5 Tips for Intuitive Types Who Can’t Explain Their Vision

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 04, 2016

Intuitives don't have trouble formulating thoughts and ideas, but often struggle to articulate the concepts that are so clearly defined in their mind. It's to do with the fact that you think in an abstract, seemingly random way. Intuition trains you to make sense of these thoughts without examining every detail. But details matter when you are trying to explain your ideas. Overlooking a word or feature can cause complete misunderstanding - as if you are speaking a different language.

If explaining your ideas results in any type of stuttering or disorganized rambling, read on. Here are five tips to help intuitive types clearly explain their vision.

#1: Focus on the anchor details

Hollywood calls it the log line - a sharp, single-sentence summary of a TV show, movie or book that boils the plot down to its essential narrative. In one sentence or less, how would you explain the crux of your vision? Tell someone your explanation and see if they can guess what you're talking about.

Intuitives often fly off at tangents and miss the obvious details that others need in order for the explanation to make sense. This exercise forces you to focus on the one or two anchor details that are significant, or that the listener might find important. With one sentence to play with, there's really no room to wander off focus - you have to get straight to the guts of your idea.

#2: Separate the idea from how it works

For most intuitives, ideas are worth nothing without a plan for their execution. The problem, the solution, how it was conceived, and how it should be interacted with are all interconnected threads of the same grand vision. The relatedness is intentional. It's how you find themes emerging - connections between slithers of information that wouldn't come together if the slithers were presented in isolation. 

Unfortunately, you are going to lose your listener if you hit them with all this information. Be disciplined about keeping the idea and how it might work separate. Some people will love to hear about your idea but switch off when you talk about its execution. Others won't understand a word you are saying unless you present your idea as a series of action steps.

#3: Use imagery

Ideas do not have to be - and often are not designed to be - communicated in everyday words. If you become creative in your methods of explaining something, then often you will do a much better job of communicating the idea to others. What do we mean by creative? Depending on your audience, you could use colorful adjectives, or advertising slogans, or sports metaphors. You could describe how something sounds, feels, or looks - anything goes, as long as it touches the imagination.

Using imagery allows people to catch the idea and make sense of it using their own mental frameworks. You know you're on the same page when someone you're explaining to says, "Oh, so it's a bit like...."

#4: Let your listener take the lead

If you follow tip one and explain your idea using short, direct sentences, then inevitably you are going to be speaking less than you think you need to. This is good since it forces the other person to do some of the talking. Remember, the listener has not lived with your thought processes and may come at the idea differently. Pausing, instead of rambling, allows your listener to think about what you have said. If they want more information, let them follow up and ask.

For intuitives, it's often easier to answer a direct question since it gives an obvious structure to the conversation. It allows you to latch onto areas where the listener is curious. Instead of babbling or over-explaining, you are forced to clarify the aspects of your vision that are appealing to the other person, so they won't get bored or distracted.

#5: Practice, practice, practice

In the end, your ability to communicate comes down to practice. Consciously making an effort to explain your ideas, and to do it precisely, makes a difference. Rehearse your message. Write it, test it, sharpen it, and say it aloud until it feels completely automatic.

A word of warning: there is no quick fix. There will be times when your inner linguist gets a severe case of narcolepsy. And, while you may be able to explain some of your ideas in a way that any idiot could understand, you likely will have just as many thoughts that cannot be explained without simplifying them beyond accuracy. It pays to pick your battles. And to practice!

Jayne Thompson

Jayne is a B2B tech copywriter and the editorial director here at Truity. When she’s not writing to a deadline, she’s geeking out about personality psychology and conspiracy theories. Jayne is a true ambivert, barely an INTJ, and an Enneagram One. She lives with her husband and daughters in the UK. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


TeslaQuake (not verified) says...

This is very close to what they talk about in Dale Carnegie training. I have found this to work really well, but I also have to be very disciplined to make sure I use it and don't fall back into trying to explain everything at once.

Judy94112 (not verified) says...

This is so true for me an INFJ. My current boss is a sensor and when I explain something, she says angrily, you told me that already, because she doesn't grasp something that I've communicated so I repeat myself. I realize now that what I think I'm communicating doesn't link together for her so it just sounds like gobbly gook. Very helpful article!

Diana Mann (not verified) says...

When I get really stuck, I just say, "I'm better on paper." And smile.

Guest (not verified) says...

Exactly! I can write my thoughts so much more clearly than I can say them...so frustrating! Especially in personal relationships with people who expect me to be "spontaneous" and think I'm lying if I have to write it down first.

J. (not verified) says...

Thank you! Very helpful.

Guest (not verified) says...

This is going to be so helpful! I have always had a bit of a problem getting my ideas across at times, but in the last year, with my new boss, it has been a significant cause of frustration and misunderstanding. These ideas will give me focus in verbal communication, which should prove to be very helpful.

Roberta Raquel (not verified) says...

Very well explained, indeed.

As an intuitive I have found myself rattled when People tell me that they did not understand me well.

As a linguist, writer and poet I had to practice a lot to out myself in non-intuitive shows and be willing to express myself according to how people think, not as I quicky feel and understand.

It is definitely true almost nobody interconnects ideas and thoughts as intuitives do.

We are really "ones" of a kind!

Kate B. (not verified) says...

Spot on!

Westerveld27 (not verified) says...

This is like de ja vue! Sometimes I feel like I'm from another plant trying to explain something! I stutter, and can't find the right words. I'm an INFP. When asked a yes no question I always want/try to explain also when they just want a simple yes or no. People are always getting frustrated with me.

Jenice Lumo (not verified) says...

My summaries tend to focus on the theme, the motivating force or original source of an idea and it's consequence. Unfortunately such abstract things are not usually linear and hard to capture with in space and time, such that another can understand them.
I am not so sure how helpful this article was for me, but it certainly gives me somthing to think about.

Guest (not verified) says...

I often speak in abstract terms, as I relay half of the information, while the other half is bouncing around in my head. I make the mistake of thinking that people understand what I'm saying, 'cause it's so clear to me. I've often become frustrated when I've thought that I'd been misunderstood, when in reality it is I that has miscommunicated. I'm trying to view things from the perspective of 'What do I require when people communicate with me?' Well, I kinda like it when I understand the flow of conversation, so I need to be able to reciprocate this, when I'm communicating.

CSpenc (not verified) says...

I believe you meant to say "slivers" of information not "slithers."

AlisonJH says...

Absolutely, there have been many times where I've thought either myself or the other person is from another planet. lol. This is great. I used to think I was bad at english, and started to not voice my opinion (frustgrating) just because I couldn't articulate it. I now I feel much better about, and cant wait for the next conversation...

Mel Kendell says...

"frustgrating" - lovely word, sums up the feeling exactly!

Danny Cartlidge (not verified) says...

Hi im an ENFP and can relate well to this article, I used to have a fear of public speaking worried that others would not understand the way I translated my ideas into words. Since then I commpleted a bachelort of design and practised presenting abstract ideas and design concepts to a wide audience. I had arrived at a few of the methods above through my own reflections and developed my ability to communicate my ideas, often creating a narative with images and short sentences to help me navigate my mind and present information in more logical progression. One the key concepts I take from your article is practice, practice, practice ETC Thanks

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