Saturday, December 8, 2012

Can You Train Yourself to Think Before You Speak?

Today I went to a holiday party that my mother's company threw. There was shrimp, tenderloin, dancing, karaoke, champagne, and good cheer all around. My mother introduced me to a very nice gentleman who spoke very eloquently. I, however, felt I was a tongue tied bumbling idiot for a good portion of the entire evening. Often having to reword or rephrase what I was saying to make it intelligible 

On the way home my mom and I noted that he must have thought about what he was going to say before he said it. He took a moment to answer your question, but when he did it was always a well formed answer.

I couldn't help but think as I sat in the car on the dark ride back to our house that the way I talk is precisely like the way I write. When I write, I throw a garbled sentence on the page and I go back and edit it until it sounds right. A conversation with me is like watching this process in action and is slightly awkward. I'll correct something I've said in a confusing manner, but I always feel that I come off as unintelligent.

I may get my bad speaking habits from my family. We use words and expressions like thingy, stuff, that one time, and thing-a-ma-jiggy. We also have a habit of responding immediately after we hear a question or something we feel like commenting on. While the prompt response may show interest, it may not be the best thing to do.

I feel like I should start editing what I say before I say it. Taking that extra moment to make my thoughts fluid and easily understandable. It may help me to write better in the future. My thought process is this, if I can learn to say what I want to say in the heat of an active conversation, then I can learn to write what I want to write accurately the first time.

Don't misunderstand me, editing will always be needed in writing. If I don't continue to edit I would be denying everything I've taught myself up until this moment. I'm just hoping that by changing the way I process what I'm about to say or write I might find that my first drafts won't be as much of a nightmare anymore.

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