When it comes to passing on information I believe there are two types of people; those that can talk and those that can show. While they are not mutually exclusive, but usually a person is better at one than the other. So what does this have to do with boxes?
The Box Theory Explained
The Box Theory is how you can determine in which category a person falls. Imagine this, a person is presented with a box and are asked, how do I open this? Your target (victim) will either tell you or show you. Think for a moment about yourself, what do you prefer to do? When someone asks you something, is it easier to tell or to show?
While neither has benefits over the other, understanding how a person likes to explain things can go a long way in better communication; especially if you are the opposite. If you like people to explain things verbally, having someone show you might appear demeaning. However understanding that this is just the way that person operates, you know there is nothing sordid behind what they are doing. They are just conveying the information in the best possible way they know how.
I feel that understanding this can have further benefits in many instances; for example, during a job interview. Not everyone is comfortable with a sit down talking interview. Many people think better on their feet, and walking through an environment can give them the chance to show you something rather than just talking about it. A perfect interview should have a mix of the two, as an ideal candidate would be relatively balanced.
Understanding in which category you fall gives you the opportunity to improve. Are you the person that can brilliantly explain what object A is and what it does, but the moment you need to demonstrate you’re all thumbs? Or, are you the person who built object A, but when asked to explain how you did it your eyeballs roll back and your tongue falls out?
The key is practice, understand which type you are and practice the opposite. Personally I’m a big shower, but I’m taking steps to improve on my verbal communication skills. I start with a simple task and work my way up. Something easy, like opening a box…
There are times when both forms of communication are needed and the more balanced you are the better results you will have.