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Creative tools > Rubber-ducking

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it when you are thinking alone and are stuck with a problem.

Use it when you are stuck in any other situation.



  X        Long



  X        Psychological



  X        Group


How to use it

Find a friend

Find someone to listen to you for a short while. It need not be anyone who knows about the situation and it can be an advantage if they do not (the idea is that you solve the problem, not them).

If nobody is available, tell the dog or a teddy-bear or anything you can talk with. This is useful if it's a very private matter, but usually, people are better.

Ask them to listen, to nod, but not to make any comments or try to offer solutions.

Tell them your problem

Tell them the problem you have. Explain in detail.

They listen to you, nodding, like a rubber duck.

As you talk to them, you may find that an idea comes to mind...


I am thinking about how to implement a technical idea I have. I tell my wife, who is an English teacher. She patiently nods and smiles. As I am rambling on, an idea comes to me. I thank her and scurry off to my study, to write it down. She smiles.

How it works

In order to explain something to somebody, you have to think about it and structure your understanding. The other person nodding encourages you to keep talking. Their not talking allows your thoughts to proceed uninterrupted.

See also

Talk streaming


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