Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente of Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a Spanish language training firm focused exclusively on the construcción industry. Hartmann has been successful improving Safety, Productivity and Profitability by speaking Spanish on the jobsite. Hartmann lived in Guadalajara, México during his undergraduate studies and later earned his MBA. Hartmann also teaches Construction Spanish at Purdue University’s Building Construction Management Program. He has authored 2 books - Spanish Twins: Start Speaking Spanish on the Construction Site with Words You Already Know and Safety Spanish: Simple Spanish Skills for Solving Safety Problems. Hartmann would love to hear your thoughts digitally at firstname.lastname@example.org or verbally at 630.234.7321.
Text Mex: Meet ‘em where they are
Would you ever use Twitter to announce your family dinner is being served?
Ridiculous question, right?
Wait. Hold that answer….
The question was posed while reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy (an enjoyable B+ read on the power of social media in today’s economy). Gary Vee tells a story about a mother tweeting her dinner was ready in an effort to have her children emerge from their bedrooms. Quickly.
Her kids were physically in the same home, mind you.
But if she wanted to get their attention, she needed to meet them where they were mentally.
Mentally... her children were on Twitter.
Tweet went out.
“Din-din is ready.”
Moments l8r, her progeny arrived in the kitchen.
Absolutely, but also brilliantly simple.
It’s communication finding the path of least resistance, without judgement or cynicism or ageism.
I suspect there is less Twitter usage on your jobsite than texting.
Texting tendencies among all ethnicities, languages and ages is on the rise.
Do you ever text important communication to your entire jobsite?
Have you ever considered it?
Cell phones are ubiquitous. As the cost of smartphones falls each quarter, finding non-smartphone users is becoming rare. So, meet ‘em where they are.
Hispanics are nearly 2x as likely to be injured or killed on our jobs. Hispanics often work the most dangerous jobs and if we talk to them about Safety at all, we do it in English and pretend they understand. If we care to pretend at all.
But… Hispanics as a group text an awful lot. It’s cheap (no monthly internet fees required) and everyone has a phone.
Use this fact to your advantage.
Meet ‘em where they are.
For example... Say it’s a windy day and roofers are on your job.
The roofers speak Spanish.
You speak English.
Go to Google Translate, (translate.google.com) and type, “There's a lot of wind today. Be careful.”
It returns: “Hay mucho viento hoy. Tenga cuidado.”
Text your jobsite in English and Spanish.
Meet ‘em where they are.
Is this an impenetrable comunicación strategy?
But it’s better than a strategy largely revolving around esperanza: hope.
UNO CAVEAT GIGANTE
Cell phone usage around construction activity - on a windy roof, no less - is a bad idea. If texting while driving is frowned upon, texting while roofing is snarled upon, even if it’s done so in response to your bilingual text about Safety.
Send the text during break or before the work starts.
Use common sense where applicable.
The point remains: Effective communication relies upon audience consideration.
It‘s not about you or the intention of your message.
It’s about them - your audience.
If the audience doesn’t receive your message, it’s your fault.
So, meet ‘em where they are.
Texting on the jobsite may seem like a ridiculous idea at first, but give the idea some thought.
It may be an underutilized method for certain communications.