Thursday, September 25, 2014

Can you be clear about what you mean in a few seconds?

Last night after the braai we played the game "30 seconds" . It was my first time playing it. I begged to observe but they all refused. "We are all playing," a new friend said.

30 Seconds is a fast-paced general knowledge game. Players generally play in teams of two. One player must guess a word from their teammate's explanation, with the aim to guess as many possible answers in 30 seconds. The main restriction on the explanation is that it may not contain the actual word or part of the word.

As the only girl in my team, I was terrified at first. No girl wants to appear to be dumb among a group of guys. When I picked up the card for the first time and it was my turn to explain what's on it and let my team mates guess what it really is, I froze. I asked if I could pick up another card, they refused. I asked if I could be skipped, just that once, they refused. Before I knew it, 30 seconds were over and we hadn't got a single point. I could see the disappointment on their faces when they picked up the card and realised that they could have guessed the right answers to all the questions.
I'm not a slow learner and I adapt fast. As the game went on, I became smarter and better and faster and we could get 3 right answers (out of 5) at a go. I was told that I was not bad for a first-timer.
I heard that a couple once broke up because of the game. They were both on the same team and the girl could not get any words that the boyfriend was explaining and he got so irritated when she failed to guess the answer of something they spoke about the previous night. She was upset that he got so worked up. He got mad and left with "the party" without her. A friend also told me that her friend is still not talking to her after she called her "pathetic" and "stupid" and "disappointing" at one game.

See, you can't take things personally when you play 30 Seconds. The game is ruthless. It will expose you. If your general knowledge is up to date, then you are safe. You must have a vast knowledge of everything: from sport, international affairs, governments of the world, programmes, name of actors and movies, to music bands and even capital cities of countries.

Our team member asked us: What is the capital city of Israel? Someone said Gaza. The other team laughed their lungs out. Of course we lost. It is Jerusalem and we got it wrong. We also laughed at ourselves for that one. But had he said it's a place in the Bible, we could have guessed it right.
At one point I picked up a card and I started to describe: "It's a cartoon and ..."  my teammate screamed: "Barney". Right answer. Next question... How did he know that it was Barney? I didn't even get to the "and it's purple" part. There are many cartoons out there. Sheer luck, if you ask me. The questions can be quite simple and some a bit tricky.

The secret lies in your ability to explain what's on the card without saying its name and of course your team members have to be smart or clued up enough to know what you are talking about.
On the second round a team member said: "They study the stars", and we screamed: "Astrologists" and he said "well ... the ones from the bible", and we all said: "the wise men", and he asked, "well ... how many were they?" We screamed: "Three wise men". Right. next question.
We were on a roll. We played on. Eventually we were beaten by one point -- thanks to the sweet guy in my team who spoke very very slowly and gently.

The game challenges your mental and emotional abilities. How fast are you? Are you a team player? Are you supportive? Are you short tempered? Are you arrogant or self-righteous? Do you think highly of yourself? Do you respect others as well as yourself? 30 Seconds puts it all in the open, in the presence of others -- strangers and friends.

One thing is clear. There is talking, and there is speaking. Speaking is a skill. You see, sometimes we just open our mouths and words some out without thinking, that's talking. Now, sometimes you have to think before you open your mouth and shape and package the words in a such  a way that they are understood by the next person, for a certain purpose. That is speaking. Something that I definitely need to work on.