February 13, 2018 @ 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
The Place
2 Sheshet HaYamim St
25 NIS Per Person
Rabbi Shlomo Kory

That’s Not What I Meant: How to Avoid Misunderstanding

Let’s consider three approaches to a common household request…..

Approach 1: "Please clean up in here."

Approach 2: "Please wash the dishes, dry them with the red towel, and then put them in the cabinet over the refrigerator. Please do it within the next ten minutes."

Are there pros and cons to each of these approaches—or will they produce the same results?

Some people will feel comfortable with "please clean up in here". Through their experience or by intuition they understand what you mean. They would find the second sentence annoying and feel that you are nagging them or speaking to them in a condescending manner. Other people will find “please clean up in here” confusing. Clean up what, where, how, when? They would prefer clear, detailed instructions. Finally, there are people who function best when they hear the instructions somewhere in the middle:

Approach 3: "Please wash, dry, and put away the dishes as soon as possible."

Misunderstandings are often a result of using abstract language (the first approach above) when specific language is called for (the second approach above). After all, "please clean up in here" could mean doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, straightening up the shelves, or wiping off the counters–or all of the above!

On the other hand, did you ever have the experience of conversing with someone who spells out every last detail to you when you already know just what they want?! Ideally, try to find the balance between being specific enough to avoid a misunderstanding but abstract enough that the conversation flows pleasantly.

Learning how to do this is the topic of this seminar……