Let’s be precise
Let’s say exactly what we mean
Let’s fill in all the pronouns
Let’s make it clear what we mean
Don’t say, “I don’t know.” Say, “I don’t know who that is.”
Wait, don’t say, “I don’t know who that is.” Say, “I don’t know who that is in that picture.”
Wait, don’t say, “I don’t know who that is in that picture.” Say, “I don’t know who that is in the picture you just showed me.”
Wait, who showed you the picture?
I don’t know.
The story tells a different lesson too, but it is important to be precise. We tend to assume people know what we’re thinking, but they only know it if we think it.
How to orchestrate conversation between two people when one can’t hear the other
Marco can’t hear Dan, but she can hear Jark.
Jark can hear and talk to Marco and Dan, but Marco won’t hear Jark talk to Dan and Dan won’t hear Jark talk to Marco.
Let’s see what happens.
Jark: (to Dan) Marco is right here, she’s waiting to talk to you, I told him how important this is.
Dan: (to Marco) Do you have some time to talk?
Jark: (to Marco) You c*nt!
Marco: Shut the f*ck up, no one cares what you say!
Dan: OK, later then.
Jark: (to Marco, in a girl’s voice) That’s not true.
Dan: Did she say she’d killed them?
Jark: (to Marco, in Dan’s voice) That’s not true?
Marco: That’s what she just said, yes.
Dan: <I don’t know what>
Jark: (to Marco) I saw it, I looked at it, it was in front of me, someone showed it to me– which one do YOU say when you look at something?
Marco: I think.. I looked at it? I don’t know which one really.
Marco: (to Jark) That man’s face looks like it’s melting.
Jark: (to Marco) Which man?
Marco: (to Jark) That guy over there, waiting for the bus. I never saw him before.
Jark: (getting Dan) Hold on.
Jark: (to Dan) She says she can remember.
Dan: Marco, who told you about all this?
Jark: (to Marco) Who does he look like? The guy waiting for the bus?
Marco: Oh, my grandfather.
Marco: Oh no, there’s a bad guy yelling at me!
Jark: (to Dan) We found the suspect! Should be right around here somewhere, listen!
Jark: (to Marco) What does he sound like?
Marco: Like this! Muhahahaha
(Dan arrests Marco.)
Dan: They must have a storefront somewhere, for their criminal activities,,,
Jark: (to Marco) There’s a store down the street, do you know which one this is?
Marco: Oh, Mom and Pop’s Grocery? They have great lemonade.