Thinking Outside the Box

Marge Freking

Advertisers, graphic design artists, software developers, and entrepreneurs of all types think outside the box. Technical communicators, and especially contract writers, must learn to use this strategy everyday.

At age three, my son became frightened to the point of terror, thinking giants occupied our land and that they might hurt us. What can a mother do? She can reverse the situation. I told him, "Since we’ve never seen giants or any evidence that they exist, we must be the giants. Therefore, we must be very careful not to hurt little people if we see them." That solved that dilemma.

The point of the story suggests that thinking outside the box presents little difficulty. Creative ability lies within each person. Writers, and especially technical communicators, must learn to tap into that expertise to excel in any enterprise they undertake. Advertisers need new and sometimes snappy promotions to encourage new generations to buy their products. They depend on their ad people to think in new and distinctive dimensions and to add new perspective to old campaigns. All communicators need that kind of expertise to make their points in the tasks they undertake.

For job seekers, simply creating business cards or writing resumes requires imagination to spark an interest in them and/or their abilities. Nothing causes more yawns than seeing the same old thing day after day. Imagine the recruiter who sits in her office reading resumes. Seeing unique and new approaches to commonplace situations makes an individual stand out as a valuable, contributing, and thinking asset for any company. Why do you suppose so many resume-planning clinics exist on college campuses and in corporate America? People managing those clinics help attendees tap into their ingenuity, encouraging them to make their marks in commercial endeavors.

Sometimes defining ourselves and/or our unique abilities requires imagination. However, we can improve our presentation skills by using simple strategies. Great literature helps readers see new and interesting ways to approach old ideas. Read mysteries to get new perspectives from the twists and turns of plots and thinking patterns. Humor provides a rich tapestry for creativity. Reading comedy helps students discern how the author turns something ordinary into something extraordinary, giving readers new ways to view everyday situations. Doodling with the non-dominant hand awakens the other side of the brain and starts thinking processes in new and amazing directions.

Become more aware of the world. Take time to walk through the leaves; watch squirrels gather nuts; share a sunset; examine the chain on a twenty-speed bicycle; watch a baker toss a pizza crust. Wonder exists everywhere. Allow yourself the luxury of awe and speculation. Ordinary things aid innovative growth in imaginative and exciting ways. Limiting yourself belittles your abilities. Use your eyes to see and your ears to hear in singular and eccentric ways. Take a chance today, and try thinking outside the box!