The Ladder of Abstraction
Balancing Hard Facts With Visionary Ideas
Have you ever noticed that you've bored or bewildered your audience halfway through a presentation, wondering what went wrong as your carefully prepared speech goes down like a lead balloon?
It can be difficult to hold an audience's attention for the duration of a speech, a report, or even just a conversation, especially in a busy workplace. This is where a tool like the Ladder of Abstraction can help, by allowing you to balance your words so that they engage your audience.
In this article, we examine the Ladder of Abstraction, and show how you can use it to strengthen your writing, speaking and even your thinking skills.
About the Model
Linguist Samuel I. Hayakawa first popularized the Ladder of Abstraction in his 1939 book, "Language in Action." It remains a useful model for describing how people think, speak and write on different levels, and it is a handy tool for better communication....