Communication and critical thinking are connected in many important ways. On a basic level, the ability to think critically, reason through a problem, and develop a cogent argument or explanation is important for all types of daily communication. People with the capability to really think about an issue and see it from a different perspective will then most likely be better communicators, and be less likely to react quickly in anger. On another level, critical thinkers often examine the way other people are thinking and making their arguments before they choose to respond themselves. This type of analysis is another very important aspect of the connection of communication to critical thinking.
In many cases, problems with communication are based on an inability to think critically about a situation, and see it from different perspectives. Communication and critical thinking are linked in this way because people who do possess the ability to problem-solve and consider other perspectives tend to be better communicators than those who do not. Though this is important for friendly argument and debate, it is also beneficial for all different types of communication, including workplace relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. Despite this, many people are never taught the positive link between communication and critical thinking.
Another important link between communication and critical thinking is the ability to learn how to follow another person's thought process and line of reasoning. An individual who is able to think critically about how another person is making an argument will be able to formulate a more effective response, more quickly, than someone who is not. In certain practices such as law, this skill can be invaluable. Fortunately, it is something that can be learned and practiced, and is certainly a skill that can be improved over time; by the same token, however, it cannot be learned overnight, and must be developed with practice and experience..
In some situations, critical thinking ability improves communication in an indirect way. Someone who is interested in a certain topic, for instance, and has the ability to think and form questions about what he or she still needs to learn, will likely take steps to gain this knowledge. Increased knowledge and wisdom will always be beneficial in different types of communications with others. Regardless, recognizing the important links between communication and critical thinking skills is important for people of all ages and all professions; educators especially may want to bring some of this theory into their lesson plans in order to teach students not just how to solve problems, but how to be better communicators in the process.
"We want people to take what we say to heart AND a story does it best, BUT most of us don't know how to turn our thoughts into stories, THEREFORE most of us need to read this book."Â Â Â Â Â Â Â - Alan Alda, Actor, Writer
"A great guide to bridging the gut/data divide." - Andrew Revkin, NY Times, Dot Earth Blog
"The lessons, insights and exercises in this book apply way beyond the academic world. There isn't a communicator out there - whether that's a salesperson, a CEO, an environmental campaigner, or yes, a scientist - who won't benefit from absorbing the lessons so effectively communicated here." - Thomas Hayden, co-author, "The Science Writer's Handbook"
"Storytelling is meant to connect a message to a person's heart, mind and belief system, thus inviting one to take action or make a change in their life. Â CONNECTION provides a road map to do just that. Â Reading this book will help you make your messaging more impactful." -Â Jeff King, Author of "Beyond Drama
"We sponsored the very first version of the Connection workshop which for us was both eye-opening and heart opening. Â Randy, Dorie and Brian helped us think about the stories we want to tell, and to speak from our feelings as well as from our intellects. Â This is so important, yet rarely talked about by scientists and bureaucrats (like me!). This book now takes their teachings even further in thinking deeply about stories and how to tell them effectively."
- Shelley Luce,Â Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and Foundation
"Based on their extraordinary narratives, Randy, Dorie and Brian have combined and sculpted "Connection" into an amazing resource for anyone with a story to tell (even scientists!)." - Ron Britton, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service