argued that Hansel and Grethel should really just be called Grethel and his views on Hoffman's Ritter Gluck, The Golden Pot or the origins of the mystery novel (in his view Poe, The Purloined Letter was the first true mystery) was always a challenge which offered endless possibilities for a student to learn from.

    2) Brevity, focus, diction. To steal from Juster "Brevity is the soul of wit." Expressing our ideas in tight, concise and well worded theses and focusing the entirety of our limited space on expounding upon that thesis became second nature by week 10 or so. This is an invaluable tool when it comes to self expression. A powerful thesis and the ability to follow it through exactly as far as it needs to go and not one single word farther will serve any writer well in whatever endeavor they may undertake.

    Anywho, I've rambled on long enough. Expose yourself to as many different styles as you can and before you know it you'll be assimilating different techniques into your own writing and finding it easier and easier to express your ideas in your own way.

    Cheers,
    Waz

  • TaximesTaximes Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Just reading in your spare time might be a passive way for you to improve your own abilities. I read like a madman when I was younger, and I credit my writing ability to that.

    If you're having trouble searching for the right words to describe things, reading can help you improve your vocabulary. Plus you might pick up on others' writing styles (consciously or subconsciously) and find different ways of applying that to your own writing. Although I suppose that depends entirely on what author you're reading. D:

  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thanks a lot for all this advice. I will definately try reading more, both in french and english. I used to read a lot when I was a kid, but then started reading less and less while in highschool.

    PSN / XBL: PatParadize
  • SkyGheNeSkyGheNe Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Haha, a quote from Polonius. It's really good advice, but it always cracks me up because we more or less need to decontextualize it in order to make it useful.

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  • wazillawazilla Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    SkyGheNe wrote: »
    Haha, a quote from Polonius. It's really good advice, but it always cracks me up because we more or less need to decontextualize it in order to make it useful.

    Bah, Juster stole it from Shakespeare. Should have known. But I'm lazy.

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