Sort out your thoughts

Be structured and clear when you speak, and keep a well-measured pace, both for the benefit of your listeners and your own: you might run into the danger of talking faster than you can think.

Whoever listens to you wants to be able to follow and to understand. It's your responsibility to take care that they can. And they deserve it that you put some effort into it, if they are taking time and give their attention to what you have to tell. (That is especially so since good listeners have become rare and people are increasingly unable to concentrate and focus; if you are so lucky to have someone who is listening to you, you should well appreciate it.)

Sorting out your ideas is not just a matter of what you believe, or what you would say to yourself. It's not a matter of merely internally structuring your reasoning. It also depends on who it is you talk to. (So the same thing may have to be put differently to different audiences, and differently at different occasions.) Considering your audience nearly always improves your speaking: think about what they may know, what they may think, how they might respond. And it doesn't have to stop with the order of your thoughts, and the vocabulary. Sometimes you will have to be inventive conceptually, coin notions, devise images and metaphors. This way, the audience's listening reflects back on, and so enriches, your thought — this means that the more acute your awareness, and the more intense your responses to your listeners, the broader and deeper will be what you can gain for yourself.

Apart from the benefit that both you and your audience have when you sort out your thoughts, there is a deeper effect. Structured, meaningful conversation is valuable to us, and becomes more so with every instance in which we take part. There is something like a level of quality that a conversation can have, even though it is difficult to measure. The more excellent interactions you engage in (and the more excellent you make them by taking care to express yourself well and in an adequate way that connects with your partner in the interchange), the higher becomes the overall quality of discourse. Especially when philosophy comes into play, this should be a concern close to your heart. The way you discuss philosophical questions, and particularly ethical ones that relate to how one should live, should display a dedication to excellence, a striving for investing our lives with actions and feelings that have been solidified and refined by constant and honest reflection. Take care.
Copyright © 2007-2012 by Leif Frenzel. All rights reserved.