Friday, February 15, 2013

The Game Of Telephone

When we were kids in school we use to play this game called "Telephone".  The basic premise is that the teacher would whisper a sentence or two into the first kids ear. Then that kid would whisper it to the next  child and so forth and so on until it reaches the final kid in the class. Where upon that kid would have to speak out to the class what sentence they were told. And most of the time it would be a weird mangled mess that didn't even remotely resemble what the teacher whispered to the first child. 

It was mostly a lesson in communication. To convey information accurately. To show how important speaking clearly and knowing what you were told before saying it to someone else.  And also how quickly gossip can no longer resemble the truth.

It's a good lesson.

I was thinking about all this during our local group ride last night. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, are extremely important. When a communication break down happens, at best someone is going to get their chamois in a bunch. Worst case scenario someone dies...

That's no bueno.

We've had several of these break downs happen lately. Most of them involved someone getting left behind. Which in the grand scheme of things isn't good. But it's not a travesty either. That doesn't mean it should happen. It's just another glitch in the game of telephone that we play during a ride.

Most of the time when someone yells something out everyone starts looking around to the nearest person to tell them what was said. Sometimes that person knows. Other times that person just shrugs their shoulders and then continue looking around before a reason for the yelling is found.

Non-verbal signals are much the same. The person at the front of the group may point out a pot hole or a bunch of glass. But that doesn't mean the person three of four rows back is going too.

It's all in how effectively that message is conveyed to the rest of the people. And unfortunately the message chain only works if everyone plays.

So the next time you're on a group ride try to convey the messages being sent back and forth for the rest of the people. And don't just let it go to voice mail. Practice the game of telephone. Hopefully the message will come across loud and clear.

Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E

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