This month’s theme for Video of the Week is “Humorous examples of bad communication.” Let’s face it, people are always mis-communicating and sometimes, it can be quite funny and entertaining. But most importantly, it’s memorable so you’ll be able to retain the lesson.
This week’s video comes from the Helen Tate Show, a British comedy that consists of various sketches involving a cast of recurring characters. In this video, Helen Marsh, the “I can do that” woman is asked by her boss to find a translator to speak to a group of people from various foreign countries. Since Helen has that “can do” attitude, she volunteers to act as the translator. Here is the clip:
Now why on earth would I include something like this? Simple, this clip provides a perfect example of how not to communicate. Helen babbles in various accents that are stereotypical for the country of origin of each person she is talking to. In real life, this would be highly offensive and grossly inappropriate (although in the video, it’s quite funny). Most sane people would never consciously do this, however we may subconsciously do this to some extent.
In all my programs that cover interpersonal skills, I discuss mirroring – imitating someone’s physiology and communication style to create rapport. We often mirror others without realizing it – I used to catch myself doing this all the time. I always stress is to not copy accents, as well as other things such as stuttering and mispronunciations. Unless you’re extremely skilled at building rapport, the other person will think you’re mocking them.