Writing vs Speaking

by See-ming Lee
See-ming Lee: Help I can’t shut up / 20090904.10D.52705.P1 / AJ / SML
See-ming Lee: Help I can’t shut up / 20090904.10D.52705.P1 / AJ / SML

I talk a lot. I am conscious of it. So I made a custom tshirt in 2009 to announce this fact — “Help I can’t shut up”. As much as I have a lot to say, I am keenly aware that I can’t speak very well. So when I grew older, I have switched to writing instead.

The way my brain works is not very linear. It’s very hard for me to have linear coherent thoughts like regular people. When I look and think about anything, often I am seeing things in multiple aspects in parallel.

If it’s hard to imagine what I meant — it’s a bit like Visual Thesaurus, mind maps, or a network diagram. For any topics, I would have 10+ parallel thoughts happening in the same time that I wish to elaborate. Needless to say, this way of thinking doesn’t work with speech — since speaking requires you to keep on topic and finish it.

So I write. When I write, I can more structurally separate the different parallel universes into different paragraphs. Then potentially you would then know what I’m trying to say.

Often, in business, people want to start a conference call with me — because for most people, talking about things tends to result in a conclusion or resolution. For me, I prefer writing and emails.

It’s very hard to explain to people who don’t know me why hopping on a call is in fact anti-productive. I would be so lost with words thinking about 20 different things at all times that it will be impossible for others to follow what I want to say, and impossible for me to follow what you want to tell me.

So please — if I ask you to send me an email with 5-7 bullet points, I really mean it. It will help both of us decide if we should do business together. Asking me to “arrange a 30 minute call” with you “maybe next Wednesday” is never the way. It’s the worst way possible if you want to work with me.

See-ming Lee: Help I can’t shut up / 20090904.10D.52705.P1 / AJ / SML

  • Canon EOS 10D
  • Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L
  • Canon 580EX
  • ISO 400, 24mm, f/2.8, 1/180 sec
  • 2009-09-04
  • Photo: Aaron Johnson
  • Post-process: SML
  • Chelsea, NYC

Writing vs Speaking

  • 2023-12-09
  • SML Universe HKG