Thinking Before Speaking

Thinking Before Speaking

‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’

Mark Twain

Does the statement above not seem contradictory? How could it be that a shorter letter, would take more time to write than a long one?

The answer lies not in how many words are scribbled on a page, but how well these points are articulated. The challenge in writing is best represented by how concisely one can articulate their point. It shows a firm understanding of their topic, as well as technical writing prowess. It is harder to refine a sentence than it is to produce one.

Good writing is difficult. One must first extract or create an idea. Then, like an artist choosing the right paint, one must then choose the right words to compose a sentence. This process is repeated until the entire idea has been communicated contentedly.

Why is this important in the context of health? Because those who can write are better equipped to speak articulately. And those who can speak out their ideas articulately demonstrate a stronger understanding of the topic they present.

How many times have you tried to gauge the knowledge gaps of your clients, only for them to answer you with a plethora of disjointed ideas? How many times have you struggled to understand your client due to a lack of cohesiveness and articulation in their speaking?

One of the most effective ways we can assess our client’s knowledge on a topic is simply to ask them for a succinct explanation of key concepts. Those who fail to organise their ideas likely do not have a strong grasp of the topic.

This is not true just for the clients, but ourselves. When explaining something, if you find yourself stumbling on your words, this could be an indicator that you are not very well-versed in this topic.

The ability to write and speak are intertwined. Those who can write well, are better able to speak. By forcing ourselves to write, we are practicing the ability to prioritise and organise ideas into a logical sequence. This exercise will intrinsically magnify any gaps in our knowledge forcing us to seek out the missing pieces.