Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Success requires communication?

It's time that I start writing in my blog again. This was prompted by the reading of this article, which bestows the virtue of being able to communicate one's thoughts clearly. My reading of this article is juxtaposed with the fact that I just finished teaching the first class of the first course assignment of my teaching career. These two events together have made me realize that communication is something that I could really stand to improve on.

I'm not sure what my problems with clear communication are. It seems that I'm capable of it, at times. At other times, I quickly falter, lose sight of my point, or fail to find the correct words or phrases that accurately express what I'm trying to say. It's a bit easier when I'm writing as I am now, as a stream of consciousness. The problems usually occur when I need to communicate in a structured fashion, like writing a paper, or presenting a lesson to a class. Being able to identify where exactly I'm going wrong would be a great benefit to me, and would probably result in me being much more successful.

I believe that a lot of my problems stem from emotional reactions. The way I feel at any given time will strongly influence the way I express myself. For example, when I am teaching a class, it is necessary to include some amount of redundancy, and occasionally to state things that seem obvious. Ideally, this is done in a creative way, so that points are made. Unfortunately, I can't get past the feeling of "gosh, I'm being silly and redundant."

Another example of this emotional influence follows technical paper writing. When writing technical papers, it is difficult to remember all of the important details that should be included. One has been working on a problem for so long, that certain key points seem obvious, and not worth including, when in fact they are crucial for conveying the message. Additionally, I don't want technical papers to seem so BORING, but it is hard to keep a paper from being boring using normal literary tricks, because then you threaten the clarity of your message.

These communications problems are still a work in progress for me. Anyone who happens to stumble across this post should feel free to offer suggestions. :)

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