RE: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER

Subject: RE: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Ken Poshedly" <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>, <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 13:18:51 -0800

Of course the statement, "as everyone knows, all salesmen are arrogant," is arrogant. In the context of the email, that's what makes it funny. I presumed that my use hyperbole ("everyone" and "all") was sufficient to clue in most readers. (And yes, I know, "presuming" that "most" readers would get my joke is arrogant as is the fact that I didn't write to _all_ readers.)



Leonard

________________________________

From: Ken Poshedly [mailto:poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:17 PM
To: Leonard C. Porrello; neilson -at- windstream -dot- net; TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER



The point about the comment, "I am thinking that might be a good idea" was specifically brought up in my session ("How to Work with the Chinese").



What WE were told is the use of a non-absolute negative is really an absolute negative. So, if I ask my coworker if he can check my data right now (due to a tight deadline) and he says "I am thinking I may not," that really means "No".



As for written warnings, a direct statement is fine. But don't confuse that with conversational (spoken) matters.



As for "as everyone knows, all salesmen are arrogant," that statement in itself is arrogant, presumptuous and blatantly false.

1. Not all salesmen are arrogant.

2. Not everyone even believes that salesmen are arrogant.

3. You show your own built-in bias with that statement.



A GOOD and dedicated salesman would research his/her market (as we study our own products to be documented), then study his/her intended audience (as we should learn who our own audience of readers will be), and then learn the correct approach (as we would use the correct grammar, etc).



-- Kenpo



________________________________

From: Leonard C. Porrello <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: neilson -at- windstream -dot- net; TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wed, February 17, 2010 1:52:06 PM
Subject: RE: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER

Interesting. On what grounds are we saying that Stan is arrogant? I think we can say that Stan's arrogance does not lay in his directness. Direct and indirect are just amoral communication styles. We could equally say that the Asian in the story is arrogant in his refusal to accommodate Stan's directness.

Can we say that Stan is arrogant because he presumed to try and close a deal with an Asian client using a direct approach? I don't think so. Stan wants to make the sale, so it is highly unlikely that he would deliberately do anything to offend his client. His presumption comes from naïveté rather than arrogance.

So what exactly makes Stan arrogant? Apart from the fact that he is a salesman and, as everyone knows, all salesmen are arrogant, we could label Stan "arrogant" only if we knew that he knew that Asians preferred a less direct approach, and that he insisted on being direct nonetheless. But what decent salesman would do that? None that I know of. So at worst, Stan is naïve. Perhaps the ad should have said, "A naïve American will not work well in this role."

It seems to me that the only arrogance to be found anywhere is in the presumption that Americans are arrogant because they tend to be self-assured, loud, and direct and lack the metacognitive competence to understand how they might come across to someone of another culture. Ironically, Americans are labeled as arrogant because they unwittingly act as they are taught, from pre-school, they must to succeed in our culture.

And here is what I really need to know: if Asians are ubiquitously indirect as Peter suggests, how do you write warnings? Passive voice? Is it OK to include direct warnings (e.g., "Do not touch!") in manuals written for Asian audiences?

Leonard



-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of neilson -at- windstream -dot- net
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10:01 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER

Those who have a bit of understanding of the Orient should be able to see exactly what the ad-writer intended, though. Standard American directness, common in American business, often fails in the Orient.

"So, Mr. Foo, may we sign you up for an order of 100,000 widgets?"

"I am thinking that might be a good idea." (This is a polite way to express "NO". No, itself, is impolite.)

Later, on the phone to the States, "Harry, Stan here. Tool up for 100,000 widgets. We got the order." (No, you did not. Not at all.)

We've only set the stage for Stan's eventual discussion with Mr. Foo, who will still try to remain polite while Stan calls him a liar.

The main problem with the ad is that arrogant Americans who are culturally unsuited to the Orient will not see themselves as members of the excluded class.

-Peter Neilson


---- Jon Leer <jleer -at- leertech -dot- net> wrote:
> Get a load at the fallout from this ad for a technical writer!!!!! Article
> was posted on FoxNews today.
> http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,586342,00.html
>
> Funny how picking your words makes a difference!



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References:
Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' Need Not Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER: From: Jon Leer
Re: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' Need Not Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER: From: neilson
RE: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER: From: Leonard C. Porrello
Re: Article: "EXCLUSIVE: Help Wanted -- 'Arrogant Americans' NeedNot Apply" AND THIS IS FOR A TECHWRITER: From: Ken Poshedly

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