Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tea's Top 10: Human Communication Part 1

These are the 10 top things I learned about human communication at my second job. For most of these, I'll give just one example per observation, but over the course of three and a half months, observing on average 7500 people per day, please know that my observations are based on hundreds of interactions and while not scientific, IMO, they are extremely accurate.

On a side note, I should have looked into anthropology as a major, minor or somehow tandem study with speech communication. People are quite interesting.

*a bunch of details are changed, so as not to burn bridges with the management.

10. People respond better to visual cues than verbal or written.

Example: There is a theater at my second job, we'll just say it's called the 3D theater. There is a cartoon picture on the entrance of the theater, we'll say it's the Flinstones. NOWHERE on the theater does it say Flinstones, but there is a picture of a Flinstone on the entrance, so guests call it the Flinstones Theater. Said guests then ask me if the movie they paid to see (which is not the flinstones) is playing in the Flinstones Theater and I say no, your movie is playing in the 3D theater (3D Theater is written in LARGE BOLD letters on the entrance), I then point towards what they think is the Flinstones Theater. They then shake their heads and run around looking for the 3D theater surmising that I cannot know what I'm talking about because clearly that's the Flinstones theater I'm pointing to. To that I say [in my head] if you you knew the answer to the question, why in the hell are you asking me.

9. People respond better to written cues better than verbal.

There is one entrance into the buiding. Solamente uno. But people see directional signs that say one attraction is to the left and one attraction is to the right and even though they can only enter the building on the right, they argue with me about whether or not they should be entering there. Like I have some dirty trick up my sleeve to make sure they enter at the wrong entrance and will get gratification from this for the rest of my day. If you ask me where to enter and I say on the right, why would you then ask again if you can go on the left or why you can't go to the left or if I'm SURE you have to go in on the right. I JUST SAID on the right, but the ill directional signage which is WRITTEN is a better cue to them than the answer I just gave.

8. When directions are written, they are followed ONLY when subsequent verbal cues are given.

If a sign says no flash, it doesn't mean one flash or flashes when workers aren't present or flashes at the beginning and end of the exhibit, but not the middle. It means NO flash. So why do I have to come over and tell you and raise my voice at times and say it in Spanish, Por favor, solamente tocar photos sin flash. Puedes quitar su flash, por favor. It MUST mean that even given #9 on this list, people still don't follow written directions.

7. People only respond positively [if at all] when addressed individually.

People think you are talking to everyone except for them. When talking to a large group saying something like "please turn off your flash," no one listens. When I tap an individual on the shoulder and say, "Sir, Ma'am, please turn off your flash." They understand. I wonder what happened to make us wired such that mass messages don't penetrate the brain, but individual messages do.

6. There is not a good word for addressing a child you don't know.

Calling a child Sir or Ma'am is just wrong. Try it. You feel silly, the child is confused, it just doesn't work. When talking to unidentified children you have to say "young man" or "young lady" in order to get their attention, in which case you feel like a third grade teacher. It is uber-weird.


antithesis said...

LMAO. people kill me and for some reason i desire to work with them as the basis of my profession. go figure.

ThummyB said...

LOL - I will say this in the defense of ppl everywhere...

Your analysis is contingent upon the fact that you are an intelligent person who knows what they are talking about. If you consider #'s 10 and 9 in particular. How many times have you asked for clarification from...let's say an airline ticket/gate agent, grocery store stockboy/cashier, or other helpful yet not-so-helpful worker...received questionable advice (or advice that seems to contradict the signage)...questioned them further only to hear "Oh yeah/my bad...that is correct. We just changed that this morning. Yes, you should proceed to XYZ location/direction/price, etc"? many times have you taken their direction at face value only to have to either back track or spend add'l time to achieve your intended destination? It happens to me all the time.

Your word is good, but you know PLENTY of ppl (incl. some of the less dedicated ppl at your side hustle) will send you OFF!

Reese Johnson said...

thats why i usally say "AYE, YOU LIL BASTARD, WHERE IN THE HELL ARE UR PARENTS!!" lol not really, just put the voice on and they listen. I think it also helps that i have a great angry black man face. it terrifies children and their parents as well LOL