So in my University Continued Education Management Communications: Interpersonal Skills class, we had an origami project where we received the origami instructions 4 ways and then had to answer 2 questions. It was via a powerpoint presentation (being distance learning), with the following step-by-step instruction delivery types:
1. Written only instructions
2. Verbal only instructions
3. Visual only instructions
4. Visual & Verbal instructions
Share how you felt through the process and which mode you enjoyed the most.
I was so excited to start the project, thinking it was going to be a complicated project and I would have some work of art at the end…
I read the instructions and realized it was only 5 folds! And then, having the written instructions, reading them and putting them into action, I found I had no idea what they meant! Parallel? Triangle? WTH does that mean? This thing is going to be a cup???? How the heck is that supposed to be?! I ended up with a mangled mess and thought of scrapping the whole project.
But I chose to soldier on and continue to the next set of instructions, thinking there would be more information within the verbal instructions. NO!!! This female just read out loud to me the instructions I already couldn’t follow!!! Now, this was annoying. Who does she think she is… her tone of superiority slicing into my dysfunctional brain like Sister Rose Marie in Grade 4 catching me with cigarettes. NEXT!
YES!!! Visual instructions! Thank the Gods. I could now see what my paper should be looking like and where the folds should be exactly. No haughty voice telling me how it should be done, like I’m an imbicile. Last fold, and… PERFECT! I have a cup! I am awesome, and I did it all by myself. (Ok, maybe I had help from Leroy Phillip Michaels III. MAYBE.)
Wait a minute. A last set of instructions? Visual instructions plus the snob from hell?!!! Uh-huh. No way, not gonna do it. I made my cup already. Take that, disembodied voice from hell. HA!
Now I’m going to have a much deserved ‘I worked hard’ beverage in my new paper cup.
How does this experience translate into how you communicate in your personal and professional lives?
Well, I’ve learned through other courses and through life experience that I am a visual and kinesthetic learner. Give me a set of instructions or show me how to do a thing once and I’ll be able to do it again and again without fail.
At work yesterday, I had the #5 instruction experience where my supervisor decided we had to review a new procedural manual. For an hour I listened to her vocalize exactly what I was reading in my hand… Not very cool… I CAN READ. Just let me go and experience it for myself! Ah, the things we sit through to show our bosses we care (lol).
I discovered I can learn via audio but only if there is an energetic passionate orator… even then I still have to kinesthetically write the words down for myself so they stick in my brain.
The last instructions (visual + verbal) would normally work for me, but apparently I was predisposed to dislike that voice, so I tuned her out entirely!
Family, friends and co-workers have all been apprised of my learning style and if they are teaching/telling in their style, I must reformat the message for better understanding for us all. It can be frustrating for both sides, but more so if I completely misunderstand the message and continue about my merry little way!
Having said all of that, it’s time for a ‘I worked hard’ beverage. Where’s my origami paper?