February 8th, 2012

language, voyage

Words, words

I'm trying an interesting experiment at work. I have stopped using the word "review". No more asking people, "Can you review this document for me?" Instead I say, "Can I have your feedback on this?" or "Would you read this and tell me what you think?"

It's early days yet, but it feels like I am getting more responses. It really feels like I am getting quicker responses. I am also getting a certain percentage of off-the-cuff, less-well-thought-out responses, but at least those give me a place to begin. I'd much rather have those than a well-reasoned critique that comes in past my deadline.

My hypothesis, which prompted me to do this experiment, is that a "review" is something formal, a chore, something one must set aside time for, something one can procrastinate on. "Feedback" suggests something more immediate and more personal.

The flip side of this is that a "review" is more easily conceived of as a job responsibility, whereas "feedback" has more of the connotation of doing someone a favor. But apparently many people would rather do a favor for a colleague they respect than simply carry out a job responsibility that they find tedious and sometimes anxiety-producing.

I don't think I'll be able to banish the word "review" permanently from my vocabulary. We have formal document reviews that need to happen at certain stages, and I don't think that renaming them "Feedback Cycles" or the like is going to fool anyone. Still, it's very interesting that the *way* you ask for something can be as important as *what* you're asking for in determining the kind of response you get.
teehee, haha

Conversations We Didn't Have in Skyrim, Part 3

Part One
Part Two

There seriously was a long period in Skyrim where I'd killed several dragons, but had to be careful wandering the countryside because a stray bear or saber-toothed cat could take me out with a single hit.


"Hey, Aela, I could use some coin. We got any jobs that need doing?"

"There's a cave halfway across the continent that's been infested by a particularly vicious bear. You could go take care of it."

"Aela, does it ever strike you as odd that the legendary Companions of Ysgramor have apparently become Skyrim's animal control and pest extermination service?"

"You were the one who said you wanted to make some coin, shield-sister. And don't scoff, those cave bears are tough."

She's right. That cave bear nearly guts me with its first blow, and I only survive to take it down by deploying every bit of my healing magic and potions. The three dragons I've killed were much, much easier than that bear. When I'm done, I skin it so I can take its hide back to Aela.

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