Re: Pulling my hair out

Subject: Re: Pulling my hair out
From: "Robert E. Allen" <re_allen -at- PNL -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 1994 15:13:35 GMT

A fair portion of my time is spent editing things written by
engineers and scientists. Usually they appreciate the help
and quickly admit their lack of writing skills.

Occasionally, I run into an author who is offended by my
corrections. My tactic is to gently push away from the desk
(a little body language to distance myself from the report), and
say something like, "This is your report, not mine. I'll offer you
a lot of suggestions, some based on grammer, some based
on readability. You will have to decide which, if any, of my
suggestions you want to use."

So far it's worked. It puts the author back in control. FWIW,
this scenario has only occured with male authors. Don't
know if it's a testosterone thing or not.

A friend of mine takes the approach, "It's my job to prevent
you from embarrassing yourself and the laboratory with
what you've written." He's successful with his approach;
we do have different personalities.

When I ask someone to review something I have written,
they often get apologetic as they point out some of the really
dumb things I've written. To them I say, "These words are not
my babies. Feel free to criticize them."

Simplicate, and add light.

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