"Rehearsing" email

Subject: "Rehearsing" email
From: Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1993 16:06:01 PDT

>Maybe you could try to mimic the talking-listening interaction more. You
>could send a response like "<puzzled look>," or phrase your reply "I'm not
>completely certain what you meant by ... Was it ... ?" I guess you might
>still run the risk of being considered thick-headed by those who aren't
>as compulsive as we are about writing.

This is true, and I have used this technique quite a bit. Sometimes
it's also effective if I can't seem to get an answer to a question
after asking several times -- rather than waiting I'll just say
"My understanding of the situation is . . . and that's what I'm going
to write, unless I hear something different from you." At that point
if I am mistaken people tend to respond immediately. I guess stating
my own interpretation makes it clearer to the writer what I've
misinterpreted, if anything, and makes it easier for him or her to
explain. I don't care if they consider me thick-headed, because I
know I'm not, and I know most people I work with will eventually
figure that out.

I guess I wasn't only thinking of email. I was also thinking of
technical documents I'm asked to edit, electronic conferences, etc.
In some cases it just seems that writers see my pointing out their
error (however delicate I try to be about it) as being unnecessarily
picky. And let's face it, being picky about language is a big part of my
job! So compared with others' responses to their work I may very well
be too picky.

By the way, by "writers" I am really referring to "software engineers
who write", not professional writers (kids, don't try this at home!).

weber -at- easi -dot- enet -dot- dec -dot- com

Previous by Author: Re: A question/comment, or "rehearsing" email
Next by Author: Re: "rehearsing email", one last comment
Previous by Thread: Technical Communication Degree - multimedia work
Next by Thread: Re: "rehearsing email", one last comment

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads