5.13.2011

Communication Strategies: Using Disclaimers

Disclaimers are statements that aim to ensure that your messages will be understood as you wish it to be and will not reflect negatively on you. Some of the more popular disclaimers are these:
• Hedging helps you to separate yourself from the message so that if your listeners reject your message, they need not reject you (for example, “I may be wrong here, but . . .”). Hedging also enables you to cushion your being proven wrong. If, on the other hand, you were to say, “I know I’m right” (definitely not a disclaimer) and are then proven wrong, you’re likely to feel some degree of discomfort or embarrassment.
• Credentialing helps you establish your credibility, your believability. It helps you establish your special qualifications for saying what you’re about to say (“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not homophobic” or “As someone who telecommutes, I . . .”).
• Sin licenses ask listeners for permission to deviate in some way from some normally accepted convention, to violate the norms of discussion (“I know this may not be the place to discuss business, but . . .”).
• Cognitive disclaimers help you make the case that you’re in full possession of your faculties (“I know you’ll think I’m drunk, but I’m perfectly sober” or “Don’t think I’m exaggerating, I’m just reporting what I heard”).
• Appeals for the suspension of judgment ask listeners to hear you out before making a judgment (“Don’t hang up on me until you hear my side of the story”). These appeals are often used with excuses or apologies as in “I know you’re angry but please hear my side of the story.”
Generally, disclaimers are effective when you think you might offend listeners in, say, telling a joke (“I don’t usually like these types of jokes, but . . .”). In one study, for example, 11-year-old children were read a story about someone whose actions created negative effects. Some children heard the story with a disclaimer, and others heard the same story without the disclaimer. When the children were asked to indicate how the person should be punished, those who heard the story with the disclaimer recommended significantly lower punishments.
Disclaimers, however, can also get you into trouble. For example, to preface remarks with “I’m no liar” may well lead listeners to think that perhaps you are lying. Also, if you use too many disclaimers, you may be perceived as someone who doesn’t have any strong convictions or as one who wants to avoid responsibility for just about everything. This seems especially true of hedges.
In responding to statements containing disclaimers, it’s often necessary to respond to both the disclaimer and to the statement. By doing so, you let the speaker know that you heard the disclaimer and that you aren’t going to view this communication negatively. Appropriate responses might be: “I know you’re not sexist, but I don’t agree that . . .” or “Well, perhaps we should discuss the money now even if it doesn’t seem right.”

19 comments:

Ashley S.C. Walls said...

This post was extremely helpful for me to observe when I do these things myself.

Thanks

necklace said...

I would be curious to know if disclaimers are legally binding.

Christian Fey said...

I love the new site layout! Beyond that, disclaimers are an interesting thing, because as you mentioned, without them, people see what you say as rude. I don't want to sound stupid, but *insert stupid question here*, is so common, but the reality is that most of the time, the statement must be put out there for everyone to hear, even if it's unpleasant.

stupidbear said...

so useful...

cam to cam sexEscorts Sydney

helomario said...

London Escortsexy lingerie dresses


I am thoroughly convinced in this said post. I am currently searching for ways in which I could enhance my knowledge in this said topic you have posted here. It does help me a lot knowing that you have shared this information here freely. I love the way the people here interact and shared their opinions too. I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.

helomario said...

I am thoroughly convinced in this said post. I am currently searching for ways in which I could enhance my knowledge in this said topic you have posted here. It does help me a lot knowing that you have shared this information here freely. I love the way the people here interact and shared their opinions too. I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.Melbourne Escortsfree porn

stupidbear said...

i truthfully enjoy your own writing kind, very remarkable,
don’t give up as well as keep writing due to the fact that it simply just worth to follow it.
looking forward to see a whole lot more of your current well written articles, enjoy your day


escorts las vegasbest sexy lingerie

heobeo said...

I am thoroughly convinced in this said post. I am currently searching for ways in which I could enhance my knowledge in this said topic you have posted here. It does help me a lot knowing that you have shared this information here freely. I love the way the people here interact and shared their opinions too. I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.


Las Vegas Escortorder salvia

ashley said...

This again surprised me


cam to cammelbourne strippers

heobeo said...

Thank you for post this
Sydney EscortLondon Asian escorts

DEWHURST TOULSON said...

with excuses or apologies as in “I know you’re angry but please hear my side of the story.”
thesis topic

Paper Writing Services said...

It is an extremely helpful and useful post thanks.

Glass Tiles said...

Certainly a fantastic piece of work ... It has relevant information. Thanks for posting this. Your blog is so interesting and very informative.Thanks sharing. Definitely a great piece of work Thanks for your work.

Custom Essays said...

This is a great article, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. keep up the good work. Custom Essays

cheap voice over said...

thanks for the information about the vehicle you are discussing, because I love driving and I do not know anything about the vehicle when my vehicle was damaged ...

Coupon Missy said...

Great information on your site here. I love this post because we can get some useful information from your blog. I expect more post from you guys. Coupon Missy
Coupon Codes
Free Shipping
Grocery Coupons
Haggar Coupons
Home Depot Coupons
HSN Coupons
JcPenney Coupons
Kohls Coupons
Kmart Coupons
Light In The Box Coupons
Loccitane Coupons
Macys Coupons
Meijer Coupons
New Egg Coupons
Next Day Flyers Coupons
Nine West Coupons
Old Navy Coupons
Overstock Coupons
Perfumania Coupons
Perry Ellis Coupons
P.S. from Aeropostale Coupons
QVC Coupons
Redplum Coupons
Restaurant.com Coupons
Safeway Coupons
Saks Coupons
Sams Club Coupons
Sears Coupons
Shop.com Coupons
SmartBargains Coupons
SmartSource Coupons
Target Coupons

zachray taylor said...


Wow amazing stuff I really enjoyed thanks for the amazing stuff.
Cheap Essays

Music Lessons howick said...

Forte School of Music is providing Music Lessons howick Auckland , New Zealand. Forte School is best in Music , Singing , Guitar and Piano Classes. Contact us now 09 534 2223

Alamin Miah said...

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back. https://adamfantacy.tumblr.com/