by a show of hands

January 30th, 2009

Tell me how many times you've seen this. A guy is talking to a room full of people. He wants to do a quick poll, like "how many people are familiar with..". So he asks his question, but while he's doing that he raises his hand.

What the hell is this about? I mean what is the message here? "I don't know where *you* are from, but around here we raise our hand in a situation like this." Is that what it means? What else could it be? Is the guy really thinking 'Well, in case there are some people here who have never been among other people before...'? Is he worried everyone is gonna yell out all at once?

What does it say about us if we really need this cue? Is this mode of response really that hard to figure out? Are there people in the room thinking "I want to give a positive response, but damn if I can figure out how to do it"? If a guy is sitting in the room who doesn't know how to respond, and he sees people around him raising their hands, does he need this additional confirmation?

The strange thing is I don't remember seeing this in the past. Somehow we all seemed to know how this works in the past. I mean if anything you would expect everyone would know this "new thing" by now. Next thing you know, the guy is gonna start saying "See my hand in this position? This is what I want you to do if you want to give a positive response."

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2 Responses to "by a show of hands"

  1. erik says:

    In politics you are specifically asked to raise your hand if you're in favor of Act blah section bugger. In casual use the practice seems to have become a little too nonchalant for my liking. But then many things have

  2. Boyo says:

    I once had some guy ask a room full of auditors "who is familiar with audits?"

    Even more curious was that no one raised his hand.