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How to Think Fast Before You Speak

Framework Thinking: How it helped me in work and social environment

By Teng HueyPublished about a year ago 4 min read

In a fast-paced world, it's crucial to think fast before you speak, especially when under pressure. Some people seem to have a natural talent for thinking on their feet, while others struggle to come up with a coherent response. However, it's not necessarily about IQ or talent - it's about training your brain to think in frameworks.

Frameworks are structures that help organize your thoughts so that you can identify the key levers that influence a result. Reasoning from first principles, rather than by analogy, can also help you to boil things down to the most fundamental truths and reason up from there.

For example, revenue equals the number of units sold times the price. This is a framework for understanding what influences revenue. There are only two things to consider: either you sell more units or you increase the price, or you increase both. Whenever someone talks about how to grow a company's revenue, you can always bring it back to these two levers.

The goal for framework thinking is to have a library of these frameworks on topics that are important to you. If you can connect different frameworks, the amount of depth and insights you can provide is even greater.

Let's take a more complex topic: profits. To understand what influences profits, we can use the framework profit equals revenue minus cost. We've already talked about revenue, so now we can focus on costs. You can separate costs into marginal cost and fixed cost. If someone asks how to increase profits, you know exactly what to talk about: you have to increase revenue or decrease costs. You can pick one to focus on and double-click into that topic.

For example, if you want to focus on increasing revenue, you can use the revenue framework we mentioned earlier. You can ask questions like, "How many units are you selling? What is the price? How can we tweak these things?" If you want to focus on decreasing costs, you can look at the cost structure and see where you can take things out. Is it in the fixed cost or the marginal cost?

Using frameworks is almost like an assessment. You can tell someone's situation and then tell them what they can tweak. Consulting firms use frameworks like these to sell projects for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

As Charlie Munger says, "You can't really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try to bang them back. If the facts don't hang together on the lattice work of theory, you don't have them in a useful form." To think fast, you need to put your knowledge into frameworks, sort them, and organize them so that you can quickly recall what you want to talk about and what the key levers are.

Here are some tips for developing your framework thinking skills:

  1. Develop a growth mindset: One of the key components of framework thinking is having a growth mindset. This means that you believe your abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. If you approach conversations with a growth mindset, you'll be more open to learning and improving your skills.
  2. Identify common patterns: Start by identifying common patterns or themes that come up in your conversations. For example, you might notice that people often ask for your opinion on a certain topic, or that certain phrases tend to trigger certain emotions. By identifying these patterns, you can start to develop frameworks that help you respond more effectively.
  3. Create mental models: Once you've identified common patterns, you can start to create mental models or frameworks that you can use in different situations. For example, if people often ask for your opinion on a topic, you might develop a framework for analyzing different sides of an issue. Or if certain phrases tend to trigger certain emotions, you might develop a framework for managing those emotions.
  4. Practice applying your frameworks: Once you've developed some mental models, practice applying them in different situations. Start with low-stakes conversations and gradually work your way up to more high-pressure situations. This will help you build confidence and develop your ability to think quickly on your feet.
  5. Continuously refine your frameworks: As you practice applying your frameworks, you'll start to see what works and what doesn't. Continuously refine your frameworks based on your experiences and feedback from others.

By doing so, framework thinking can be a powerful tool for improving your communication skills and thinking faster on your feet. By developing mental frameworks and practicing applying them in different situations, you can become a more effective communicator and build stronger relationships with others.

In my work setting, it greatly helped me understand different perspectives, analyze situations objectively, and communicate my thoughts more clearly. It enables me to approach discussions and problem-solving collaboratively, fostering effective communication and understanding.

In a social environment, framework thinking promotes empathy, effective communication, conflict resolution, and personal growth. It enables you to approach social interactions with a structured and mindful mindset, fostering understanding, collaboration, and positive engagement with others.

In conclusion, thinking fast before you speak is a skill that can be trained. It's not necessarily about IQ or talent, but rather about using frameworks to organize your thoughts and identify the key levers that influence a result. Whether you're trying to grow revenue, increase profits, or tackle any other complex topic, having a library of frameworks at your disposal can help you to think on your feet and come up with a coherent response quickly.


About the Creator

Teng Huey

As a tech enthusiast with a passion for learning and exploring new topics, I write about the latest trends in technology, as well as a variety of other subjects. From science to culture and everything in between.

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