How to Speak More Clearly as an INFJ

Do you have a hard time putting what’s in your head into words? Do you wish you could speak more clearly and that others understood you better?

If you answered “yes,” you’re not alone. Many INFJs struggle to keep their words succinct and to-the-point because there’s so much going on in their minds all at once. At any given moment, an INFJ may be…

  • Tracing patterns
  • Searching for underlying meanings
  • Processing verbal and nonverbal signals
  • Replaying a prior conversation
  • Wrestling with deep questions
  • Figuring out which feelings are hers and which are someone else’s
  • Planning the future
  • Etc.

The INFJ mind is a gift and curse: it allows an INFJ to make incredible connections, see the big picture, and predict likely futures. But it also makes clear, linear communication a challenge.

And to-the-point, straightforward talk is what most people in the world are looking for.

The good news is that you can improve your communication skills. If you’d like to get better at sharing what’s on your mind clearly and concisely, check out these five strategies.

Are you an INFJ who wants to speak more clearly? Yes? Check out this article to learn 5 ways you can improve your verbal communication.

1. Write consistently.

Most INFJs are better writers than they are talkers. Writing gives them time to process and organize their thoughts – two things they need to communicate well.

To become a better talker, try leaning into your writing gifts. Type out or journal your thoughts, feelings, or what you’re learning on a regular basis. Commit to doing so once, or a few nights, per week.

You’ll start to get better at figuring out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Writing will also help you rehearse thoughts and ideas in advance. Like the hours you spend preparing for a speech make the delivery smooth and effortless, the time you spend writing will improve the flow of thoughts from your brain to your tongue. It will also help you decide what’s worth saying ahead of time.

2. Process your thoughts and feelings first.

INFJs often struggle to separate their own thoughts and feelings from those of others. They’re tuned into how other people are feeling and thinking, and INFJs sometimes even absorb other people’s moods. This can make figuring out which feelings belong to them and which belong to someone else challenging.

In addition, the INFJ mind is often busy contemplating theories and asking deep questions. All this mental activity quickly becomes an internal hurricane of sorts where ideas, thoughts, and feelings swirl together furiously.

When at all possible, avoid communicating important ideas when you’re mind is a whirlwind. First, talk out your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust.

As an extroverted feeler, your mind is wired to “word vomit” and put it all out there. Only after you do this with a friend, family member, or journal will you be able to truly sort out what’s what. And then you’ll be in a better state to share coherent thoughts and ideas.

3. Study your own communication.

To get better at talking, study what works for you and what doesn’t.

When people understand you, are you…

  • Getting to the point?
  • Sharing concrete examples?
  • Keeping your metaphors simple and relatable?
  • Giving specific, relevant details?

Become a student of what’s working and what isn’t. Hold on to the good stuff and pitch everything else.

One of the biggest changes I made was to try to cut my thoughts in half. I noticed that when I went on too long, people lost interest. So I made a concerted effort to cut out any fluff and make a beeline for the bottom line.

While there are still times, with close friends and family, that I talk at length, I try to get right to the point as fast as possible with most people. This has helped considerably.

4. Be kind to yourself.

Most INFJs are too hard on themselves. In most areas of their lives, they go easy on other people but are quick to put themselves down. The realm of communication is no exception.

You’re probably a better communicator than you give yourself credit for. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re more in-tune with how other people react to your words than most people. And, as an INFJ, you’ll always be sensitive to criticism and prone to take the slightest bit of negative feedback too personally.

That’s why, after conversations, I ask friends and family members who overheard what I said:

  • “Did I say that right?”
  • “Was that okay?”
  • “Do you think I offended so and so?”
  • “Did that make sense?”

The truth is that you’re probably a way better communicator than you give yourself credit for. If you start looking for and celebrating the positives, it’ll help you relax and share more clearly and freely.

5. Learn from other types.

If you want to learn a foreign language, you have to study it. And similarly, if you want to communicate with other personality types, you have to “study their language.”

Most people on this planet are sensors and prefer talking about the concrete, practical, here-and-now details of life. INFJs are on the opposite end of the spectrum, focusing on theory, ideals, and future possibilities. To communicate with the majority, we need to emulate, to some extent, what sensors do and say.

Personally, I’ve learned a ton from my ISTJ wife and dad about the power of concrete, specific examples and verbal economy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should become a sensor – just that you should adopt some of their down-to-earth, no-nonsense communication tactics. The strategies will help other people access and benefit from your valuable ideas and insights, as well as improve your relationship.

What’s helped you speak more clearly?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Very insightful article. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Bo Miller

      Absolutely! You’re welcome, Alex. 🙂

  • Christine

    I was just exploring this concept with my coach – so well stated, Bo! It does feel like there is a swirl of processing/thinking happening at once. I do notice that around certain people, the flow of ideas comes out faster and more succinct. Do find such joy in writing – a more forgiving mode of exploring + communicating. Thanks for speaking on this subject.

    • Bo Miller

      Thanks, Christine! Who are the people around whom your ideas flow fast and succinctly if you don’t mind me asking? Just wondering how much comfort and safety play a roll in our verbal processing speed… Thanks for your comment!

      • Christine

        Yes – particularly people who are completely engaged + present + interested in the conversation and are free of judgement, agendas and do not appear threatening …. this type of ‘safe space’ is one that I strive to create for others (entering the mental health profession soon). When it is reciprocated, I am free to let my guard down and have fun with my thoughts. Coaches/therapists/close friends/mentors – people I have established good rapport with and trust.

        • Bo Miller

          Mmm… Yes! Those are great people to talk to and places in which to share. Thanks for explaining!

  • Bo Miller

    Nicola, I’m glad the post helped you feel better and that you’ve found the strategies useful! You’re welcome!

  • Missy DeWitt

    I’m currently working on getting “to the point”. There’s always so much I feel and would love to share yet when someone starts talking to me my mind goes blank and my speech is just not up to par lol. However, when speaking in front of large groups, key points help me be percise and the audience follows along. Now, to apply that to every day social life…

    • Bo Miller

      That’s awesome that you’re working on it, Missy! I definitely relate to the mind-going-blank moments and wanting to share more. Right on with the key points during conversations too! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Wow! That was a great post! I often find it difficult to get my thoughts across to someone else, and it can be so frustrating, especially if it’s something important to you. Like Nicola said, I too was particularly relieved by #4. When I can’t seem to make anything clear to someone, I tend to inwardly berate myself. It’s good to know that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we struggle to communicate. Thanks!

    • Bo Miller

      It’s definitely hardest when you’re explaining something really important to you and someone else doesn’t get it. Totally agree! I’m glad you’re encouraged to be kinder to yourself. Awesome!

  • Bo Miller

    Wow! Well done, Emily! That’s a perfect example. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • WatersEdge71

    What a thought provoking article for me!!! I have always had difficulty expressing myself, especially in a professional group like session. Wow… just had a flashback at past meetings with ’round-robins’ and seeing myself stating, ‘I pass’ or ‘nothing to add’ towards the discussion; often beating myself up for not thinking fast enough, or drawing a blank in my mind, because of the whirl-wind thoughts in my head, while thinking colleagues or co-workers must think I am an idiot or stupid. Many anxieties and frustrations I had to endure with my past employment. Now that I have matured and realize I am okay and learn to control my mind by breathing slowly and concentrate on one thing at a time, have helped me in communicating more clearly and precisely. Your tips are valuable for us INFJs. Thank you Bo!

    • Bo Miller

      Thanks so much for sharing! You’ve got some great strategies in place, and I relate completely to what you’ve described. My best thoughts often come AFTER the meeting. You are very welcome!

      You might also like this article. It’s what I’ve learned about dealing with meetings as an introvert.

  • Patty

    GREAT post! I found myself thinking that I have learned so much of this by trial and error over my many years on earth. I watch for the eyes to glaze over or for that furtive glance away to gauge whether I am “losing” the person I am talking to. I have used writing my thoughts out for many years now and found it most helpful and I edit and re-edit before I press “send” either verbally or literally. The balance act that I often find myself in is that place between being accused of being too verbose and being too blunt…there is a nice middle ground in between that I continue to try to maintain.

    • Bo Miller

      That’s beautifully put, Patty. I love that you look for the signs and find the middle ground. That’s so wise. Thank you for sharing, and glad you could relate!