Visual Communication

The lecture on Visual Communication was interesting and some things discussed have led me to think about them more. The use of redundant language was something that I hadn’t given much thought to previously,  the more words we use in English language the more respect we give to each other when we communicate. e.g. “Excuse me please, can you tell me what time the shop opens?”  rather than ” what time shop open?” The example of how translating some polite statements from English into Chinese would be regarded as impolite or disrespectful due to the Chinese language not using redundant words.

I remember when I worked in Greece (quite a few years ago) and was trying to communicate in Greek, the local people didn’t understand why I always said please and thank you i.e. too frequently. I presume that they communicated more like the Chinese and less redundant words were used. In this culture from a very young age we are taught to be polite, so it felt completely unnatural to omit please and thank you from conversation but by doing so I was communicating more effectively in the Greeks eyes.

I was also interested in how the use of language influences what we buy as consumers. I hadn’t really considered that the simple phrase “Rinse and Repeat” printed on shampoo bottles was there purely to encourage  the consumer to use more and increase shampoo sales and not because we really need to wash our hair twice to get it clean. A very clever marketing strategy, and according to the “Tipping Point” it is “How the little things can make a big difference”.

I was interested to find out what why we had been asked to bring along “Starburst” sweets to the lecture and so when volunteers were each given a sweet to eat (first with their eyes open) and asked to identify the flavour then a second sweet with their eyes closed, I was intrigued to find out if the sweet eating volunteers would guess the correct flavours or not.  Some of the volunteers got the flavours wrong.  I tried the experiment again with a couple of others and again they got the flavours wrong.  Quite amazing what the power of  the colour of a sweetie wrapper can do.  I’m now wondering what other things I buy have the same power!

The experiment reminded of the time my son was given a packet of Harry Potter Jelly Beans Sweets, all colourful but with unusual flavours e.g blackpepper, earwax, vomit, (along with some nice flavours too).  There was no way of guessing what flavour you would get as you couldn’t judge the flavour by the colour. It was so confusing, the brain was seeing one thing but the sense of taste was saying another. It was a bit like Russian Roulette and I can’t say I enjoyed it much!

Brainstorming Workshop

Although I’ve used brainstorming regularly in the past, I felt I might find out something new by attending. I met my team members for the next assignment and together we followed the rules to carry out two different types of brainstorming.

Writing and drawing all of our ideas on a large piece of paper in a short time is good, all the ideas are together in one place. The other method using post-its is useful as it enables the post-its to be moved and clustered into categories. My team seemed to favour the post-its method, perhaps because we chose to stand up and stick the post -its on the wall where they could be seen clearly by everyone. I felt that it was important to emphasise in the rules that all ideas should be noted down and no ones idea should be commented in a negative way, only built upon. This positive attitude helps all members of the team feel useful and helps them to feel confident about their contribution.

Brainstorming – Result with method One

Brainstorming result with method two.

I feel that having a practise with my team has helped us to start to get to know each other and has broken the ice for the assignment 2.


4 thoughts on “Visual Communication

  1. The Chinese think it odd that we say thank you and please all the time. They reserve it for genuine gratitude rather than for someone, say, doing their job. In a way what appears rude to us actually means that “thank you” has more value.
    The Chinese for “don’t mention it” literally translates as “don’t be a guest”.
    I wrote a short blog post a few years ago called “English Ways of Saying Goodbye” after I had a telephone conversation with a Chinese friend, and she hung up without the usual long drawn out “goodbye” I would have with British friends.

  2. Hi Sheila, I agree with the comment by JB 6/10/11. It’s the same here in Spain. The Spanish don’t use please and thank you as much as we do and they think us a bit strange for doing so. Some regard it as being a bit condescending and say that only beggars use please and thank you so often.

  3. Jonathan, It seems that the please and thank you thing is very British. I had a look at the post about saying goodbyes and it is very true. I’m going to count the thank yous I say in a shop the next time.

  4. At the other end of the scale is the USA where I always feel embarrassed when waitresses and checkout people say way too much when taking orders and delivering them… always makes me squirm! Have a nice day, indeed…

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