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Start with Purpose

For: Students

Tags

Writing Social-Emotional Learning/Growth Mindset All Ages Strategy

Skills

Expressive Language Organization Working Memory Social Awareness Attention Verbal Reasoning

Start with Purpose

Having a clear purpose will help you keep your thoughts organized for writing and speaking.

How To Apply It!

  1. Ask yourself "why". Why am I writing this paper? Why am I telling this story? Why am I writing this email? Why am I giving this speech? If you get stuck in your writing or are not sure what details to include, you can come back to your "why" to provide clarity and help you figure out what you really need to include and what would be extra.
  2. If you are writing and having difficulty answering "why", consider that the answer likely falls in one or more of the following four buckets: (a) explain/prove, (b) persuade, (c) entertain, (d) ask.
  3. Brainstorm a list of questions that your audience might have. If you are explaining, what background details and clarifications might they need? If you are persuading, what could be the counter-arguments? If you are asking, what other information might they need to answer?
  4. As you outline your writing or re-read what you wrote, ask yourself if the details align with your purpose. If they don't, consider cutting them. Check to see that you have answered your audience's potential questions.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Clear writing always starts with a clear purpose. It is very easy to get off track in speaking or writing by adding in too many details or ideas.

However, if you are clear on your purpose, you will find it much easier to check your work against your purpose to decide whether or not those details are helpful or extraneous.