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Clear or Vague?

  Which of the following are straight communications that clearly convey what is wanted? Which are vague and unclear? Beside each communication, write the letter C for clear or V for vague.

1. ____ You wouldn’t want to go to the movies tonight, would you?

2. ____ Why didn’t you let us know you were coming?

3. ____ Will you please proofread this sometime today?

4. ____ You know, maybe we should postpone this until later.

5. ____ Please schedule a meeting with Fred and Mary to discuss the budget sometime next week.

6. ____ Are you sure you want to go camping this weekend?

7. ____ I would prefer to have more information about these new locations before making a commitment on the proposal.

8. ____ I want to be considered as a candidate for the position in Finance. Do I need to complete an application?

9. ____ Do you think you might be able to approve a raise for me in the next budget?

10. ____ I don’t enjoy violence in movies. Will you suggest another movie or consider playing miniature golf instead?

  If you marked numbers 3, 5, 7, 8 and 10 as clear communication, you agree with the authors. The others are not clear, for the following reasons:

Number 1 is a passive, negative approach to getting a want satisfied. The person speaking seems to want to go to the movies, but instead asks the others if they don’t want to go.

Number 2 comes across as an attack, asking the others to explain their behavior rather than communicating what the speaker wants.

Number 4 is tentative and passive, which allows others to make the decision.

Number 6 asks whether the others are firm in their desire rather than stating what the speaker wants.

Number 9 is passive and tentative, which makes it easy for the other person to say no.



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