How to Express Yourself Clearly and Effectively

Make the first purpose of your daily discipline to be to develop your powers of concentration.


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If you are going to meet a friend and are late for the appointment, you  will expect your friend to be annoyed because you have wasted his order time.  But has it ever occurred to you how much annoyance you can  cause others if you waste their time because you fail to express yourself clearly?

Talking obscurely is the result of thinking obscurely. The cure lies in learning to think effectively first of all. Once your ideas are crystal clear to others.

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To learn to think clearly, like all other forms of learning, requires times. At least, a little time should be devoted to it daily. Select a period, possibly at the beginning or end of the day,  when you are sure of spending ten, fifteen or thirty minutes in a room alone and completely undisturbed. This step itself will enable you to discipline your  thoughts. You will be able to control them instead of their controlling you. As you learn to steer your thoughts where you want them to go  for a short period during the day, so gradually  you will be able to extend this practice throughout the whole day. Thus you will grow to be clear minded , and will be more likely to express your thoughts clearly to  others at any time when circumstances so require.

Make the first purpose of your daily discipline to be to develop your powers of concentration. This does not mean a fixed line of thought. It means bringing all aspects of one subject together to a common centre.

It would be good exercise to take one subject – say gratitude – and consider it from all aspects, and then finally draw a conclusion. At the early stages you may find it useful to jot down on a piece of paper first the subject of it. For example, you could start by heading your sheet with “Gratitude”. Then write down sub – headings like gratitude in the home, at the office, for your friends, for your health, for your hobbies etc. and insert details under each of these sub – headings. You will be surprised how clear – minded you will be on the subject after this.

Having trained yourself to think clearly, the next step is to consider how to express your thoughts clearly to others. The golden rule is to keep your sentences short and your vocabulary simple. To give yourself daily exercise in this, take a paragraph from your reading, and see how you can make its meaning clearer by shortening the sentences and using simpler words.

A very important factor in expressing yourself clearly is to be definite and exact. Instead of talking about “sometime”, try to give a definite date. Instead of saying “a few “ of “a number”, try to give a specific figure. Instead of saying “someone” or “something” give a particular example of the kind of person or thing you have in mind.

When talking to others. Confine yourself to worthwhile topics and your colleagues will be interested and will feel that good use is being made of the time spent with you.

Express your own independent thought, and rarely resort to passing on what somebody else has said. To copy others not only robs yourself of your real value, but it makes your conversation stale and weak to other people’s ears.

The three important principles to be applied are: First, concentrate only on that which is important. Secondly, take out all that is non – essential or repetitive. And thirdly, express the passage or message in your own words.

Just as a shopkeeper strives to win the confidence of the public by the attractiveness of his window dressing, so you can win the confidence of your fellowmen by the attractiveness of your self – expression.

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