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The chase for straighforwardness

Trying to get some honesty out of my closest colleague (who is Chinese) is sometimes like pulling out a tooth: slow and painful.

There I am, drafting a sell-friendly PR-like text to an event that were having, doing my best to make it sound interesting, cool and not-to-be-missed.

However, since I am not a naturally born PR person, I quickly get a gag-feeling when I read my own selling points. So I turn to my colleague:

-Do you think its too much? Too exaggerated?

-Eh. No! Hihi.

-OK, good.

-Hihi.

There it is. The laugh. The giggle. The sign that something is wrong even though shes telling me it isnt.

-Why are you laughing, I ask, trying hard to put up my most stern face.

-I dont know. Hihi. The invitation is a bit funny!

-FUNNY?!

-Yes, haha!

-Its not supposed to be funny! Its supposed to sound tempting and cool, but not funny.

-Ah.

-Well, so do you think I should change something?

-Yeah, maybe you could change this part.

She points at the part that I was the most worried about from the beginning. Hello, hallelujah moment?! Imagine if she would have never told me and I would have sent this out?! D-d-d-disaster!

-Good, thanks. Now, is there something else?

-No!

-Please be honest with me!

-Hahaahahhaa, I think its OK.

-I dont want it to be OK. I want it to be great!

-Hahahhaha, its OK!

I take a deep sigh and count to five.

-So why are you laughing?

-Hihihihih, what do you mean?

-Why are you laughing?

-Hahhaa, I dont know

-But you cant just laugh at nothing. It has to be something. What in the invitation do you think is laughable?

-Nothing!

-OK, so if YOU would have to send it out, under YOUR name. What would YOU change.

-I think its good. But na, nothing.

-No, yes, YES, please, what?!

-Well hihi, OK, maybe this part!

-Awesome now lets go through the rest...

Now, its n! ot an ea sy or time efficient process, but I have to go through this every single time. Because my colleague is simply too polite to tell me, straight to my face, if she think something is wrong. Or, as she often puts it: it isnt wrong, but could be put differently. Man, shes such a natural-born-diplomat!

Sometimes I have nightmares where I dream of her saying:

-Its fine!

Me trusting her.

And the invitation going out. Just like that.

Then I wake up, cold-sweating, and promise myself to never skip the slow but honest what-do-you-really-think process with her. It might be slow and painful, but it is, indeed, quite helpful. I work towards a Chinese market, and Im not Chinese. So I believe I should always listen to natives when it comes to what they really like, take their points into consideration, and then draft something suitable. Sometimes I just wish she could be a bit more straightforward, and less slow-and-painful-like-pulling-out-a-tooth-like.

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