One of the most fascinating things to me has always been the way we communicate or miscommunicate with each other. I am in no way an expert, in fact in my line of work we joke that chefs are horrible communicators. We know what we mean, we mean what we say, however sometimes the translation between the 2 are very different than intended. That being said, this blog post has been something I have been working on in my mind for several months now, and thought it would be a good time to share. Especially since the Holidays are coming, and most of us will have an influx of social gatherings.
Is Blunt Best?
In my travels I have noticed two main zones of people; those who seem to feel that there are only so many words allotted in life and use them sparingly, and those who seem hell bent on making up for the rest. I am sure there are others, but here I am just going to work with those two groups.
I prefer the Blunt method only because I would rather act on something than talk about acting upon something. Leading Questions, Beating Around the bush, Softening the blow, all those things tend to lose my interest rather quickly. So when you are dealing with a Blunt sort of person, choose your words and go! However please realize that when a Blunt speaks (at least in my case) we try to remain on fact not feeling, so sometimes the translation to a non blunt person is taken offensively. Coming up in the kitchens, most of our conversations would be the shortest phrases ever: Yes Chef, No Chef, Firing, 86, and Oh Shit. Blunt can be beautiful and not abrasive, it just needs to be understood.
Non Blunt folks – I appreciate you, I do. You set the scene during the conversation so that the whole episode can be played in my imagination like a carefully crafted movie. You give me more data than I care to process when designing. You take my simple phrases and descriptions and turn them into a beautifully crafted word filled experience that entices folks to try my service; something I couldn’t have imagined. However, when you are dealing with a blunt person, you will find a point in the discussion where our eyes sort of glaze over. We have in fact at that point Checked Out of the conversation. This happens regardless of the conversation; good, bad, historical, joking, even while mentoring. I am not asking you to change who you are, only recognize that this happens, and shorten it up a little bit.
The main thing I have always said to members of my various teams, Know Your Audience! Whether they like words or work to avoid them, choose your words carefully.