Becoming a better communicator with org-mode

(cdr hobbies)

2024-02-19 :: Emacs :: org-mode

Recently I've become more interested in enhancing my communication skills, both written and spoken. I've heard lots of advice. "Better vocab", "be concise", "tell a story". Still, despite hearing all this advice and doing my best to put it into practice, I feel that my ability to communicate is still in the realm of average to maybe only slightly-above-average.

Then one day, as I was minding my own business and relaxing with some Youtube chess videos, a video popped into my home page. It was a video titled How I Became Articulate With My Speaking (5 Secrets) by Youtuber Vicky Zhao. The thumbnail hooked me, instructing me to "stop saying 'interesting'". One of my biggest weaknesses! How did she know? 'Here we go', I thought. Finally a cure to my verbal ineptitude. So I decided to give it a watch, and I'm thankful I did.

One of the key points in this video is that you need to "start thinking in frameworks", and use these "frameworks" to structure your thoughts. This will then structure your writing, and it will make your speech more effective. A "framework" is a common pattern that speakers use to help make their points more effectively. An example shared in the video is the "PEEL" framework. Point, Explanation, Evidence, Link. This is where the speaker makes a point, explains it to the listener, provides additional evidence to support the claim, and then links it back to the discussion at hand. After a few more example frameworks, I was hooked. Towards the end of the video, Vicky then informs the viewer that you need to practice, and what better way to practice than with your notes? Ensure your notes are well-organized, and that you put some thought into writing clear headers, so that your brain can recall this information better.

Structure... organization... headers... As an emacs user, I quickly realized this was an opportunity to dust off the old org-mode. So, I quickly opened up a new file, took a few notes about the video and gave it a clear and succinct headline. "Become more articulate with practice and frameworks". How's that for clear and concise? Then I opened up a new header. "Become a better frontend developer". Here I took some notes and gave myself some TODOs that I think will guide me on my journey to better development.

After this quick stint, I started to think "Why not just use org mode for everything? Why not put all of my own personal knowledge in here, and watch it grow over time. Perhaps someone else will find this interesting too and benefit from my own notes and knowledge". Thus it began that I would plan to use org-mode as my own PKM system. I'm new to formal PKM systems, whereas before I would just take some notes in whichever notes doc was handy at the time, and keep things scattered about everywhere. But now it's time for structure, extensibility, and flexibility. I'll do my best to document my journey to share with you what I've learned and where I've failed.

For now though, I'm still barely scratching the surface with it. Just having a few headers in a file, taking some notes in between the headers, assigning a few TODOs. That sort of stuff. In time though, I hope to share how this PKM system has helped me become a confident communicator and how it can do the same for you.