Chapter 4

Planning Your Explanations


A few years ago, my wife Sachi and I renovated our house. We saw an opportunity to transform it into a home and office. One of the first steps in this process was to spend time with an architect who gave us a sense of what was possible. This focus on planning meant that we could:

  • Create and analyze the house's look and function
  • Anticipate and account for potential problems
  • Visually understand the big picture

This planning process helped the completed house become much more tangible to us. What was formerly a set of ideas with direction now had a form. We could begin the process of diving a little deeper into the details. Once we knew where the walls, windows, and doorways would be, we could think about lighting and electrical.

The need to have plans in construction is obvious: they save time and money. But what about in communication? How often do we sit down and focus on how we will explain an idea? What if planning our explanations could give form to our communications and yield better results, similar to those we enjoy when planning a home renovation?

This chapter will discuss the role of planning in building better explanations, and will introduce a model that will become one of our most valuable tools. We'll start by taking a look at the process of identifying problems because that is what plans do—help solve them.

Identifying Explanation ...

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