- Eliminate unnecessary word in emails: I use "I think"/"I believe"/"I suspect"/"One way to look at this" a lot. Its not because I'm waffling on arguments I'm making. Its because partially I always need to be open to the opposing point of view and partially its because how I've been socially conditioned. But I'm using those words less lately in professional emails; sometimes explicitly going back and deleting them.
- Similarly in speech: I try more often that I used to eliminate modifiers, which segues nicely into...
- Don't always try to be complete: Often when I make arguments, I just naturally caveat, e.g. "of course this doesn't work if...", "while the other side will..." - too much debating in school I guess.
I do it mainly because that's just the way I normally think, but also to show I've thought things through completely and understand nuances. However, I increasingly find it only ends up diluting the argument you're trying to make. Unless you're talking to people that think the same way (not most people), you end up making your own job harder. It doesn't mean you don't think about the other side of things - just that you don't need to say everything you're thinking about.
My first reactions as I heard both of these conversations was annoyance at the protagonist in one and admiration for the other. Both conversations stayed with me for a while, but it took me some time to realize that was unfair on my part to be annoyed at the person that I was annoyed at.
So about these conversations:
The first was between someone working there and a friend. She was sympathizing with her friend who'd be starting a new job leaving this place. "Oh, it's minimum wage again?", she said with concern in her voice. "Yes, but it's fine", said her friend. The job was closer to where she lived so she thought she'd make about the same and she might get home a little earlier to her daughter some evenings though the hours…