"Does everyone understand?"


When you are making a presentation or giving a speech, it can be really helpful to check in with your audience about whether they’re understanding.

It’s also helpful to think carefully in advance about who your audience is and what it’s likely that they will already know, and what it’s likely that they will understand easily. But no presenter gets that right 100% of the time, so it’s also good to check in with your audience about what they are understanding.

Not every strategy for checking in works well. In particular: questions like “Does everyone know what this is?” or “Does everybody understand?” are usually not helpful. The problem is that these kinds of questions have an apparent right answer, along the lines of “yes, of course, please go on.” 

These questions are often heard as “Do you understand, or are you too stupid to follow what I’m saying?” or “Do you know about this, or are you shamefully ignorant?” It’s not comfortable to say “No, I don’t know” or “No, I don’t understand.”

It is much more helpful to ask questions in a way that makes it clear that it’s ok not to understand.

Some examples:

Saying “Who knows what this is?” or “Would anyone like me to explain this?” or “Are there any questions so far?”

When you check understanding, it’s also important to pause to give people a chance to form questions. People can’t usually react immediately, so if you go on too fast, it can sound like “I don’t really want you to ask questions, I just feel like I should pretend to.”

tl;dr Checking in with your audience is great; asking “does everyone understand?” isn’t an effective way to check in because people are unlikely to feel comfortable saying “I don’t understand”.

Anonymous asked:

Hello again. I didn't realize it was your birthday. If I had, I would have certainly added some verbal balloons and confetti (is that a thing?). I'm glad my message wasn't inappropriate. I was on the fence about it, given what it's like to be a woman on the internet. (Continued)

Blast that message limit! Anywho, I wanted to add that I think it’s awesome that you share your struggles with your eating disorder and anxieties with the rest of us. I have depression and social anxiety disorder, and it makes a big difference to see that maybe not having it all figured out and having bad days is okay. Thank you.

This made my day, after my birthday. That’s particularly delightful, since I wasn’t expecting it! :D

Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women for the money. And it made her miserable.

As a young writer, Alcott concentrated on lurid pulp stories of revenge, murder, and adultery–“blood and thunder” literature, as she called i–and enjoyed writing very much. She was in her mid 30s when an editor suggested she try writing a book for girls. Alcott wasn’t very interested, but her father was a complete moron with money and had left the family in terrible financial trouble. Alcott wrote Little Women in hopes of some decent sales and a little breathing room and got way more than she asked for. The money in sequels was too good to turn down (and her father didn’t get any smarter with a dime), but Alcott hated writing what she called “moral pap for the young” and longed to return to the smut and violence of her early endeavors.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Books and Authors You Had to Read in High School (via bookriot)

There’s a play about this called “Little Women: The Tragedy”, by the feminist theater group Split Britches.  Having read some of her pulpy gothic horror stuff, I can verify that she had a real gift for it!

(via forthegothicheroine)



Important Rationality Celebrity Julia Galef posted on Facebook about how she mysteriously got a request to talk at a superyacht conference, and how it would be funny if she started talking about cognitive biases in yacht design or something but that really she didn’t…


Anonymous asked:

Dear sex advice column, what do if interested in sex, but also have fear well into the serious phobia level?

ozymandias271 answered:

If you would like to have sex: find an extremely patient and understanding partner. It is best to wait for a patient and understanding partner, because an asshole is probably going to make your fear worse. Tell your partner about your fear. Come up with multiple ways to say ‘no’— nonverbal signals such as shaking your head; tapping out; safewords; regular ‘no.’ (You might want to make a game of kissing and then saying ‘no’ and then your partner stopping— one of my partners and I did that and it was really fun and helped me feel comfortable saying no to him.) Go slow. Be willing to stop whenever you feel upset. You might want to set limits: “tonight we are only going to kiss, no tongues,” “tonight my top comes off but nothing else,” “tonight our underwear comes off but we will not acknowledge or interact with each other’s genitals.”

If you would not like to have sex: invest in a really nice sex toy collection. 


Anonymous asked:

Since you appear to have a lot of insight regarding dating advice: How does one recognize when it's appropriate to show emotional or physical interest towards another person? My gut feeling says "basically never", which is rather counterproductive.

ozymandias271 answered:

There are some places it is always acceptable to show physical or emotional interest (i.e. a dating site, a ‘meet market’ type bar, etc.). 

If you want to show interest in a friend or acquaintance:

  • IT IS OKAY TO BE AWKWARD. In general, if someone has a crush on you, they will continue to have a crush on you if you ask them out in the most ridiculous way possible. If someone doesn’t have a crush on you, then the smoothest way of asking them out won’t change anything. Deep breaths. Relax. Literally nothing you are likely to say is going to be as ineffective as the Telepathy Method.
  • Do it in private (e.g. while you two are alone together or over email or IM).
  • Do it to people who like you. You can tell that someone likes you when they seek out interaction with you— for instance, they may initiate conversation, invite you over to hang out, be Tumblr mutuals, etc.
  • Then say something like this: “Hey, I just wanted to say I kind of have a crush on you.”
  • If it is over some kind of text communciation, you might want to add something like “No worries if you’re not into me, I just thought knowing might brighten your day. :)” This is partially to avoid pressuring but mostly to avoid you feeling guilty about the possibility of pressuring someone.
  • If it’s in person, watch their response. If it’s like “I do too!”, great, commence kissing. If it’s like “I’m sorry, I don’t like you that way”, be like “it’s fine, I have a great time hanging out with you, let’s go do [activity we both like].”
  • Casual sex is Hard Mode, especially if you are male, so you might want to hold off on this one. The entire thing has to be done with MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF INDIRECTION, because we are in a sex-negative society and everyone has to pretend like we’re not here for fucking. Ask someone to come over to your place to watch a movie. Then make plausibly deniable physical contact with them (such as briefly touching their shoulder). They may make plausibly deniable physical contact with you back. If they do, try to escalate it (such as resting your knee against their knee). If they don’t move away, continue this sort of escalation process until either kissing happens or it is so far from plausibly deniable that you can ask “do you want to make out with me?” After you have made out for a while, you can be like “do you want to go to the bed?” 
  • If you are female, you can skip all this rigmarole and do the crush script except with “makeouts” instead of “crush.” (You still should not ask for sex directly in the vast majority of circumstances— the one exception I’ve found is asking guys if they want me to take their virginity, which works very very well.) If you are a guy, doing that will often get read as creepy. 

If you want to show interest in a stranger:

  • Make eye contact, smile, and say something nice about them (i.e. “your hair is really cool,” “I like your shirt; that’s one of my favorite bands”, “I love that book”)
  • Stop talking; if they want to continue the conversation, they’ll say something to you.
  • DO NOT talk to people who have headphones in or on dark streets at night. (You’ll also get people advising you not to talk to people who are reading; I think that it’s a minor faux pas at worst as long as you don’t keep talking to them if they ignore you.)
  • It can be good practice to do this even if you are primarily interested in friends and acquaintances, because there are very few consequences to fucking it up and it can get you used to expressing interest so you are less scared.

Asking for physical contact:

  • In general, in sex-positive communities, it is not necessary to ask for explicit verbal consent for everything, but it is always okay, and if you are too scared to just go for it asking is fine. The first few times you have sex, you should get explicit verbal consent for kissing, the first item of clothing removed, and PIV; after that it depends on your partner. A good way to get explicit verbal consent for PIV is “should I get a condom?” 
  • I have literally no idea how to get sex outside of sex-positive communities but I understand it is even more of the ridiculous plausible deniability nonsense.
  • If you both know that you have crushes on each other or went out on a date, you may either do the casual sex script or ask if the person wants to make out with you. Both will work. 

I was tagged by asciiheart

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag [ten] friends, including me, so I’ll see your list.

(I don’t usually tag friends in these, but I’d love to know if anyone else does it and wishes to tag me)

1. The Mary Russell series, Laurie R. King This is a Doyle-esque Sherlock Holmes + Jewish female chemist and it’s actually amazing. I don’t generally like spinoffs and was very skeptical. It’s now my favorite series. (her other stuff is GREAT too. Queer female detectives!)

2. Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

3. The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn R. Saks

4. Never Let Me Go, Kazou Ishiguro

5. On Pointe, Lorie Ann Grover

6. The Safe-Keepers Secret, Sharon Shinn

7. Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn

8. Push Comes to Shove, Twyla Tharp

9. Anything by Anne Perry (I think I’ve read nearly everything she wrote. All are well written of the murder-mystery genre, but this is a lot of why they’ve stayed with me)

10. Any/all by Tamora Pierce. 


Reading the comments to Ozy’s anti-heartise faq


a few notes mostly scattershot as i red the comments for that slate star article: 

Again, those who want to be more social, read improv books, talk to old ladies and other non scary people (don’t talk tot attractive people until being able to talk to strangers and seem likable is pretty normal for you). Game is devided on Two major axies Indirect/Direct and Day/Night. The advice is that closest to a normal person id Indirect Day. This is where you have a conversation with someone you find attractive and don’t blurt out how much you want to fuck. 

Improv covers many of the same ideas as game, esp push-pull, agree and amplify can be explained in Yes-And terms. But most improv books aren’t written for your day to day life, so I’d read something indirect daygame-y and then convert all the terms into improv terms and then run away from the evo psych basilisk. 

This is a standard PUA idea but not a standard Red Pill idea, but having a vibrant social circle where you meet friends of friends is probably more effective at selecting for people you would like, so if you’re able to signal aggreeableness and extroversion to old ladies and people at large, try to get *real world friends* first and then you’ll run into people over time. Indirect Daygame and Social Circle Game is most like how people who are not pickup artists meet people. 

The main ideas from PUA mostly concern social status, which in Autism handbooks and body language books isn’t really there at all. Off hand I can’t remember an Autism social skills book that explained teasing at all. The safety and security of teasing is similiar to play fighting  but with status instead of injury. You’re trading barbs with the intimacy that nobody means what they say and seemingly agressive behvaior done behind a backdrop of intimacy makes the status play, just like rough housing play, fun rather than intimidating. This account of teasing I can dig out of Impro or some Daygame book but I never found in autism centric manuals. 

On the importance of having new social expriences: I remember at like age 20 I had my first advance by a women who was clearly attracted to me and I wasn’t and that blew my mind. I had never seen it from the other side before, how uncomfortable I was, how every option seemed to be bad. How trying to insenuate non atttraction rather than just say “i am not attracted to you” seemed obviously more kind and how that message not getting across through insinuation caused me to feel resentful that the other person WAS JUST NOT LISTENING TO ME BLAH! 

Of course, I’d been on the other side plenty of times and just wished someone would say “i’m sorry but i’m not interested and plz go away no offense meant” beacuse I can’t tell what the hell is going on. So now I’m very symapathetic, perhaps overly so, on both sides of that coin, to people who feel that have no real good options and someone who just feels confused when they are rejected. 

Now if someone rejects me with a light touch, I’m able to recongize it as such and appreciate it. I leave happier than when I came. Sure someone wasn’t interested in me as a romantic partner but she cared about my well being enough to give me some face so I can go off. 

What I’m trying to say here, is that practicing social skills generally across strangers attentively, in a deliberate practice sort of way, attunes you to *what is normal*. Knowing *what is normal* is actually much better for reading social cues than anything else. If someone is laughing more at a lame joke than is approriate for “that is amusing and i will laugh a little to make them feel good” I know I’m going somewhere. If someone seems more fridgid than normal, I know to be a little off putting myself. So on and so forth. But its hard work to build a model of normality. The good news is you can talk to old dudes and old ladies and guys with cool hair that dress better than you and girls you don’t want to date and girls you do want to date and all that to get a model of “normal” into your head. That is, you don’t have to open a ton of sets of cute girls or guys or whatever to get good, just basic social adjustment by opening sets of all sorts of people who are less scary than Jennifer Lawrence of Chris Pratt will work. And from there you can make new friends! 

Ok that is enough unstructured rambling for now. 

Sum up:

Imrpov books! Indirect Daygame! Talk to all kinds of people, not just attractive ones to know how people act! Models or normality are great! You may not know what it is like to be in the rejectors position and how much care people take to not hurt you, they aren’t being mean by letting you down easy! Being in unfamiliar social roles where you’ve been on the other side a lot is revelatory and weird and I think about those expriences a lot!