Dealing with engineers' input

Subject: Dealing with engineers' input
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 15:00:44 PST

When you're discussing a document of yours with engineers and managers
who can't give you a direct order to rephrase something the way they
would have said it (and would be the first to admit that words are your
domain) how do you handle their specific suggestions for rewording
without either explaining that their suggestion won't fly, or giving the
impression that you'll do what they suggest?

I'm inclined to give an absolute positive or negative response on each
suggestion, which isn't really needed in a face-to-face. I want to move
toward a more noncommittal stance, but to avoid any implication that
I'm implementing any sugestions that I don't object to.

(This all involves only the unhelpful suggestions, of course. I'm
quite open to useful ones from any source, and welcome the chance to
compliment an engineer or manager on their way with words.)

Comments on paper I can deal with; I'm talking about live interactions
here. About the best I can come up with myself is to listen carefully,
look them in the eye, and thank them for each suggestion. That may
carry enough of the appropriate implications. I'd appreciate any other
suggestions or war stories, though.



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