I Am Not a Mind Reader!

May 8, 2014

Carnac the MagnificentIf you are of a certain age, you will likely get a chuckle when I mention the character name of Carnac the Magnificent. If the name isn’t immediately familiar to you, it was a recurring comedy sketch where Johnny Carson would provide an answer to a question before opening the envelope containing the question.

Of course Johnny wasn’t a mind reader and the questions and answers were often delivered with sarcasm about the topics of the day. So I say with my tongue firmly in cheek, I am not a mind reader!

Why do I say this? I am convinced people who e-mail me believe I can read their mind because they provide little to no information and just a question that is impossible to answer with the information provided.

This often leads to everyone being frustrated. The person who asked the question is frustrated that a definitive answer wasn’t provided. I’m frustrated because I ask questions in return that will give me the information I need to provide an answer…yet never get answers to my question.

For example, someone says “I push a button and get an error message”. I may ask in return: What button? What page were you on? What did the error message say?

Several people have said very little other than they own CorelDRAW. I have no idea their skill level, their budget or even what they want to create with CorelDRAW. They may ask what products they need to buy. Since I know so little, I can only suggest they buy everything we offer. Others have asked how many days of training they need. I honestly don’t know, but I hope it will include as many days as possible.

As I often say to people, “help me help you.” If you would like me to provide a definitive answer to your question, provide the details I will need to give you that answer. When I ask questions that will help me give you the answer you want, I need you to answer my questions. This allows answers to be provided as quickly as possible and decreases the frustration level for everyone.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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