Captain’s log, stardate 20201227

Half Questions

A trick that people use to gain power in a negotiation is to forcefully ask a question that’s impossible to answer because it is incomplete or irrational.

Here’s a made up example to illustrate the absurdity of half questions:

“How long is yarn??? Oh, you don’t know??? But we thought you were an expert on yarn!!!! How can we trust your advice about yarn if you don’t even know how long it is???”

Here’s a more realistic example:

“How long does it take to build a website??? Oh, you don’t know??? But we thought you were an expert on websites!!!! How can we trust your advice about this website if you don’t even know how long it takes to build one???”

Here’s the thing...

If you try to answer a half question without getting more information, you’ll probably end up looking like an idiot and/or making promises that you can’t keep.

Instead, attack half questions with questions of your own until you’ve got enough information to give a useful answer.

Yours,

—J

share this page on twitterbrowse the archive