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> From: Ned Bedinger
> Sent: Saturday, 12 April 2008 3:17 PM
> To: Michael West
> Cc: kemulholland -at- yahoo -dot- com; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Reading meanings into information (Was:: Replacing "master" and
> Michael West wrote:
> > ...there will always be people around who make it their
> > business to read into words and pictures "meanings" that have nothing to
> > with the matter at hand.
> Speaking of this, and I agree with you, I've seen a brief training
> demonstration of something like it, designed to illustrate the
> importance of careful listening and writing. [...]
And here's a real-life example. In this case, as in the exercise cited by
Ned, the audience was innocent of any hidden agenda. This isn't always the
I recently gave the CFO and the GM a preview of a slideshow I prepared to
inform the company about a new business initiative.
In the slideshow I had some clip art of generic office-buildings that I
intended to represent the concept of "office".
Our GM has an engineering background, so to him the buildings were objects
of interest. He asked me questions about the buildings. The CFO, on the
other hand, who wasn't an engineer, took the drawings as I intended them --
just non-specific representations of buildings: any buildings, anywhere.
The slide show was a success, they told me. But as soon as I got back to my
desk, I ripped out the "building" clip art and replaced it with
non-representational figures. Extrapolating that 50-50 split across the
entire organization, the risk of confusion or distraction from the main
topic was just too great.
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