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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.
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
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
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