Smiley Messaging

I carried out an unusual experiment this week.

I decided to try hitchhiking, to see whether I could get a lift.

But I also wanted to put my communication skills to work to try to stack the odds in my favour.

I needed to get to Madingley Hall, on the outskirts of Cambridge, to talk about some business and writing teaching.

I could have cycled, but it would’ve taken at least half an hour. 

There were also some annoying hills, and that would have meant I arrived hot and sweaty for important meetings.

I no longer have a car, the bus didn’t go all the way to Madingley, and I’m far too mean to get a taxi.

So hitchhiking it was.

In fairness, it wasn’t that much of a gamble.

It was only about a mile to walk from where the bus dropped me off, if that should prove necessary.

I prepared well, as I do. 

The night before my adventure, I carefully wrote my destination on a piece of cardboard, as pictured above.

But that was when the thought struck about how I could look more attractive to a driver.

(Which was important, because I imagine most people wouldn’t want to stop for a lumbering, ageing lump like me.)

So I added a please, to demonstrate at least some positive character, enhanced it with establishing my tutor credentials, and followed all that with a little smiley to try to show I’m not as scary as I look.

Did it work, I can sense you asking?

I’m happy to say the answer is yes. 

Car number five stopped, after only about 90 seconds walking, and kind, retired Ray offered me a lift.

Did my messaging work, I asked? Yes, he said.

He reckoned anyone who wrote a sign like that couldn’t be too dangerous, and might even be worth picking up and talking to.

Just a thought, when you’re working on your communications. 

A little character and some warmth can go a long way to achieving your ends.