I would advise against that

Many times, we in the technical community are faced with well-meaning users and stakeholders that ask for something “their way.”

My wife and I stopped in a fine Italian restaurant for lunch. Sue ordered a risotto dish, while I ordered a grilled salmon over mixed baby greens. When the risotto was served, the waiter offered to sprinkle fresh grated cheese. I was ready to get a fresh spoonful of that cheese deposited right in my mouth, it looked so good.

Then the waiter turned to me and my “salad” and offered pepper. I blurted out that I would like some cheese. (Sue cringed, as she always tries to remind me that Italian fish dishes should never be served with cheese with seafood. )

Back to the technical point… the waiter was very diplomatic:

“I would advise against that.” he said. “Oh! That’s right, no cheese on seafood! What was I thinking?” “Well, rules are meant to be broken, so you may do that if you like. I would just advise against that.”

He didn’t say I was wrong. He didn’t say I couldn’t have what I had asked for. But he carried a certain authority of being “in the know” and I trusted his judgment.

I hope to use this gentle technique the next time I need to respond to a user’s well-meaning, but “wrong” request. Maybe it will help you out as well.