Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication (Write/Speak/Code)

Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication (Write/Speak/Code)

Longform version of my Ask vs. Guess Culture lightning talk.

Abstract:
Have you ever been told you’re “too direct,” or feel like you don’t understand what others want? Or on the other side, do you think others are often too confrontational? These are Ask vs Guess Culture differences. Ask folks believe it’s ok to ask anything, because it’s ok to say no, while Guess folks prioritize not imposing on others. It’s a culture clash that isn’t often recognized, yet causes quite a bit of tension and frustration. This talk will cover the nuances of these different communication styles, as well as strategies for bridging the gap. Gaining an understanding of these differences and learning specific tactics for a professional context will make you a drastically more effective communicator.

This talk was presented at Write/Speak/Code 2016 in Chicago.
Blog post: http://kwugirl.blogspot.com/2015/05/ask-vs-guess-culture-communications.html

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Katherine Wu

June 15, 2016
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Transcript

  1. 12.

    @kwugirl “I’ll just tell 
 them no.” “Ugh, this puts

    me in a difficult position.” Ask Culture Guess Culture
  2. 13.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations
  3. 14.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations overview of cultures
  4. 15.
  5. 16.

    @kwugirl it’s OK to ask for anything + you’re OK

    getting ‘no’ for an answer ASK
  6. 22.
  7. 26.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations a few examples
  8. 35.
  9. 38.

    @kwugirl “Hmm, I don’t have time to make 
 lunch

    for next week.” “Could you make extra food so I have lunch for the week?” Dan hears
  10. 41.

    @kwugirl “I’m going to cook 2 meals this 
 weekend.”

    “That’s so weird, Dan’s planning to make an extra meal this weekend, but ok.” I think
  11. 42.

    @kwugirl “I’m going to cook 2 meals this 
 weekend.”

    “That’s so weird, Dan’s planning to make an extra meal this weekend, but ok.” What I did not say: 
 “Oh, you don’t have to do that.” I think
  12. 46.

    @kwugirl End Result “Why do we have so much food

    in the fridge??” “I’m such a good husband.”
  13. 47.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations pros/cons
  14. 52.

    @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity Gets what you

    want
 (in the short-term) More open conflict
  15. 53.

    @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity Gets what you

    want
 (in the short-term) More open conflict Can make people feel uncomfortable
  16. 57.

    @kwugirl Guess Culture Prioritizes not 
 hurting feelings More polite

    Hard if you’re bad at 
 reading social cues
  17. 58.

    @kwugirl Guess Culture Prioritizes not 
 hurting feelings More polite

    Hard if you’re bad at 
 reading social cues Can feel like no one is listening to you
  18. 59.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations further considerations
  19. 60.
  20. 69.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations strategies for handling
  21. 73.

    @kwugirl If you’re from Ask Culture… Make a Guess Culture

    close friend Listen more closely Apologize if you realize >1 interpretation
  22. 76.

    @kwugirl If you’re from Guess Culture… Remember that people might

    be 
 unaware of “the rules” Resist the urge to “soften” a “No”
  23. 77.

    @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations work situations
  24. 84.

    @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report positive reinforcement for saying

    “no” be extremely wary of giving illusion of choice
  25. 85.

    @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report positive reinforcement for saying

    “no” be extremely wary of giving illusion of choice don’t default processes to people needing to ask
  26. 86.

    @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report positive reinforcement for saying

    “no” be extremely wary of giving illusion of choice don’t default processes to people needing to ask PAY ATTENTION
  27. 87.
  28. 92.
  29. 102.
  30. 107.

    @kwugirl “it’s ok if you’re busy…” “Hey, I have a

    question, but 
 it’s totally ok to say no.”
  31. 108.

    @kwugirl “it’s ok if you’re busy…” “I understand if you’re

    busy…” “Hey, I have a question, but 
 it’s totally ok to say no.”
  32. 114.

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