Thinking idea to idea, instead of word to word

Scripting your presentation makes you think word to word rather than idea to idea.

Ever sit in a meeting where the presenter sounds like a robot reading from a script? The presenter is thinking word to word, rather than idea to idea. We want people to talk about their ideas—not a robotic script.

The presenter needs to be able to adapt the presentation to people’s questions—not adhering to a script. Sometimes the best insights are shared at the end of a presentation when people ask questions. Then the presenter just simply talks like a human.

We can carry this concept of thinking idea to idea on a larger scale beyond presentations.

Thinking and creating

Highly valuing ideas and creativity. Looking at the whole of a situation, then at its parts. Finding ways of making connections. Creating, making. Being a human.

When you read off a script, you aren’t a human. You are just a robot. I have no interest in reading things like a robot. Unfortunately, I guess many people do want to read like a robot. They want to just consume and consume. Not really thinking. Just consuming.

One of my life goals: To help people not just consume, but to create.
A tweet from the archives of 2014

I’m interested in people who want to think. Who have ideas. Who want to share those ideas, and see what people think of those ideas.

By the way, the author of this Fast Company article, Vanessa Wasche, makes some other great points about presentations. Instead of thinking of yourself first, think about your audience first.

Too often the reason is that we start with ourselves. When we have an upcoming presentation, interview, or meeting, it’s reasonable that we think of what we want to say, what we want to present, and the results we want. While this may be a natural tendency, it won’t capture your audience.

Taking that advice and applying to larger scale outside presentations.

How much do we think of others?

We all like to think we are good at thinking of others. We are all caring people, right?

I like to think that I think of others. I want to encourage people online. I often try to comment on other people’s blogs, reply to other people’s tweets. Comment on photos on Instagram and Flickr.

As a writer, I try to write blog posts that people would be interested in. I don’t want to just write a “here’s what I did.” Instead, I try to engage the reader right at the beginning with something relatable.

But as a whole, I’m too self-centered. I want to write about what I’m doing. Take this as an example. I was about to tweet this with the start of the tweet about myself.

As I collect weekly “what I learn” items for, I’m going to be using @hypothes_is more to highlight and annotate articles.

This process helps me to think deeper on what I read. Follow me at:

But who cares about me prepping for the “what I learn” series? Let’s edit this tweet, and make it more benefit-focused for the reader. I tweeted this:

To think deeper as you read online, try using a browser tool to highlight and save the text. 
 has a great browser tool to make your reading more active and meaningful.

Right at the beginning of the tweet are the words “To think deeper as you read online”. Bam! Value for the reader.

But what about mentioning how I’m applying this advice? I use my highlights when gathering up my “What I learned this week“. It’s a nice example of how to use Let’s take that example and make a followup tweet to the original tweet:

Once a week, look back what you've read, and share a list of interesting articles with others. You can tweet things in the moment, but you'll find deeper connections by reviewing it a week later. I'm using 
 to capture passages from these articles for my weekly review.

A thinking prompt: review your saved articles once a week

This habit of reviewing your saved articles and highlights once a week makes you think about larger ideas, not just the words. (Which circles back to original title of this post, “thinking idea to idea instead of word to word”)

When reviewing your saved articles, having the perspective a week later helps you to draw out what’s truly interesting. Sometimes you’ll even make some connections and generate ideas.

For instance, I saved this article about an 8-year time lapse cider-can photo. Then about five days later, a youtube video about how a 10,000 fps shutter works caught my brain. When I added both items to my weekly roundup, an interesting connection was made between both of these articles. “Capturing time” became a 700-word observation about very brief moments in time, and very long moments in time.

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2 thoughts on “Thinking idea to idea, instead of word to word”

    1. Ahh, I think you are referring to my “Reading” page, where I list the 40 most recent articles where I left a comment.

      It’s mostly automatic. Whenever I leave a comment on a blog post, I also bookmark the blog post in I use the tag “commented” on the bookmark, so all my comments can be seen on one place.

      I also add a tag with the website name, so you can see all my comments on thehotiron!

      Here’s the automatic part: the comments show up on my site via the “Pinboard Bookmarks” WordPress plugin. With this plugin, I’m able to retrieve and display the bookmarks from the “commented” tags of my Pinboard account.

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