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Informing

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Elements of the Conversation > Informing

Description | Example | Response | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Providing information to others helps them understand what you understand and enables them to make informed, sensible decisions.

Provide information to them in simple, easy-to-digest chunks. Give one fact at a time. Use examples to illustrate what you are describing. Metaphor and analogy can also be used to shed new light on your ideas.

Use straightforward language that they will understand. Avoid technical words, jargon and words that are not commonly understood.

Be clear about whether something is a proven fact, a reasoned argument or a personal viewpoint. Give the source of facts. Give the rationale for arguments. Be honest if you are just proposing an idea. (Note: While giving information is actually more about facts than opinions, it is a fact that you have opinions).

Respond to questions they ask. If they do not say anything, you may want to check that they understand what you have said.

Example

Talking with a friend I tell them about the new play that is on in town and the discounts available. When she has this information, I seek to persuade her to go.

A person buying a car tells the seller that they have been offered a similar car at a lower price. When challenged, they show the person the advert with the lower price.

I show my teenage son research showing the dangers of smoking. He says he will continue. I inform him that I will conduct a search of his room because I am not convinced he is telling the truth about not smoking. I find cigarettes and inform him that next time I find some he will be grounded.

Discussion

Often when we try to persuade people we do so with the assumption that they have the same information that we do, when they do not. This can cause significant problems.

Giving people information should allow them to make better decisions, provided that they are able to use the information they have been given.

One of the dilemmas of communication is what information to divulge, particularly where there is a lot you could say but you are unsure what information you should give the other person.

Of course you may give them selected information that leads them to the decision that you want them to make, although this can harm your relationship with them if they later find out that you withheld important information.

Another problem can occur when you give them information you believe to be true and this turns out to be untrue. A way to avoid confusion is to say how confident you are that it is true or add a qualifying rider, such as 'I believe that ...'

See also

Communication, Guiding Decisions

 

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