Author Topic: word usage?  (Read 5959 times)

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ashadeofbrown

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word usage?
« on: Jan 06, 2007, 02:36 pm »
It's hard for me to suggest instead of ordering. What are some key phrases that can help in dealing with actors/directors/tech so that no one feels offended? (When the situation calls for subtlety, anyways.)
Curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back.

megf

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 06, 2007, 05:30 pm »
Even if the words alone can be interpreted as cutting, offensive, aggressive, snippy -- saying things gently, clearly and with a smile will do a lot of the work for you. A smiling, encouraging "Have you accounted for X, Y and Z in tomorrow's schedule?" will be received more readily than the exact same phrase, delivered abruptly.

And "please" and "thank you" will get you anywhere :)

Meg

Mac Calder

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 06, 2007, 05:53 pm »
Have you/Could you/Would you please/Should/Shouldn't

A large percent is in tone of voice and method of delivery as opposed to phrasing. Yelling across the room as opposed to taking them asside, being short and sharp instead of taking time and doing it softly etc are often ways to get peoples backs up.
« Last Edit: Jan 06, 2007, 07:54 pm by Mac Calder »

ChaCha

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 06, 2007, 06:17 pm »
would it be an option to....

perhaps we could.....

I feel that it woud be be best to .....at this point ( you can't argue with how someone feels, so sometimes wrapping your idea in this sort of language slows people down long enough to hear your suggestion )

Also recapping all the options clearly then stating which one you prefer - that way everyone realises they've been heard and may be prepared to let go and move on

Find someone else who wants the same as you and present them as the one withe idea - always easier to speak for someone else
ChaCha

Beatr79

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 06, 2007, 08:08 pm »
Quote
And "please" and "thank you" will get you anywhere

Funny, I once had my master carpenter berate me for saying please and thank you to him after he did anything for me.  He thought it was condescending, and implied that he was below me.  His exact words to me were "There is no assistant after my title."

I recognized that it was his self-image issue, and simply stopped using those common courtesies with him alone.   I actually thank those who are above me on the regular basis- the PSM, the director, the PM, because they are the ones who can make my life pleasant or miserable.  "Thanks for another good rehearsal" can make it a lot easier to approach someone down the road with a touchy subject ei "About that massive scene shift..."


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Re: word usage?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 08, 2007, 12:52 pm »
Quote
And "please" and "thank you" will get you anywhere

Funny, I once had my master carpenter berate me for saying please and thank you to him after he did anything for me.  He thought it was condescending, and implied that he was below me.  His exact words to me were "There is no assistant after my title."
<snip>

That?  Boggles my mind.  I've always been taught that "Thank You" is the appropriate response to just about anything in theatre.  It may not always mean "thanks" but does always mean, "I've heard/acknowledged/understood/etc. what you've just told me or done."

As in,
"This is your five call, ladies and gentlemen."  "Thank you, five."
or
"We need to hold the house for a few minutes while we get this wheelchair in place."  "Thank you, house," when you're really thinking why can't the bloody house manager seat everyone on time even one night!
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

nmno

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 12, 2007, 02:09 pm »
Funny, I once had my master carpenter berate me for saying please and thank you to him after he did anything for me.  He thought it was condescending, and implied that he was below me.  His exact words to me were "There is no assistant after my title."
<snip>

I ran into this one time as well...  Which is odd because I feel like it shows the opposite.  If you work "under" me, I can just tell you what to do (not that that's my tactic but the implication...).  If you are above our equal, I need to ask.  People intrepret things differently all the time - not too much you can do about it.  You can just do your best to dissolve the situation.  For me, it was really hard not to respond "THANK YOU for bringing that to my attention.  PLEASE accept my apology if I've offended you." 

Back to word choice:
Using *I* instead of *you*.  I can't think of a great example but ChaCha touched on it with "I feel..." I'll edit later if I come up with something brilliant.
Offering the problem and not the solution.  ie.  tell your house props that the actors are concerned that they are slipping on stage.  Let the prop guys offer the solution.  1) less of an aire of telling them what to do 2) they may know the answer better... ie. adding more slip-no-more is actually detrimental; it has built up too much so he'll strip it down and add a fresh coat.
**NB: when I first wrote the above I wrote "the actors are complaining" and changed it to "are concerned".  It's easy to dismiss a complainer, but how do you ignore a concern.  *concern* also implies that I take it issue seriously versus *complain* which implies "just give me an answer I can tell them to get them off my back". 



OldeWolf

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 12, 2007, 04:26 pm »
I frequently use "concern"... as in "are you concerned about the way that is sticking out into the passageway?" or "I'm concerned about the amount of noise I'm hearing from backstage during that shift..." Delivered with the right tone it gives the other person a chance to explain to me what is happening rather than making them feel they have to defend a position. It feels less adversarial to me and my crew/cast become accustomed to it rapidly and know I'm seriously trying to work with them as part of a team to deal with an issue.

Owen
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Scott

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 13, 2007, 11:57 am »
A very wise and experienced General Manager inspired me to ty to use the word "challenge" instead of "problem".

VSM

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Re: word usage?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 13, 2007, 12:59 pm »
And more often than not, the word "challenge" is greeted by a smile and an exhalation of relief.
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