Say what you need to, don’t preface it
“I’m no expert but…”
“I’m not saying this is the right answer but…”
“You know, I don’t know everything but…”
At one point or another I’m willing to bet everyone reading this has either known or (hopefully not) been the person who begins every answer with one of those thoughts. He’s person who always has something to say, but always has a disclaimer before the statement. I imagine the disclaimers are subconscious insurance for the possibility that the advice/answer given is wrong.
I worked with one of these “Disclaimer Dans” on a large construction project. He was a rep for the client’s insurance program and had decades of experience. The shame of it was he really did know his stuff. I actually learned quite a bit from him. But every time he offered guidance, it came with that disclaimer that cheapened his position.
Speak to what you know, people know who’s fake
After a pretty crazy weekend of responses to my last post (mostly positive, some comically defensive), I was struck by what a crazy place the internet is. People can say whatever they want to whomever they want. I’m not judging, this blog is a prime example. The aspect of it that was so intriguing to me is how easy it is for words to illicit hate and discontent.
For a second it made me consider being like Dan (not his real name by the way). I thought about putting disclaimers on anything provocative I might happen to write. But only for a second. If I even tried it would end up something like: “If this offends you, it’s because I’m writing about you” or “This post is my opinion, don’t let it keep you up at night.”
I won’t put qualifiers on my thoughts unless it’s done in the interest of avoiding a lawsuit. What I will always strive to do instead, is write about what I know, what I’ve experienced, and theories that have been rolling around in my head for years. No one has to agree with any of it, but hopefully we can have some good conversations that will help drive change in the industry. Besides, civil is always better than accusing someone you’ve never met of being “disingenuous.”
That’s all from me for today. Maybe I’ll ruffle some more feathers later on in the week. Until then, say what you need to say. No disclaimers required.