When communicating with others, especially when explaining or answering questions about a task or project result, we like to start by setting the scene. I call this the preamble. As in the preamble of the Constitution, we create contexts for our audiences before simply giving the answer. For example, if the answer is twelve, we want to set it up with what “kind” of twelve it is and how we got there, while others would just say “twelve” and leave it at that.
My clients struggle with this. I struggle with this. I believe the majority of us with ADHD are storytellers at heart (at least the hyperactive type), so it is hard for us to communicate our thoughts and ideas without telling a story or giving some sort of preamble. I encourage my clients and myself to do the preamble part in our heads, and then to just verbalize a succinct answer, explanation or thought. This takes a lot of practice and constant vigilance. One way I think about it is to give the bones without the flesh. I know this is a little gross, but for some reason that analogy helps me to remember. I ask myself, what are the bones of my answer? before I speak.
One of my clients asks himself, does it need to be said? and, does it need to be said now? This raises another issue: not everything we think needs to be said aloud. In fact, we often say things that get us into trouble. I find these two questions extremely helpful in avoiding potentially difficult situations that I would inadvertently cause because I spoke without thinking first. In short, we should (i) give direct answers and (ii) ensure that what we say is necessary for our audience.
ABIGAIL WURF, M.ED, PCC
ADHD and Executive Functions Coach
Abigail Wurf, ME.D., PCC, helps professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners affected by ADHD who are stuck and disorganized in both their work life and personal life move forward into a lifestyle of success.
She does this through one-on-one coaching, exclusive small group coaching, mastermind groups, self-directed programs, webinars/teleseminars, workshops and talks.
One area of focus for Abigail’s work is executive function issues including planning, goal setting, organizing, prioritizing, time management, task initiation, self inhibition, emotional regulation, meta-cognition, focus, working memory and flexibility/shift. People affected by ADHD struggle with many if not all of these issues.
She is a professionally certified coach by the International Coaches Federation (ICF), has a master’s in education and is a board member of the ADHD Coaches Organization.