After studying abroad I met the family for christmas in Santiago, Chile. I had great food, better company and perfect weather. Our biggest problem was deciding when, where and what to eat. We use a system to communicate that saved a ton of time.
Conversations used to look like the following:
Me: Lets eat here, I’m getting hungry.
Brother: Well I would prefer to wait, but if you guys are starving I can eat.
Me: No, I’m fine. Let's keep walking then.
Sister: Well I’m starting to get hungry too.
Mom: How hungry? This restaurant looks fine.
Brother: Lets just eat here.
Sister: Well now I feel guilty for making everyone stop here.
Everyone: Don’t, we are fine eating now.
Sister: OK. but I’m happy waiting too.
And so on…
We started using a system to cut out all that bull shit. As soon as we got into conversations like the above, we stop and said either: neutral, negative, positive, neutral-negative, or neutral-positive. The five point scale indicates ones level of support behind an idea. It’s incredibly simple way to communicate.
Me: Wanna’ eat at this place?
Me: neutral positive. OK, lets eat.
I’m not advocating this system for everything. I enjoy articulate discussion. I just don’t enjoy long-winded ambiguous discussion when I’m hungry or in a time crunch.
Now, everyone I work with at school knows the scale.