Business Communications

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Which way of asking for action carries the highest level of politeness?

A. A polite order
B. An indirect request
C. A question
D. An order

I'm a bit confused as to what this question is asking for. However, I believe the answer may be B since asking for an indirect request is where you are being your most polite as to not offend the person to not do your request. But as I said, I'm not too sure about that. Any help is much appreciated.

  • Business Communications -

    A is most likely to get the job done, but if you're afraid of hurting someone's feelings (in which case, you have to wonder why these people are in business!), then B or C could be the intended answers.

    I use C all the time with my grandkids, and the jobs get done -- mostly because they know it's really not a question!!

    "Would you please take out the kitchen trash?"

  • Business Communications -

    It would probably vary with the culture. Although it might be polite, and indirect request might not be clear, so it is more likely to be ineffective.

    I like Writeacher's choice. The question seems to allow the recipient an illusion of control, which might be perceived to the the most polite.

    However, I am not in favor of merely being polite, because many times people reinforce undesired behavior in the name of "politeness." As an example, if someone tells a sexist or racist joke, listeners laugh to be "polite." However, the laughter is taken as approval and reinforces the telling of the that joke. (I know the jokes I continue to tell are the ones that get the most laughs.) In this case, it is better to not respond to the joke at all.

    I hope this helps a little more.

  • Business Communications -

    Culture, yes, and to whom are you speaking? I found with subordinate managers, who were supposed to be executing efficient orders themselves, I could politely supervise by..

    I wonder if we could better get results by....? or Have you considered...? What would be the negative impacts of that..?

    If those probing questions failed to elicit the desired response, I would then resort to indirect

    It seems to me that we could get better results by.... , or I personally am skekptical of the overall results of that to be...

    In the end, If I had to give an order, I would do it

    Please attempt this first...

    If that failed,

    This is the way I want it done.

  • Business Communications -

    On remark on your question, I am certain it came from your teacher, but I think it missed the point: Politeness is not what we strive for first in business communications with subordinates, it is civility. Civility carries with it respect for others, and one can certainly work that into a business structure "giving orders".

  • Business Communications -

    Um... sorry guys but you just confused me more as to what may be the answer. I mean I understand what you guys are saying but... it doesn't really help me. I don't know. I still think the answer may be B but I still have my doubts.

  • Business Communications -

    It is definitely not B. I'd go with C.

  • Business Communications -

    Oh. Okay then. I think that I should take your advice then and go with C. Thank you for helping me!

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