Psychic Info: Why I Insist on Complete Sentences

by Mike Sententia on April 26, 2013

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How a 1-word answer steered me wrong. Note: Written 2 weeks ago, before leaving for India.

I’m booking a hotel for Hyderabad, India. I’ll be consulting there, and the client recommended two hotels. I asked my psychic software, “Which hotel should I pick?”

Answer: “Closer.” Actually, a bunch of words that my quick-and-distracted communication method didn’t read, but quite clearly, the concept of “closer.”

So I figure, get the one closer to the client. But I also figure, maybe some of that other stuff was important, so let’s slow down and read it.

I ask again, using a better communication technique. Answer: “Get the place closer to the downtown, you’ll like it better.” Which is the one further away from the client.

It’s only recently that I’ve had two communication techniques to compare like this. And, if I hadn’t used the better communication, I might not have realized anything was amiss — I’d only ever see one hotel, so it’s hard to realize I’d like the other one better. So, last year, this may have been happening without my realizing it.

How might you compensate, if you can’t get full sentences reliably yet? Ask yes / no questions. “Of the two hotels I’m considering, should I book this one?” In other words, gear your question for a one-word answer, and make it hard to misunderstand.

(And you can add some robustness by asking the same question of the other one — you should get one yes and one no, so if you get two yeses or two nos, you know something went wrong.)

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