What they mean when they write, ‘I would do it this way’

By Sharmila Gautama

One important aspect in communication is keeping the audience in mind, especially if you are writing to a global audience. The way the Americans express themselves is very different from the British or Dutch.

Here is an example that one of my colleagues shared with me. While giving feedback about how things should be done, an American would say, ‘what I would do is…’ instead of, ‘you should do…’

This way they establish a more ‘we are in this together’ rapport.

What they don’t mean is, ‘I will do this now and you don’t have to work on this anymore’. Or, worse still, don’t consider this as a suggestion to take or leave. This is their way of giving feedback on how you should do things.

This is contrary to how an Asian may tell you how to do things. They are more likely to use ‘you should…’. It’s the same with the Dutch.

So, if an American tells you, ‘I would do it like this….’ and shows you how. It means he is giving you some feedback on how he wants things done.