I'm working with a remote colleague who is an expert in a technology we use in our current project. Often there are minor communication issues, some things get lost in translation etc. Nothing too serious or out of the ordinary, given that neither of us has English as a first language.
The problem is:
- The colleague is eager to jump to conclusions, sometimes ending up arguing against something that was never proposed, wasting everyone's time and energy. Since most of our communication is done on a chat client, this quickly depletes everyone's attention span and I feel like I "lost an argument" I never made.
- The feeling that "I lost an argument". I don't often start arguments, I make technical points, and expect technical answers. The answers I get sometimes are more appropriate for more confrontational discussions, which I'm happy to put down to a difference of character. For example I'll get an answer This is bad, now I have to work the weekend to fix it, and I have to ask again to clarify exactly why "this" is bad. I'll eventually get the technical answer, but not after a while, since everyone's attention has drifted (see above).
- Minor emotional manipulation. I'm sure he doesn't do it on purpose, but it happens. For example I have to work on weekend to fix this - well, I don't care. It's his decision entirely what to do with his spare time.
When I do get the answer I want I thank him profusely (but not too much) hoping to "train" him to the kind of communication style I prefer.
- Am I silly in doing what I'm doing?
- Is there a way to "help" people not to jump to conclusions, and ask questions instead?