How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
1. When you make specific statements, I will either fully understand or reject what you say.
2. When you make non-specific statements, I will fill in the gaps.
When we are specific in what we say, we seek to remove ambiguity, communicating completely and precisely.
Specific language uses words that have single meaning and uses complete sentences, leaving nothing to the imagination.
When we use specific statements, the other person will assess the alignment of what we say with what their believe, their internal schema and so on. If they do not match, then they may well reject what we say. This may well include throwing the baby out with the bathwater as they not only reject one part of our argument but everything else we say.
The more specific we are, the greater the opportunity for rejection. The reverse is also true: the more general, uncertain and vague we are, the more difficult it is to reject or deny what we say.
Attempts at clarification
When we are given non-specific statements, we will try to clarify these, making them more specific. Thus, consider this simple sentence:
There is a need for good work.
In this sentence, it is not clear what the need is, what the work is, who needs it (and why), who will do the work and so on. Yet it is a valid statement and grammatically correct. To make specific sense of it, however, we need to make assumptions and add further detail, substituting our own specificity for the lack of clarity in the statement.
Putting themselves in the story
When you talk about other people, and particularly when you talk generally about them, the other person will substitute themselves into the story.
When you want to get clear and specific communications to people, use clear and exact language. Then question them carefully to check that they have fully understood.
To get someone to accept without question what you are saying, talk in vague, general terms which the other person can clarify into their own specific circumstances. Leave out who does things, what they do, how they do it, what happens as a result and so on. The other person will fill in to best fit their situation.