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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. @kwugirl Ask vs. Guess Cultures KWu, an Ask Culture person

    Software Engineer
  2. @kwugirl

  3. @kwugirl You

  4. @kwugirl You Jamie

  5. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor

  6. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor

  7. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor Can Taylor stay with you?

  8. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor ?

  9. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor I’ll just tell them no.

  10. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor or

  11. @kwugirl You Jamie Taylor Ugh, this puts me in a

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

    me in a difficult position.” Ask Culture Guess Culture
  13. @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations
  14. @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations overview of cultures
  15. @kwugirl

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

    getting ‘no’ for an answer ASK
  17. @kwugirl avoid asking unless the answer will be yes GUESS

  18. @kwugirl extend out delicate feelers GUESS

  19. @kwugirl don’t have to explicitly ask GUESS

  20. @kwugirl if you accept, are you imposing too much? GUESS

  21. @kwugirl putting others in the position of having to say

    ‘no’ seems rude GUESS
  22. ASK GUESS

  23. ASK GUESS Northeast Pacific Northwest Midwest

  24. ASK GUESS Northeast Pacific Northwest Midwest

  25. @kwugirl one culture ≯ another culture

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

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations a few examples
  27. @kwugirl “The Seattle No” https://medium.com/lessons-learned/the-seattle-no-177091f864a4

  28. @kwugirl Hey, I’m going to this party, do you want

    to come?
  29. @kwugirl Hmm that sounds interesting, I’ll have to check.

  30. @kwugirl or

  31. @kwugirl Oh yeah, maybe…

  32. @kwugirl Oh yeah, maybe… + don’t hear from them again

    about it
  33. @kwugirl THIS MEANS NO.

  34. @kwugirl THIS MEANS NO. (not obvious to all of us)

  35. @kwugirl

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

    for next week.”
  37. @kwugirl “Hmm, I don’t have time to make 
 lunch

    for next week.” Dan hears
  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
  39. @kwugirl “I’m going to cook 2 meals this 
 weekend.”

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

    I think
  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
  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
  43. @kwugirl End Result

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

    in the fridge??”
  45. @kwugirl End Result “Why do we have so much food

    in the fridge??”
  46. @kwugirl End Result “Why do we have so much food

    in the fridge??” “I’m such a good husband.”
  47. @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations pros/cons
  48. @kwugirl Ask Culture

  49. @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency

  50. @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity

  51. @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity Gets what you

    want
 (in the short-term)
  52. @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity Gets what you

    want
 (in the short-term) More open conflict
  53. @kwugirl Ask Culture Prioritizes efficiency No ambiguity Gets what you

    want
 (in the short-term) More open conflict Can make people feel uncomfortable
  54. @kwugirl Guess Culture

  55. @kwugirl Guess Culture Prioritizes not 
 hurting feelings

  56. @kwugirl Guess Culture Prioritizes not 
 hurting feelings More polite

  57. @kwugirl Guess Culture Prioritizes not 
 hurting feelings More polite

    Hard if you’re bad at 
 reading social cues
  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
  59. @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations further considerations
  60. @kwugirl

  61. @kwugirl personality family __context__

  62. @kwugirl women

  63. @kwugirl women “abrasive”

  64. @kwugirl women “abrasive” “timid”

  65. @kwugirl ???

  66. @kwugirl family

  67. @kwugirl family work

  68. @kwugirl how well you know someone ??????? stranger BFF

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

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations strategies for handling
  70. @kwugirl If you’re from Ask Culture…

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

    close friend
  72. @kwugirl If you’re from Ask Culture… Make a Guess Culture

    close friend Listen more closely
  73. @kwugirl If you’re from Ask Culture… Make a Guess Culture

    close friend Listen more closely Apologize if you realize >1 interpretation
  74. @kwugirl If you’re from Guess Culture…

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

    be 
 unaware of “the rules”
  76. @kwugirl If you’re from Guess Culture… Remember that people might

    be 
 unaware of “the rules” Resist the urge to “soften” a “No”
  77. @kwugirl litmus test overview of cultures a few examples pros/cons

    further considerations strategies for handling work situations work situations
  78. @kwugirl discuss communication styles

  79. @kwugirl “It really helps me to get near-realtime feedback.”

  80. @kwugirl “Sometimes I have trouble speaking up, it would really

    help if…”
  81. @kwugirl “We have a few options that work, A/B/C. Let

    me know!”
  82. @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report

  83. @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report positive reinforcement for saying

    “no”
  84. @kwugirl Ask Manager & Guess Report positive reinforcement for saying

    “no” be extremely wary of giving illusion of choice
  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
  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
  87. @kwugirl “Hey, remember when we talked about how I should

    be more assertive? Well, _____”
  88. @kwugirl use this talk as an excuse!

  89. @kwugirl “I went to this amazing talk at Write/Speak/Code…”

  90. @kwugirl getting/giving help

  91. @kwugirl discuss with mentors

  92. @kwugirl

  93. @kwugirl “I’m not sure I understand
 this feature.”

  94. @kwugirl “I’m not sure I understand
 this feature.” (“Can someone

    help me?”)
  95. @kwugirl don’t assume 
 silence == ok

  96. @kwugirl “Do you have any questions for me?”

  97. @kwugirl “Where can I help more, ___, ___, or ___?”

  98. @kwugirl pairing

  99. @kwugirl pairing retro

  100. @kwugirl “I’m not sure I absorbed enough out of that

    last pairing session.”
  101. @kwugirl “What would work better?”

  102. @kwugirl “We were kind of in an exploratory
 phase…maybe next

    time we can save pairing for later?”
  103. @kwugirl “Hey, I have a question, but
 it’s totally ok

    to say no.”
  104. @kwugirl “Hey, I have a question, but 
 it’s totally

    ok to say no.”
  105. @kwugirl “Hey, I have a question, but 
 it’s totally

    ok to say no.”
  106. @kwugirl “Hey, I have a question, but 
 it’s totally

    ok to say no.”
  107. @kwugirl “it’s ok if you’re busy…” “Hey, I have a

    question, but 
 it’s totally ok to say no.”
  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.”
  109. @kwugirl be thoughtful, help each other

  110. @kwugirl if you have any questions…

  111. @kwugirl just ask. ;)

  112. @kwugirl just ask. ;)

  113. @kwugirl just ask. ;)

  114. @kwugirl Safe Harbor This document and the information herein (including

    any information that may be incorporated by reference) is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer, commitment, promise or obligation on behalf of New Relic, Inc. (“New Relic”) to sell securities or deliver any product, material, code, functionality, or other feature. Any information provided hereby is proprietary to New Relic and may not be replicated or disclosed without New Relic’s express written permission. Such information may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Any statement that is not a historical fact or refers to expectations, projections, future plans, objectives, estimates, goals, or other characterizations of future events is a forward-looking statement. These forward-looking statements can often be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects” or words of similar import. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Existing and prospective investors, customers and other third parties transacting business with New Relic are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information. The achievement or success of the matters covered by such forward-looking statements are based on New Relic’s current assumptions, expectations, and beliefs and are subject to substantial risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and changes in circumstances that may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement. Further information on factors that could affect such forward-looking statements is included in the filings we make with the SEC from time to time. Copies of these documents may be obtained by visiting New Relic’s Investor Relations website at ir.newrelic.com or the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. New Relic assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law. New Relic makes no warranties, expressed or implied, in this document or otherwise, with respect to the information provided.