‘If you understood, you’d do what I ask’

Mocking Bird Argument

This is very human: I tend to assume that if you are a good, intelligent person, and you know what I know about some issue, then you will do what I do. If you don’t do what I do, then it must mean a) you don’t know enough yet to agree, or b) turns out you’re not a good or intelligent person after all.

It’s a very human assumption. It’s just not very useful. Continue reading “‘If you understood, you’d do what I ask’”

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The three-fold cord of speaking will keep you strong

Rope

There is a bit of wisdom that sticks with me from childhood, from Ecclesiastes 4:12, that says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Even if you don’t do a lot of manual labor (I certainly don’t), you still know that a typical rope isn’t just a bunch of threads. It consists of fibers twisted into yarn, yarn twisted into strands, and strands twisted into lays. A typical rope consists of three lays.

That metaphor serves well in thinking about improving effective speaking. It takes competence in three areas woven together: effective delivery, effective organization for the ear, and effective content. Continue reading “The three-fold cord of speaking will keep you strong”

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Write whether you feel like it or not

Broken Pencil

There is some standard advice you hear offered to writers of every type and sort. “Don’t write unless you have to,” or “If you can not write, don’t.” The idea seems to be that writing is so hard that you shouldn’t do it unless you feel a compulsion to do so, or else that unless you feel that sort of compulsion, you will never achieve any level of skill.

Rubbish. Continue reading “Write whether you feel like it or not”

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