Jargon Busting - non-verbal communication

Jargon Busting - non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication for silent cries of ‘help!’’ in workshops

Non-verbal cues can be an excellent way to give workshop participants a way to show that they are not able to follow what someone speaking is saying without breaking the flow by interrupting to ask a question.

Your audience will determine how silly you can make the gestures, but here are the ones we used at the Info Activism Camp (Credits <-) from which I stole this.

I have subsequently used them with a variety of audiences of varying levels of seriousness and it is incredible that in some circumstances you can indeed get even very serious people in suits to do the moose, and they actually appreciate it.

The gestures are elegantly modelled below by yours truly, and yes, that is my knee in the frame as I had to press the screen with my toe to record using Loopcam, with a cartoon filter that makes me look like I have a moustache.

Gesture 1: Jargon Goggles

Jargon Goggles are a simple mechanism to allow people to indicate that they do not understand a jargon term someone in the room has said. They look like this:

Jargon Goggles from Lucy Chambers on Vimeo.

Gesture 2: Speedbumps

Speedbumps indicate to the speaker that they are speaking too fast. Slow down, please!

Speedbumps from Lucy Chambers on Vimeo.

Gesture 3: Crank up the Volume

Speaker - talk louder please!

Crank up the volume from Lucy Chambers on Vimeo.

Gesture 4: The Moose of Silence

The Moose of Silence is a surprisingly effective mechanism to bring calm to a noisy room. Often, it doesn’t even need explaining. The person that wants the room to be quiet simply does this gesture.

Moose of Silence from Lucy Chambers on Vimeo.

It usually spreads around the room like a wave. People’s puzzlement usually stops them talking. When you have a sea of quiet mooses, you can resume activities.


Demonstrate these to the people in the room, showing that you have no shame; you’ll get even stiff-upper-lipped English people to do them. Refresh them on a regular basis, the beginning of each new day!

Get updates straight to your inbox!