This is a little reminder of how important communication is. When I think about how complicated instructions for putting things together used to be, IKEA furniture for example, it’s just as well that they stopped hiring technical writers. Now they are trying to accomplish the same confusion through simple drawings and they have been just as successful. My language isn’t bad, but I developed a vocabulary of not so nice words from doing those easy IKEA-jobs.
Have you ever had a test where you and a partner sit with your backs against each other? One explains how something looks like and the other one has to draw or build it. The last time I did this we used lego blocks. This was a popular way of starting the teacher workshop we had before the pupils returned after their summer vacation. It didn’t seem to teach us anything about communication.
I was reminded of this when someone reposted a classic from 3-4 years ago. The Norwegian Coastal Administration’s local office in the town of Ålesund had a Christmas party for their maritime pilots (the mariners that maneuver the ships through difficult waters, such as a harbour). They ordered two sponge cakes with a thin layer of marzipan, which is a classic party cake in Norway. They called in this order over the phone and said they wanted two cakes. The baker asked whether they wanted something written on the cakes, which is common when the cake is for a special occasion. They wanted the text “Merry Christmas” on both cakes.
They were very surprised when they received one cake with the text:
Merry Christmas on both cakes/God Jul på begge kakene