Earlier this year, it was my deaf friend Rosie’s birthday. I had organised a surprise afternoon tea for her in February, but our plans were completely thwarted by the unprecedented amount of snow!

Due to our crazy lives, always filled with busy weekends, we didn’t get to enjoy the planned ‘birthday tea’ until April. Although by then it was no longer the surprise I’d hoped for of course! But Rosie thoroughly enjoyed herself, and that was my aim.

When I get together with deaf friends, we find ourselves chatting for hours and sharing stories from our childhood, our relationships, and life in general. One such story was so fantastically funny that I have to share it in the hope you’ll love it too!

One of our group of friends, Nikki, was telling us about one of her first dates with her hearing boyfriend.
She described how worried she was to be going on a date with a hearing man. She was concerned that she would (as had happened on other occasions) misunderstand what was said.

However, the date started well, and there was definitely a connection forming. Until they started discussing recent stories in the news that is!

He began to talk about the awful, recent news of hostages being found in the basement of a house.

Nikki looked confused as if she hadn’t quite understood what he’d said. He clarified then asked, “Are you okay?” She continued to look confused and finally said “No I understand, but why was he putting ostriches in the basement? And how did he get them down there?”

One simple word and one simple (hilarious!) misunderstanding had them in fits of laughter a long time after!
Studies show that only 30-45% of the English language can be understood through lip reading alone. Which explains Nikki’s situation and her perception of what was being talked about.

Can you imagine this happening when communicating to your customers? In a clothes retail environment for example, when asking if your customer would like pockets in their jacket and they think you have asked them if they need a bucket?! It could, of course, be as hilarious as Nikki’s story, but equally, it could have a very negative effect on your business too.

Oh, and if you’re wondering the outcome of the date…you’ll be glad to hear that they’re now married and living their happily ever after! The confusing and amusing story undoubtably made their bond even stronger.

Check out the story in our January 2019 Newsletter!

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