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!