For last 9 months I’ve been working with a great guy who’s deaf and mute. This is the first time I am doing something like this, and surprisingly it’s easy and awesome. At first, I had no clue how it was going to work out, as he is my art partner and I am in the business of communication.
So the exchange of ideas started with us writing stuff on a piece of paper. I couldn’t talk to him without my pen. And this is how it went sometimes:
Me: I think you should reduce the font size.
Me: If you do it we’ll have more white space and the layout will look clean.
Him: Size is ok.
Me: Well, it’s totally your call. No pressure. But more white space means eyes will go straight to the message. It’ll be loud and clear and yet not in the face. It’ll be noticeable, but not shouting for attention. It’ll be there, but not there. You feeling me?
Me: So will you do it?
From drawing letters on hands to typing on the phone to explaining stuff with hand gestures to laughing at client’s feedback, we’ve come a long way. Now I even know how to swear in sign language (just one word, and yes, mostly used for the same client).
What’s magical is that now he tells me about his family, how naughty his kids are, how hot the weather is outside, how much he hated Fan, and how bad Vodafone is, and that’s when I have to make calls for him posing as him to threat the telephone network. Sigh! We do all great things friends do.
Aren’t all human relationships similar? You can’t truly understand each other, but you still try to work things out. The only difference is that you expect the other person to understand you better, because technically you speak the same language. Maybe if you speak less and smile more (and obviously, smile it like you mean it), there will be less friction and more understanding.
Hey, it worked for me.