Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Making Your Point

A significant part of my day is spent online advising customers how to fix problems on their systems. I always try to be as courteous and as tactful as possible as I am often correcting their misunderstandings or mistakes. I would not wish to be blunt, that would be impolite - and certainly not to a customer who's paying a fat fee for my services.

Many of the people I deal with are not native English speakers so I try to keep my sentences as short, clear and unambiguous as possible. I avoid things like complex grammar constructs, unusual vocabulary or slang. Having said that I do employ phrases such as "I would suggest..." which, to me, means "Do  it" and "I have a few comments...." which means "You've pretty much missed the point..."  Similarly, I would never say to someone "You're wrong". Instead I will employ a phrase such as "You may need to reconsider your strategy". I've always thought I was being tactful and they would understand the message I was really seeking to convey.

I've often been somewhat surprised (that means "totally dumbfounded" by the way) by their reaction to my well intended suggestions.  Depressingly, I suspect it's me that's been wrong all along. 

The following link is terribly accurate regarding what British people say and what they actually mean. I really need to learn how to be politely blunt.


What the British say and what they mean. Marvelous  on Twitpic

6 comments:

nursemyra said...

Haha, very funny. And accurate.

Gia said...

Hahah tricky! Brits are like women. "That's fine..."

Nota Bene said...

I think what you actually meant to post was....

Terra Shield said...

Interestingly when I tell someone " I would suggest..." , i mean it just like a Brit would. Ha ha.

Terra Shield said...

Interestingly when I tell someone " I would suggest..." , i mean it just like a Brit would. Ha ha.

King of Scurf said...

nursemyra: I'm working on a list of my own.

Gia: "That's fine..." only two words and about a million different ways to interpret them.

NB: Discreet silence?

Terra: The direct route is so dreadfully blunt don't you find?